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Bookmark Monday: The Tiger Who Came To Tea

So we’ve just ended up with this 1968 “classic” by Judith Kerr in our book bag home from the library.

I read this one twice over and haven’t quite made up my mind about it.

I mean, if my daughter and I were having tea, and a tiger arrived at the door and asked so very politely if he might come to tea, would I say yes?
Probably not.
But then he might take offence and eat us up.
So it might be better to just be polite and let him come in.

And eat all the sandwiches, buns, biscuits and cake. And drink all of the milk and all of the tea in the teapot, and then all of Daddy’s supper and the supplies in the cupboard.

Children’s laureate, Michael Rosen, in his description of The Tiger Who Came to Tea, says, “Judith has created a totally feasible unfeasible experience, the juxtaposition of two realities in a way that would be impossible in our world. The result is both very funny and slightly unsettling.”

Yes, that’s the word for it.
But that’s to my adult mind – thinking groceries, bills, horrors – no supper on the table and no water to wash up (!). We haven’t yet read it to our kids; who knows they might enjoy it yet.

And it’s been a long time since we took time out, sat down and did craft to accompany a book reading.  Reminded me of an old favourite. 🙂

Wordcraft: Copywork short and sweet

Still riding on the coloured marker bandwagon…
Every letter of copywork goes easier for the child incentivised by freedom to use coloured markers. 🙂

I found a short article that provided me a number of useful tips around designing copywork for preschoolers and the benefits to be gained from this activity.

The full article can be found here, but below were my personal takeaways and thoughts (as a mom of a preschooler) after reading it:-

  1. Keep it interesting. Decide the theme and focus based on what’s the latest topic or in our case, art media, of interest for that week. This helps add fun and depth to the activity.
  2. Keep it short. Setting small and achievable goals at the start and measurable timeframes help maintain focus on the task.
  3. Provide information to copy from a variety of sources. For ourselves, Sunday School take-home activity sheets with the Bible memory verse for the week are a great source and help with the memorisation as well.
  4. Assigning copywork should be at the parent’s discretion. Only a parent knows their child’s likes and dislikes; what works for someone else may not necessarily work for us and I shouldn’t beat myself up over it (as with most things related to parenting, but hey, I need to be constantly reminded!).


Do you assign copywork to your kids at home?  What are your common sources of copywork material?

What do you find are your biggest challenges in encouraging meaningful and effective work output?  What are some of the successes that you’ve celebrated or the benefits that you’ve personally experienced together with your child? 

Wordcraft – S for Shell

This week’s approach to Wordcraft is slightly different from the usual.

Over time, the kids have grown to want more autonomy in deciding the outcome of their art work. At the end of the day, if that results in their being able to drive their own learning, that’d be more than I originally set out to achieve. 🙂

That and, I don’t think we’d collected enough seashells to form the word s h e l l, ha!

So, instructions which go in two separate directions – one what we’d traditionally do, and the other, what we actually did.

Materials: Seashells, white glue, cardstock, pencil (optional).

1. Go to the beach, hang out a little and remember to collect some seashells.

2a. On the cardstock, pencil out the letters, s h e l l. Apply the white glue and arrange the seashells following the outline.

2b. On the cardstock, apply the white glue and arrange your seashells as you like.

* Clockwise from top: “Smorrrrrgasbord!” by DS, “Flower” by me, thematic “Fans” and “Cones” by DD.

Reading: Sharing a Shell – written by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Lydia Monks.

Synopsis (from The Book Depository): The tiny hermit crab loves his new shell. He doesn’t want to share it – not with a blobby purple anemone and a tickly bristleworm. But life in the rock pool proves tougher than Crab thinks, and soon he finds he needs his new housemates in this rollicking story of sea, shells and friendship.

Wordcraft – W for Wild

We found this really fun book recently, and bought a copy for our own home collection.

It’s a story about relative perceptions – Jack’s mother has always advised him never to go into the forest for fear of the ferocious wild beasts in it. Unfortunately, Jack disobeyed and is now lost and frightened.

He meets a bear who tries to help him find his way out of the forest, and in that process they meet an elephant, a lion, crocodile, wolf and python – all of whom neither Jack nor the animals themselves see as being ferocious….but are each made very worried about the ferocious beasts that Jack describes – an irony in itself. 

