All activities

Get creative with activities for children of all ages. Invent your own superhero, make a pop-up book and much more.

Illustration of Paddington, a small brown bear wearing a red hat, blue duffle coat and carrying a brown suitcase marked with his initials P B.

Pack your suitcase with Paddington™

Paddington leaves his home in Peru to make a new life in London. If you were going on a journey like Paddington, what would you pack to remind you of home? Follow our steps to make your own suitcase… and reveal what’s inside.

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Scribbled notes from the draft notebook of Skellig

Things don't start finished!

Our website is brimming with messy drafts, notebooks and sketches by much-loved authors. This set of activities shows you fun ways of using them to plan, draft and edit your own work.

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A moment in time: Create poetry with Joseph Coelho for National Writing Day 2021

In this activity for National Writing Day (23 June 2021), Joseph Coelho invites you to write a poem about a single moment in time and try out some simple drafting techniques to ‘polish’ your poem. Plus, check out Joseph’s tips for all budding poets!

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Two illustrations side by side. The left hand image shows a person gesturing towards a floating book entitled 'your story'. The right hand image shows the same person surrounded by space ships, a wand, a wizard or witches hat and a handheld mirror

Step inside your story

Create a concertina book and fill it with your own story, with top tips and videos from brilliant authors and illustrators Zanib Mian, SF Said, Joseph Coelho, Viviane Schwarz, Sandra Agard and Allen Fatimaharan, Jane Porter, Philip Ardagh and Mara the Storyteller

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Illustration of three children gathered together reading a book called 'How to tame a dragon in 7 days'. The cover of the book shows a dragon breathing fire

Teaching resource: All our stories!

Download our All our stories! teachers’ guide to find out how to use the Discovering Children’s Books website to celebrate ethnic diversity and develop a rich primary reading curriculum.

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illustration of a child sitting on a tree branch. The branch is filled with lots of handmade concertina books

The Library of All Our Stories

We asked children across the UK to step inside their own stories and make concertina books with themselves in the starring role. Here’s a taste of their brilliant work on shelves designed by Allen Fatimaharan.

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A toy theatre made out of recycled papers

Make your own toy theatre

Make your own toy theatre using recycled materials. What festive show will your characters perform - a pantomime, a circus, or a talent show? Watch our instructional film to find out more

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Craft materials and small animal figurines arranged on a white surface. The animals 'watch' A pair of adult hands is drawing in a card

Make a pop-up poetry notebook

Bind your own pop-up poetry notebook and follow our fabulous prompts to help you see the world like a poet.

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A adult's hand holding an open a miniature book

Make a miniature book

What’s the smallest book you can think of? Who would you read it with? Learn how to make your own tiny book!

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The tiger who came to tea. Illustration. The tiger is standing in a kitchen, a young girl hugs his neck

Create a talking animal

Find ideas and inspiration to create animal characters for your very own stories.

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Various materials sit on a table including a pair of colourful and decorated paper paws. Around these are colour pencils, scissors, a ruler, wool and a sharpener.

Paws with claws

Become a magical creature with this simple and sensory craft activity. Make paws with claws inspired by the wonderful and magical characters found in children’s books.

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A toy superhero made out of card

What makes a hero super?

Decide what makes your hero super and make your own superhero using just pens, paper, glue and scissors.

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comic book character

Create your own comic book character

What sort of characters do you want to see in a comic book? Plan, develop and draw your own characters with this guide.

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Woodrow Phoenixe’s guide to making your very own comic strip stories

Make your own comic strips

Follow Woodrow Phoenix’s guide to making your very own comic strip stories.

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Cartoon illustration of Omar in a stripy tshirt, from the front cover of Planet Omar, with doodles in background

The Book of Me

What if you were the main character in a story? What would the world of your story look like? What would happen?

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Collage photograph of a girl, with a red dress, wings and a crown

Star in your own fairy tale

Transform yourself into a character to star in a fairy tale or folktale. You could create a new tale of your own, or enter the world of a story you already know.

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Illustration of a large person holding a small bottle. A pink cloud is coming out of the bottle which contains the words 'big and small'

Big and small

Write a story about being miniature in a massive world, or a story in which you’re tall enough to reach the clouds.

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Go on a winter adventure

Let’s make up some wintery stories!

