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March 05, 2018

Let’s Turn STEAM Into STREAM with some Great Picture Books!

Let’s Turn STEAM Into STREAM with some Great Picture Books

By: Julie Armstrong

Picture books are beautiful, vibrant glimpses into the world around us. Snuggling up with a small child to read a favorite picture book is a magical experience filled with exploration and wonder.  But as children get older they often times move on to bigger and better things. Their lives get busy and their schedules get full. They begin to read independently, as they should, and that magical time is just a memory.

What if we could bring that special moment back? What if we could make it even better?

We’ve all heard of STEM Learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) and some of us have even heard of STEAM with the Arts added. Let’s take it one step further and add Reading or STREAM learning! When the kids yell, “We’re bored!” pull out one of these picture books along with a few supplies and watch an entire afternoon morph into a wild and crazy adventure.

Here are a couple of amazing non-fiction picture books that lend themselves to STREAM learning:

Balloons Over Broadway: the True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade is a non-fiction picture book by Melissa Sweet

Who first invented the “upside-down puppets” of the Macy Thanksgiving Day Parade? Meet Tony Sarg, puppeteer extraordinaire! Read this colorful book to your child and then have him or her create their own float. All they needs is a helium balloon, some scraps of colorful fabric, felt and paper along with some tape or glue. Challenge them to problem solve as they try to make sure their balloon is balanced correctly. Don’t forget to let your child have his or her own little parade for you as they showcase their creations!

Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating and Marta Alvarez Miguens

Shark Lady tells the story of a young girl with an incredible passion for sharks after she visited an aquarium at the age of nine. This non-fiction book is peppered with little tidbits of “sharky” information, but it is also an amazing story of perseverance with a strong dose of “girl power” thrown in for good measure. Challenge your child to create an underwater cage (to keep the shark divers safe) made from household objects and then give it a test in the kitchen sink, the bathtub, or a pool to make sure it holds up in water. If you want to go a step further, head over to Ocearch and track some live sharks!