Heffalump – are you sure that’s the right spelling?

I’m afraid that this week’s blog is going to be something of a hotch potch. I started off inspired by Shelley’s blog about poetry a couple of weeks ago. I was thinking how much I enjoyed poems with strange words in them as a child – and how I can still quote parts by heart even now. My all-time favourite in this category is Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky and the following verse makes my point. What child could resist:

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,

And the mome raths outgrabe.

Plus, the mere thought of a manxom monster whiffling and burbling through a tulgey wood is wonderful!

So as well as your children thinking of rhymes, also encourage them to play with words. Get them to invent words – combining well-known words to make something exotic and different. You could make some suggestions. What do you get if you combine an elephant with a hippopotamus? Or a pterodactyl with a diplodocus? Then use the moveable alphabet or the sand tray and let them spell out their words. But remember – their word, their spelling.

Then I started searching for suitable monsters on the internet that children could use as inspiration if they wanted to create a Carroll-like poem of their own. And that’s when the National Geographic site for kids popped up and I went off at a tangent! If you’ve not seen this site before, it’s well worth a visit – it certainly distracted me for ages.

It provides games, videos, information on animals, countries and science. In fact, lots of information that you can take and then use as the basis for your own work with the children. In addition it’s got a ‘fun’ section which contains a list of ‘crafty’ ideas for things to make. There is a wide variety – from presents for Father’s Day, through adapting old shoes as decorative flower pots to making a costume for dressing-up as a lion. And most of them can be made using things you can obtain easily here at Artful Dodgers. So, when you’ve got a minute (or an hour) to spare, check it out. And I warn you – some of the games are not as easy as they look. Who said putting a snowflake back together after it had been turned into a jigsaw was childsplay?

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