Shoebox Story Activity

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Updated on Apr 8, 2013

Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communication. Encourage your child to create a tribute to their past, and explore future dreams and goals with this narrative assemblage. Your child will gain an understanding of their own story told in a linear timeline by drawing and painting pictures to convey their ideas.

What You Need:

  • Shoebox
  • Paper tape
  • X-acto blade/box cutter
  • Colored construction paper
  • Tempera paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Watercolor pencils
  • Water
  • White watercolor paper
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors

What You Do:

  1. Cut the corners of a shoebox. Set the shoebox so it is vertical, and fold and tape back the top flap.
  2. Cover the inside of the shoebox with a solid color construction paper
  3. Discuss with your child how the first panel on the far left represents the past, the center panel represents the present and the right panel represents the future. Talk to her about past events that happened in her life, what she’s doing now and what she hopes to do in the future.
  4. She can now draw pictures of her events on small card-sized pieces of white watercolor paper using watercolor pencils. Then, she can brush water on top of the drawings to activate the paint. Allow these to dry.
  5. Decorate the construction paper on the inside of the box using paint or colored tape.
  6. Glue the watercolor cards in place.
  7. Have her draw her face and neck on a piece of construction paper. She can paint a self portrait if she likes. Have her cut this out and help her affix it to the top of the box.
  8. Set your child’s finished box portrait in a location that is eye-level so everyone can enjoy the life story it tells!

Tips: Use printouts or copies of family photos for an authentic touch!

Ellen Dean has worked as an art educator in Thailand since 2005, working with both children and adults. She has also been a professional artist working in painting, sculpture and photography since 1996.

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