This week’s Virtual Book Club for Kids is featuring The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson. Inspired by the snake’s log pile house, I issued a STEAM building challenge to Aiden and Lily. Can you build a house made of sticks? Be sure to check out all of the forest themed activities at the end of the post. Affiliate links are included in this post.
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
The Gruffalo is one of our favorite books. Julia Donaldson has a wonderful sing song rhyme to her stories. As the mouse walks through the forest, Fox, Snake, and Owl invite him to dinner. The mouse tells them he is eating with the Gruffalo – a scary creature that he made up. Each of the animals runs away. Didn’t they know there’s no such thing as a Gruffalo? Or is there? If you love this story, you’ll love The Gruffalo’s Child. Read how we learned about shadows with The Gruffalo’s Child.
Log Pile House STEAM Building Challenge
The first step of our activity was to collect the sticks that would become the log pile houses for snakes. We visited a local trail and collected what we needed. Aiden found large sticks that were just the right length. Lily gathered a few fallen branches. Her dad used a hatchet to cut them down to size for her.
The next day, I challenged the kids to build a log pile house for snake just like in The Gruffalo. They loved the idea of the STEAM building challenge and set to work.
Aiden built his log pile house first. He carefully stacked the sticks and added a pinecone to the top. Snake was placed next to the log pile house.
Lily built her log pile house a little more haphazardly. She made room for the snake and added the mouse to the scene. She enjoyed reenacting the part of the story where the mouse met the snake.
I asked them if they could build a bigger log pile house. I gave them play dough to help the sticks stay together. We love this no cook play dough recipe from The Imagination Tree.
Aiden and Lily worked on this house together placing sticks, pinecones, and play dough in just the right places so the snakes could fit under.
And of course the mouse had to be added to this scene as well.
This STEAM building challenge does a wonderful job of combining science, engineering, and art. You can easily add in a little technology and math through measuring and counting the sticks. For the science part, talk about the habitat of snakes. Where do they live in the forest? Why would they choose a log pile house? Do they build the house or do they simply find a pile a logs and call it their house? The engineering part of the activity is the actual building. Explore how the sticks fit together. How high can you stack them before they tumble? How does the play dough help stabilize the house? There is also some design and art to the building process. Is it appealing to look at? Did you select a certain type of sticks? The log pile house looks like a work of nature’s art.
28 Days of STEAM
This post is part of the 28 Days of STEAM hosted by Left Brain Craft Brain. This week is all about book inspired STEAM activities.
Want Even More STEAM Ideas?
More Activities from the Virtual Book Club for Kids
See more forest themed activities inspired by The Gruffalo:
Math Trees – Teach Beside Me
Printable Forest Friends Skip Counting Puzzles – Artsy Momma
Wood Slice Number Game – Rainy Day Mum
Nature Art – Mama Smiles
Owl Science Activities – Preschool Powol Packets
Pre Writing Worksheets and Gruffalo Writing Tool – JDaniel4’s Mom
Splat Painting Inspired by The Gruffalo – Toddler Approved
Also stop by the Virtual Book Club for Kids Facebook page to see what others are sharing!
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