Thursday, 19 March 2020

Story-led activities: Let's go!

So today I thought I'd start with some links to recommended reading lists and author activities but please remember that reading is hugely subjective so let your kids gravitate to whatever takes their fancy. As long as it is age appropriate ANY reading is good! 


Caryl Hart, picture book author has put together a list of author events which will be happening online. Find out more at https://www.carylhart.com/special-projects/author-events.

Search #FreeBookResources to access a HUGE variety of live & recorded storytelling, printables & activities for your little ones. 

Mr. Wolf's Pancakes by Jan Fearnley

Spoiler: This one has a shock ending!!!!

Activities linked to story:

The obvious one here is making pancakes. There are lots of different pancake recipes so they could compare a few different ones and design their own toppings.

What other foods would lure the other character's in? Can they change the story?

What ingredients are needed. Weigh them out. Can they cost these using an online supermarket? Can you double or halve the mixture?

Identifying coins, counting coins, sorting coins (life skills.)

Who are these other characters? What stories do they come from? Do you recognise them?

Pushing it further this could lead to looking at the food chain. What do wolves actually eat? Carnivore or herbivore? What do other animals eat?

What country are wolves native to? Where do they live? How do they live?



Alien's Love Underpants by Clare Freedman


I used to use this one in Year 1. We designed and made our own pants using felt and hung them across the room on a washing line. Adapting this you could do this with paper and pens, tissue paper or sew a pair of real pants for you or a toy!!! (This is way beyond my capabilities.)

Design your own alien or your own planet! From drawing them or using potatoes, fruit, vegetables or good old papier mache! Look at the planets in the solar system (Caryl Hart's Meet the Planets is a new picture book release and great for this)
and compare colours, sizes and facts about them.

Do aliens really exist? Research alien sightings and explore the possibilities.

Materials: Which fabrics would and would not make good pants. Why? What does that fabric feel like?

Help with the laundry (life skill alert) - wash some pants! How does the washing machine work?

Look at the rhyming words and make a rhyming chain. Who flounders first?

Other picture books in this genre: The Queen's Knickers by Nicolas Allen
                                                      Pants by Giles Andreae
                                                      My Underpants Rule by Rod Power
                                                      Others in the 'Alien love underpants series'.


The Scarecrow's Wedding
Link to Goodreads

I personally love this story but it came 'under fire' because the bad scarecrow smokes a pipe in the story. Therefore, we were warned to be careful about using it because of controversy but it portrays smoking as bad and I think it's really sweet.

Make a scarecrow challenge. I remember doing this as a team effort with my cousins once and we LOVED it! There was a scarecrow competition and we turned him into a punk rocker. Safe to say we didn't win.

Treasure hunt: Heligan Gardens did some lovely Easter activities one year around this story. There was a hunt for all the items on the wedding list. You could have a treasure hunt around the house and garden to see if you can find things on the list or you could collect these first and use them to plan a treasure hunt complete with treasure map!

Go to the beach and hunt for shells. Make daisy chains or some 'natural' jewellery. Physical objects like stones and shells are great for practising counting and sums.

Go for a lovely rural walk.

For those into dolls, plan a wedding for them. Write invitations or a menu and act it out. Look at photos and recall memories of family weddings.

Can we be as floppy and flexible as a scarecrow? Let's do some stretches.

Bog Baby by Jeanne Willis

Link to Goodreads

A lovely one for getting outside. Somehow I only became aware of this book recently but it has a really strong eco message and is great for exploring habitats.

Make some bog babies from clay or potatoes and go on a bog baby hunt. If you don't have the outdoor space for this maybe you could head to the local woods and arrange for someone to pre-hide them.

Flipping this on it's head, could you find the ideal place for your bog baby to live? Or make a bog baby 'small world'.
Small world play is great. It's basically making a world in minature for toy dinosaurs, pirates, lego-men or whatever and using it to play imaginatively. You could use sand, stones or garden cuttings to make a beach or jungle or go all out and make a dinosaur island by junk-modelling a volcano (Bi-carb, vinegar and food colouring makes a great but messy erupting volcano) . Small worlds are great for encouraging their own storytelling. I've found that if you make it for them they don't value it as much as if they make it themselves.

Habitats: Looking at the different habitats for different animals and how their bodies are adapted to fit that setting or climate. Could they design their own animal for the desert? Or ice-caps? How would you make sure these animals could survive?

The Eco-crisis: some animals are losing their homes. Research what is happening around the world and the possible solutions. Focus on positives. Some animals are coming back from the brink: e.g tigers in India. One of the upsides of this difficult time is that pollution levels are dropping. Nasa have released pictures of the pollution cloud above China before and after the virus hit.

Estate agents: Write a description of an animal's home. Can everyone guess which animal lives there?

If you have access to a local pond then go pond-dipping and explore the wildlife without encroaching. You could adapt this to woodland walks, rock pooling or bug-hunting. Get messy and make mud or sand sculptures of the animals you see.

Make a bug hotel for your garden. What other ways can we help and encourage wildlife to visit us and be safe?


These are just some very limited ideas to provide ideas for story-led activities. Half the fun is thinking of your own. I always encourage children to ask questions. Thinking of and asking questions is brilliant for the brain and I never have the answers for them. The fun is finding out.


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