By the time the sun is setting, they’re all creeping about the forest, looking around nervously, watching each other’s back and completely spooked about the ferocious beasts that will be coming out to hunt…and…well, I shan’t spoil the ending for you. 😉

If you haven’t read the book, I’m pretty sure it can be found at your local library or bookstore. 🙂

Ignoring the factual inaccuracies, e.g. lions don’t live in forests, the book in itself is a very entertaining and delightful read.  We must have read this a million times by now – it is the kids’ latest favourite and they ask for it to be read every morning and every night!


To make your own Wordcraft “ferocious wild beast” hiding in the jungle, you will need the following materials: Artblock sheet, marker, blue paint, green and yellow coloured paper, scissors, glue.

1. On the artblock sheet, write out the letters w i l d.

2. Have your child paint the artblock sheet blue. (We used a sponge roller for this, but you can use anything. Alternatively, skip painting and use blue coloured paper for the background).

3. While your child is painting, cut out strips of green paper for grass.

4. When the paint is dry, paste on the strips of green paper.

5. Cut out two yellow cat’s eyes and paste just above the w.

Recommended reading accompaniment:-

Ferocious Wild Beasts – written by Chris Wormell


Wordcraft – T for Tiger

This craft is similar to the J for Jaguar that we did a few weeks back. DH says we should call this our Animal Alphabet and Wordcraft series. Now that is an ambitious undertaking!

You will need the following materials: Artblock sheet, marker, orange and black paints, paintbrush, cotton bud, scissors, glue.

1. On the artblock sheet, draw a tiger face and the letters t i g e r. I’ve made the t with a little curve for the tiger’s front paw, and the r with an extra long stroke to represent the tail. 😉

2. Using a paintbrush, cover the tiger’s face and letters with orange paint. Leave to dry.

3. When the orange paint is dry, dip the cotton bud in the black paint and draw stripes on the letters. Again, leave to dry.

4. When dry, cut out the tiger’s face and letters, and paste onto a new sheet of paper. A dark background would have been wonderfully dramatic, but I had none, so…*shrug*, too bad. 🙂   Add claw details, if you like!

Recommended reading accompaniment:

The Dancing Tiger – written by Malachy Doyle and illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher

There’s a quiet, gentle tiger  In the woods below the hill, And he dances on his tiptoes, When the world is dreaming, still.

A poem about a little girl, her great-grandmother and a mysterious but gentle tiger, centering around the themes of the importance of self-expression, imagination and the special nature of a relationship across generations.

Wordcraft: L for Ladybird

You will need the following materials: Artblock sheet, pencil, red and black paints, paintbrush, cotton bud, markers.

1. On the artblock sheet, lightly dot out the letters l a d y b i r d.

2. With the red paint, use the paintbrush to join the dots on the letters to form the word.

3. When dry, dip the cotton bud in the black paint and dot the letters. Remember to dot the dot on the letter i.

4. Leave to dry. When dry, use markers to draw in the antennae, face and legs of the ladybird.

Recommended reading accompaniment:-
What the Ladybird Heard – written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Lydia Monks.

In a lively farm full of baa-ing, moo-ing, barking, neighing and more, the ladybird is the quietest animal, as she says never a word. But it is the quietest of course, who overhears a plot by two thieves to steal the farmer’s prize cow, and leads the other animals in a clever solution to thwart the thieves’ plan.

Wordcraft: K for Key

I don’t have a book recommendation for this week’s Wordcraft, but that’s never been a reason to stop us from carrying on with an art activity anyway. 😀

You will need the following materials: Assorted old keys, paper, crayons, markers.

1. Write the letters k, e, y, with the markers on a sheet of paper.

2. Placing a key below the sheet of paper, hold your crayon horizontally and rub over the spot where the key is placed. You should get an outline of the key.

3. Alternatively, you could also place the key on the sheet of paper and trace its outline, or try drawing your own version, like DS did. 🙂

Wordcraft: L for Love

L before K except after… 😉

I wanted to focus on L for Love this week, since we have been doing Psalm 18:1 as a memory verse with the kids.

