English inspirations for bored children ( and anxious parents)

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Breathe Stories!

Read something imaginative, such as CS Lewis’ ‘Narnia’ series, which is wholesome family reading, or Tolkien”s ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ or Philip Pullman.

Read JK Rowling’s play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child together as a family, taking parts.

Read short stories – an excellent way of encouraging short-story writing.

Read together as a family, read to your children.

Listen to a wonderful storyteller, such as Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter – wonderful for long car journeys.

Visit a physical library such as Waterstones and ask for recommendations – librarians are wonderfully knowledgeable about young people’s books.

Tell stories – to your children about their childhood or yours.

Create stories about absolutely anything – the cow in the field, the pilot above, the family in the car next door, the baby rabbits nesting in the garden centre…

Create a family story: one person starts with an opening line and take it in turns to continue the story. Then try with the same first line and change the genre.

Watch stories come to life!

Go to the theatre– for instance The Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park to see stories enacted.

Watch films – not just in the cinema, but choose classics as an introduction to great literature.

Write a playsciptf or your family or friends to act out.


Stimulate vocabulary:

Have a colour day: how many different shades of green can you see and name?

(Use paint cards, crayon names and synonyms. Hint: colours are often compared to food, vegetation or jewels.)

Have a shape day, a sound day, a smelly day, a touching day….

Collect homonyms …can you make up jokes or puns using them?

Create newspaper headlines for the day’s events: can you make them alliterate or exaggerated?

Play a guessing game: describe an everyday object without using its name or use: refer to colour, size, weight, touch, scent. Comparing it to something else can be both helpful and mischievously off-putting!

Take clichés, idioms or similes and turn them into your own original creations.

Have a rhyming hour – every sentence needs to end with your chosen rhyme.



Find instructions on anything: cereal packets, toys, notices and try to turn them into a rap.

Make up a series of haiku on a theme: sweets, dogs, balls…

Write someone else’s diary - a character from your book, your pet, a coin…

Write a thank you letter to someone who deserves it.

Most of all, play with words and have fun!