Whilst schools have started to open, children are still mostly at home, and so we have an update of more fun activities for engagement and entertainment especially for the coming summer months.
The Puffin Big Dreams Festival will take place from the 8th to the 14th of June. Celebrating Puffin’s 80th anniversary, a whole host of authors including Jaqueline Wilson and Nick Sharatt (resident illustrator for the festival!), Robin Stevens, Dapo Adeola and Nadia Shireen. Blue Peter presenter Radzi Chinyanganya will be hosting, and there will be a range of fun activities from word searches, colouring searches and a ‘Draw your Dream’ page so children can bring their biggest dreams to life.
This will all take place virtually, streaming on both Youtube and Facebook.
The National Literacy Trust has also joined virtual forces with Dan Freedman and Premier League Primary Stars, bringing children a series of free football-themed activities and challenges, helping to inspire writing and reading at home.
A free activity pack is available to be downloaded, as Dan Freedman (the author of the Jamie Johnson football series, and pictured below) encourages children to create their own fictional character – which could result in the chance of receiving a special Premier League reward for their school.
The Premier League Primary Stars have taken over the Family Zone website, and is offering a whole load of exclusive videos, challenges, activities as well as a free eBook for children and their families to enjoy at home.
Lovemybooks has been a wonderful resource supporting parents and schools with creative ideas for book based home learning. They have 200 activity pages based on books for ages 0-11 for children to engage with, and they have book selections, how to share, play based activities and things to make and cross-curricular ideas.
The activity pages are filled with suggestions for ways to share and talk about the book, things to make, do and explore extending children’s learning with engaging cross curricular opportunities.
It has been created by literacy experts, and it is heavy on the book based resources supporting families at home (especially during these trying times!) Alongside various interactive activities for children, Lovemybooks also encourages children to read for pleasure.
Publishers have come forward with great opportunities, and free eBooks.
Zuntold has launched an online platform called Zuntold Reads on their Youtube channel, which will be available from the 4th of May. It provides educational resources, which consist of regular chapter readings and discussions for children and young people to engage with.
All authors will appear, including Samuel Pollen’s story of male anorexia The Year I Didn’t Eat, and Miriam Halahmy’s online grooming story Always Here For You.
Interactive Q&As with the authors, who will also provide background snippets, will help viewers to engage with the books completely, and chapter readings will provide key support for parents of younger children. The titles will span mid-grade to YA fiction.
Walker Books has also partnered with Save the Children to create a free eBook, Rain Before Rainbows by Smriti Halls and David Litchfield. This has been released in partnership with #SavetheStories.
Molly and the Shutdown is a new resource story and colouring book for children, created by Malachy Doyle and Andrew Whitson. It is a wonderful resource for home-schooling, and as a great form of entertainment, especially for children to catch up with Molly’s adventures during lockdown. It is a 30-page book for everyone to enjoy, available from 2 June 2020, and is free until 1 July 2020.
Mondays with Michelle Obama has also been launched with Michelle Obama reading The Gruffalo. It is supporting Penguin Random House’s Read Together, Be Together, which is a US scheme celebrating the importance of reading with children. The project has been moved forward, and a series of daily virtual story times with bestselling and award-winning authors and illustrators and celebrity readers are available all on Youtube.
The Summer Reading Challenge will be virtual this year, and will be heralded by a virtual event to take place on the 5th of June, with various guest authors and celebrities to host. The website will be free to access and quizzes, games and digital activities for families are all available.
Whilst ClLIP’s Video Competition has been cancelled this year due to the pandemic, there is still plenty of opportunity for children and families to get involved with them. Opportunities to ‘shadow’ the judging process for the 2020 Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards are still very much open, the link to register is here. This is where young people can read, discuss and review the books on each shortlist, share their engagement online, and vote for their favourites in the Shadowers’ Choice Awards.
More competitions will be made available for Shadowers in the Autumn Term.
The ALCS has also launched the 2020 ALCS CKG (Carnegie and Kate Greenaway) Writing Competition (which is working with the CKG (Carnegie and Kate Greenaway) Awards shadowing scheme). Young writers are asked to imagine they have the opportunity to spend the day with their favourite character in a fictional land, thinking about the basic principles of copyright and linking creativity with ownership. Entries for the Writing Competition close on Monday 14th September 2020.
Happy reading, writing and creating!