Last week I shared a bunch of Literary Related Fun Activities you could do for the school holidays. Today, I’m delving into the endless world of fiction. These are activities and challenges which you can do with books you have at home, with books you buy, or books that you borrow from the library! The best thing about these activities is that there’s no age limit – even adults can join in the fun!
1. Read an Author
Choose an author who appeals to you and try to read as many of their books as you can. This is a great way to learn about author’s voices and how an author will use similar themes or ideas in several of their books. You might even be able to make connections between different books – like the Jackie French books which all have Mothball the Wombat in them, or the Jordan Sonnenblick or Sarah Dessen books which feature characters from other books. With littlies you can hunt down different illustrators and see if they change their style at all, like Bruce Whatley does when he uses his left hand. (A great resource to help you find illustrator’s books is the Goodreads website.)
Suggested authors: Mem Fox, Jackie French, Eric Carle for the littlies; Dr Seuss, Mo Willems, Alison Lester for the bigger kids; Beverley Cleary, Enid Blyton, Emily Rodda for chapter books; Mike Lupica, Cathy Cassidy, Gordan Korman, Robin Klein, Morris Gleitzman for middle grade readers; Sarah Dessen, Chris Crutcher, Gary Paulson for Young Adults; Stephen King, Jodi Picoult, Bryce Courtenay, Nevil Shute, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett – and hundreds of others – for adult readers.
2. Read a genre
Choose a genre that you love or one that you’re not so familiar with. Try and read as many books as possible in this genre. Have a look at some of the themes, tropes and ideas that come up again and again. Discuss what makes the perfect book in that genre. See what authors are prolific in those genres.
Suggested genres: humour, crime, mystery, fantasy, romance, science fiction, post apocalyptic, steam punk, historical fiction. For picture books and other children’s books you could look at funny books, sad books, books about animals, nursery rhyme books, fairy tale books, books about dinosaurs, books about parents, books about babies . . .
3. Create a Reading Scavenger Hunt
This is best planned before you start reading. Sit down with some friends or family and make a really, really big list of things to find – you could have anything from rubber ducks to monsters to World War Two to sympathetic monsters. Everyone involved in the challenge gets a copy of the list. When you come across one of those things in your reading, you get to tick it off. Race each other to tick off the most things!
Possible scavenger hunt themes: search for musical instruments, search for unusual words, search for mentions of countries, search for different types of food, search for different types of animals, search for different sports
4. Go on a book tour
Travel the world without leaving your seat. Look for books which are set in different countries and mark all the places you go on a map. (It’d be great on Google Maps, though it’s not so helpful if you’re reading Tolkein, unless you’re comfortable marking New Zealand). This is a great insight into places in the world and you could discuss some of the things which are different and some of the things which are the same in different countries.
Possible books for a 12 year old: Parvana by Deborah Ellis (Afghanistan), Juggling with Mandarins by V. M. Jones (New Zealand), Diego Run by Deborah Ellis (Columbia), some of the early CHERUB books by Robert Muchamore (England, plus other countries)
5. Read books about places you know
As nice as it is to go away with our books, I always get a kick out of reading about a place I know. I love Nick Earls’ books because they are so very Brisbane. I love Jackie French’s Flood and Narelle Oliver’s Home for the same reason. When I read about Washington D.C or Disneyland, I think I enjoy it a little bit more because my parents took me there when I was 12. Find books that are about your home, or about a place like yours.
6. Get Arty and Crafty
Books lend themselves to arts and crafts. You can always try to draw the characters. You could create a map of where they live or a birds eye view of what their bedroom looked like. You could use recycled material from around the home to create objects from the books. You could use felt or material or knitting or crochet to create dolls of the characters. In my family, you’d probably go on to create complete Doll Houses of the worlds. You could design or create clothes or costumes inspired by the books. There’s endless possibilities!
Possible crafts: create a Golden Snitch from recycled material (Harry Potter), create a Pigeon doll (Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus), draw a perfect hole for Mothball the Wombat (Diary of a Wombat), draw characters from Diary of a Wimpy kid, cut them out and attach them to paddle pop sticks to make puppets
7. Write Fan Fiction
What do you do when you love a book so very much that you wish there is more? Well, write fan fiction of course. Fan fiction can be as simple as a short story explaining what happened next in the book. Or it could be letters from one character to another. Or retelling an important event from the perspective of a different character. Fan fiction can be written for any book, and can be in any form. And it can be shared in many forums on the internet (but be aware that there’s a lot of adult fan fiction if your children are looking for some).
What Fiction activities would you like to do this holidays?