The Five in One school holiday fix

Life should be about caring and sharing right? And while I concede there's a rightful time and place to smoast (trendy new term and semi-acceptable behaviour for social media boast, but not quite as trendy and acceptable as gangnam style), I do care to share other things when time permits. And what better time than the school holidays?

Sick of dragging the kids in and out of the pool? Tired of endless outings to the local shopping centre? Free-activity'ed out? Broke from repeated visits to other 'worlds'? Seen all the age-appropriate new release movies? Then why not get back to basics with your kids or someone else's if you are short on kids and big on love and time.

OK this is where it gets a bit bookish...but this is a wonderful way to spend time with your under 10 year olds, while generating a little creativity at the same time. It takes place over a week - 5 days, but could be condensed to less days or increased to cover the number of days you have available; you could even be away on a family holiday and incorporate this activity idea.

The Five in One Book Activity
  1. Choose a book. Any book will do but preferably a children's book for example; let's say, oh I don't know, how about PS Who Stole Santa's Mail? Picture books work equally as well if not better. Key here is to choose a title that your child is interested in.
  2. Read the book. Together, to younger children, or let older ones read for themselves.
  3. Now here's the fun bit: allocate each available day to a different activity BASED on the theme, idea, imagery, story, characters etc. from the book chosen.
For example: PS Who Stole Santa's Mail?
  • It's about Sam and his best mate Tobii. They have an urgent need to find out what is happening to all the post boxes in their town before Christmas. Post boxes are inexplicably disappearing. Is it magic? Who is up to no good? Will they be able to solve the mystery and save Christmas? Will Sam have time to get his precious Christmas wish away to Santa before the delivery book closes for the year?
 Possible Activity Ideas arising from this tale:
    • Cooking activity. Make and bake fruit mince pies together. Tobii loved them. Or any Christmas related treat.
    • Santa project. Research and discover as much as you can together (older children can use their own data retrieval skills and knowledge for this) about Santa, his homeland, likes, dislikes, family and so on to form a fact sheet or project card. Include pictures, maps, information boxes.
    • Create a play. This is a Christmas themed story. Creating a play based either on the characters in the book or on Christmas, reindeer, winter wonderland etc. is a cinch. Include as much Christmassy music and decorations as you can. Invite other family members and friends (or even pets and toys) to watch your production.
    • Puppet play. If creating a full scale mini-musical is not your thing, how about whipping up some crafty hand puppets. Toilet rolls dressed as characters, sock puppets, paper-mache for the more artfully advanced. Young children are then able to design, make and perform too.
    • Rewrite. Sam and Tobii managed to locate the missing mail just days before Christmas, but the ending didn't turn out quite as Sam hoped. Ask children how they would like the story to end, or how they would have the story end if they were writing it. Older children could even develop a comic book, illustrated version of the story or try their hand a creating their own book trailer or mini video for it.
These are just 5 ways to expand on the initial idea of sharing a book together. It ensures the enjoyment of sharing a book doesn't just stop once the story ends and the book closes. Exploring the tale, characters and even the pictures in more depth is a lovely way of not only passing the time together, but igniting imagination and creativity - together.

Pick up your favourite book today and have a think about all the marvellous possible activities you could develop around it.

Here are a few more ideas to spark your creativity:
  • Picnics - after cooking, planning
  • Excursions via bus, train, car, foot - hiking involving maps and mini-quests or treasure hunts.
  • Nature exploration, planting (this would involve waiting...)
  • Science experiments
  • Craft (endless spin off ideas)
  • Visits to wildlife zoos, animal shelters, pet shops
  • Projects on weather involving craft and science
  • Writing projects. If it's not a picture book, discuss or draw illustrations your child thinks suits or tells the story.
Here a few (picture)books that lend themselves well to the Five in One Idea:
To name but a few. Expand your horizons and read short chapter books like those from the Aussie Nibbles or Little Rockets Series too. Once the thought flood gates open, I'm positive there will be no end to the ways you and your child can appreciate a humble book. Can't wait to hear what you come up with and happy holidays.


Sounds like more fun than the grammar lessons I've been giving my kids ;)
DimbutNice said…
LOL - could always incorporate a grammatical bent or two too. ;-)
Rachel said…
Hi Dimity,
Love your holiday reading activities. We've been doing lots of reading these hols with the Library Summer Reading club. Hey, I was having a look at the Morris Publishing Website and I was wondering if they offered the writing competition that you won every year?
DimbutNice said…
Hi Rachel, thanks for popping by.
Ditto re; Summer Reading Club. Great fun and lovely to have some more relaxed reading time together over the holidays that's not just all about reading school work. Re; MPA comp, I'm not sure what they will be doing or offering this year. I believe that the 2011 comp was an inaugural one designed as is often the case even by larger publishing houses, to encourage work to be submitted in order to enhance their lists. Try emailing them to see where they are this year. Good luck :-)

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