Fun at home with authors and illustrators

Looking for ways to entertain your children while they're at home? Authors, illustrators and organisations have loads of stuff for you to try...

 Girl reading at home illustration by Hannah Shaw

We know that it might be a bit overwhelming trying to keep your children busy and entertained when they're at home for long periods of time. But don't worry! Lots of top authors and illustrators have come up with fun stuff for your family to do.

Keep checking back as this page will be regularly updated with everything that's going on, so you can help keep your children's love of books and reading alive - and enjoy yourselves at the same time, too!

You might also like to check out the hashtags #BookTrustHomeTime and #UnitedByBooks on Twitter and Instagram.

Find out what your local library has to offer - including ebooks and audio

What are BookTrust doing?

Our Waterstones Children's Laureate Cressida Cowell has loads of great stuff planned! She's reading How to Train Your Dragon chapter-by-chapter and suggesting activities to try, as well as organising lots of other fun stuff for your children. Keep checking the Home Time page to stay up to date.

And our Illustrator in Residence Ed Vere has some big plans too! First up, he'll be sharing How to Draw a Lion - stay tuned on Home Time for lots more, too. He'll be sharing fun how-to-draws on his social media every Friday.

Find resources and activities

  • Art and drawing

    • Daily at 10am: Claire Powell has been doing a children's art activity under the hashtag #letsmakeartforfun on Instagram and Twitter.
    • Daily at 11am: Head over to Instagram or Twitter, where you'll be able to join Steve Antony for lots of fun! On Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays he'll be hosting a Draw a Story masterclass for children aged 6+, while Thursdays will feature tips for aspiring picture book makers and Fridays will be for little ones, with Mr Panda Friday. 
    • The brilliant illustrator Sarah McIntyre is posting lots of fun activities on her Twitter page. She's also launching a #DrawingWithSarah series on her YouTube channel, and you can find loads of other fun activities on her website.
    • Unipiggle author Hannah Shaw is hosting free writing and drawing activities and resources on her website and on YouTube - You can follow her on Instagram, where she'll be posting more story and drawing videos. There is also an easy option drawing guide to print out.
    • Head over to Steven Lenton's YouTube channel for some great Drawalong videos! 
    • Pippa Pixley is adding a lot of fun to her website - you'll find drawalong videos and downloadable worksheets.
    • The ace Sav Akyüz has added a new section to his website, featuring fun videos and colouring sheets.
    • Illustrator Ben Rothery has launched The Bestiary, a collection of free wildlife facts, downloadable colouring sheets and more! He'll be updating every week with new activities.
    • Illustrator Nicola Colton is posting Draw-Alongs with the Jasper and Scruff books on her YouTube channel
    • Oi Cat! author Jim Field is posting drawing lessons over on his website.
    • Comedian and author-illustrator Olaf Falafel is hosting a weekly half hour Art Club at 11am from Monday 6 April. Check out his activities on YouTube.
    • Phaidon have launched a set of free activity packs for children which come with a host of activities, from cutting out to cooking and colourin-in. View the packs here.
    • Matt Sewell has launched a series of live drawing workshops on Instagram called the Spotting and Jotting Club.
    • Children's book author and illustrator Emma Lazell is sharing videos and sketchbooks on her Instagram.
    • Picture-book creator Lucy Freegard has shared some readings of her books on YouTube.
    • Lisa Stickley has shared a step-by-step craft video of Cardboard Susan the Hippo from My New Room on her Instagram.
    • Steve Weatherill is posting daily puzzles, how-to-draws and activities on his Twitter feed.
  • For children aged 4-5

