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Fairy Tale STEM Activities for Early Elementary

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Are you looking for a simple way to get your students more excited about engineering or literacy? Try combining the two! I have found that adding engineering activities to literacy practice is a great way to increase student engagement. A fun way to do this is using fairy tale STEM activities. 

Fairy Tale STEM Activities

The Benefits of Fairy Tale STEM Activities

Literacy-based STEM activities can be a very helpful learning tool in your classroom. Here are just a few benefits of combining fairy tales with STEM challenges:

– Problem and Solution in Action: Fairy tale STEM activities allow you to teach problem and solution in multiple ways. Your students can discuss the problem and solution in a fairy tale, then transition to solving a problem with a hands-on activity. This can really help the concept of problem and solution come alive for young learners!

Problem and solution worksheets

– Connect Multiple Standards: With so many standards to cover over the course of the school year, it’s always helpful when we can connect multiple standards using one activity. Fairy tale STEM activities allow students to explore literacy and engineering standards in one activity.

– Increase Engagement and Motivation: Fairy tales are always a hit in the early elementary classroom. Students also love hands-on STEM challenges. Combining the two with fairy tale STEM activities can be a huge engagement boost! 

7 Fairy Tale STEM Challenge Ideas

Does this sound like something your students would love? Here are some specific STEM challenge ideas that you can try in your early elementary classroom. All of these ideas use simple and affordable materials, many of which you probably have in your classroom already!

1. Cinderella

Your class can help Cinderella keep track of time so she can be home from the ball by midnight! Give students materials to build the tallest clock tower possible using small paper cups and paper. This activity also gives you a chance to discuss clocks and time with your students. You can encourage students to think about where the clock face should go on their towers and why.

Tick Tock Tower instruction sheet for Cinderella STEM challenge

This activity also opens the door to measurement practice, since your students will definitely want to know how tall their towers are!

2. Jack and the Beanstalk

After reading this fairy tale with your class, they’ll be ready to help Jack get down safely and quickly from the beanstalk. For this STEM activity, your students can construct a parachute for Jack using string, a paper cup, and coffee filters.

Jack and the Beanstalk book with a parachute

Your students can test their parachutes and make adjustments to improve Jack’s ride.

3. The Three Little Pigs

Your students will love chipping in to help the pigs build a house that can withstand the huffs and puffs of the wolf. Marshmallows and toothpicks are perfect for this STEM challenge. You could also have your students explore other building materials, just like the three little pigs used different materials for their houses.

A pig paper cutout in a house made of toothpicks and marshmallows

No matter the building materials your students use, this activity is great fine motor practice for them! It’s always great when our learning activities can help students get more practice with pincer grasp, hand strength, and coordination.

4. Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Baby Bear needs a new chair and your students will be eager to help after reading the Goldilocks fairy tale together as a class. They can work to create a chair using materials like paper, tape, linking cubes, and popsicle sticks. 

A baby bear cutout sitting on a paper chair

You can also discuss with your class what makes a comfortable and strong chair. How many legs does it have? Should it have a back on it? You could also extend with some vocabulary practice by discussing the difference between a stool and a chair.

5. Rapunzel

Rapunzel is ready to escape her tower and your students can make it happen! With a variety of materials, students can construct a divide that will help Rapunzel escape her tower. 

Rapunzel STEM challenge with popsicle sticks and tape

This challenge encourages students to problem-solve as they work against gravity to create Rapunzel’s escape route. Pipe cleaners can provide some much-needed structure for the construction process!

6. The Gingerbread Man

Your class can give the gingerbread man a better ending to his story with this STEM activity. To save the gingerbread man from his fateful ride across the river with the fox, students can build a raft for him to use instead! 

Gingerbread Man cutout on a raft made of popsicle sticks and foil

Popsicle sticks and aluminum foil provide a great base for the raft, and students love to get creative in the design. You could also fill up a tote with water for students to test their rafts!

7. The Three Billy Goats Gruff

Your students can provide a faster way for the three billy goats to cross the bridge: They can build one that’s strong enough to hold all three goats at the same time! 

Three paper goat cutouts on a bridge made of popsicle sticks and cups

You can give students a variety of materials to experiment with, including cups, cardstock, tape, and popsicle sticks. Students are always so excited to see all three billy goats successfully standing on the bridge!

Printable Fairy Tale STEM Activities

Would you like to use some of these fairy tale STEM ideas in your classroom? Let me save you some time! I have put together a printable Fairy Tale STEM Bundle to make it easy to prep these activities! Each of the seven fairy tale STEM activities includes:

  • A graphic organizer for discussing the problem and solution from the fairy tale
  • STEM challenge slides for your classroom projector
  • A challenge planning page
  • A detailed lesson plan with teacher tips, tricks, and examples

I have also included a letter template that you can send home to request materials for your fairy tale STEM challenges. 

If you’d like to take a closer look at everything included in this resource, you can find it in my TPT store.

Save These Fairy Tale STEM Challenges

Be sure to save this post so you can find it later! Just add the pin below to your favorite Pinterest board of teaching ideas. You’ll be able to quickly find these fairy tale STEM challenges when you’re looking for simple ways to connect different standards in your lesson planning!

7 Fairy Tale STEM Activities Your Students Will Love!

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Stephanie Stewart

Stephanie Stewart

Hi, I' Stephanie! I’m always looking for new ways to put a creative twist on the standards and I love helping primary teachers do the same in their classroom. Think of me as your virtual teaching partner right down the hall. I can’t wait to share new lesson ideas, teaching tips, and engaging K-2 resources with you!

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Welcome

Hi, I’ Stephanie! I’m always looking for new ways to put a creative twist on the standards and I love helping primary teachers do the same in their classroom. Think of me as your virtual teaching partner right down the hall. I can’t wait to share new lesson ideas, teaching tips, and engaging K-2 resources with you!

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