The Incredible Journey Free Printable Resources

Over the last few weeks we’ve been working on The Incredible Journey – by working on, I mean ‘reading’! We’ve also done a few other activities – a board game and an animal categorising ‘game’. I’ve also made some of our usual printable activities to share with you.

I remember reading The Incredible Journey as a child, and finding it disappointing compared to the movie, and reading it now as an adult I can see why – it’s not as Americanised as the movie – the characters have names you have to think about and they don’t talk as their movie-counterparts do. It’s not a long book, but it’s not always easy reading either. It’s a beautiful story of love, courage, friendship and perseverance and purpose though, and well worth reading together.

Below you will find letter writing practice sheet, a crossword that asks questions about the story (you won’t be able to answer this from watching the movie) and an easy and a difficult maze and finally, a word search. This is a harder word search, because some of the words go backwards.

To download a worksheet, just click on the image. It’ll open a PDF in a new window for you to print.

The Incredible Journey Writing Practice

Children can trace the letters to help them learn the sizing of letters compared to each other, or simply just to practice.

The Incredible Journey Handwriting Practice

The Incredible Journey Crossword Puzzle

An 11 clue crossword puzzle – the answers are at the bottom of the page. I thought rather than use a second page, just pop them on the bottom and fold the footer area over so little eyes can’t see the answers.

The Incredible Journey Crossword

The Incredible Journey Mazes

There are two mazes here to choose from – a simple one here and a tougher one. Pictured is the harder one.

The Incredible Journey difficult maze

The Incredible Journey Word Search

This word search is a little harder than the ones I normally do, I think, because the words run back to front and from the bottom up. I don’t normally like doing them this was as I think it’s confusing for younger participants, but it’s how it worked out this time.

The Incredible Journey Word Search

If you’ve enjoyed these activities, remember to check the rest of the tag for The Incredible Journey resources

Incredible Journey.

Roald Dahl’s Matilda Activities – Sailing Books

One of the lines I really loved from Roald Dahl’s Matilda movie was

So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.

I didn’t realise this at first, but that’s not actually in the book. The book actually says,

“The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village

The very soul of me relates to this quote. I may not have read Ernest Hemingway and Rudyard Kipling as a 3 year old, but in junior school I read Famous Five, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Secret Seven, and a bunch of others you would only know if you were Afrikaans, like Trompie en die Boksom Bende. At one stage I was reading them at a rate of a book a day, in school time. Really, I thought school just got in the way of my reading time!

Matilda's Books Like Ships

Well I am on the way to instilling the same love of reading in my girls. Their dad has a big part to play in that – he has read to Ameli almost every night he’s spent with her. On her sixth birthday, they finished reading the entire Chronicles of Narnia.

Anyway,  while preparing our current Matilda theme, I couldn’t get “ like ships on the sea” out of my head.

Matilda is also full of metaphors, it’s a fabulous book for introducing the concept too, with metaphors like:

Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful

Matilda's Books Like ShipsIs the child actually a disgusting little blister? No. But what does it tell you about the appearance of the child?

It’s quite fun actually, talking through some of the metaphors in Matilda.

But, the one we were focused on today was that of ships on the sea.

For this craft you’ll need:

This craft couldn’t really be simpler. We printed some of our favourite book covers – Roald Dahl, Dr Seuss and so on – and cut them into squares or sail-shape (if you know the word for that, let me know!)

For the square – pirate – sails (clearly not a sailor, am I!) thread the large, then small sails through the toothpick. For the others, glue the sail to the skewer.

Apply a healthy helping of glue to the shell or driftwood, and place the skewer, holding it for a few seconds so that it can dry in place.

Matilda's Books Like Ships

It’s quite a quick craft, in the end, and before you know it you’ll have a literary armada.

Free Printable Resources For Roald Dahl’s Matilda

When we plan our themes, I always spend a bit of time making printable resources that can act as time fillers – something to keep the kids busy for 5 minutes while I do something else, which means they don’t get distracted and find it hard to come back to their activity. Often just having a colouring page or a word search available is all it takes for me to get their ‘main’ activity – like painting, or crafting, or building something else, ready.

Here are three free printables for the Matilda theme:

(I make printables simple, because I don’t want to use a ton of ink on a pretty border or background. I really don’t see the point in wastefulness for short activities.)