You will need the following materials: Pictures of people demonstrating love (these could be anything as it is up to how you want to interpret it with your children), glue, scissors, coloured paper.

1. Go through old magazines, or Sunday School resources to find pictures of people demonstrating love, or words that demonstrate how one can show love – to God, to family, to friends. Cut these out, and cut out the following block letters as well – L, O, V and E .

2. Paste the letters on with glue.

Have your child sort through the pictures and select the ones that strike a chord with him or her to decorate the word LOVE.

As you can see, although there were some pictures where I had two of each, DS and DD picked quite different scenarios, e.g. DD picked doing art and craft as a gift to someone, a big sister hugging her baby brother, and helping with the cooking, whereas DS picked reading a story together, hugs, going to church…

Additional Optional Steps:

  1. You can include some negative examples in the selection pile, i.e. pictures of people not demonstrating love. When the children picked these, we took the opportunity to discuss the scenario, and talk about what constitutes showing love and what does not.
  2. Ask your child to write a memory verse that you have been working on together. (The sheet at the top of the pic is DD’s, below is DS’s).



Lessons Learnt:
At first, I used different colours when cutting out the block letters because I didn’t want to waste some extra scraps of coloured paper. However, I’m not sure if this was a factor in causing some confusion when the kids tried to arrange the letters to form the word LOVE.

They kept getting fixated on the colours needing to follow a pattern and that distracted them from the word-building. So on hindsight, I should have used either altogether different colours for each letter, or the same for all, or alternated the colours. Hm.

Wordcraft: J for Jaguar

As promised, here’s Part 2 of our week’s Wordcraft activities for the letter J.  🙂

You will need the following materials: A stalk of celery, elastic band, marker, artblock sheet, yellow and black paint, paintbrushes, scissors, glue.

1. Trim two short pieces off the stalk of celery. Secure the two together with an elastic band such that they form a cylindrical stamp.

2. On an artblock sheet, write out the letters j  a  g  u  a  r. Draw a jaguar face as well.

3. Mix your paints on the palette.
4. With a paintbrush, paint the letters and jaguar face yellow.

5. Dip your celery stamp into the black paint and stamp all over the letters and jaguar face.

6. Leave to dry. When dry, cut out the letters and jaguar face and paste onto another sheet of paper.

Related reading:-

Tabby, The Wild Cat, written and illustrated by Dana Kubick (published by Picadilly Press, 2003).

A delightfully illustrated book about a domestic pet cat who envisions himself to be as brave and wild as his big cat cousins. 

The word jaguar is not actually mentioned in the story, but it does have pictures of a leopard, cheetah, jaguar, tiger and lion that you can share and talk about with your children.

Making: J for Jet

Heylo…we’re back with Wordcraft!  And to make up for the lack of Wordcraft posts in the past few weeks, here are two J activities to try out for this week.
One today, one tomorrow…

You will need the following materials: Balloon, thread or string, straw, cellophane tape, scissors, marker, Ikea sealing clip (optional).

1. Inflate the balloon. Seal it with an Ikea plastic sealing clip to prevent the air from escaping.

2. Cut a short length of straw and attach it to the balloon’s mouthpiece with cellophane tape.

3. Have your child spell and write the letters J  E  T onto the balloon.

4. Cut another short length of straw, and attach the balloon to this straw with cellophane tape.

5. Thread a string through the straw and tie each end of the string to different points across the room, e.g. one end to the window frame, and the other end to a door knob.

6. Release the sealing clip. Your balloon jet should propel itself along the string.

Some Lessons Learnt from our experiment:

  • The string should be setup in a straight line, i.e. try to avoid stringing it at an angle from points A to B, as the sharper the angle, the harder it is for the balloon to propel forward.
  • Attaching a straw to the mouthpiece of the balloon helps control the direction the balloon travels. Initially we did not do this and while the propulsion was really fast, it was also uncontrolled. So our balloon travelled in a loop and it was all over too quickly. However, having better control over the direction also resulted in a slower speed.
  • The idea to use the sealing clip came up when we found it troublesome trying to fix up string and cellophane tape while holding onto the balloon mouthpiece.

Have fun! 🙂