Please welcome Curt, a former science teacher who’s sharing a pop-up tree activity today. I think it would be a perfect Jack and the Beanstalk activity for the kids. What do you think?
what a fun Jack and the Beanstalk activity for kids!
Meet the Author
Curt Nelson is a former science teacher and school assembly presenter. Now he (and Bob the Dragon) make learning science fun at Make A Kidnection. Click the logo before for 3 free science activities here.What happens:
Your child takes a few old newspaper pages and turns them into a tree sculpture that grows three times its size, like magic.
Bob the Dragon and I shot a short puppet video introducing the Pop-Up Tree activity. Watch this with your kids. It will make them laugh and get them excited about trying the activity. Click here or on the graphic below:
What you’ll need:
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- 5 Sheets of newspaper.
- 1 Rubber Band
How to make the Pop-Up Tree:
I’ll try to describe it, but the video shows a step-by-step demonstration, which I think is easier to follow.
- Take 5 large newspaper sheets (the ones that are like 2 pages folded over). Start rolling the first sheet. When you get just a few inches from the end, feed the next sheet in.
- Repeat this process for all five sheets, until they’re all rolled together in one large tube. (*Note: The “tree” stays together better if you put a rubber band around the middle of the tube at this point. I forgot to show that in the video! Good thing you’re reading the Fun-A-Day blog!)
- Then use the scissors to cut the newspaper roll about a third of the length of the roll.
- Turn the roll and make 2 more cuts, each about a third of the way around the roll.
- Hold the roll with one hand and reach into the center with the other hand. Gently pull up on the newspaper inside the tube. Gradually work each layer out to make the tree grow. Don’t pull any layer too far or the tree will get “floppy.”
- To make a sturdier, less floppy tree, use wrapping paper instead of newspaper. Wrapping paper trees will stand up to more “play time” than newspaper trees. Then again, making the trees is half the fun.
The Bonus Fun
Then, to reward your kids for doing such a great job during the experiment (and to remind them that science is fun!), show your kids the bonus video featuring Bob the Dragon: Bob’s Greatest Animal Jokes. Just click the link or the image below and tell me where to send the free video.
Well, would this pop-up tree work as a Jack and the Beanstalk activity with your kids/students? I think painting the paper green beforehand, or painting the tree after, would make it look even more like a beanstalk!
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Curt Nelson says
HI Mary Catherine,
Thanks for publishing my post!
Here’s another idea — to make it look more like a beanstalk, buy some cheap green wrapping paper from Dollar Tree, or whatever dollar store is in your area.
Use the wrapping paper instead of the newspaper. There are several advantages — it’s already green, plus it’s stronger than newspaper so your tree will last longer, plus it’s already rolled up so all you have to do is cut the slits down the slide, and it’s ready to pop open.
Denise Bose says
We learned this activity in the late 50’s with Gzv personality Gene London…. The only difference is that we torn the pages as opposed to cutting them. Glad it’s still Brin practiced!
Mary Catherine says
Yes it’s a fun one kids have been doing for a while!