I love the fact that, however a story starts, there are millions and millions of possible middles and just as many potential endings.
I have used the opening of my only non-rhyming book, Jamie and the Joke Factory, as the starting-point for writing activities in a number of schools: ‘Jamie was SO excited! He was going on a surprise outing with Grandad!’
At this time of lockdown, I think it would be fun to write a story about a surprise outing. Why don’t you have a go? Use my first line as the first line of your own story.
I’d love to see how different your story is from mine – you can email a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org, post it on my Peta Rainford’s Facebook page @dogpigeon, or Tweet me @PetaRainford
Top tip: decide what type of story you want to write before you start: is it set in a ‘real life’ situation, or a fantasy world? Is it exciting/scary or madcap/funny? Or all of those things?!
Then think about the following:
Where is Jamie when he starts his outing? Who is he with?
Is it just Jamie and Grandad that go on the outing, or do other people/animals/things go with them?
What is the surprise?
What happens when they get there (something funny, exciting or scary)?
Good morning, and welcome to another week! Today, I thought I would share the very first activity I ever did on a school visit: my Hairy Fairy bookmark. I have done various versions of it – this one is nice and straightforward. Why not have a go?
Have fun! And don’t forget: I’d love to see anything you do – you can email a photo to email@example.com, post it on my Peta Rainford’s Facebook page @dogpigeon, or Tweet me @PetaRainford
14: Hairy Fairy bookmark
You will need:
Wool or string
Felt tips or crayons
Print-out of the template which you will find here. It works best if you can print out on to thin card, though it works ok with just paper. Or you can print out on paper and stick onto card before cutting out, if you want something more robust.
The strange times we are currently living in have revealed some of the many superheroes living amongst us – whether these be key workers, Captain Tom Moore raising millions for the NHS to celebrate his one hundredth birthday, or the person in your street collecting prescriptions for her elderly neighbours.
I’ve always believed that we all have a superhero inside us, capable of great bravery and selflessness – though sometimes we struggle to find it. In fact, this is what my book, The Niggle, is about: finding resilience. Resilience is a quality we all need at the moment!
13: Discover the Superhero inside yourself!
(As Heather Small almost said.)
The following is an activity I’ve done with a number of schools, hopefully helping children recognise some of their own inner strengths, as well as exercising their imaginations:
I get the children to think and talk about what they’re afraid of
I then get them think about the qualities they would need to overcome their fear. For example, for a fear of heights this might include everyday human qualities, like determination and bravery, or full-on superpowers, like being able to fly
I then get the children to draw the superhero inside themselves (or finish my superhero template)
I have a template for this activity (though you can equally well do it without!):
There is a printable version of the template here. Have fun! And don’t forget: I’d love to see anything you do – you can email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, post it on my Peta Rainford’s Facebook page @dogpigeon, or Tweet me @PetaRainford
Did you have a go at making a Scribble Monster or two after Monday’s post? (It’s here if you missed it.) If you did, you may, like me, have found it strangely addictive, and ended up with a whole bunch of monsters…
I’m now surrounded by Scribble Monsters. Which got me thinking about creating a story about them. Why don’t you have a go? And don’t forget: I’d love to see anything you do – you can email it to email@example.com, post it on my Peta Rainford’s Facebook page @dogpigeon, or Tweet me @PetaRainford
12: Create a story about Scribble Monsters (and you don’t have to write a word, unless you want to!)
There are lots of different ways of creating a story:
Tell it! Talk about the characters and the adventures they might have ( you could video or record the story, if you like)
Draw it! As soon as you draw in a background behind the Scribble Monsters, you start telling a story about where they live and what they are doing. Or you can create a more detailed narrative, by creating a cartoon strip
Write it! Writing could be anything from single words – labelling a drawing, for example – to speech bubbles in a cartoon, or the more flowing narrative of a ‘traditional’ written story
Whichever way you decide to create your story, you might like to think about the following:
What are the monsters called?
What relationship do the monsters have to each other? Are they friends? Enemies? Strangers? Members of the same family? Or something else?
Are they goodies or baddies?
Where do they live? Maybe they live on a mysterious planet, with a mysterious name. Maybe they live in the fluff under your sofa. Maybe they live next door to you…
What language do they speak?
What adventure will they go on?
