World Book Week – Activity ideas and where on Earth has BooKa Uhu been for a week?

So – unless you’ve been hiding under a bookish rock, you’ve probably guessed that last week was, of course World Book Week – yay!


Of course there are the various struggles that come with dressing up and whatnot, but aside from all that it’s an opportunity for parents, teachers and librarians to really get creative and have some fun with books. And that’s what I did – I reckon that all told, I probably entertained about 400 children with bookish activities (I’m a trifle proud, please excuse me). I didn’t have many resources – just some printouts, some poster paper, coloured card, two brand new packets of coloured pencils and a whole load of time on the Internet. I’m not going to say where I held these events, both for the sake of staying anonymous and for making it as difficult as possible to attach the events to any particular school. Still, I thought I’d share – it is possible to do something bookish without too much fuss, even if you’re a daft ‘un like me 🙂

So, I picked out activities that could be done in a small space and, because of what I do, without too much noise (sadly). Each activity is based on a book, and to avoid one great massive post, I’ve split it into Infant and Junior events. Juniors are linked at the bottom.

Enough blathering – let’s get on with it!


For my teeniest class I reckoned I couldn’t go wrong with pants. Well, pirates in pants technically…

Pirates love underpants

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children’s Books
ISBN: 9780857072658
Published: 28/2/2013

And what could be more fun after a tale of daring dee and knicker nicking than designing our own panticles? And some pretty funky ones they came up with too;

Pants 1

Pants 2

Pants 3

Year 1

Year 1 is one of my favourite activities and favourite picturebooks – The Witch’s Brew and Winnie’s Amazing Pumpkin.

Winnie's Amazing Pumpkin

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780192729095
Published: 4/3/2010

After a noisy reading (‘That was a bit wimpy, I could hardly hear you, now, what’s the magic word we need to shout out…? Abracadabra you say? Right, well let’s practice shouting it out, nice and loud…. Coo, any louder?’ etc 🙂 ) we got down to the business at hand – what would you put in your witch’s brew? Winnie loves pumpkin loads, but what would other witches like to see disappearing into their cauldrons do you think? After a couple of rounds of ‘Who can find the most disgusting thing to put in their cauldron’ we thought of a couple of nicer things too to keep the teachers from looking too worried at some of the decidedly bloodthirsty things being suggested (severed hands, anyone?!). Then groups of about 5-6 kids gathered round some large witch’s brew scrolls (two pieces of poster paper stuck together with a scroll shape drawn on) and drew their ingredients. I’ve done this before where some kids labelled what they’d put in but to be honest, my main aim was just to see what bizarre things we could put into our pots and get the kids all excited.

And check out these Brews!

Pretty nifty (if gruesome – are those worms…?). Of course, it’s always fun to see what the kids think of each others work so always hold them up for a good look at the end too. There we go, another item ticked off the How to be a Good Teacher List – constructive criticism, bang, done 🙂

Year 2

Year 2 got another favourite of mine, although it is quite labour intensive and needs some help from TA’s or teachers. It can be used with any book on dragons but the one I used was Tell Me A Dragon, purely because it talks about particular types of dragons. A story like Custard the Dragon would work nicely too though.

Tell me a dragon

Publisher: Frances Lincoln Childrens Books
ISBN: 9781845075347
Published: 10/9/2009

The idea is that we think up our own types of dragon – maybe your dragon could be made out of chocolate, with toblerones for spikes on his back? Or maybe yours is invisible, so everyone thinks you’re flying on your own when they look up at the sky? Or maybe you have, as one little boy did, a dragon that blows fireballs when he breathes, is covered in mud and slings webs from his hands (this little boy was dressed as Spiderman, incidentally)? One little girl even came up with a fairy dragon, which caused all sorts of mindmelty fairy tale mashups to run through my head. That and the image of a dragon in a twinkly dress is rather amusing, especially if you count the wand. One little boy just today told me that not only does he remember this activity from a week ago (from a year 2!) but he wrote about an electricity dragon. Now there’s a sparky individual (groan…)!

Anyway, once you get your dragon ideas, everyone writes or draws them onto a cardboard dragon scale. These scales then get stuck on with tape to a large blank dragon template (this is the teacher/TA bit, because the scales soon start flying in) and the idea is that eventually the whole dragon will be covered with scales about types of dragons.

Here’s the blank dragon:

And here’s the one the kids brought a bit of life to:

Rather natty I think 🙂 It does take a bit of monitoring and needs more than one adult on it but still, the kids are usually pretty impressed with their handiwork. I sent this particular one back with the school to finish off with a load of spare scales I had left, but if I’d had more time I think it could have been a bit neater and left more space for further scales. If you got really ambitious you could even include little doodles of the dragons on one side of the scales, and a description of them on the underside, with the sellotape stuck on just so so that the flaps can be lifted up so the descriptions can be read underneath.

And on to the Juniors….



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