Story Writing

I recently ran a series of story writing workshops for children between the ages of seven and ten.

The challenge I set was to design a series of characters around fruit and vegetables and to use these characters in a short story that a very young child (aged about two or three) would enjoy.

The first workshop centred on looking at picture books designed for younger children. We disused the language, the use of rhyme and repetition and the use of illustrations to help tell the story.

During the second workshop the children drew and described their characters using pencil crayons.

The third workshop was about writing an introduction.

The fourth and fifth workshop covered the development of the plot.

The sixth workshop was about writing a good conclusion.

The seventh workshop concentrated on illustration.

During the eighth and ninth workshop we published our stories using the ‘Book Creator’ app.

The tenth and last workshop gave everyone the opportunity to share their story to the rest of the group.

In order to guide the children through the whole story writing and illustrating process I followed the challenge myself and during the ten week period wrote five stories myself about the little folk who lived on ‘ Five a Day Hill’

The illustrations of all five books are in Pencil Crayon as this was the medium used by the children during the workshops. It is also the medium available in most homes. One of the books also uses digital images created using free apps easily manipulated by seven year olds.

You can listen to the narrated story of PEDRO PEAR using the link below. I chose this story because it was and still is, one of my granddaughter Maia’s favourite. (Aged three).

She loves joining in with the many repetitions especially the ‘BOO’ and ‘YIKES’!!

LINK TO THE NARRATED STORY OF PEDRO PEAR

Hands! New Sunday Challenge

Hands may look boring but just look what you can make with them!

With a little practice, young children given a chunky pencil, felt tip or crayon can draw around their hand. They will find it even easier to draw round yours.

The outlines can then be coloured or patterned and cut out to,make collages or funny people, creatures, trees or flowers. There’s no end to the creativity.

Older children can be challenged to find a different way to texture each of the fingers.

Progress from drawing round a normal hand-spread to moving some of the fingers to suggest dogs, rabbits etc. Just like when you use your hands to make shadows on the wall.

This is a fun family activity which can be adapted to suit all ages and abilities.

It improves hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills and creative thinking.

Fun with Ice

Young children are fascinated with ice and will enjoy and learn from this simple activity. It’s a great opportunity to introduce some new vocabulary.   Older children will be fascinated in simply experimenting with a solid block of ice but for twos and threes there is more incentive if you freeze lots of little objects in the ice. Choose a variety. Ones that float and ones that sink. Even little chocolate eggs wrapped in foil work well. This extends the learning.

Freeze the water. Gather together some small containers and fill with salt, food colouring and water and tiny scoops and dropper or syringe. 

When you are ready turn out the ice onto a large tray. Have ready kitchen paper and cloths and protective clothing! 

Of course as soon as small children spot the objects they will want to get them out. Especially the chocolate eggs!  But it’s surprising how long ice takes to melt and young children get bored very quickly! 

That’s where the salt comes in. If salt is sprinkled on followed by food colouring then they will be able to watch while the salt carves out little rivulets in the ice.  It’s a good opportunity to talk about salt and how we sprinkle it on ice paths in the winter.  If you use liquid watercolours in place of food colouring then the variety of colours is extended and you also have a lesson in colour mixing. 

When the fascination wears off they can resort to dripping first cold water and then warm water over the ice. Again lots of opportunities for learning.  

The most important thing is that do everything themselves. Dripping on the colour, sprinkling on the salt. Don’t dictate what they should do,rather ask open ended questions. Questions that motivate. Questions that challenge. You can hide the water until they have experimented with the salt and colours! 

 It may look like a disorganised mess but they ARE learning by playing and observing. Try again in six months and you will see that they tackle the activity differently.  

Floating Eggs

What? Why? How? 

Children need to e challenged not spoon-fed with facts! 

They need to question. To predict. To investigate. This is the first of a series of challenges for children. They are suitable for children from about four years upwards.  Children learn by ‘doing’ and all the challenges are simple enough for them to perform themselves with adult supervision. 

This first challenge is all about floating and density. 

The first video shows the challenge. 

The second video repeats the investigation and then answers the questions. 

My suggestion is that you watch the first video then perform the challenge asking the questions 

Later the second video giving the solutions can be watched.

Sunday Challenge. What can you make from …….? 

Last week’s challenge was to imagine what it would be like to be very tiny. 

So tiny that you could live in a hole in a tree or crawl into a snail shell. 

See the link below for some ideas of how the Jumbles tackled this challenge. 

Today’s Sunday Challenge

Melted Crayon Pictures 

A fun and colourful project.  The challenge is choosing the best colours and arranging them to obtain the best effect. How you use the hairdryer and the tilt of the board makes a huge difference to the result . 

It’s a good colour mixing and coordination and thinking project. 

Watch our video :   

Crayon Melting at Jumble House

Materials: 

A good hairdryer …we use one from BOOTS . We reckon that if a hairdryer can withstand daily normal and being  used by Lizzie Witch on a regular basis for a couple of years it must be good! 

Crayons …we used Crayola and Bic crayons . Both are good. Some pictures look better with the paper left on. Others are better when the paper is removed. 

Some card to test out the process before doing the real thing. 

Glue to stick the crayons to the canvas. We used BOSTICK.

Cellotape can be used as an alternative to glue but fiddly.

Canvas boards. 


Suggestions :

Try using card and small bits of crayons for the first few runs.  This is cheaper and will enable the child to see what happens and to decide which colours to use and how to arrange them.

Don’t overdo the hairdryer bit! Kids will want to carry on and on until every bit of crayon has gone but as in a lot of art, less is best!  But it’s a good idea to let them have their own way during a practice run on card!  Learning from your own mistakes is the best way and hopefully they will see that controlled melting is more effective. You could suggest trying both and then comparing the results. 

Ask them to predict what they think will happen. Which colours will mix? What colours will this make?  What will happen if you point the hairdryer sideways?  What will happen if you point the hairdryer over the top of the crayons? 

More Ideas:

  • Make the melted crayon look like a tree full of dripping blossom ….you can paint or stick a tree trunk on the canvas before melting the crayons. 
  • Make a picture of someone blowing bubbles ..a few grated bits added helps.
  • Make the melts look like rain …draw or stick a person with an umbrella on the board.
  • A fountain 
  • A waterfall 
  • A bonfire. 

Practicalities:

The crayons do splatter  a little so do cover tables well or do outside using an extension lead. 

This is a project for children old enough to hold a hairdryer confidently. Probably around 7 years and up. As with all of the Jumble Fun projects, adult supervision is advised

An adult will be needed to cut the crayons in half unless you use a big canvas board and then they can be stuck on intact.  

The video is fun to watch and shows the basic process. Use it as a stepping stone from which the child can develop their own ideas. 

Click on the link below to watch the Sunday Challenge in Jumble House: 

Melted Crayon Picture Challenge from the JUMBLES