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

Easter from JUMBLE HOUSE


Learning for Under Fives

Today’s programme introduces the letter Ee, the colour white and number 5.

There is also a guest! A Jumble Tuft Easter Bunny who brings lots of Easter Eggs.

Lizzie shows you how to make some rather cool eggs and also a delicious quick and easy desert.

Lots of extension activities.

This link takes you to today’s programme.

Don’t forget there are lots of Lizzie Witch and Jumbles  Books to enjoy . See the ‘books’ page on this site or copy and paste this into your browser: amazon.com/author/judibrereton

Some of the books are also available on Amazon as ebooks.

Don’t miss: More Easter Crafts here.

Happy Easter from Jumble House!

Making dyes from onion skins

Adult supervision required.

Easter is close and everyone is busy with the usual Easter crafts. Coloured eggs is one of the most popular but very predictable!

Today we made our own dyes by boiling onion skins. We used red skins and predicted that the egg shells would be red. They came out more purple but maybe they would have been red if we had used eggs with white shells. That’s something you can find out!

We cracked the shells of some of the eggs before putting them in the dye to make ‘spider man’ eggs. Again our prediction was that we would have a network of spidery red lines but that wasn’t the case!

There was dye left over so we used it to tie dye a white handkerchief.

Then we tried dying pieces of other material to see which took up the dye, always predicting first what we thought would happen.

Last but not least we looked at some pieces of onion skin through a magnifying glass.

Some very interesting discussion arose from the questions asked during all this work with eggs.

Why do chickens come out of some eggs but not others?

Why do we give eggs at Easter?

Why are eggs and chicks symbolic of springtime?

Why do eggs have shells shells?

Why don’t we lay eggs?

It’s fun trying something new!

CLICK HERE FOR THE PROGRAMME VIDEO

Spider-Man Eggs

Link to video instructions

A fun activity which can be adapted to suit all ages.

We always recommend adult supervision.

Uses shaving foam, food colours, hard boiled eggs. We definitely advise wearing disposable gloves unless you don’t mind your fingers looking like the eggs themselves!

We use hard boiled cracked eggs.  The colour can’t penetrate the shell but stains the egg white because it, like your fingers, is a protein! Thus the spidery pattern.

The unde-fives will love playing with the shaving foam.

Older children will take up the challenge to try out different ways to colour the eggs.  Onion skins are good. (Boil them in a little water before adding the cracked eggs.) Frozen fruits of the forest and  fresh berries give varying degrees of pink and purple. (Simply leave the cracked hard boiled eggs in the fruit mixture overnight)

Everyone will find the video fun!

Please note that the colouring does fade so if you want them for Easter morning don’t make until the day before and then peel on Easter Day.

Learning about Lizard

Today we saw a lizard in our little garden. She was very active and very healthy. But, a year ago we found one in our cantina. She wasn’t very well at all. We christened her ‘Little LIZZIE Lizard’.

Read on to find out what happened.

Yesterday we found this little lizard in our cantina and it wasn’t very well. We called it Little Lizzie Lizard!

She looked so thin and lifeless and so dull that we were really afraid she would  die but we were determined to do our best and try to help her.  First we needed to find out some facts about lizards.  We have shared them and the story of Little Lizzie Lizard below.


Some Lizard Facts!

Lizards belong to an animal class called REPTILES.
Reptiles (with a few exceptions) are cold-blooded animals which lay eggs. They have a backbone, four legs and are covered in scales.   Lizards can be found all over the world except at the North and South Poles.

 Can you guess why? 

There are over 3,000 different types of lizards and they come in all sorts of shapes, colours and sizes! The smallest measures a tiny 7cms whereas the largest, the Komodo Dragon can reach lengths of 3 metres.
Lizards have four legs each with five little toes and they are very fast runners and very good at climbing. They also have a very long tail part of which can detach itself if a predator grabs hold! The lizard then grows another one!

They are insectivores which means that they eat only insects but some of the larger ones are carnivores and eat small animals,
Most lizards live in trees or under rocks and are more active at night. During the day they like to sunbathe!

 Why?? .
Well, it has something to do with the fact they aren’t found at the North or South Poles !!
Do you know what the climate is like at the poles?
Yes! Ice and snow and VERY cold.
You and I and all mammals like dogs and cats and rabbits and mice and horses are warm bloodied which means we are able to control our body temperature. To keep it the same even when the temperature outside changes. But reptiles and that includes lizards, are cold bloodied which means that they can’t control their body temperature. So they need to sunbathe to warm up!

This is why our little lizard was so poorly when we found her.   She had been locked in a cold underground room with no sun and was very, very cold.  She was also very dehydrated which means her  body was lacking in water and dehydration is very serious.  We couid tell she was poorly because she was so happy to be handled and that is NOT normal.   The poor thing hadn’t the energy to run away!


So!  The Jumbles came to the rescue!!

We had to warm her up and re-hydrate her which means we had to make sure she drank some water.  We held her near a bowl of water and were really pleased because she started to lap it up !

Then we found a nice big bowl and popped her in with a shallow bowl of water and then we put it in a nice warm spot outside but not in direct sunlight because it is VERY hot here at the moment.  We also gave her a little box just in case she wanted to hide!


Then we left her in peace but kept checking every hour.

After about four hours Lizzie Lizard was looking very different. More alert and a much better colour !  So we put a few ants and maggots into the bowl to tempt her to eat.  The DOG BISCUIT was not for Lizzie Lizard! It was just a quick way to catch some insects and transport to the bowl !


By the following morning Lizzie Lizard  was anxious to get out and, instead if wanting to be handled she ran off when we tried to touch her !

That was a good sign Lizzie was feeling normal again.

It was time to let her out !


And that’s what we did!

It was such a great feeling to have helped an animal back to health and to return it to the wild.

Video of Little Lizzie Lizard’s recovery!

Homemade bowl and flowers

I love this display because it’s so fresh and spring like.

It’s also fun and cheap  to make.

I always like posting something which involves children helping and this post is no exception. With help even the youngest will enjoy making the flower petals from coffee filter bags and they will learn a little about chromatography at the same time!  The video instructions are on the link below.

How to make the filter paper flowers

Putting the flowers together is more tricky and a task for older children or adults.

The Bowl
The bowl is made entirely from string which is soaked in glue and wrapped around a balloon. The fun bit that kids love is the popping of the balloon once the glue has set!

The level of difficulty depends on the size of the balloon.  For the blue bowl featured above the balloon was well inflated making it trickier to handle.

At Christmas we followed the same procedure to make baubles but using much smaller balloons which are easier to handle.  If your children are small my suggestion would be to help them make the  smaller bowls which can be used for biscuits or Easter Eggs while you make the trickier large bowl.

The instructions to make the string balls are given in ‘child friendly’ format on the link below.  To make the balls into bowls all you need to do is cut them in half using either very strong scissors or a craft knife and then neaten the edges.

I hope you enjoy. If you do please add a nice comment !

Follow this link for the video instructions for children

For many more art, craft, science and learning videos please visit our channel:

The Jumble Fun Channel 

Puppet Theatre

Take a cardboard box, a couple of wooden spoons and a couple of puppets. Add a small child and you have hours of fun, imagination and creative learning.

Don’t waste time making it ‘pretty’. If the kids are enthusiastic let them use it immediately. Decorations an£ backcloths can wait!