Skip to content

Make a finger puppet

finger puppet1finger puppet1

Finger puppets can be made out of a simple shape like the one drawn above.

Cut two of the shapes from paper.

Children can decorate and add features with pens, wool can be added for hair. The two shapes can be stuck around the edge with PVA glue.

finger puppet2

Alternatively, older children could make finger puppets from felt, glued or sewn around the edges. Parents might like to make their own for under threes to encourage children to tell a story from a book you have shared or a well-known traditional tale or to create new stories.

Above there are two examples of finger puppets based on fairy tale characters (Red Riding Hood and a witch)

Here is a finger puppet inspired by the story A Bit Lost by Chris Haughton. It is made from felt and ric rac braiding.

finger puppet3

NB you can buy A Bit Lost themed hand puppet and rug from the Design Museum: http://designmuseumshop.com/search?q=chris+haughton

Finger puppets can also be made by cutting off the fingers of old gloves and decorating them.

 

Make and do/ finger puppets

The Gruffalo

 

the gruffaloJulia Donaldson, Axel Scheffler (illus)
Macmillan    
Age 3-7

A brave mouse risks his life in the deep dark wood and gets the better of  creatures who  want to eat him for their tea by telling them he is off to visit his friend, the very scary Gruffalo. When this invented creature actually appears our hero has to find a way to avoid becoming a tasty mouse snack.The Gruffalo is an award winning picture book by former children’s laureate Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler. The story reads like a song making it a delight to read and re read. The bold and beautiful illustrations provide lots to talk about.

lovemybooksactivitiesorangecentre

Share the story

Read aloud01832212de4e2c31a6fb92e44bc95ca2c666d1d729
Before reading the story talk about the cover illustration and then look closely at the first double page with the illustration of the wood. What can children see? Have they been anywhere like this? Read the book aloud, continuing to pause to talk about the illustrations as you do and encourage children to predict what might happen next.

Join in
As you re read the story children will become familiar with the words and enjoy joining in with the repeated phrases such as ‘A Gruffalo? What’s a Gruffalo?’ ‘Why didn’t you know?’ etc. They will enjoy pretending to be a Gruffalo showing their ‘terrible teeth’ and ‘terrible claws’ as you read.

Talk about the story
After children have heard the whole story share the bits you both liked, children’s favourite picture and how they think the mouse tricked so many animals and even the Gruffalo.

Tell the story
Using the pictures in the book or puppets encourage children to tell the story of the Gruffalo.  You may find they start to use phrases from the story as they tell it.

Watch the story
Watch a reading of the Gruffalo story here from .

Things to make and do

Make finger puppets
Make finger puppets for the animal characters in the story, either using the templates on the Gruffalo website or by making simpler puppets out of felt or paper stuck or sewn together and decorated with felt pens, wool. Use the puppets to tell the story together.

Make a mask
Make a gruffalo mask. There is a template on the Gruffalo website here.
Or you could make a simpler mask using a paper plate and a stick, using crayons and coloured paper to add detail. Children can wear the mask to be scary with their terrible teeth, tusks and claws.

Make a story world

Use construction materials, small toys and found objects like this created by @Mat_at Brookes* to make a Gruffalo themed storyworld. Children can help create the storyworld and can enjoy replaying part of the story using small figures to represent the characters.

* Matt was inspired by ideas he found on Pinterest. 

Draw a story map
Print the template sheet with the path through the forest; children can draw trees, the mouse and all the animals the mouse meets on his way.

Make a picture
Give children paints, felt pens or crayons and a large sheet of paper to make their own picture of a Gruffalo. Look back at the description in the story together to help children remember some of the details.

Go for a walk in the woods
If you live near a wood, forest or park with wooded areas go for a tramp through it like the mouse and the Gruffalo. Talk about what you hear and see. Take some photos and print and stick them into a scrap book when you are back home. Talk about your photos together.

Find out more

Visit the Gruffalo website here
This website includes an interactive exploration of the deep dark wood, things to make and do (including templates for masks and puppets), songs and recipes.

