40+ Activities to go with several books by David Melling

posted in: David Melling | 2


World Book Day is edging ever nearer and as the excitement builds I’ve been gathering ideas for activities at home and at school which would work well with the books by one of this year’s World Book Day author/illustrators, David Melling.

First up, some general resources about David Melling and his work:

  • Video interview with David Melling
  • Another interview with lots of background information
  • A third interview with David Melling
  • Lots of short video clips on David Melling’s website
  • A teaching guide for several David Melling books
  • David Melling’s website, blog, and twitter feed
  • Good Knight Sleep Tight


  • Create a sensory table with different materials that could be described at soft and/ or fluffy, such as feathers, cotton wool, sponge pieces, scraps of fabric. Have the children explore them, and fill pillow cases (or you could make mini ones) and decide which they think would be most comfortable. You could extend this activity to include other possible cushion fillers eg lentils, foam, straw.
  • Grab some nets and go fishing (though not necessarily for fish). Using cheap kids fishing nets (like these) play catching games; throw feathers or small balloons into the air and see how many the kids can catch.
  • Build nests. Here are some different ideas using twigs, string and tissue paper, and paper plates
  • The Kiss That Missed


  • Have a kiss blowing competition. Allow the kids to put lipstick on. Get them to kiss a piece of paper, leaving a lip mark. Cut out the kisses and then have the child place them on the palm of their hand and blow. You could experiment with different types of paper e.g. baking paper, tissue paper, card. At the end of the activity you could make a mobile with all your cut-out kisses
  • Make a dragon mask. There are printable dragon masks here, here and here.
  • Let the children decorate the room with a roll of gold crepe paper weaving it around furniture until it finally lands somewhere with a big kiss (a gold starburst made out of card). A smaller scale version of this would be to give the kids gold pens/pencils and let them doodle a flowing line on paper. They could also use glue and gold glitter, or glue and string with glitter.
  • Here’s a free sequencing activity for the Kiss that Missed.
  • Use the Kiss that Missed to support PSHE work; as an inspiration for writing stories about what would happen/how children would/might feel if they didn’t get a goodnight kiss, and as a springboard for writing cards to send to people they care about.
  • Hugless Douglas


  • Lots of teaching ideas including a link to book trailer video
  • A Mothers day card activity based on Hugless Douglas
  • A Hugless Douglas dot-to-dot
  • Hugless Douglas “spot the difference” pictures
  • How to draw Hugless Douglas
  • 12 page Hugless Douglas activity pack inc a maze, colouring in and a cut and out and make mobile
  • We Love You, Hugless Douglas!


  • Play Hide and Seek!
  • Make milkshakes! Here are lots of milkshake recipes, providing good opportunities for kids to practise following instructions and measuring things out.
  • Create a lucky dip stall with leaves (dried, real, or cut out of green paper). Kids can pull out an object and use it as inspiration for writing a story.
  • Make toy helmets like the bunnies wear. Decorate plastic bowls (with collage or permanent pens) and use string/ribbon/elastic to hold in place.
  • Make flower necklaces like the cows wear. Here’s one tutorial, and here’s another.
  • Don’t Worry Douglas


  • Dressing up with a variety of hats. Fill a box with all sorts of headwear from woolly hats to fancy hats (charity shops are a good source).
  • Wool/string painting ie using a length of wool in place of a paintbrush. Let the Children Play shows you how.
  • Wool/string collage: Dip pieces of wool in runny PVA glue and then stick onto paper, creating interesting shapes. For added interest use different types of wool.
  • Make hats. Here are tutorials for a jester hat, paper plate hats, rainbow hats, and old fashioned paper hats.
  • Hugless Douglas and the Big Sleep


  • Create a warren out of cardboard boxes: Source as many large cardboard boxes as you can (eg from a white goods shop) and tape them together to create a warren of tunnels children can explore, perhaps ending up in a tent where everyone could read a story. If you can’t source cardboard boxes you could make tunnels using blankets draped over chairs, or you could borrow pop up tunnels like this one.
  • Provide a dressing up box with nighties, pyjamas, dressing gowns, slippers, hot water bottles, cuddly toys.
  • Simulate night time by making the room dark and then reading by torchlight

  • There’s also a great round up of activities to go with various Hugless Douglas books over on ChildLedChaos, everything from making woolly sheep to colourful spring branches.

    Don’t forget the official World Book Day resources to go with Hugless Douglas including a lesson plan and activity pack.

    The Tale of Jack Frost


  • Make Snow Beetles. Adapt this idea for a ladybird to create a snow beetle, paint stones, or use plaster of paris to make beetles.
  • Mix up potions and soups. Provide bottles of liquids and jars of (eg. out of date) dried foodstuffs, bowls and spoons and let the kids mix up their own potions and soups. If the weather is fine, let them mix mud outside.
  • Go on a hunt for Snail glue. Look for snail trails outside. See how many different types of snail you can collect.
  • Play with cabbage. Cabbage is great for vegetable prints and for making pH paper. Here’s a recipe for cabbage soup (the kids could shred the cabbage).
  • Play with frozen suns. Freeze lots of discs of ice in advance (in eg yoghurt/ice cream pot lids) and then let the kids play with them. You could mix in food colouring to make a variety of frozen suns. Add in some ice cubes and you’ve got lots of lovely sensory play.
  • Make frozen sunflowers. Paint sunflowers with watercolours, but before the paint is dry, sprinkle liberally with salt. As the paint dries the salt causes an interesting effect, and often ends up looking like a thin layer of crystals/ice covering the painting. Alternatively, let the kids “draw” sunflowers with runny glue. Sprinkle the glue with salt and then paint the salt with food colouring (here’s a tutorial).
  • Drink worm juice surprise. Using gummy worms, create a drink the kids can actually try. Perhaps use pink milk and have the gummy worms crawling over the rim of the cup.
  • A clip of the animated version of The Tale of Jack Frost.
  • The Scallywags


  • Set up a a role play photo booth. Create a mini set, with some dressing up clothes and using a children’s digital camera allow them to take photos of each other. Print off the photos and use them to create a display.
  • Use The Scallywags as a starting point for talking about manners and rules. Work as a group to draw up a list of manners they’d like the group to follow e.g. When having lunch together, or working together on a project.
  • More role play areas based on the activities the Scallywags get up to: Practice pouring tea with teapots and cups, wash, clean and dress baby dolls. You could read Whiffy Wilson by Caryl Hart and Leonie Lord to further explore issues of personal hygiene and cleanliness.

  • David Melling has written many more books (you can find a full list of his picture books here, and his fiction work here). Which is your favourite book by David Melling?

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