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A child, wolf and cat with wings play with a wintery scene

Create your own wintery place

Do you want to make a place that your characters can discover? How about a snowy forest?

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Hansel and Gretel stand in front of the gingerbread house surrounded by a forest

Story collector

Create your own collection of fairy tales and folktales from around the world, as told by you.

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Photograph of Joseph Coelho

Poetry prompts

Discover 10 unique ideas from Joseph Coelho for writing your own poetry. Will you be inspired to write a rhyme about eating a cheese sandwich, or make up your own wacky limericks?

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Lined piece of paper with handwritten notes by James Berry, titled 'A poem develops over stages'

Printable teaching resource: Create a classroom of poets

Download our Create a classroom of poets pack for Key Stage Two and get your pupils creating their own poems inspired by the work of some of our favourite poets. Featuring activities by Joseph Coelho and Laura Bridges.

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handwriting on yellow paper

Write your own nonsense dictionary

Roald Dahl invented over 500 words and character names, many of them forming The BFG’s invented language 'gobblefunk'. Explore our ideas for making up your own language and write a dictionary for it.

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Various small illustrations, a person playing a saxophone, a scubadiver sitting at a desk, an alien, a UFO, a castle, a wicth on a broomstick

Create an imaginary school

Dream up ideas and write a story about an imaginary school. It could be a fantastical place: a school in a castle, one on another planet, one that bounces or disappears or that floats in a bubble.

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Create your own cookbook

Dream up some magnificent recipes for your very own cookbook.

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A clown jumping in the air, with chairs toppling below him

Story soundtrack

Find out how to make a weird and wonderful soundtrack for a story.

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Ouline images of two children in pyjamas. The text says 'colour me in please!' The images is drawn by Sir Quentin Blake

Colouring sheets created by Quentin Blake

Print out and colour these brilliant colouring sheets by Quentin Blake

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With pens and art equipment scattered across a desk, in the middle of the frame is an illustration of the Gruffalo.

Axel Scheffler: How to draw a Gruffalo

Follow Axel Scheffler’s process from pencil to paint, as he shows you how to draw your very own Gruffalo. We’ll give you a hint… start with the horns! You’ll be perfecting your own characters in no time.

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Axel Scheffler: The evolution of the Gruffalo

How do you go from a bright idea in your head, to a picture book in your hands? In this video, Axel Scheffler reveals how he transformed a few descriptors – purple prickles, poisonous wart and knobbly knees – into the Gruffalo we know and love.

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A painting of a fox in progress

Axel Scheffler: Top 3 tips for budding illustrators

In a picture book, illustrations are just as important as words to bring a story to life. In this video Axel Scheffler, illustrator of the well-loved Gruffalo books, gives his top tips for budding artists.

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a lady in a artists studio working on a picture

Viviane Schwarz: How to develop a character

What do you think an angry shape would look like? How would your angry shape turn into a character in a story? In this video, writer and illustrator Viviane Schwarz shows us some unusual techniques for coming up with your characters.

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doodles on cut out pieces of paper on a workbench

Viviane Schwarz: How to find out more about your character

You know what your characters look like, but to write a story you need to find out who they are. Do they have a favourite food? What are they afraid of? Viviane Schwarz talks us through her simple steps for getting to know your characters.

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Pastels arranged in a circle

Viviane Schwarz: Making a story

Once you’ve got your characters, you can get started on your story. In this clip Viviane Schwarz shows us how she creates an illustration, with lots of colour and collage. Why not grab some scraps of paper and a paintbrush, and see where your imagination takes you?

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Illustrations of homemade theatres, dragons, books, ships and treasure maps from the Once upon an Adventure activity pack

Printable activity pack: Once upon an adventure

Print out our brand new activity pack and embark on an adventure with Little Red Riding Hood, the cheeky Wolf and your own wild imagination!

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Photo of a completed V fold pop-up book page. The page has pop-up green mountains in front of which are a pink dragon and an orange wizard

Pop-up Book technique: V fold

Surprise yourself as you open the page with this classic pop-up book method.

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Still from video showing illustration of a treasure chest and colouring pencils

Pop-up Book technique: Lift the Flap

What's inside your treasure chest? Who's knocking at your door? What will you see when you open your book cover? Easy to make and easy to operate, a flap is a wonderful way of concealing something. Lift the flap and something else is revealed!