Matilda Wordsearch

Click on the image below to download and print a Matilda themed Wordsearch. (This word search has small letters, and words are written left to right and top to bottom, pitched at a 5 year old.)
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Writing practice

Ameli can write pretty well, but her letters are often all the same size, squashed onto one line. I was worried about it till I saw a schooled friend in the year she would be in doing the same, so now I don’t worry about it any more. We are just spending a few minutes every week copying words in their correct format.

Click on the image to download the Matilda Word Formation Practice:
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Matilda Maze

This activity only takes a few minutes, but I think it’s a great exercise in logic, in planning ahead and in memory too, if you get them to trace it with a finger or use a light colour first, till they find the way, then use a dark colour.

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I hope you find these Matilda Resources useful!

For more Matilda themed posts, click on the image below.

matilda

 

Study Unit: Roald Dahl’s Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

Last year my children had watched most of the Roald Dahl movies available on the market, but we hadn’t read any of the books, so our Roald Dahl inspired arts and crafts were varied and mixed. Over the last few weeks we’ve been reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, however, so all our activities the last few weeks have been around that.

Next week we’ll be working on Matilda, so check back in if you love that book too!

PIN THIS: Roald Dahl WeekThere are two versions of the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie:

And there is the book, famously illustrated by Quentin Blake

While we like having fun with our ‘themes’ as we call them, I do try to bring elements of learning into them too. Remembering that my children are 5 & 3, I do keep things pretty simple, but I’m quite excited about the possibilities of redoing all these themes in years to come, and seeing how much they have grown in their understanding, and how much ‘deeper’ we can go on each topic.

Having watched the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie and read the book, I decided to do a reading comprehension ‘test’. I designed a comparison chart, so Ameli could compare what happens in the book with what happens in the movie, and also make a note of major things that happen in a similar fashion. For example, in the book, Mr Bucket tells them about the golden ticket competition, in the movie, Charlie sees the posters going up. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Reading Comprehension Worksheet

Sticking with the loose ‘English’ or ‘Language Learning topic, we decided to make up words, something Roald Dahl is incredibly good at! This little making up words activity went down a charm, and made an amazing platform for telling our own stories. Make up words like Roald Dahl

I use the word math very lightly here, but since we’re starting out, we used measuring a bag of candies as an introduction to units of measurement.Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Units of Measurement

It’s Charlie and the CHOCOLATE factory, so we had to get some inventing with chocolate going – I went for the easy option and made Jazzies, with DIY decorations for my little inventors. DIY Jazzies Charlie & The Chocolate FactoryNot all the creative activities this weeks should include tons of sugar, so we decided to make our own party decor. We made giant lollipops, giant boiled sweets, and giant lollipop swirls. This was a great afternoon’s paper sweet crafting.Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Decor

 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a great theme for introducing some science too – see what happens with popping candy when you pour water, coke and then vinegar into three different bowls and top them with popping candy.  Measure jelly babies and put them in a bowl over night – how much did they grow? Put boiled sweets (the kind with stripes on them) into a bowl with a few drops of water. What happens to the sweets? How do the colours disperse? Could you do it on paper and see what happens with the colours? Does the paper remain in tact? Put boiled sweets in mould and put them into the oven. When they melt, do the colours mix? Do they retain their shape? Do they re-set into their new shapes? There are loads of candy experiments you can try!

At the end of a long and exciting week of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, everyone needs a good, long, relaxing bath, so this Chocolate Bath Salt recipe smells delicious, and helps induce a deep sleep too.

DIY Chocolate Bath Salt

Printable Unit Plan

Click on this image for a downloadable, printable study unit plan.

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

What have other Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fans been up to?

Easy Paper Giant Candies For Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a superb theme to do with kids, but it does make for a pretty heavy sugar week! We are having a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ‘party’ in a couple of days, and rather than just having endless amounts of sweets to set the scene, I wanted décor that didn’t cost an arm and a leg and wasn’t really consumable. I also wanted it to be something that kept the kids busy and helped them learn a little something too.

