Monday, 27 January 2014

Happy Birthday Charles Dodgson aka Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) was born today, 27th January in 1832. He was born in Daresbury in Cheshire. The family moved to Croft, Yorkshire in 1843 and he moved to Oxford as an adult in 1851. He attended Richmond School, Rugby school and Oxford University. He picked his nom de plume in 1856 and became a deacon in 1861. His most famous works are Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. He first told the story of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland whilst on a rowing trip on the River Isis (Thames) in Oxford on 4th July 1862. The book was published in 1865. Through the Looking Glass was published in 1871. Charles Dodgson was a keen amateur photographer and a skilled mathematician. He died in Guildford on 14th January, 1898.

Classics can be quite challenging for modern young readers to tackle by themselves due to the differences in language and sentence structure. Often they are more accessible to children if an adult reads them out loud to them. This can give younger children the chance to hear stories that have stood the test of time without being put off by the challenge of having to plough through unfamiliar words. Personally, I've found that reading these books out loud to my children has given me the motivation to read the children's classics that I couldn't face as a child. I have always been glad when I've finished them, glad because the stories are so good and glad that my children get to hear them when they are still children.

I first read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to my eldest son when he was about 4 years old. He thoroughly enjoyed it. My eldest daughter has tried to read it to herself, but finds it a little too challenging. Sad to say, I've never read it to my youngest son. Maybe, it's time I did :)

Ideas for Activities:
- Make some biscuits and ice them with the words EAT ME
- Make some bottles of juice and label them with the words DRINK ME
- Hold a Mad Hatters Tea Party
- Play Croquet
- Find Daresbury, Croft, Oxford and Guildford on a map
- Invent your own pen name
- Go rowing
- Make an origami boat
- Have a picnic
- Learn about rabbits
- Learn about caterpillars and butterflies
- Make jam tarts
- Play Old Maid with a pack of ordinary playing cards, with the Queen of Hearts being the Old Maid
- Work out how much 10/6 would be in decimal currency
- Work out how many old pennies were in 10/6
- Draw a big mouthless Cheshire cat. Make a grinning mouth and play 'Pin the Grin on the Cat'
- Watch the first film version of "Alice in Wonderland" made in 1903.

Online Activities:
Lots of games and puzzles
Full eBook of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
eBook with illustrations from various sources
Portraits taken by Dodgson
Maths - Carroll Diagrams
Maths - Carroll Diagrams part 2

Paper crafts
Ideas linked to Jonny Depp film
Pictures to colour

Rabbit crafts

Places to Visit:
All Saints' church in Daresbury, Cheshire. home of the 'Alice window'
Museum of Oxford

Alice In Wonderland (60th Anniversary Edition) [DVD]
Alice in Wonderland [DVD]
Alice in Wonderland [1999] [DVD]
Alice's Adventures In Wonderland [DVD]

Monday, 20 January 2014

Exploring Katie Morag & the New Pier

I've finally finished the latest Picture Book Explorers - Katie Morag & the New Pier. It's been some time in the writing and, I'm sure you will agree, the quality of content reflects this. There are science and maths activities to develop engineering skills, two yummy recipes - one sweet and one savoury, paper and textile crafts, writing with a purpose activities as well as the opportunity to learn about the Hebrides. 
Katie Morag is a little girl who lives with her family in the imaginary Isle of Struay. The series of books tells of her adventures in this close-knit community. Katie Morag & the New Pier deals with the impending changes to island life as the local transport system is improved. Most people, including Katie Morag herself, are excited by the construction of the New Pier, but not everyone is happy about it.
Picture Book Explorers are available exclusively at Currclick

You will also need to buy a copy of Katie Morag & the New Pier


Useful stuff for crafts and other activities -

Go-along books maybe useful but aren't essential -

Extras, maybe useful but aren't essential -