Find and enjoy other picture books by Julia Donaldson working with illustrator Alex Scheffler

Titles include:

Titles include:

The Gruffalo’s Child

A Squash and a Squeeze

* Room on the Broo

* Tyrannosaurus Drip

* The Snail and the Whale

Monkey Puzzle

Tiddler

The Stickman

Zog

See more lovemybooks ideas

 

Make a simple puppet theatre

Making a puppet theatre can be a great thing to make together as a family.

There are different ways you can go about making a simple theatre from cardboard boxes.

Cardboard boxes can be easily transformed to create a makeshift puppet theatre.

One method is to stick a couple of strong cardboard boxes together with tape, cut out a window for the performance space and decorate with paint, drawings or stickers. For a finishing touch you could add curtains made from fabric or wrapping paper. 

Watch this video for how to make a smaller puppet theatre from one cereal box.

No puppets? No problem! You can make your own – see our suggestions for stick puppets, sock puppets  and finger puppets. Why not choose a favourite story, make puppets for the main characters and act it out together?

For more puppet show inspiration take a look at The Little Angel Theatre’s YouTube channel which includes many wonderful video performances and instructional videos

 

 

Room on the Broom

room on the broomJulia Donaldson, Alex Scheffler (illus)
Macmillan Children’s Books  
Age 5-7

A witch is flying on her broomstick when a strong wind blows off her hat, then her bow and wand. Luckily three helpful animals find them, wanting only a ride on the broom in return. Will they all fit on the broom? And will the animal friends come to the witch’s rescue when she encounters a fire breathing dragon who fancies eating witch and chips?

lovemybooksactivitiesorangecentre

 

 


Share the Story

Read aloud
Read the story aloud, stopping every now and then to talk about the pictures and to see if children can predict what might happen next.
Join in
When you read the story again pause so that children can join in with some of the repeated phrases such as ‘Is there room on the broom?…’
Tell the story
As children become familiar with the story they will be able to tell it using the pictures to help them. You will find they begin to use phrases from the story as they do so. It would be fun to retell the story using puppets as well, see below.

Watch the story here


Things to make and do

Make stick puppets
Make stick puppets for the different characters in the story.  Tell the story using puppets; this is more fun for children if you join in too. See here for how to make stick puppets.

Draw a picture
Draw a picture of the witch and her animal friends on a ‘truly magnificent broom’ or choose another favourite part of the story to draw. Children will enjoy talking about their pictures.

Have fun with rhyme
Spot rhyming pairs in the story, eg room and broom, flew and blew, ground and found. You could carry on finding rhyming pairs with other words as well. Having fun with rhyme will help children become more aware of words and their patterns as they develop as readers.

Make up a spell
Give children a big cooking pot to use as a cauldron. They can collect some ingredients for their own magic spell. Just like the witch in the story they can throw them in, stir them well and mutter a special, magic spell.

Read a poem here.


Find out more

Read about more books by Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler here.

* The Gruffalo

The Gruffalo’s Child

* The Snail and the Whale

A Squash and a Squeeze

Stick Man

* See more lovemybooks ideas

 

 

 

 

 

Robin’s Winter Song

robin[s winter song

Suzanne Barton
Bloomsbury
Age 3-5
Robin wakes one Autumn Day to find a flurry of activity; the finches are getting ready to fly south and Squirrel is burying his nuts. Winter is coming and everyone is preparing. Robin thinks ‘Winter’ must be very scary. After snuggling up to Bear in his cave Robin wakes to find a magical transformation, snow has fallen, winter has arrived and it isn’t scary at all. He has lots of fun with the other creatures until signs of spring arrive and he realises more exciting changes are in store.

This is an appealing and beautifully illustrated picturebook which explores the magic of the seasons through the eyes of a young robin experiencing his first winter. There is plenty to talk about in the illustrations and lots to learn about animals too. Bear’s ‘one sleep’ till winter is over for example, is an interesting introduction to hibernation. Sharing this story as the seasons change will give lots of opportunity for children and parents to observe changes together and talk about what they see in the natural world.

lovemybooksactivitiesorangecentre

Share the story

Read aloud
Before you start reading talk about the cover image together. Has your child seen a robin in a garden or park? Read the story aloud to your child pausing to talk about the illustrations and what is happening when your child wants to.