1) Giant LollipopsCharlie and the Chocolate Factory Decor

I loved these giant lollipops I spotted somewhere on Pinterest, but I didn’t have the budget to make them as they were done originally, so I used a giant bubble wand to wrap an A3 page round, then cellotaped a blown up balloon into the cylinder. Next up, wrap some clear or spotty spotty cellophane* around it to look like the sweet wrapper. You don’t have to do this, but it does make it look a whole lot more authentic!

2) Giant boiled sweets

For the giant boiled sweets you will need a paper plate, tissue paper* and cellotape. Take a sheet of tissue paper and wrap it around in a rectangle, then at the edge of the plate, squeeze the sides together and wrap cellotape around. Easy peasey giant boiled sweets.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Decor Sweets

 3) Painted Giant Rainbow Lollipops

Again using paper plates, draw a spiral from the center to the outside of the plate, and get children to paint from the inside out. I used this as a colour mixing lesson on primary and secondary colours = start with blue and then yellow, then mix the two together (overlap them in the middle) to get the  mixed colour. The same with the blue and red (to make purple) and red and yellow (to make orange) and so on. Work your way to the outside, and leave to dry. Next, glue a stick, or a lollipop stick to the plate and there you have your rainbow lollipops.

Stick them all up in the garden for your own Charlie and the Chocolate Factory party, and see happy little faces like this!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory party

Study Unit Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Find more Charlie & The Chocolate Factory activities here.

Make Up Words Like Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl has an amazing capacity for  making up words. Just think of ‘frobscottle’, ‘snozzcumber’ and a dozen other words that simply don’t exist in the English language. I found this amazing hand written list of names he wrote while working on The Big Friendly Giant and it thrills me to think of an amazing story teller sitting in his shed, coming up with names.  It’s almost exciting to think about, isn’t it? 1

Roald-Dahl-writing

Ameli and I spent some time this week exploring syllables and making up new words to turn into a story.

To prepare: cut words of two or more syllables from a magazine.
Write out what you want from your story – characters, place names etc

You will need: magazine, scissors & glue

Make up words like Roald DahlFor this activity,  cut words out of a magazine – I opted for longer words that had two or more syllables.

Also, in Ameli’s workbook I wrote out the following, leaving spaces for her to glue the answers:

The names of three characters, the name of their town, the name of one character’s favourite food, what this food is.

First we sounded out syllables by clapping and counting the claps: uni(clap)-form(clap), foun(clap)-da(clap)-tion(clap), sim(clap)-ple(clap)-ton(clap) and so on.

We then cut our magazine words up into parts based on the syllables. This gave her an opportunity to become familiar with syllables.

Next, mix and match the word parts till you find words that ‘feel right’.

Our characters were called Verend, Cretsner, and Tiveconsen Light. They live in a town called Garsea. Verend’s favourite food is a berry called chaption, which tastes like fresh water that’s been bathing in sunlight. And has magic powers.Make Up Words Like Roald Dahl

Once we had these details down, I asked Ameli if she could tell me a story with these details in, picked up the camera, and here’s the story. Sure, it needs some refining, but pretty good going for no prep time, and a first attempt, I think. She’ll be an author yet, this one!

 


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Study Unit Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Find more Charlie & The Chocolate Factory activities here.

  1.  http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2011/09/the-language-of-roald-dahl/

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory – The Book Vs The Movie

It’s Roald Dahls’ birthday in a couple of weeks, so our home-ed theme to get us back into a learning routine now that summer is over, is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We are really easing into it since it’s important to me that at 5 & 3, the girls still have a lot of time for simple play. We started today with watching a favourite movie for us – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Johnny Depp – and then we started reading the book*.

I thought that a good way to gauge reading comprehension would be for Ameli to keep track of the differences between the movie and the story, so I created a chart for her with two overlapping circles.

On the one side I wrote ‘Movie’ and on the other ‘Book’ – where things overlap between the book and the movie I wrote ‘Both’. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Reading Comprehension Worksheet

On first reading we got five chapters into the book, which is a very short distance into the movie, but Ameli has been really quick to spot the few differences between the two, and pointing out the main storyline similarities. She sometimes even points out differences in the spoken words between the film and the book, but since we’re not trying to de-construct the story, I’ve tried to steer her towards major themes.

