A rebus is a puzzle or story that combines words with pictures. Have your students work on drawing and conceptualization skills with this fun project that will turn a favorite fairy tale into a rebus puzzle by replacing the nouns in the story with pictures that they draw themselves.

fairytalerebusWhat You Need:

  • Large sheets of paper
  • Marker
  • Index cards, cut in half
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Crayons

What You Do:

  1. Use the marker to write out a favorite fairy tale on several large sheets of paper. Be sure to write nice and big (capital letters approximately 1 inch tall) so that you’ll have plenty of space to work.  This is also a great opportunity for students to work on their summarizing skills as a whole class, small group or individually.  You can even consider having older students write a summary of a fairy tale to use with younger ones.
  2. When you’re all done, it’s time to engage creativity! Explain that the objective is to replace words in the story with pictures. This will be easiest with nouns but they might also want to try adjectives or verbs.
  3. As you read through the story, stop when you reach a word a student wants to draw. For example, if you have retold the Three Little Pigs, someone might want to draw the pigs. Encourage students to try drawing some of the more abstract ideas such as time in “once upon a time.” (A clock or hourglass could work well.) Make sure the drawings are small enough that they don’t obscure any other words.
  4. After students choose what to draw, let them get to work with the cut index cards and the crayons.
  5. If you are working with one child, continue to read the story, taking breaks while the child draws.
  6. As the drawings are finished, tape them over the appropriate words in the story.
  7. When done, read through the story once again, pausing to let the student(s) fill in the blanks for the words they have drawn.
  8. If your students enjoyed this activity, use a sketchbook to help them create a book of rebus puzzle stories. The heavy paper in a sketchbook is perfect for writing on with a marker but will also hold up to frequent reading as they share rebus puzzle stories with others.  This could be a class sketchbook or individual ones.

Try this activity with your class or own kids.  Write a comment to let us know how it goes.

~Abigail Alsayegh, Community Manager @ education.com

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