    • Thursdays at 4pm: Author Julia Donaldson is sharing a weekly broadcast, where she and her friends perform much-loved stories, songs and poems over on Facebook and the Scholastic website.
    • Mondays at 6.30pm: bsmall are holding a French Storytime with Clubs4Kids on Facebook. These stories are best for younger children but may suit children as old as 8.
    • Mondays and Fridays, 3.30pm: Puffin Storytime are hosting twenty minutes of storytime and draw-alongs from some fantastic authors and illustrators, including Dapo Adeola and Ed Vere.
    • Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11am: Join the wonderful Emily Gravett on her Instagram page - on Tuesdays, she'll be reading one of her books, and then on Thursdays she'll be hosting a drawalong of a character from that book!
    • The fab Caryl Hart and Jonathan Emmett have set up a brilliant Facebook page where they'll be hosting live events with picture book authors and illustrators - definitely worth a follow. You can also find more resources on Caryl's website and lots of Scribble Street fun here
    • Rob Biddulph's drawalongs on social media have been proving very popular - he's even been on TV and radio talking about them, and now he's aiming to go one step further by breaking the Guinness World Record for largest ever online art lesson! Make sure you join in the fun.  
    • Author Michelle Robinson has heaps of stuff to try, from activity sheets to writing tips - find it by following her on Twitter.
    • Benji Davies has set up a YouTube channel and will be posting videos there - he's already popped up a reading of The Storm Whale from his garden!
    • Illustrator Viviane Schwarz has loads of fun videos to enjoy on her website!
    • I Like To Put Food In My Welly and What Can You See? author Jason Korsner is adding videos to his YouTube channel of him reading his books aloud in his garden. His channel also features some interesting videos of illustrators talking about how they come up with their ideas!
    • Illustrator Paula Bowles is sharing storytime videos of her reading Superkitty on her social media channels, as well as offering some lovely giveaways.
    • Satoshi Kitamura has created a lovely Magic Show activity based on the book 'Hat Tricks'.
    • Clarice Bean and Charlie and Lola author Lauren Child is sharing a series of fun creative projects for children to do at home as part of 'School of Bob'. 
  • For children aged 6-8

    • Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays at 6pm: Academy Award winning filmmaker Taika Waititi has teamed up with a roll call of Hollywood royalty to retell Roald Dahl’s beloved story James and the Giant Peach. Each of the ten storytelling episodes will feature Taika, along with guest stars including Meryl Streep, Ryan Reynolds, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cara Delavigne, Chris and Liam Hemsworth, Cate Blanchett and Lupita Nyong’o. The first two episodes are available to view here, and episodes will be running through to Friday June 5th.
    • Daily: Author Andy Shepherd is reading all of her first book, The Boy Who Grew Dragonson YouTube, with new videos going up every day at 1.30. She's also releasing a mini dragon story, which you can do your own illustrations for!
    • Daily: Author Jeff Norton is reading a chapter of his fab book Alienated every day on his YouTube channel.
    • Daily: Justin Davies will be reading his hilarious books, a chapter a day, over on his YouTube channel.
    • Daily at 10am:John Dougherty is reading an unpublished story on his YouTube channel, updating it with new chapters every morning.
    • Daily at 2pm:Cyborg Cat author and Paralympic medallist Ade Adepitan will be livestreaming chapters from his first book and talking to guests on Instagram.
    • Weekdays (from March 25) at 12pm EST: Wonder fans will be thrilled to hear that author RJ Palacio will be reading the book every weekday (until she finishes it!) on Twitter live! Be careful with the timezone, though - the UK is four hours ahead at the moment, so tune in at 4pm, but from Monday, 30 March we'll be five hours ahead, so settle in at 5pm. (Phew!) 
    • Mondays at 4pm: Author Matt Brown will be reading his books on Facebook, followed by chat about different types of writing, and encouraging kids to get creative (it's aimed at 7-11 year-olds).
    • Mondays and Fridays at 11am: Tune in to the Waterstones Instagram for a #stayhome storytime reading of a new Little People, Big Dreams book from series author Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara. 
    • Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3.30pm: Sam Copeland will read 20 minute episodes of his book Charlie Changes Into a Chicken as part of Puffin Storytime.
    • Andy Stanton has already posted a video of himself reading Mr Gum and the Biscuit Billionaire - lots of silly fun to be had! You and your children might also enjoy his podcast Ask the Nincompoopsin which Andy and Carrie Quinlan answer children's questions in the most inaccurate ways they can think of - there are 18 episodes to listen to. Andy and Carrie are also posting 'Home Skoolin' with the Nincompoops', weekday videos in which they pick a word at random and use it as a springboard to fill your kids' heads with utterly delightful nonsense.
    • David Walliams is releasing an audiobook story for free every day - find links on his Twitter feed.
    • The awesome Emer Stamp has loads of fun videos on her YouTube page - check them out here.
    • Author Alex T Smith is posting some really fun story prompts on his Twitter page every day - he's also hosting Q&As and planning more bookish fun, like drawalongs.
    • The quirky author Philip Ardagh is having lots of quirky fun over on his YouTube channel, including readalongs and tours of his house! 
    • Andy Seed is hosting lots of fun resources on his website, including activities from his Anti-Boredom series and his nature books.
    • The fantastic Swapna Haddow has lots of fun activities on her website.
    • Brian Moses has lots of ideas to get children writing, along with poetry, reading recommendations and activities - find it on his website.
    • Head to Joanna Nadin's YouTube page to see her reading from her Penny Dreadful series every day!
    • Paula Harrison has started uploading some great ideas to her website, including making a Kitty superhero mask!
    • Gill Lewis is reading three chapters of Willow Wild Thing a day for five days over at her website.
    • Author Caryl Hart has created Author Events Online, an ongoing Facebook event featuring lots of author and illustrator videos and live sessions. 
    • Poet Joshua Seigal has lots of fun poems to read for free on his website.
    • Daily at 7pm: Tom Percival is doing a daily evening reading on his Twitter and YouTube channels for Attack of the Heebie Jeebies.
    • Jane Clarke has shared some video readings, including one of her Sky Private Eye twisted fairy tales on YouTube.
    • Paul Morton has created lots of downloads, videos, crafts, and even an edible frogspawn recipe around his new book, Bug Belly Babysitting Trouble. Check them out here.
    • Guy Bass has launched A Write Laugh, a funny writing competition for 5-13 year olds. Entry details can be found on the Little Tiger website and there are lots of top tips from Guy and other author friends on the Authorfy website. Nine winners will be published in a special free ebook and there is also a subscription to The Week Junior magazine and lots of funny books up for grabs. The competition closes on 31 May, so get writing!
    • Author Vashti Hardy has added a special Home Learning Support page to her website, which has lots of activities, challenges, videos and readings for fans to enjoy.
  • For children aged 9-11

