Dressing up is always a huge hit for kids. Here is a list of characters and things from some of the best STEM books that can be used for inspiration for dress-ups. Role-playing and pretending instils so much imagination and open-ended play. Best of all dressing up as book characters combines literacy with STEM and play!
Australian Book Week
Book Week is a national event held in Australia each year by the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA). It celebrates Australian children’s literature and, on the third Friday in August, the annual winner is announced. Nearly all places where children learn (libraries, schools, childcare centres) will celebrate book week by
- reading the short-listed books,
- creating amazing displays in the annual book week theme,
- have a parade where kids dress as their favourite book character.
Parents and kids may plan for their book week costume a year in advance… or sometimes a costume is developed the night before! Either way it’s a beautiful tradition of bringing children and literacy together in a fun environment.
Dress up characters inspired by STEM
Below is a list of some of the best children’s books that have a STEM learning element. Some of the dress up ideas from these books are character based whilst some are more abstract. Choose your favourite book and use it to inspire your next book week character.
1. Who Sank The Boat by Pamella Allen
STEM lessons in this book: Displacements, weights.
This is a book for animal dress ups. You can either go as a cow, donkey, sheep, pig or mouse. Dress using the appropriate colours and add ears, tails and features as required for each animal. Be sure to have some knitting if you choose the sheep option or a yellow umbrella if you choose the pig. This is a fun book to use for a group dress up of 5 people.
2. Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
STEM lessons in this book: Inventive thinking, questioning.
To dress as Ada you will need a red dress with white spots, long white spotted socks, black shoes and a yellow hair tie. Then add yellow rubber gloves and a pair of safety goggles. Draw coloured spots on the gloves using sharpies.
3. Quantum Physics For Babies by Chris Ferrie
STEM lessons in this book: Physics, atoms, protons, electrons and neutrons.
You can use this option for a fun abstract costume of an atom. Dress in a base colour of clothes and attach 4 large dots to your front. Use 2 of each colour to represent 2 protons and 2 neutrons for the centre of the atom. Hang a hula hoop using straps across your shoulders and attach a large dot (in another colour) to the hoop to represent an electron.
4. Pete The Cat And His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin
STEM lessons in this book: Counting, numbers.
For all the cat lovers out there then this is a purr-fect option. You will need to dress as a black cat which you can do with a black base of clothes and add ears, a tail and some face paints for a nose and whiskers. Then add a yellow shirt with 4 giant coloured buttons down the front. You can even use less buttons if you want to show them ‘popping’ off.
5. Do Not Lick This Book by Idan Ben-Barak and Julian Frost
STEM lesson in this book: Microbiology, bacteria.
Do you need a dress up of a ‘monster’ type creature? Then this is the book for you. You can dress up as these microbes characters. Choose a microbe that lives on paper (blue), your teeth (pink), your shirt (orange) or your skin (green). Dress in the colour as a base and add big googly eyes. You could even use coloured sheets for this costume to create blob like shapes. For the t-shirt microbe (orange) create extra legs using filled stockings. This is a great book for a group dress up using 4 people.
6. The Dot by Peter H Reynolds
STEM lesson in this book: Growth mindset.
This is an abstract dress up that you can get quite creative with. The main theme is a dot. You could dress all in white and just add a dot to your tummy. Then sign the bottom of the top with your name to make it look like a picture. Or your could use clothes with lots of dots to depict a gallery of ‘dots’.
7. What Do You Do With An Idea? by Kobi Yamada
STEM lessons in this book: Ideas can change the world.
This book uses an egg shape with a crown to illustrate ‘an idea’. For your dress up you can create this shape using a stuffed plain pillow case or sheet to create a round shape. Make a crown and attach it to the top of the pillowcase. Alternative;y, you could create this using paper mache. Then carry this in a backpack or sack as ‘your idea’.
8. Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
STEM lessons in this book: Perseverance, creativity.
Little Rosie engineers will need a white dress with red and black stripes on the bottom. You could glue black and red ribbons to the bottom of a white dress for this. Then you will need white long socks or stockings and red shoes. Add a helmet that is black or cover a helmet in black paper. Attach on some goggles.
These are some different ideas for dressing up as characters inspired by some great STEM picture books. Have you tried any of them? Leave a comment below to share.