Imagine Your Story - STEM Activities for Storytellers of All Ages!
Are you getting ready for a summer of reading with kids? Make things even more creative and fun this summer with free, hands-on science and engineering activities that help students tell their own stories.
Pair Summer Reading with Storytelling Fun!
Library reading programs are a hallmark of summer break! Even this summer, when many libraries may be closed at the start of summer due to COVID-19, you should check your local library for information about summer reading programs and recommended book lists.
Checking off "books read" on a colorful map, a multi-part bookworm, or some other engaging book log as part of your library's summer reading program is a great way to help motivate and track summer reading. Summer is also a wonderful time to encourage kids to be storytellers. Giving them opportunities and support (including an audience!) to use their imaginations and make their own stories empowers their creativity, helps build confidence, and can help them process or make sense of real-life events, exercise creative thinking, and practice important sequencing and narration skills.
Be ready to think outside the box. Storytelling doesn't have to mean writing with a pencil and paper or drawing pictures. With fun creative projects that let kids "make" elements of their stories or "tell" their stories in unusual ways, you can combine storytelling with science and engineering. Students will be using STEM concepts as they craft and share their stories. The process can be magical, transformative, confidence-building, and a lot of fun!
Five Creative Science Activities for Young Storytellers
The following STEM activities encourage kids to create and tell their own stories in innovative ways. These simple creative STEM activities use materials families may have on hand and can be wonderful as an add-on to an existing or favorite story or as the basis for creating and sharing new stories. With each of these activities, kids will have fun making something that involves science principles and that they can then use to tell their own stories and for their own imaginative play.
- The First Cartoon: Make Your Own Thaumatrope!: make your own version of this classic toy and precursor of cartoon animation. When the thaumatrope spins, our brains combine the images into one!
- Making Shadow Puppets: make shadow puppets from cardstock and use them with a flashlight to put on a shadow play or tell a story.
- Apparent Motion in Flipbooks: use index cards to illustrate simple stories that look like they are in motion when you "flip" through them.
- Make Cardboard Automata: make an automaton from cardboard and craft materials and use the hand controls to put your character in motion to go along with a story being told.
- Secret Messages With Invisible Ink!: use science to make and reveal invisible ink. This is a unique way to share a story!
See Storytelling STEM in Action
The following videos go along with the storytelling activities highlighted above. Short videos like these are a great way for students to see what's involved in a project or activity before starting.
Other Creative STEM Activities
For other creative science and engineering activities you can do with kids, see the following fun collections of ideas for young makers and inventors:
- 8 Free Science Activities with Toilet Paper Tubes
- 16 Projects to Jump-start Your Makerspace
- Rev Up STEM Learning with Car Science Projects
- Make some noise with three new science activities!
Share Your Storytelling STEM Story!
If you interact with kids this summer who do any of these storytelling STEM activities as part of a summer program or at home, we would love to see what they create! You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a picture of what they make on social media and tag us. You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
A Summer of STEM
Science Buddies will be sharing a free Summer of STEM starting June 1. Each week, we will post a fun summer theme with STEM activities, book recommendations, videos, and more.
If this blog post was useful to you, please share it with other educators, librarians, and families.
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