“Let down your golden hair!”

That’s what Micah and Milla have been insisting from the corner all day. The fairy tale notebook which we began at the start of 2013 is the perfect company to our extended earth-washing also known as rain. We read Andrew Lang’s version of Rapunzel from the Red Fairy Book (you can find it for free online at glorious Gutenberg).

Then Micah and Milla created a few illustrations for their notebooks of Rapunzel and the tower as I printed up a few copies of our sight word cards for the story. We use the sight word cards instead of illustated texts. Usually, after reading the story, I will take out the cards and discuss the story with them. I’ll sound out the words and point to them as we go through the cards. Then, after lunch, they have a chance to re-tell the story in their own words using the cards as props.

Rapunzel Sight Word Cards (PDF)

Underlying assumption confession: Telling stories helps kids learn to communicate and establish cause-effect relationships inherent in human (and fairy) life. It also empowers them to tell their own stories, whether real or imagined, as a means of communicating their needs, fears, concerns, joys, and questions.

I didn’t have a craft planned for the day, but with a little scurrying and the right amount of pressure from craft-hungry little folks, I mustered up a tower and Rapunzel paper doll for imaginary play.

Micah’s paper doll (picture above) hangs out in her tower window thanks to her paper dress and a few pipe cleaners. You can make your own Rapunzel of the Paper Tower if you promise to forgive my slap-dash instructions and use them as an opportunity to riff on the melody.

Underlying assumption confession: Riffing rocks in both music and real life. It offers its own energy and approximates synergy.


three sheets of white cardstock paper (or other heavy paper)
watercolor paints and brushes
several long strips of colored yarn in the lightest colors you can find
ink pen
colored pencils
2 pipe cleaners (bend in half and staple two ends together inside at neck of dolls)


Have each child watercolor a sheet of cardstock to serve as tower. Use ink pen to draw a Rapunzel paper doll (and a baby Rapunzel if needed) on cardstock. Cut out paper dolls and give to kids to color as towers dry. Make a fold in tower and cut a small curved square towards the top for window. Roll paper tower and staple into tower shape. Cut out paper dolls and add pipe cleaners to make puppets. Popsicle sticks would be much better, but we improvised. Fold over yarn or string and staple to top of doll’s heads. Explain to kids that paper dolls lack nerves in the head so stapling doesn’t hurt them. Compare to the plight of the nerve-laden homo sapiens sapiens.

Milla’s Baby Rapunzel hangs out.

Come to think of it, Baby Rapunzel looks a little bitter. My bad.

As Max and I slaved away learning about “karma” in The Story of the Robber Chief, the girls added horses, princes, and even a baby doll to act as the “witch”. The refrain was, “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair….” Did I mention that Micah wanted to know why Rapunzel had “golden hair”? My answer was probably not very factual, but I told her that many people want to have blond hair because they think it is pretty and so they spend lots of money and time dyeing their hair blonde.

“So they can be like Rapunzel?”

“Or something like that.”

“But Rapunzel has to wash her hair every day for it to stay pretty because I heard in the tv news at Bunica’s house that blonde hair gets greasy….. So she has to use a lot of water ALL THE TIME!”

ALINA, trying not to laugh:
“Okay Micah, I’ll let you play now.”

“Yeah mommy but MY Rapunzel dyes her hair reddish pinkish ’cause she wants it that way. The Prince will be SO surprised when he screams at the tower, won’t he?

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