    • Daily: author Stew Foster is reading a new chapter of Check Mates on his Instagram.
    • Daily at 5pm: Susan Moore is reading aloud from her Nat Walker trilogy published by Nosy Crow. 
    • Daily: Will Mabbitt is uploading a chapter of an unpublished book every day and inviting children to get involved: can they spot any mistakes, or suggest any plot changes? Get involved on Twitter.
    • Daily at 3.30pm: Kwame Alexander will be reading his novel The Crossover on Instagram Live with a Q&A to follow.
    • Weekdays at 2.30pm: Join Piers Torday on Instagram Live as he'll be sharing a live reading of his fab book The Last Wild - a chapter a day! He'll then be moving on to some of his other books. It's also worth following Piers on Twitter to keep up with what he's doing - he's currently planning some creative writing workshops.
    • Mondays at 9.30am: Join Lisa Thompson on Instagram Live - she'll be chatting about books, reading and writing and suggesting some creative writing prompts, too.
    • Tuesdays at 1pm: Every Tuesday, the wonderful Varjak Paw author SF Said will be hosting a live Twitter chat, answering questions about his books and chatting all things reading. You can send your questions to him and join in @whatSFSaid!
    • Wednesdays at 3.30pm: Puffin Storytime has launched Story Starters, helping children discover their next read with extracts from books by Puffin authors. The first episode features an extract from Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens.
    • Fridays at 4pm: Join author Tony Lee on Facebook Live as each week he adapts one of his Franklin Watts/Hachette ‘Bandits’ graphic novels into a readable story for kids! It's also worth following Tony on Twitter to keep up with what he's doing!
    • The wonderful Chris Riddell has posted audio of him reading his book Hugo Pepper - head to his Facebook page to find it.
    • The brilliant Ross Montgomery has put together some fantastic activities based on his books Space Tortoise and Max and the Millions, from drawing to crafts. Find them on his Twitter page.
    • Murder Most Unladylike author Robin Stevens will be hosting weekly creative writing prompts on her website.
    • Justin Somper, author of Vampirates, has launched a series of 15 creative pirate-themed challenges for children - from coming up with the name of a ship to the character of the captain, creating a shanty and deciding what happens when a stowaway comes aboard. Justin is aiming to post these every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
    • Gillian Cross is posting a new story starter every day on her Facebook page to encourage creative writing. 
    • Author Jasbinder Bilan is sharing some creative writing activities on her YouTube channel, including a write-along of her book, Asha and the Spirit Bird.
    • Guy Bass has launched A Write Laugh, a funny writing competition for 5-13 year olds. Entry details can be found on the Little Tiger website and there are lots of top tips from Guy and other author friends on the Authorfy website. Nine winners will be published in a special free ebook and there is also a subscription to The Week Junior magazine and lots of funny books up for grabs. The competition closes on 31 May, so get writing!
    • Dekko Comics have made their full series of educational comic books free to support children, teachers and parents. Aimed at 8-12 year olds, the comics teach subjects such as Maths, English, French, Biology, History and Geography. 
  • For children aged 12+

