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Toys in Space

toys in spaceMini Grey
Walker Books
Age 5-7

An imaginative, beautifully illustrated story by talented picture book maker Mini Grey. It explores what might happen if toys are forgotten and left in the garden overnight. Through a story within a story the toys and the reader go on a journey into space. There are important themes to talk about such as being frightened and making good or bad choices.

Mini Grey writes
‘With Toys in Space I had an image in my mind of a group of toys left on the grass in the garden, lying on their backs and looking at the sky. When the sky got dark they’d see the stars for the first time. At first I tried to write a story about different toys trying to explain what the stars were – but that didn’t work. Then I wondered what would happen to a group of toys left out in the garden? Well, really, not much probably – except get a bit damp. But what did I want to happen to them? And of course, what I really wanted to happen was for them to be abducted by aliens. Being a very truthful author I decided I couldn’t let such an improbably event actually happen, so in Toys in Space the toys tell a story to get them through the night, and in the story they are beamed up by an alien. I was thinking a tiny bit of 1001 nights – where Scheherazade has to tell a story every night to stay alive.’

Download Mini’s own special poster – what to do if you lose your favourite toy


Share the storyalien5

Read aloud
Read the story aloud to your child and enjoy it together stopping to talk about what happens when your child wants to discuss the pictures or what is happening.

Talk about the story
Ask children to choose their favourite page and tell you why they chose it. Talk about the story WonderDoll told to stop the toys feeling frightened. Does sharing a story make your child feel better when they are frightened? Should  the Hoctopize should have taken the toys? Discuss with your child what they think.

Things to make and do

Make a collection of toys and have a go at describing them together like Wonderdoll does, for example  a thoughtful green dinosaur.’  Make a zig zag book or a simple origami book together to draw their toys and make captions with their descriptions of them

Give your child some address labels to write and attach to some toys.  When labelled your child could ‘deliver’ them to different rooms in the house/ people in the family.

Have a  toys’ tea party and play musical statues or other party games.

Make party hats for the toys’ tea party – there are some templates on Mini Grey’s website

Make a space picture
Give your child some black and white art materials to make a space picture with whirls, dots and dashes. For example using chalk on a chalkboard or white paint on black paper.

Make a Hoctopize puppet using an old glove or mitten with stick on eyes and other details.

Make up a new story together about your alien puppet.  You could record the story so your child  can listen to it again

Find out more

Read more books by Mini Grey and visit her website here which includes  activities for some of her books

Titles include:

* Traction Man

* Biscuit Bear

The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon

The Pea and the Princess

Hermelin the Mouse Detective