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Photo of a completed theater pop-up book page. The page depicts Red curtains with a Minotaur climbing through a window. A man in a toga waves a sword at the monster.

Pop-up Book technique: Theatre book

Imagine you’re eagerly sitting in the audience of a glamorous theatre. When the curtains are pulled back, who do you want to see on the stage? With this activity you can make your very own 3D pop up theatre and set the scene!

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A handwritten list of ingredients sits on a table and is surrounded by materials like a feather, rose petals, string wool and coffee beans.

Imaginary Soup

Would you like to eat a soup full of scrumptious rat tails, a handful of witch's warts, and just a pinch of giant’s nose hair? Find inspiration from your favourite books and create your own imaginary and sensory soup full of silly, awful and maybe even terrible ingredients.

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banner image for make a giant book activity showing items you need

Build a giant book

What kind of books do you think giants would read? Have a go at making a book worthy of a giant’s bookshelf using materials found around your home or school.

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A cut-out figure placed beneath an orange

Create a miniature adventure

Create an illustrated adventure story, exploring what it would be like to be really small.

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Thumbnail crop for miniature books by famous authors showing Axel Scheffler with some mini books

Miniature books by your favourite authors

Delve into tiny, handmade books by Jacqueline Wilson, Axel Scheffler, Philip Ardagh, Joseph Coelho,Katherine Rundell, Viviane Schwarz and Jane Porter. Then get tips for writing your own mini book from author, S F Said.

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A selection of craft materials spread out on a desk.

Make a mini book

Find out how to make a tiny book. Will you make an adventure tale, a recipe book, a computer game guide or a history of Ancient Egypt?

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A bookshelf containing images of miniature handmade books. The bookshelves are made from two tree trunks, and friendly insects sit on and around them.

The National Library of Miniature Books

Children across the country have contributed to the National Library of Miniature Books. Enjoy browsing their little volumes on bookshelves illustrated by Axel Scheffler.

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Further themes

All activities

Get creative with activities for children of all ages. Invent your own superhero, make a pop-up book and much more.

Animals that talk

From fantastical medieval beasts to Winnie the Pooh and Varjak Paw, meet the wonderful creatures that bring children’s books to life.

Behaving and misbehaving

From strict behaviour manuals to rebellious rule-breakers, explore the morals and mischief at the heart of children’s books.

Big and small

From books that fit in the palm of your hand to Roald Dahl’s Big Friendly Giant, find out how children’s writing plays with ideas of size and scale.

Changing the world

From campaigns against slavery to climate change resistance, discover the power of children’s books to fight for a better world.

Fairy tales and folktales

From Red Riding Hood to Hua Mulan, from Anancy to Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes, read ancient stories and playful new tales from around the world.


Face your fears by exploring the most spine-tingling stories, from dark and enchanting fairy tales to Coraline and Haunted House.


From Alice in Wonderland’s bottles to baby bear’s perfect porridge, discover the temptations of food in children’s books.

Home and belonging

How do children’s books explore questions of home, family and belonging? Delve into books by Jacqueline Wilson, Errol Lloyd and many more.


Learn the secrets of writers and artists from Jacqueline Wilson to Zanib Mian, with these exclusive interviews and tips for budding authors.


Set off on magical journeys or real voyages of migration, from Gulliver’s Travels and Treasure Island to Sarah Garland’s Azzi in Between.

Go deeper

Explore our themes in more detail and find more fascinating facts in these illustrated articles by scholars and children’s authors.

Magic and fantasy

Free your imagination with tales of mystery and magic, from medieval phoenixes to Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights.


Find out how children’s books use funny jokes, strange secrets and pictures to give you information about people, places, science and history.

Poetry, nursery rhymes and wordplay

From rude and ridiculous rhymes to inspiring verses and poems, explore centuries of nonsense, poetry and wordplay for children.

Pop-up and moveable books

From the earliest noisy books to brilliant modern pop-ups, find out how pages spring to life at the pull of a flap or tab.

School stories and reading tools

From 2,000-year-old homework to the latest classroom antics, discover books full of brainboxes, weird teachers and troublemakers.