    • Daily at 12pm: Join Sarah Crossan on Instagram Live for chats about books and poetry workshops - this one's aimed at children 11+ and adults.
    • Daily at 5pm: Time to enjoy the brilliant Susin Nielsen reading a chapter from her wonderful book No Fixed Address! You can join her over on Twitter.
    • Frank Cottrell-Boyce is posting storytime videos on his Instagram feed.
    • Over on her website, Sara Grant has some fab activities for children, including a guide on how to write a mystery and some fun and games based on her Magic Trix books.
    • Author Marcus Sedgwick is recording a chapter of his book Floodland every day and posting the videos on his website. Listen and watch here. 
    • Guy Bass has launched A Write Laugh, a funny writing competition for 5-13 year olds. Entry details can be found on the Little Tiger website and there are lots of top tips from Guy and other author friends on the Authorfy website. Nine winners will be published in a special free ebook and there is also a subscription to The Week Junior magazine and lots of funny books up for grabs. The competition closes on 31 May, so get writing!
  • Teaching resources from publishers

    • 2pm Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: Lockdown Children’s Litfest is making the most of Covid-19 by bringing together children and their favourite authors to help promote a love of reading. Three times a week, education consultant & former teacher Catherine Millar is hosting a series of interviews on her Facebook page and YouTube channel with a diverse range of award-winning children’s authors including Candy Gourlay, SF Said, Emma Carroll, Katherine Woodfine, Bali Rai and Katherine Rundell. 
    • Metaphrog have loads planned that you won't want to miss! Not only are they posting activities on their website (with more coming every week), but from 30 March they're also unveiling pages from their new Bluebeard graphic novel, which is still scheduled for release! You'll be able to enjoy extracts every week.
    • The poet Joseph Coelho has a huge Twitter thread full of ideas, resources and activities! You can find it here.
    • Samantha Baines is posting fun activities on her Twitter page, including drawing and writing prompts.
    • Konnie Huq has launched a YouTube channel for parents and caregivers homeschooling children, which is updated with fun, educational videos on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 10am. Topics cover reading, writing, STEM, arts and crafts.
    • Sign up for a free account with Authorfy and you'll have access to online Author Masterclasses, complete with videos, resources, chapter readings, writing challenges and book extracts. They also have fun downloadable activity packs here and their 10 Minute Challenge looks fantastic: kicking off with Abi Elphinstone (and including the likes of MG Leonard, Cressida Cowell, David Baddiel, MG Leonard and HEAPS more, top authors and illustrators will be setting you fun tasks to try.
    • Audible UK have made hundreds of children's audiobooks available for free - get streaming here.
    • Andersen Press have loads of super-duper activities to download - find them all on their website here.
    • CLPE have heaps of and heaps of things to check out on their website, including videos of authors and illustrators and free teaching ideas.
    • Scholastic have set up a brand new learning hub featuring free home learning packs for you to try.
    • The publisher Child's Play has a dedicated Parent Zone featuring lots of fun activities to try, Q&As with authors and illustrators and more.
    • Little Tiger will be publishing a new video on their YouTube channel every day - each with a link to an activity to try. Expect readings and draw-alongs!
    • Another publisher sharing lots of fun activities is Magic Cat - head to their website or Instagram page to get involved.
    • QuartoKids have developed 12 themed booklists designed to help children and parents cope with the fresh challenge of learning at home. They're currently sharing three new lists every Friday and Monday - stay tuned to their Twitter for their latest lists. They also have lots of brilliant book based activities to download on their website.
    • Egmont are curating 14 Stories in 14 Days, making new content every day including videos and activity sheets focusing on a different book bundle with one title for little readers and one for older readers.
    • Nosy Crow have put together lots of free books, activities, resources and other content to keep children busy, entertained, and inspired - including Nosy Crow book at Bedtime, Nosy Crow Storytime, and lots of videos.
    • The National Emergency Library is offering thousands of books to download for free, with over 15,000 titles for children available.
    • The Stratford Literary Festival has launched a free-to-access page of online video content aimed at young children and parents and featuring bestselling authors and illustrators including Jeanne Willis, Steven Lenton, Rob Biddulph and many others.
    • New Frontier Publishing have put all their teaching resources together in one place to provide parents and children with lots of fun, educational activitiesm, and are collecting Storytime and How to Draw videos from their authors for their YouTube channel.
