Here's another fun craft to make with your little learners- a paper skeleton! This craft was inspired by reading the picture book Funnybones by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. It's the original story from their classic picture book series. The story is about two silly skeletons (and their dog) who leave their dark, dark house and go on a scaring spree at night. But the skeletons encounter a difficulty - there's no-one awake to frighten! Publisher: Puffin Books (reissued 1999) ISBN: 9780140565812 If you can't get your hands on a printed copy, then read this fantastic interactive version of the book... Read more →


We all know that mermaids are traditionally beautiful and have wonderful singing voices. However, when Julia Donaldson's Singing Mermaid is imprisoned in a fish tank by the wicked circus owner Sam Sly, she must prove herself capable of so much more, if she is to return to her beloved ocean! Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books (2013) ISBN: 9781447210856 Lydia Monks has illustrated the story with bright and bold prints on glitter-filled pages :) It's a very tactile book! Here on The Guardian's Children's Books site, readers can watch how Lydia draws her perfect sea lady in a step-by-step tutorial. Inspired, our... Read more →


In everyday life, when you see or hear something entertaining or interesting, you usually share your story with others by retelling what happened in your own words. Retelling is an important skill. When I listen to children retelling a familiar story, they communicate to me what meaning they made of the original text, a sense of structure and an ability to use appropriate language. Clearly, the best children's stories to use for straightforward retelling activities are those that are easily remembered. Billy's Bucket by Kes Gray and Garry Parsons is a great story for retelling as young readers really seem... Read more →


This simple art activity was an opportunity to combine two painting techniques with bold, contrasting colours. But our fantastic children took it to a much higher level! After sharing Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? the children gathered images and watched videos of polar bear families on the Arctic ice. As expected, this eventually led to a discussion about the decline of the species due to global warming and habitat loss. What I didn't expect was the children's decision to respond to the decline of polar bears directly in their art. One child suggested that everyone should keep... Read more →


Who is Austin Kleon? An inspiring contemporary poet. He uses newspaper articles from the New York Times as unique canvases for creating his verse. Here is one of Austin's first time lapse videos that immediately had me intrigued last year: Of course the first thing I wanted to do, after trying it out myself, was to see if the children would find this technique successful and worth exploring. We began by visiting the official website Newspaperblackout.com, where the children could read examples by Austin and view poems shared by fans using his method. As we watched a short interview with... Read more →