Re read
Children could act parts of the story as you re read the story eg twist and turn like the leaves falling in the first double page spread, tiptoe like robin through the crunchy snow, snuggle up to keep warm with you and some toys

Join in
Make a robin finger puppet for your child to hold while you re read the story. Encourage them to join in with what the robin says and thinks – eg “What are you doing?” , “Winter must be very scary!”

Re-tell the story
Children could retell the story using the illustrations to guide them. Make a robin finger puppet together that they can use to help them tell the story.

Talk about the story

  • Talk about robin’s feelings eg when all the birds fly south.

  • Talk about all the things robin finds out is happening

  • Talk about anything that is puzzling eg the idea of birds flying south or bears having ‘one long sleep’ in the winter

 

Things to make and do

Make a robin finger puppet
Make a robin finger puppet together from felt or paper and pens. Click here to see how. Children could hold the puppet while you read the story and when they retell it.

Play the story
Cut a hole in the lid of a shoe box. Find some tissue paper or newspaper so that your child can make a comfy bed for a small teddy. Children can play the part of the story when robin follows bear and joins him for his winter sleep.

Go for a walk
Go for a walk in a park or the woods and look out for signs of autumn, winter or spring.
In autumn or winter you could make a collection of leaves, acorns, and conkers or fir cones. Make a when you get home and write labels together.

Make leaf or bird prints
Collect autumn leaves and make leaf prints. You will need paint and paper. You could also make sponge prints of birds and decorate with collage paper wings when dry.

Make a Snowflake card
Look at the illustrations of snowflakes. Make a snowflake picture or Christmas card together.

For younger children you could cut small pieces from doilies to stick. Older children could make their own snowflakes with circles of white paper folded into quarters or eighths and snipped. You will need coloured paper or card, a glue stick and white paper or doilies.

 

Find out more

Find out more about the author Suzanne Barton here 

Find out how to draw a Christmas robin from Suzanne Barton here 

See here for activities from the publisher, Bloomsbury 

Read another book by Suzanne Barton The Dawn Chorus

Watch and listen to this video of a robin’s winter song


from Maurice Baker

Find out more about hibernation here

Find out about birds migrating here and here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hooray for Fish

Lucy Cousins
Walker Books
Age 0-3 years

In this bright colourful board book little fish introduces us to his under-sea world. We meet an amazing array of fish with many different colours, shapes and patterns. The rhythm, repetition, rhyme and word play make this great fun to share again and again.

 

lovemybooksactivitiesorangecentre

Share the story

Read aloud
Point out little fish on the cover and as you open the book.  as you read the book aloud allow time for children to look at the pictures and touch the book if they want to.

The end of the book is the perfect time for a kiss, kiss, kiss like mum and baby fish. 


Join in
Encourage children to use their finger to twist and twirl or go round and round as you share the book again. When children are familiar with the book, they might begin to join in with the responses eg if you read ‘hairy fish’ and leave a gap and they may reply ‘scary fish’.


Talk about the book

  • See if you can find little fish on the different pages of the book

  • Look at the big picture of all the fish at the back of the book, spot some of the different fish together.

  • Count the one, two, three fish

  • Talk about colours eg of the red, blue, yellow fish


Watch the story

Hooray for Fish! by Lucy Cousins from Candlewick Press on Vimeo. 

Amy shared Hooray for fish with Joshua who is 17 months. Joshua likes the book and even asked for it today by doing fish noises! He seems to prefer his dad reading it. But he seems to prefer his dad fullstop at the moment. This book is very good for practising some easy words, numbers, colours etc and it has  lovely colourful pages. I really like it!  The only thing we haven't managed is to finish the whole book - his attention span doesn't quite get that far! 

Things to make and do

Make a fish puppet
Trace, photocopy or draw a fish from the book onto card. Cut out and stick onto a stick (gardening sticks are perfect for this). Your child could hold it when you share the story.

Play with water
If you have toy fish you could play with them in the bath or a paddling pool and repeat lines from the story as you do.