Similarities include the fact that the grandparents spend all their time in bed, and that Grandpa Joe worked for Willy Wonka and that the family ate a lot of cabbage. Differences include things like Mr Bucket being the one who finds out about the Golden Tickets in the newspaper, while in the movie, Charlie sees the signs go up.

We’ll keep track of differences as we go through the book, but it’s great to see her engaging with this as much as the movie, and being conscious of and excited by the differences. I love knowing that she’s actually comprehending what we’re reading.

You can use our chart if you like. Download it free here.

Study Unit Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Find more Charlie & The Chocolate Factory activities here.

Ravensburger Games {Review}

ready set go

One of the benefits of home education for me is the ability to learn through play. Of course learning through play is relevant whether children go to school or not, and one of the fun ways to encourage learning without anyone even knowing they’re learning is through puzzle and board games.

We were sent a selection of Ravensburger games to review, and they’ve come in very handy over the wetness of these British “Summer” days.

The four sets we were sent were: My First WordsABC Game, My First Clock and Ready Set Count!*.

Ready Set Count! Ravensburger Games

ready set count

The first game we unpacked was Ready Set Count!

This game is a first counting game, perfect for my 3 year old. While it can be played with the included dice, we found it best for learning what each number looked like. Each card set has an animal(s) image, fingers that show the number, the numeric image and the dice representation of the number.

I set like with like – so fingers in one pile, dice in another, numbers in a third and the animal images in the last. She picked an animal card, counted the figures on it and then found the corresponding fingers, number and dice. She has a great time sorting the sets together, and then organising them into their correct numerical order.

Played as a game each player can roll the dice and find the corresponding number set to match.

This set has the obvious learning goal of counting, but also number recognition and a taking turns/sharing. It can be played by 1 – 4 players.

My First Clock Ravensburger Games

My First ClockThe My First Clock Game consists of a clock and 27 game cards. They bill this as having three ‘games’ in one, with double sided ‘clock’ cards that show analogue and digital times.  The cards can be used in different ways – put them in order of time and describe what you would normally do at that time. You can also us it to look at the digital times shown on the cards and try to put the hands on the clock face to the correct time, winning a card each time you do this or finally, players take turns to set a time on the clock face and everyone else must try to find the clock card that is closest to that time.  Or of course, you can just let your child figure it out on their own, setting the time to match the activity.

This definitely helps to develop “number association, recognition of routines and sense of the abstract concept of time” as it says in the description, and with a little help it’s a very useful device for learning how to tell the time.

The cardboard clock face has movable plastic hands that you assemble yourself, so it’s a good opportunity for learning the difference between the long and short hands too. These aren’t the best design ever, as the clock ‘hands’ come out quite easy but for £6.99 for the whole set, it’s sufficiently effective and safe enough for a 4 – 9 year old.

ABC Ravensburger Games

My First WordsBased on a ‘flashcard’ style of learning, the ABC Game is filled with two-piece puzzles with one for every letter of the alphabet and a corresponding image card – a & apple, b & bird and so on.

These cards are ‘self-correcting’ which means if you try to put the wrong image to the wrong letter, you won’t be able to slot the puzzle pieces in together. This is good as it’s a gentle prod to try something different, rather than a ‘YOU’RE WRONG!’ which I like.

My First Words Ravensburger GamesABC

The final game we have been playing is My First Words, which is a great follow on from the ABC game. Having learned the alphabet, this game introduces little ones to their first simple words. As compared to the other games, I think this one is more about word familiarisation rather than actually learning words – largely because they can put the word together by putting the picture together, but it does help with familiarity of the words. I like that it’s fun, and that it’s play, but that my girls feel a sense of achievement when they can shout out what the word is, and be right.

For all the games, the cards are decent quality – you have to remember these aren’t expensive puzzle sets – and they last well. The can all be stored within the boxes they come in, and these are stackable in a toy box or shelving unit too, so it’s easy to tidy it all away.

Alfie Outdoors By Shirley Hughes {Book Review}

I didn’t grow up in the UK, or in fact in any kind of regular family – sorry guys – and despite earning a BA in English Language and Literature at university, there are many authors that I never heard of till I became a parent myself, names like Dr Seuss, Roald Dahl and a few others, including Shirley Hughes. (Don’t feel too bad for me though. I had a love affair with The Famous Five, could tell you anything you wanted to know about Nancy Drew or The Hardy Boys, and spent hours and days adventuring with Trompie en die Boksom Bende and Liewe Heksie.)

