A Cinderella Study for Big Princesses

A Cinderella Study for Big Princesses

While we all get swept up in the happily ever after notions of today’s fairytale characters, it’s important to break open the concept of being a “princess” and widen the definition of what that might look and feel like for girls, both young and old. For deep within these tales are valuable lessons to be learned that go way beyond finding your prince charming.

My first year of teaching was in an amazing kindergarten classroom. We were very fortunate to have a guest teacher come to our class once a week over a period of time to introduce the children to a Cinderella Study. I watch watched, captivated each week, as Karen Balliett, shared Cinderella stories from around the world and lead thought provoking discussions about the universal commonalities as well as the cultural twists among them.

A Cinderella Study for Big Girls1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 /

Years later, the time was ripe for sharing the Cinderella Study with my daughters’ book club and it turned out to be a great experience! We gathered our favorite versions of the Cinderella tale (see above).

Playful Learning: Cinderella Study

Everyone had their own copy of the printable above and we started out by introducing the elements of story. Once the girls knew what each term meant, we read the different versions and took notes on each one. As we read, the girls started to notice different nuances in the story.

In some of the stories Cinderella had to look beautiful every time she saw the prince, in others that was not the case. In some versions the Cinderella figure marries the prince and in some she does not. In the versions where Cinderella does marry the prince, in some of them she shows forgiveness to her step-mother and step-sisters and in others she does not. Where the magic shows up and what is required to access it differs from tale to tale as well. The possibilities for discussion are endless!

Playful Learning: Cinderella Study

Once we finished our exploration we took some time to draft notes on our own Cinderella stories, which then led to final writing pieces. By the time we got to writing our own stories there was not moment of hesitation as each girl new exactly what they wanted to write. We ended with a lovely author share, as we munched on carrot sticks and hummus, and eagerly waited to hear each other’s inspiring tales…

To get started, click here for the printable.

Enjoy… and if you do this activity, we would love to hear any insights you glean!


With over 10 years of EDU experience and a growing family, Mariah started Playful Learning in 2008 as a resource for parents and teachers. In 2010 Playful Learning received the Parent’s Choice Gold Medal, and in August of 2011, Shambhala Publications released her first book, Playful Learning: Develop Your Child’s Sense of Joy and Wonder. Mariah has an M.S. Ed in Elementary Education and was that girl sitting in the back of class thinking about what she would do differently if she was the teacher. Now she is happily working with a team of gifted educators to bring life-changing lessons to children, families, and schools around the world. In her free time she can be found taking long walks, enjoying a cup of tea, or swimming in the Atlantic with her husband and two daughters.



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  1. I *loved* the story The Rough Faced Girl when I was little. I had forgotten about it until I had seen it again in a thrift store and quickly snatched it up for my own kids. I’d have to say it’s definitely a favorite of all the Cinderella stories I’ve read. 🙂
    Sarah M

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