Draw in shaving foam
Use a small tray and squirt with enough shaving foam to cover the base. Show your child how to draw lines going round and round or make curly-whirly or twisty-twirly shapes

Paint a fish
With some bright paint draw a big fish shape and show your child how to create spots or stripes then let them have a go – it doesn’t matter if the picture gets a bit mess, you can cut out the fish and stick it onto another piece of paper.

Say a fishy rhyme/sing a fishy song
For example:

One two three for five once I caught a fish alive

six seven eight nine ten then I let him go again

Why did you let him go because he bit my finger so which finger did he bite this little finger on the right.

Find more here

 

Find out more

Visit an aquarium or a pet shop which sells tropical fish.

Read more books about fish
This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

Please Mr Magic Fish by Jessica Souhami 

Visit author Lucy Cousins’ website here

Read more books by Lucy Cousins
Titles include:

Where is Little Fish?

Peck, Peck, Peck 

A Busy Day for Birds

Maisie Goes to Bed

Maisie Goes to the Library

 

A Great Big Cuddle

 

Michael Rosen, Chris Riddell (illus)       
Walker Books
Age 0-5 years

This is a delightful and award winning book. Full of fun and language play, it’s a perfect entry to the world of poetry and rhyme. Very young children will want to hear, and repeat these contemporary rhymes again and again, just as they can with traditional nursery rhymes.

There’s lots which will resonate with young children and their parents as many of the poems tap into familiar feelings and experiences; being excited about a party in Party Time, feeling anxious in Lost, being told what to do in Are you Listening? or wanting to have a go at something in Let me do it.

This is an inspired collaboration between two of our Lovemybooks’ patrons; a great poet, Michael Rosen, and a great illustrator, Chris Riddell, with joyous results.

 

lovemybooksactivitiesorangecentre

Share the book

You could read the poems in order or browse and dip into the book, stopping to share the pages that take your fancy. Children will develop their own favourites (and so will you!) and enjoy hearing you reading them again and again. Encourage children to join in with the words and actions and perhaps with completing the rhymes.

I don’t want, Oh Dear and Let Me Do It are just three of the poems with repeated lines or choruses which would be great fun for children to join in with.

The illustrations are absolutely delightful and children will enjoy looking at them and talking about them. Which are their favourite pages?

Watch Michael Rosen perform ‘I am Angry’ here:

Kids’ Poems and Stories With Michael Rosen

Visit Michael Rosen’s YouTube channel with more performances from A Great Big Cuddle

Things to do

  • Recite The Button Bop  when you are buttoning up clothes.

  • Dance to Tippy-Tappy and Music.

  • After sharing Boing Boing children can try to roll up like a ball or pounce like a tiger. Wiggly Wiggly will encourage lots of delightful wiggling, jiggling and giggling.

  • Finger story  will encourage finger play and thinking together what fingers can do.

  • Practise counting down together with Party Time.

  • At mealtime you can repeat the words of Lunchtime, crunching and munching.

  • In I AM HUNGRY you can have fun together talking about all the things you’d eat if you were really hungry, or what makes you really angry in I AM ANGRY. Can children make a really angry face?

  • With Once they can enjoy looking scary like a terrible ‘Berrible’ perhaps looking at their faces in a mirror! Children might like to draw their own picture of a terrible Berrible.

Jennie, George and Lizzie "It’s not just the title that resonates with children there are some really great poems in this collection. The illustrations are so eye-catching my 2-year-old can easily find his favourites and the pictures give him plenty to talk about. 'I have loved exploring these poems with George who was 2 in May. He loves stories and that special time you get together when we read. He has been exploring sounds and words a lot lately and loves to watch your mouth when you make noises or sounds and any increased expression or intonation so these are perfect for him to join in with. His favourites are 'Boing! Boing!' where he bounces with me pounces and then does an impressive roar. He loves the finger play in 'Finger story' as well as the brilliant accompanying image which he notices every time. The poem has lots of actions and it finishes with bed so George can pretend to fall asleep which he loves doing with accompanying snores.' 'My four-year-old has just started school and is already coming home playing schools, and she enjoys the 'Lunchtime' poem with its rhymes, repetition and different sized words. Her school cardigan has buttons which she is learning to do up herself so the 'Button Bop' has come in handy a few times too. She has enjoyed noticing the exciting ways the text and images are laid out and how the words don’t need to be the same size. It also has a colourful contents page, so we have been able to look at that together too. She likes making up her own actions to join in with the poems and like most children the ‘silliness’. It is perfect. We took this book away with us over the summer and it was lovely to see older children getting enjoyment out of it too. They love to read aloud, and this was perfect, the younger children didn’t need to sit and listen for long, they could join in and the older children loved performing the poems as well.'
 