Recently I was sent a press release about Shirley Hughes new book Alfie Outdoors and it wasn’t the name that I recognised in it, but the illustration style, and I realised that it was the same author as a Lucy and Tom Christmas story that my children love.

Alfie Outdoors

This new Alfie story doesn’t disappoint. Filled with beautiful pencil sketch-style (I have no idea about actual names for art styles!) images, and children with chubby cheeks, it’s a delight to read. My three and five year old daughters are engrossed in it with every reading, and they love living through the sowing of seeds, the watering, the waiting, until carrots grow. Their eyes widen every time Gertrude the Goat disappears, and they sigh with relief every time she returns.

The fact that the main protagonist is a little boy makes no difference to them – they seem to share in the common experience of being children, impatience, fear, loss, joy, despite the difference in gender. Alfie Outdoors

Alfie is an all-round wholesome book. From tilling the land for your food, to washing drying on a line, to dad holding hands with his son, this story is a throwback to what in retrospect seems like a simpler time – or in fact was for us as children! It is thoroughly beautiful.

It also ties in perfectly with loads of themes, like patience, caring for animals, growing your own food, summer and friendship. There are plenty themes to tie this story with whatever lesson you may be trying to teach your child. We even managed to use it as a catalyst for talking about all the bugs you find when you turn over stones in the garden – and it ties in really well in preparing for the autumn by creating a home for natureAlfie Outdoors bugs

Capitalise on the learning in this book with the bug hunt worksheet from Twinkl, or one of the ‘plant life cycle’ worksheets for sunflowers or beans.

Shirley Hughes’ Alfie Outdoors is a beautiful book, a lovely story, and well worth having on your shelves to return to often. It’s available from Amazon UK here with an International Edition available at Amazon US on 25 August 2015*.

StoryBox – The Perfect Magazine For Budding Storytellers

We’ve recently started a subscription to StoryBox, a storytelling magazine for children. It’s the ideal first magazine for families who don’t want their children inundated with branded characters and plastic toys.

With babies, tracking development is simple. There’s no missing that they’ve begun crawling, or walking, or talking, or moved on to solid foods. With older children though, the development can come as quickly, but it’s a little harder to see unless you’re paying close attention.

Recently, 5-year old Ameli’s reading has come on in leaps and bounds. In the space of two months she’s gone from spelling out three letter words, to writing text messages to her aunts and uncle on Whatsapp! Since she loves receiving mail, I thought a magazine subscription would be a lovely idea for her, and so I signed up for a couple of children’s books from magazine.co.uk.

The first one we received is the title StoryBox. I am honestly so impressed with this magazine. From the glossy thick-paper cover to the decent quality paper inside, this feels more like a book you’d keep in the shelves than a throwaway magazine.

StoryBox

Not only is the first story – about a pirate – almost like a regular kids story book, but then you get to go on to the educational pages – in this issue that’s on ‘why do we use suncream’ and some facts and information-in-story-form about sharks.

From there on there are cartoon strip style stories, and the best part of the book for my little story teller, the cartoon strips where you get to tell your own story to go with the pictures. That’s what she’s doing here:

StoryBox2Just as little brains tire from all the reading and story telling, there are a couple of pages of activities, like spot the difference, match the words to the character and so on. There aren’t a lot of games, but that’s not the point of this magazine, so it’s not a problem.

One of the main things I love about this magazine is that despite the obvious quality of it, there’s no advertising, except for two pages that promote the magazine. There’s no mainstream advertising, no products, no must-have really-don’t-need toys or anything else that makes me reluctant to buy off the shelf magazines normally.

More often than not, when I buy a magazine for the children, it ends up torn up into bits in no time, but though they’ve had two weeks with this magazine, it’s still in great condition, which leads me to believe they’re treating it more like a book than a magazine.

I am looking forward to having a shelf full of StoryBox magazine’s from magazine.co.uk, and can’t wait to see my small one grow into them too.

Click below for a walk through of the magazine if you want to see what the different stories in it look like:

 


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StoryBox magazine subscriptions are £50 per year for 10 magazines. Find out more at magazine.co.uk.