STEAM Newspapers Toys for an ESL class

Updated: Feb 2, 2020

In 2019, I was invited to teach in Foshan, China, at the Reggio Emilia International Education Center, where I had the fortune to work with amazing teachers. I had so much fun!

Today, I want to share with you some of the learning and teaching experiences I had, working with young children, between two and five years old.

We were learning about parts of the body, so, what better way to make sure that the kids were able to recognize the vocabulary, than a hands-on activity, and of course, one where we could use recycled materials and have lots of fun?



  • Newspapers

  • Tape

  • Markers or washable paint

  • Scissors


  1. Give two or three newspaper pages to each student.

  2. Have them rolling the paper until they make a long stick.

  3. Now, tell them to use their imagination and build a robot. Explain how to use the tape, but DO NOT do it for them. If cutting the tape with their fingers it's too much, they can use scissors, but encourage them to use their fingers as much as they can to build their robots.

  4. When they finish, they can decorate their creations.

ESL relevance.

  • Students will put into practice action verbs: fold, cut, color, play, build, make, etc.

  • They will learn the parts of the body by doing, not just repeating meaningless words.

  • Students will get familiar with the structure "My robot has + number + part of the body".

  • You can introduce or practice the form "It can + action".

  • Your students will also learn new words such as "robot", "newspaper", "tape", etc.

STEAM behind this activity:

  • Science. Students will learn by a hands-on activity about the malleability of materials. It is also a great opportunity to teach them about recycling materials.

  • Technology: They will learn about robots.

  • Engineering. Children will design their robots.

  • Art. Students will make their designs unique by adding their personal touch.

  • Math. They need to count the parts of the body of their robots and make comparisons.

Once that they finish building their robots, if you still have time, give them some extra paper and let them build more things. They can play and get super creative. Let them be!

Take a look at what my students did after!

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