Find out more

See our top ten poetry books here

More about poetry and rhyme here

Walker and Booktrust have produced some downloadable activity sheets on this book.

Read more books by Michael Rosen. His books for the very young include:

We’re Going on a Bearhunt

This is Our House

Little Rabbit Foo Foo

Michael Rosen has also written a wide range of poetry and information books for older children and also the Uncle Gobb series of novels Uncle Gobb and the Dread Shed

Chris Riddell  has illustrated many children’s books and is author and illustrator of the Ottoline and Goth Girl series. See our activity ideas for Ottoline and the Yellow Cat here.

Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion

Alex T Smith
Scholastic
Age 5-7 years

In a delightful twist on the Red Riding Hood story, a very hungry lion is no match for Little Red. Set in a vibrant African landscape with gazelles and elephants, Little Red lives with her daddy and sets off to visit her auntie to take her medicine when she is ill. On her journey she travels over sleepy crocodiles, catches a lift on an elephant and meets a lion on the way who plans to eat her. But he has underestimated Little Red who decides to teach the lion a thing or two.

This is a very funny story with an assertive heroine. You and your child will have great fun sharing the story and looking closely at the details in the fabulous colourful illustrations; the double page picture of the lion with his hair braided is hilarious.

Children may make their own connections to the traditional story as you begin the book, but they can enjoy Little Red without knowing it. You could tell them the Little Red Riding story afterwards or show them the version in our find out more section below.  

lovemybooksactivitiesorangecentre

Before starting to read the story aloud 
Look at the cover together. Have a chat about what this story might be about and the clues in the pictures. Children might notice the connection to the Little Red Riding Hood story.

Read the story aloud
Pause when your child wants to look more closely at illustrations or talk about what’s happening.

Watch the story

 

Join in
Encourage your child to follow the arrows showing Little Red’s journey with a finger over the page. Children could join in with some of the phrases eg  ‘under the giraffes’, ‘over the sleepy crocodiles’ and they could use their finger again to follow the numbered steps in the lion’s cunning plan.

Talk about the story

  • Talk about your favourite or funniest parts of the story.

  • Look back at some of the illustrations – there are lots of details to spot for example did you both notice the lion hiding behind a tree watching Little Red as she moves through the forest?

  • Talk about what might happen next if there was another story about Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion?

Little Red and the very hungry lion

We acted out the story with puppets one evening

We were very excited by the cover of this book; we loved the illustrations with the expressions on their faces and the lion’s huge hair and Little Reds tiny arms. We talked about the name ‘Little red’ and Lizzie was sure it was nothing to do with red riding hood as it wasn’t a wolf, she did become convinced of a link when things were packed into a basket. Lizzie loves books where she you are meant to  touch the pages so she enjoyed following the journey through the jungle with her finger and naming the different animals.

The colours used on the pages were just so vibrant and fun that it is a treat to read and you want to turn the book to see the pictures as much as see the story develop. She really enjoyed the hand written plan as this is not something, she has seen in picture books before and enjoys the arrows which she used to retell the plan.

We spent a lot of time looking and marvelling at the lion’s hair and loved the huge page with the dirty teeth (teeth definitely got brushed well on days we read this book). Lizzie has really started to add expression to her reading so books like this that use larger or different fonts really help her when she joins in. Her favourite part is the very last line which she enjoys joining in with. We have just got a kitten who is a delight but jumps up onto tables etc and is very interested in our food so Lizzie absolutely loves the last line of the books and loves giggling at the kitten saying ‘No, Bad kitty!’

