I can’t claim to have grown up with much awareness of religious diversity, and I can’t claim to be one way better or worse off for it, but I do know that my children are growing up in a much different way and in a very different place to the close, conservative, and supportive community that I did, so I think it’s important for them to learn two things: 1) Tolerance for other religions, 2) an understanding of other religions in relation to what I believe, and what I hope they will believe. Religious observances are also different now, and sometimes more commercial – for example the Colour Run, based on the Holli celebration, or locally, we have Electric Woods, where Robin Hill lights up the autumn nights inspired by Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights. While we could just go and enjoy the prettiness, I think there’s value in explaining what it is that we’re exposing ourselves to, so that the children can learn something about ‘other people’. As it was, the Electric Woods event saw us walking through the woods at Robin Hill enjoying the cold evening air, listening to music and looking at light displays. It was a lovely evening out, fuelled by hot chocolate. Read more: Learning About the Hindu Festival Of Diwali
Last year my children had watched most of the Roald Dahl movies available on the market, but we hadn’t read any of the books, so our Roald Dahl inspired arts and crafts were varied and mixed. Over the last few weeks we’ve been reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, however, so all our activities the last few weeks have been around that.
Next week we’ll be working on Matilda, so check back in if you love that book too!
PIN THIS: There are two versions of the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie:
And there is the book, famously illustrated by Quentin Blake
While we like having fun with our ‘themes’ as we call them, I do try to bring elements of learning into them too. Remembering that my children are 5 & 3, I do keep things pretty simple, but I’m quite excited about the possibilities of redoing all these themes in years to come, and seeing how much they have grown in their understanding, and how much ‘deeper’ we can go on each topic.
Having watched the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie and read the book, I decided to do a reading comprehension ‘test’. I designed a comparison chart, so Ameli could compare what happens in the book with what happens in the movie, and also make a note of major things that happen in a similar fashion. For example, in the book, Mr Bucket tells them about the golden ticket competition, in the movie, Charlie sees the posters going up.
Sticking with the loose ‘English’ or ‘Language Learning topic, we decided to make up words, something Roald Dahl is incredibly good at! This little making up words activity went down a charm, and made an amazing platform for telling our own stories.
I use the word math very lightly here, but since we’re starting out, we used measuring a bag of candies as an introduction to units of measurement.
It’s Charlie and the CHOCOLATE factory, so we had to get some inventing with chocolate going – I went for the easy option and made Jazzies, with DIY decorations for my little inventors. Not all the creative activities this weeks should include tons of sugar, so we decided to make our own party decor. We made giant lollipops, giant boiled sweets, and giant lollipop swirls. This was a great afternoon’s paper sweet crafting.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a great theme for introducing some science too – see what happens with popping candy when you pour water, coke and then vinegar into three different bowls and top them with popping candy. Measure jelly babies and put them in a bowl over night – how much did they grow? Put boiled sweets (the kind with stripes on them) into a bowl with a few drops of water. What happens to the sweets? How do the colours disperse? Could you do it on paper and see what happens with the colours? Does the paper remain in tact? Put boiled sweets in mould and put them into the oven. When they melt, do the colours mix? Do they retain their shape? Do they re-set into their new shapes? There are loads of candy experiments you can try!
At the end of a long and exciting week of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, everyone needs a good, long, relaxing bath, so this Chocolate Bath Salt recipe smells delicious, and helps induce a deep sleep too.
Printable Unit Plan
Click on this image for a downloadable, printable study unit plan.
What have other Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fans been up to?
- Wayfair has a fab roundup of Roald Dahl activities (I know it’s fab, because our post from last year is in there too 😉 )
- Verily Victoria Vocalises actually went to see the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory show in London. She tells us all about what looks like a fantastic performance here. Also, if you’re able to make it to London soon, Amazon Local has a fantastic offer on the tickets right now*!
- Treading on Lego has a great recipe for Chocolate Play Dough which would be a great alternative to DIY Jazzies too – or just another activity to do!
- Gramma Luvlee has an amazing list of party games for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – super imaginative!
One of my friends told me once that she loved my blog, because I don’t post perfect crafts and that makes her feel like a normal mama when their crafts and projects don’t come out perfect. Well, this one is for everyone who ever has not-as-planned-cakes.
We received The Carrot Cake Catastrophe by Elizabeth Dale (Author) and Gemma Raynor (Illustrator) from Paragon a few months ago as part of the Paragon Book Buddies project and today we decided it was time to go read it.
Instead of making it into a standard round cake, however, we poured the cake dough into gingerbread man shapes, since our PlayLearning theme this week is around the human body.
Well, it didn’t really work out. The dough is way too moist and the resulting cake way too crumbly for it to work that way. It was still absolutely delicious though. So our cake may have turned out a bit of Catastrophe too, but it was still way, way better than Grandpa’s cake from the book.
In this story, a little girl and her grandfather decide to make a cake for her mama’s birthday. That’s all fine and well, but with his glasses on Grandpa can read the instructions, but not identify the ingredients, so he ends up adding soap instead of butter, and so on. Yum. They head into the garden for fresh, juicy carrots, and stir them into the batter – without grating or chopping! It’s a recipe for disaster, for sure.
In the end the birds eat the cake – apparently they don’t mind the soap – and Mama saves the day with a previously baked cake.
At the end of the book there’s the recipe Grandpa and the little girl followed, with instructions, so you can make it at home too.
It’s a very basic carrot cake, making it ideal for little bakers. Even though I’m a very proud and happy Thermomix owner, I think it’s essential that Ameli and Aviya learn to cook the ‘old fashioned’ way, including weighing, measuring and a bit of elbow grease.
The sign of a great children’s book for me is when the girls remember it later. We had to walk to the shop for cream cheese for the icing, and Ameli laughed suddenly, saying she’s glad we didn’t put soap in our cake! She asked me what ‘bitter’ meant (I said it would probably taste bitter from the soap), and asked about the meaning of other words… I love when they learn without knowing they are.
An all round lovely story, great for preparing for birthdays as we are this week – can’t believe Aviya is coming up for two! – and just a bit of fun and a laugh. Lovely.