Traditional Tales Topic Guide for Teachers
When a story begins “Once upon a time”, you can be fairly sure that it is a traditional tale. These stories have been told for centuries, and have some common elements.

Some of the elements you might find in a traditional tale are; a magical setting, talking animals, good and evil characters, and a happy ending.

Teach your children about traditional tales using our handy topic guide!

Choose a section:
Teaching Ideas | Resources | Facts | Videos | Books | Links

Teaching Ideas

  • Ask children to bring in different versions of the same tale and compare them.
  • Try some of our ideas for teaching The Jolly Postman.
  • Use these ideas for Peter and the Wolf.
  • This series of lessons encourages children to explore the features of traditional tales.
  • Can your children work out which tales these rules are from?
  • Write an alternative ending for a traditional tale.
  • Write some social media posts from a traditional tale character.
  • In pairs, role play interviewing a traditional tale character. What questions should the interviewer ask?


Traditional Tale Facts

  • Many traditional tales have been around for centuries. The very first versions of Jack and the Beanstalk were told over 5,000 years ago!
  • Traditional tales are also known as “fairy tales” or “folk tales”
  • Grimms’ Fairy Tales was first published in 1812. The book was originally meant for adults, and many of the stories were later changed to make the book suitable for children!
  • Tradional tales were originally passed on by retelling. As the tales were shared, small changes were made, which is why there can be different versions of the same tale.
  • There are believed to be hundreds of different versions of the story of Cinderella told around the world.


Little Red Riding Hood

This musical, wordless version of the tale makes a great writing stimulus.

Running time: 7:10

Fairy Tales

This short video outlines the features of a fairy tale for older children.

Running time: 2:34

The Gingerbread Man

Younger children will enjoy this story, read by Mr Tumble, with Makaton signs.

Running time: 7:40

Wrting Prompt: The Prince of Darkness

A great story prompt to encourage children to write their own traditional tale.

Running time: 2:25


Three Little Wolves And The Big Bad Pig
This imaginative retelling is a firm favourite!
Fairy Tales for Fearless Girls
Traditional tales of strong women from around the world.
The Paper Bag Princess
What will Princess Elizabeth do when a dragon kidnaps her fiancé, Prince Ronald?
Each Peach Pear Plum
Younger readers love spotting the fariy tale characters in this classic book.
Don't Read This Book!
The King is about to star in a new story when… it disappears! Can he find the pieces and put it back together?
Mixed Up Fairy Tales
This fun book lets children invent thwir own stories using well known characters and plots.

Are you teaching your children about other topics? Explore our full collection of guides!

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