Educational Activities for Thumbelina

Thumbelina is a delightful children’s story written by Hans Christian Anderson, and first published in 1835. This story of a tiny girl and her big adventures can entertain elementary school students even today. There are a number of great educational activities that can incorporate Thumbelina.

Overcoming Adversity 

One way to incorporate Thumbelina into a classroom activity is to use it as a platform to talk about the importance of overcoming adversity. Thumbelina was sad because she was smaller than most people. However, she overcame this struggle and succeeded in living a very happy life. One great activity would be to ask students to think about a moment in their life where they had to struggle to overcome something in their life. Once they come up with that, they can write a free response journal in order to transcribe their thoughts. This will allow them to think about the importance of overcoming adversity, just like Thumbelina did. 

How To Be Resourceful

Thumbelina was also a very resourceful young girl. When winter came she was very small, so she worried about being killed by the elements. She succeeds in finding shelter in the dwelling of an old field mouse. By using her common sense and quick wits, Thumbelina is able to survive winter. Students can then be challenged to figure out how to be resourceful themselves. A teacher can present students with a hypothetical situation (such as an earthquake is coming!) and ask them what they would do. Resourceful students might suggest hiding under their desks. This is a great way to teach students how to think on their feet, as well as to practice earthquake drills, which are immeasurably valuable.

Great Presents Come In All Packages

Thumbelina begins the story sad about her size, but she eventually meets a tiny flower-prince just her size. She falls in love with him, and they marry. Students can learn from this part of the story that there is someone for everyone, and it is important to be proud of yourself for who you are. Students can then brainstorm some of the best characteristics about themselves, which they can share with a partner. That partner can then share with the class what they learned about the other person. This will provide an opportunity for students to get to know each other better, and develop more positive self-esteem. 

This great story has a number of valuable lessons that elementary school students can learn. While Thumbelina was written a long time ago, it still has great value today!