It is a really engaging book with loads of opportunities for discussion and engagement and we have enjoyed reading and re-reading it.

We had a look at the activities and decided we would make our own jungle to tell the story. We managed to find most of the animals or some excellent substitutes and use them to retell the story. We did it a few times, adding details and enjoying the different ways of moving around and adding animal noises. We then left the physical story map on the rug and little brother played with the animals and the termite mounds making up his own stories and roleplay.

We decided to do the painting activity next. We had some charcoal and inspired by the book we coloured in some animal silhouettes and used them to add to some paintings. Lizzie really enjoyed using a small range of colours and blending the colours together and it was a really lovely activity that we enjoyed doing together. It also produced some really effective and distinctive art work which we are both proudly displaying in the kitchen.

We wanted to play a game next so had a lovely time sneaking up on each other pretending to be little red and the lion. Next time they wanted a lion costume and to play it outside hiding behind trees.

We finished off with a little think about what red should have packed in her basket.

We thought the lions hair was very funny and enjoyed the opporutinty to have a go at doing a lions hair. Lizzie cut some hair out and then deicded lots of bows and clops would make the lion cross.

The whole family really enjoyed this fabulous book and had a lot of fun with the great range of activities. Great book and great fun exploring the book more through role play, art, games, writing and drawing.

Things to make and do

Make the story world
Use a large space inside or out to create Little Red’s journey using construction kits and small figures to represent the different animals and people or make small figures from recycled card with the base folded so they stand up. Look back at the book together and talk about what to include.

Tell the story
Use your story world to tell the story together. With one small figure as Little Red take her on her journey from home to Auntie’s house past the pool, the trees and animals on the way narrating the story .. Don’t forget to pause for a rest so the lion can approach her!

Play a game
With one of you as the lion and the other as Little Red ‘asleep.’  See if the lion can creep up on Little Red without her hearing him.

Design a hairstyle and an outfit for the lion
Your child might enjoy designing their own hairstyle and outfit for the lion – plaits or ponytail or piled on top? Ribbons or bows?  What else might Little Red give him to wear?

Little Red’s emergency kit and instructions
Write Little Red’s instructions for how to deal with a hungry lion and list of essential kit (eg this might include a hairbrush or toothpaste). Your child might like to pin their instructions on a door, fence or tree.

Make a mini information book
Make little Red’s mini zig zag book about African wild animals. See the link below for information. Your child could choose a few animals from the story and write a page for each.

Paint a colourful picture
This picture book is full of ‘hot colours’ reds, oranges, pinks. Your child might like to paint their own picture of a hot place like Little Red’s world using these colours.


Find out more

Watch an animation of Little Red Riding Hood from Oxbridge Baby

Another version
For another take on the story of Red Riding Hood see The Last Wolf by Mini Grey 

Find out about animals
There are lots of African animals mentioned in the story including meerkats and gazelles as well as elephants and giraffes. See here

Read more books by Alex T Smith. Titles include

Claude series inc Claude and the City

Mr Penguin series inc Mr Penguin and the Lost Treasure

How Winston Delivered Christmas

Foxy and Egg

 

 

The Way Back Home

the way back homeOliver Jeffers
Harper Collins             
Age 5-7

An adventurous boy finds a small aeroplane in a cupboard and immediately flies it, higher and higher until he runs out of petrol and is stranded; on the moon! Coincidentally, a Martian whose space ship has broken down, lands on the moon as well. Can they help each other so that they can both make their way back home? The Way Back Home is a delightfully illustrated story about friendship, working together and having lots in common despite being different.

lovemybooksactivitiesorangecentre

rocket2

Share the story

Read aloud
Before you start reading  look at the cover together and talk about what the story might be about. As you read the story aloud pause if your child wants to look at the pictures and talk about what is happening.

Talk about the story
Read the story again and allow time to talk about it some more. You might talk about:

How the boy gets ready to fly the plane

How the he might feel when he is stranded on the moon

How the alien feels when the boy forgets to go back

After the story ends, what might happen next

Watch the story
Watch the story being read aloud 

From Young Explorers’ Academy

Things to make and do

Make puppets
Help your child to make finger puppets of the martian and the boy out of felt or other fabric. Alternatively you could use small cardboard tubes decorated with coloured paper, paint or fabric to make mini figures.