These are just some broad-brush ideas for creating a story. I will look at some of them in more detail in future posts. Have fun with your story making – and do please feel free to share your creations with me.
Welcome to another week! I’ve got a really fun activity for you today, inspired by my book, Milly’s Marvellous Mistakes,which has the message that it’s ok to make mistakes. The activity is about turning scribbles into something beautiful. Warning: this can become a bit addictive!
Why not have a go? I’d love to see anything you do – you can email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, post it on my Peta Rainford’s Facebook page @dogpigeon, or Tweet me @PetaRainford
11. Do the scribble challenge!
There’s nothing to it: get yourself a large piece of paper and draw a number of scribbles on it – leave a bit of space between each scribble.
There are lots of things you can do with a scribble:
Colour it in…
Turn it into a Scribble Monster! You can use some googly eyes, if you’ve got them, and cut out and stick on a scary mouth…
See what pictures you can make out of the scribbles you have drawn… I thought one of my scribbles looked like a dinosaur. I also used scribbles to draw a tree, someone with crazy hair and a sheep
So, that’s the fourth week of lockdown almost done. As a gentle wind-down into the weekend, I thought it would be nice to get back to some straightforward drawing. My book, Milly’s Marvellous Mistakesis all about painting and drawing, and and why the process of drawing – practising, making mistakes and learning – is more important than the end result.
So why not get your little ‘uns to have a go at my drawing challenge? Why not have a go yourself? I’d love to see anything you do – you can email it to email@example.com, post it on my Peta Rainford’s Facebook page @dogpigeon, or Tweet me @PetaRainford
10: Draw a picture in a frame!
I’ve got some frames for you to create your drawing in, because every picture looks better in a frame!
There’s a printable version here. Have fun and have a good weekend!
As you know, my book, Isabella, Rotten Speller, is all about a land made entirely out of letters and this treasure hunt is a lockdown variation of an activity I’ve done with a number of schools. It’s a very easy, but fun activity: the challenge is to go round your house and/or garden and find objects in alphabetical order.
As an extension of the activity, you could:
List, photograph or draw each item
Make it competitive! Who can find an item for each letter first?
Here’s one I did earlier (had to cheat a bit on the x!):
Welcome back! This activity has absolute nothing to do with any of my books, but just a bit of fun for Easter.
7: Make a woolly Easter/Spring card!
So, I had some yellow wool and fancied making something for Easter, but didn’t really want to make the standard pom-pom chick, when I had the idea of using wool as a medium for colouring in, instead of crayon or paint (as you do!)
My first idea was to do this ‘freehand’; painting with glue direct onto the blank card, but this does take a fair amount of manual dexterity and may be a bit tricky for little finger (I’ll show you how I did this at the end), so I produced a couple of templates for you to ‘colour in’ with wool (or crayons if you prefer). or, of course, you can draw your own…
The printable version of the bunny card is here. The printable version of the chick card is here.
You will need:
A print-out of the card or your own drawing
coloured wool or string
PVA or similar liquid glue
Felt tips for details (optional)
And here is the chick version:
Top tip: if little fingers get gluey and find this all a bit tricky, try cutting the wool up into lots of little pieces (for a ‘shaggy’ effect!) – it’s a lot easier to handle than one long bit!
And for those who want an extra challenge, here’s how I made the ‘freehand’ version:
Over the years, I have done a wide range of art and craft activities in schools and at other events. Sometimes I give the children a range of activities to choose from, and when I do, it’s always interesting to see how many children like nothing more than a spot of colouring in…
6: Have some fun with colouring in!
So today, I’m sharing a colouring sheet based on my most recent book, Milly’s Marvellous Mistakes.
Why not have a go? Don’t forget to help Milly finish her picture! What is she painting? A boat? A bat? A balloon? There is a printable version of the colouring sheet here
Don’t forget, I’d love to see the work you produce! You can email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, post it on my Peta Rainford’s Facebook page @dogpigeon, or Tweet me @PetaRainford
You might also like to try this extra challenge:
Have a think about where Milly is doing her painting, and include some details to show this. For example, if she’s in her bedroom, there might be toys on the floor; if she’s at school, how would you show this? But perhaps she’s doing her painting somewhere much more exciting: in Buckingham Palace, or on a space ship! You decide!