    • Faber have updated their website with lots of free children's resources including activity sheets and cross-curricular lesson plans, and will be updating their YouTube channel with lots of new videos in the coming weeks.
    • Scallywag Press have added lots of teaching resources and interactive exercises for their children's books to their website.
    • Cicada Books have created a fun teaching resource for the book Earth Shattering Events aimed at children aged 7-11. The books looks at the science behind the most extreme metereological and geological disasters in nature. Download both the book and the resource for free here.
    • Buster Books have updated their online resources with lots of activities for children, including free educational sheets to colouring in fun. There's also a free app for the incredibly popular Where's The Unicorn search and find book! 
    • Magic Cat have plenty of at-home activities for families to enjoy on their website! Follow them on Instagram to stay up to date with new uploads.
    • BBC and Scottish Book Trust Authors Live have an amazing array of video workshops with top children’s authors and illustrators.
    • Puffin have launched Puffin Storytime, bringing 20 minutes of storytime magic to homes daily at 3.30pm on weekdays - this will include readings and draw-alongs from their stellar list of authors and illustrators.
    • CILIP, the UK's library and information association, has launched the National Shelf Service, a daily YouTube video featuring book recommendations from professional librarians. The video features one librarian and one book recommendation each day, starting on Monday 6th April and continuing every weekday at 11am. 
    • RadioBlogging is a free daily show combined with blogging which children can actively join in with. There's a focus on creative writing and reading as well as language games on grammar, spelling and vocabulary, and the show regularly features special guests. Listen and get involved here.
    • Hachette have created a blog post which gathers together all of their authors' fantastic online content in one place. Take a look.
    • Bounce Marketing have shared a list of online resources provided by the publishers they work with.
    • HarperCollins have launched a Fun and Learning hub full of recommendations and activities for young readers of all ages.
    • Otter-Barry are sharing lots of fun activities on their website, including poetry workshops, drawing classes and colouring sheets. 
    • DK recently launched their Stay Home Hub, a resource for adults and children focusing on home learning and activities such as recipe ideas, fitness content and gardening advice. DK’s authors and experts have also been sharing daily videos on DK’s Instagram account and recently launched Stay Home Science Lab - a daily science lesson with experiments that children can do at home.
    • The prestigious Young Walter Scott prize, a UK-wide historical writing prize for 11-19 year olds, is now open for entries. The prize challenges young people to write a piece of short fiction set in a time before they were born. More details on the prize and how to enter are available here.
    • Simon and Schuster have compiled a page of picture book-focused activities and resources for younger children.
    • Pavilion have collated all their author resources, including lots of lovely activity packs, into a blog post on their website.
    • Oxford-based indie children’s publisher Guppy Books have launched The Guppy Aquarium, a new YouTube hub for readers and writers of children’s and YA fiction. The channel features videos from Guppy Book’s shoal of fantastic authors and illustrators and kicked off with fabulous authors Taylor Dolan and Louisa Reid.
    • Wacky Bee Books have launched an Activity Hub containing lots of fun resources and activities from their authors.
    • Check out author Anna James’ Bookwanderers YouTube channel where she interviews lots of fantastic authors about their books.
    • Lantana Books have shared a channel of read-alouds and activities from a diverse range of authors.
    • Manchester-based publisher ZunTold have launched a virtual platform, ZunTold Reads, on their YouTube channel providing engaging educational resources from a range of authors and titles, aimed from children as young as 8 to Young Adult fiction. Readings are Monday-Friday at 10am and 5pm.
    • Tate Kids have lots of fun activity sheets, quizzes, and arty projects to try at home over on their website.
    • May is National Share a Story Month! The Federation of Children's Books have shared lots of exciting resources such as booklists, facts, competitions and creative activities on their website on this year's theme: The Planet We Share. Take part in the conversation on social with the hashtag #NSSM2020. 
    • bsmall have added lots of teaching resources and activities to their bumper blog post and activity hub, which they are updating frequently.
    • Children's bookshop Moon Lane have started a HipHop Love Books lockdown project on their YouTube, which includes storytime sessions read by hiphop artists and special author and illustrator events.
  • COVID-19 resources for children and caregivers