Play the story
Act out parts of the story with the puppets you have made together or find a hat, gloves and goggles or similar for your child to dress up in and pretend to be flying a plane like the boy in the story; extra props such as a sink plunger joy stick would be fun.

Role play a conversation. Pretend to be the boy and the Martian having a conversation when they meet on the moon.

Write a letter
Children could write an imaginary letter from the boy to the Martian  about what he has been doing on Earth.

Make a mobile
Using thick card from a cardboard box cut out a large crescent moon shape or your child to paint or decorate. Make a simple plane from two pieces of card slotted together and a spaceship, perhaps from a plastic tub. Suspend  these from a metal coat hangar to make  a  story mobile. You could add the two figures and some stars as well.  

 

Find out more

Read more about books by Oliver Jeffers here, titles include: 

How to Catch a Star

The Heart and the Bottle

The Day the Crayons Quit

* Lost and Found

The Moose belongs to Me

* See more lovemybooks ideas

Read more about Oliver Jeffers

See Oliver Jeffers reading some of his stories aloud here

 

The Ghost Train

the ghost trainAllan Ahlberg, Andre Amstutz (illus)
Puffin Books 
Age 5-7

One night a big skeleton, a little skeleton and a dog skeleton go for a ride on a ghost train. They have a lovely time and are not scared by any of the monsters they meet until they encounter a very scary….BABY!

This quirky book in the Funnybones series is fun to share and return to. Its repetitive story language makes it a great book for children who are beginning to read for themselves.


lovemybooksactivitiesorangecentre

 

Share the story

Read aloud
Read the book aloud to your child perhaps whispering the opening ‘On a dark, dark hill..’ to make it seem quite spooky. You might like to sing the section beginning ‘The ghostly train goes into the night with a whoooo!’ These words can be sung to the rhythm of ‘The runaway train goes down the track’. Click here.

Join in

When you read the story again children will be keen to join in with parts such as the chorus at the beginning and end ‘In the dark, dark town’ etc, the song about the ghost train, and the conversation between the skeletons. Pointing to these repeated words as you re read the book will help children recognise them.

Talk about the story
As you share the book children will notice details in the pictures such as all the things the ghosts do at Ghost-Town-by-the-Sea. Allow time to talk about the things they spot. It might be interesting to talk about why the ghosts were scared of a baby crying but not of the monsters!

Tell the story
When children have heard the story a couple of times you can encourage them to tell the story in their own words using the pictures as prompts or with puppets see below. They are likely to include some of the phrases from the story as they do.

Watch the story 

From HunterCalito


Things to make and do

Draw on a chalkboard
If you have a chalkboard and white chalk children can draw skeletons and have a go at writing about their pictures. Black sugar paper would be good for this too.

Make a skeleton
Use the skeleton template provided and follow the instructions to create a skeleton – this could be a skeleton that dangles or is stuck on coloured paper.

Make a ghost puppet.
Make  ghost puppets together or several.

To make stick puppets draw a ghost shape on white card and stick it onto a lollystick. Click here for ghost templates.

To make fabric ghost puppets cut a circle of white fabric and fold into quarters. Use a couple of stitches through the layers at the sides to keep its shape. Children can draw a ghostly face with felt pens.

 ghost puppet

Write a postcard
The skeletons had a lovely time at the seaside. What would children enjoy doing if they went to Ghost-Town-by-the-Sea? They can write a postcard for a friend or member of the family about the things they did on their imaginary trip and illustrate it with a  picture. Click here for a postcard template.

Find out more

Read more books by Allan Ahlberg and Andre Amstutz. Titles include:

Funnybones

Skeleton Crew

Give the Dog a Bone

Mystery Tour

Other books by Allan Ahlberg include:

 Mr Tick the Teacher

The Jolly Postman

* The Jolly Christmas Postman

Burglar Bill and Cops and Robbers

*Each, Peach, Pear, Plum

Starting School

Peepo 
The Baby’s Catalogue

*See more lovemybooks activities