The Flat Stanley Project

Do you remember the book by Jeff Brown called Flat Stanley? It was a childhood staple when I was little, but for the past 15 years or so, the story has taken on a whole new role. Flat Stanley is not only a picture book, but it can also be a creative and fun way for learning geography, math, writing, science, cultures – the list goes on and on!

The story follows the adventures of Stanley, an ordinary boy; that is, until a bulletin board falls on him during the night, making him completely flat. Not only can he slip under doors, but he can become a kite for his younger brother to play with. He also disguises himself as a painting to catch some art thieves. Flat Stanley is even able to visit friends by being mailed in an envelope!

The Flat Stanley Project

This is where the Flat Stanley Project comes in. Children are encouraged to create their own paper Flat Stanley, either from their imagination or using a template. Then they send their Flat Stanleys on a new adventure! Here are some possible places Flat Stanley could go:

  • To a participating school or class
  • To a family member who lives in another state
  • To a friend who lives in another country
  • To a politician or celebrity who is interested in participating
  • To a participating Girl Scout or Cub Scout troop

How It Works

The student creates and mails the Flat Stanley. The recipient then takes Stanley along with him wherever he or she goes, taking photos and journaling about interesting places they visit and people they see. They might even pick up some postcards or other souvenirs. Then the recipient mails Flat Stanley home again.

Where Do I Start?

Read the story about Flat Stanley.

Ask family members or friends if they would be interested in taking on Flat Stanley as a guest. You can also find other participants online at the Flat Stanley Project site.

Show your child how to create his or her own Flat Stanley. Feel free to get creative!

Have your child compose a letter to mail with Flat Stanley. The letter should explain that Flat Stanley is visiting and would like help keeping a record of the visit. Stanley might also like to know about the town, the weather, and the landscape (mountains, oceans, deserts, lakes, etc.) of the area.

Mail Stanley with the letter and wait for him to return! It might help if you limited Stanley’s visit to a week or two to be sure he arrives home in a timely manner. Longer can be okay, too, though  —  one Flat Stanley sent to a soldier had an adventure didn’t return for 10 years, but the reunion was incomparable!

There are lots of variations to this project. One Girl Scout troop creates Flat Stacies to mail. You can also incorporate lessons in science, social studies, math, and art.  Help your child brainstorm other ideas, and see just what Flat Stanley can do!

Photo by: Sin Jones

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