      • If you're looking for a new book for little ones which also supports the NHS, Make Believe Ideas have recently published Hope the Rainbow Fairy, a gentle, positive story aimed at helping children understand the current stay at home guidelines. All proceeds from the book are donated to NHS Charities Together. They also have lots of fun, free, downloadable activity and colouring pages on their website.
      • A group of award-winning authors, including Candy Gourlay, are launching a project to encourage young people to keep diaries throughout the Coronavirus Crisis. The aim is to build an online archive and ultimately publish an anthology that can become part of the historic record of a time that has changed the world forever. Watch Candy's video about the project to get involved.
      • Illustrator Sarah Dennis has made a free 'Thank you NHS' heart download for children to cut and and colour in.
      • Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8.30am: author Natalie Costa is hosting a live Breakfast Boost session on her Facebook and Instagram channels, using tips and tricks from the Level Headers book series to help children feeling worried and anxious during lockdown.
      • Author Sally Nicholls has shared a free picture book, Staying Home, about a family of raccoons who are also in lockdown. The lovely book aims to help young children understand the importance of staying at home. Read it for free here or find out more about why Sally wrote it.
      • The Gruffalo creators Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler have shared twelve beautiful illustrations depicting their famous characters adjusting to social distancing, home-schooling and helping others during the COVID-19 crisis, as well as Scheffler illustrating a free coronavirus booklet aimed at children.
      • Renowned Australian children’s author, Anthony Bertani together with Dirt Lane Press, illustrator Jennifer Goldsmith and renowned actress Greta Scacchi have announced the worldwide launch of Where Happiness Hides - a free book for children in lockdown all about finding happiness in uncertain times.
      • Eoin McLoughlin and illustrator Polly Dunbar have created a lovely book available in both physical and ebook format called While We Can't HugIt's accompanied by this fabulous animation of Hedgehog and Tortoise.

BookTrust HomeTime

Looking for something fun as a family? Enjoy storytime with our free online books and videos, play games, win prizes, test your knowledge in our book-themed quizzes, or even learn how to draw some of your favourite characters.

Go to the HomeTime hub

More HomeTime fun

Storybooks and games

Interactive storybooks and games

Listen or read along with loads of stories, or play one of our interactive games.

Activities

Activities to print out and enjoy

Word searches, puzzles, colouring sheets and lots of creative inspiration. Print out our activity sheets to keep boredom at bay and have fun together.

Quizzes

Try a quiz

Test your knowledge of children's books with our fun quizzes - from Harry Potter to Roald Dahl.