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 been 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 - including a Creativity Summer Camp!. Keep checking the Home Time page to stay up to date.

Our former Illustrator in Residence Ed Vere has been sharing lots of fun How to Draw videos. Stay tuned on Home Time for lots more, too!

Find resources and activities

  • Art and drawing

    • Nick Sharratt has some very simple draw-alongs on his YouTube channel for little ones to try.
    • Claire Powell has a brilliant archive of children's art activities on her website, and under the hashtag #letsmakeartforfun on Instagram and Twitter.
    • Grumpycorn illustrator Sarah McIntyre has 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. 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 has lots of fun to her website - you'll find drawalong videos and downloadable worksheets.
    • The ace illustrator Sav Akyüz has a section on his website, featuring fun videos and colouring sheets.
    • Visit illustrator Ben Rothery's website for The Bestiary, a collection of free wildlife facts, downloadable colouring sheets and more!
    • Illustrator Nicola Colton has Draw-Alongs with the Jasper and Scruff books on her YouTube channel.
    • Oi Cat! author Jim Field has shared drawing lessons over on his website.
    • Comedian and author-illustrator Olaf Falafel has shared half hour Art Club lessons on YouTube.
    • Matt Sewell has 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.
  • For children aged 4-5

    • Julia Donaldson has launched the second series of her hugely popular weekly broadcasts, performing songs, stories and poems with her friends and collaborators. Julia’s weekly broadcasts are currently shared on Thursdays at 4pm:
    • The Hay Festival have shared all of their school events to watch for free on their website, including Welsh language workshops, early years ideas, and 'Hay Level' classes arranged by subject and aimed at older children.
    • Unipiggle creator Hannah Shaw has lots of videos and activities on her website.
    • Poet and author Michael Rosen has lots of videos aimed at children, as well as read-alongs, fun facts, and poetry challenges, on his website.
    • Amazing author and illustrator Lydia Monks is sharing lots of lovely draw-alongs and storytimes on her YouTube channel.
    • Author Julia Donaldson has shared lots of lovely videos where she and her friends perform much-loved stories, songs and poems over on the Scholastic website.
    • Clubs4Kids are holding a lots of different French language lessons on Facebook. 
    • Puffin Storytime have lots of fun on their YouTube channel, including storytime and draw-alongs from some fantastic authors and illustrators, including Dapo Adeola and Ed Vere.
    • The fab Caryl Hart and Jonathan Emmett have a brilliant Facebook page featuring past events with picture book authors and illustrators. You can also find more resources on Caryl's website and lots of Scribble Street fun here
    • 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 has lots of videos on 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!
    • Satoshi Kitamura has created a lovely Magic Show activity based on the book 'Hat Tricks'.
  • For children aged 6-8

    • The Hay Festival have shared all of their school events to watch for free on their website, including Welsh language workshops, early years ideas, and 'Hay Level' classes arranged by subject and aimed at older children.
    • Poet and author Michael Rosen has lots of videos aimed at children, as well as read-alongs, fun facts, and poetry challenges, on his website.
    • Author and illustrator of The Bear and the Piano David Litchfield has video readings and drawing sessions on his YouTube channel.
    • Lao Lao of Dragon Mountain author Margaret Bateston-Hill has online story videos and crafts as well as book bingo and word searches on her website.
    • The Boy Who Grew Dragons author Andy Shepherd has a teacher's pack and video writing prompt, plus lots of fun activities, over on her website. You can also hear her reading the whole book here.
    • Tuesdays 2-3pm: Author SF Said will be doing a live Twitter chat, answering questions about his books. Teachers and caregivers can ask him questions from children using the hashtag #whatSFSaid.
    • LitFilmFest have lots of videos with authors and illustrators on their YouTube channel, plus resources and writing prompts for all Key Stages.
    • Academy Award winning filmmaker Taika Waititi and a roll call of Hollywood royalty teamed up to retell Roald Dahl’s beloved story James and the Giant Peach. Each of the ten storytelling episodes 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. Watch episode one here.
    • Author Andy Shepherd has shared videos of herself reading, The Boy Who Grew Dragonson YouTube. There's also a mini dragon story, which you can do your own illustrations for!
    • Justin Davies reads his hilarious books over on his YouTube channel.
    • John Dougherty reads an unpublished story on his YouTube channel: start here!
    • Mondays at 4pm: Author Matt Brown has shared storytime videos on his Facebook, followed by chat about different types of writing, and encouraging kids to get creative (it's aimed at 7-11 year-olds).
    • Sam Copeland reads 20 minute episodes of his book Charlie Changes Into a Chicken as part of Puffin Storytime.
    • Andy Stanton has posted storytime videos of books including 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 also host '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.
    • The awesome Emer Stamp has loads of fun videos on her YouTube page - check them out here.
    • The quirky author Philip Ardagh has lots of quirky fun over on his YouTube channel, including readalongs and tours of his house! 
    • Andy Seed has 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.
    • Head to Joanna Nadin's YouTube page to see her reading from her Penny Dreadful series!
    • Paula Harrison has uploaded some great creative ideas to her website, including making a Kitty superhero mask!
    • Gill Lewis has shared videos about writing tips and building a bug hotel over at her website, and has lots of other fun activities to try too.
    • Author Events Online is a Facebook page featuring lots of author and illustrator videos and past live sessions. 
    • Poet Joshua Seigal has lots of fun poems to read for free on his website.
    • Tom Percival has storytime readings on his YouTube channel 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.
    • 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

    • The Soul Hunters author Chris Bradford has recorded a virtual author visit (with an accompanying activity pack and competition!) to help support teachers and parents with home schooling and encourage reading. This event will be accessible for free until 12th March.
    • The Hay Festival have shared all of their school events to watch for free on their website, including Welsh language workshops, early years ideas, and 'Hay Level' classes arranged by subject and aimed at older children.
    • LitFilmFest have lots of videos with authors and illustrators on their YouTube channel, plus resources and writing prompts for all Key Stages.
    • Author Chris Bradford has recorded a virtual school visit based on his new book The Soul Hunters, complete with an activity pack and a creative writing competition! Find it all here.
    • Author Emma Carroll is sharing free online writing lessons, starting Tuesday 12 January at 10am. Full details on her website.
    • Author Tom Palmer, in collaboration with the Literacy Trust, the Lake District Holocaust Project, and UCL, has produced a range of Holocaust Memorial Day resources.
    • Susan Moore reads aloud from her Nat Walker trilogy published by Nosy Crow on her YouTube channel.
    • Author Jeff Norton reads his fab book Alienated on his YouTube channel
    • Weekdays at 2.30pm: Join Piers Torday on Instagram Live and YouTube as he'll be sharing a live reading of his fab book The Dark Wild - a chapter a day! It's also worth following Piers on Twitter to keep up with what he's doing - he's always sharing fun and creative resources.
    • Join Lisa Thompson's Lockdown Library on Instagram Live - she'll be chatting about books, reading and writing and suggesting some creative writing prompts, too.
    • Try Puffin Storytime's Story Starters, helping children discover their next read with extracts from books by Puffin authors. 
    • Tony Lee has lots of great vides on Facebook, adapting 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 website.
    • Murder Most Unladylike author Robin Stevens has plenty of creative writing prompts on her website.
    • Justin Somper, author of Vampirates, has 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.
    • Gillian Cross shared some story starters on her Facebook page to encourage creative writing. The prompts are still there, so get scribbling!
    • Author Jasbinder Bilan has some creative writing activities on her YouTube channel, including a write-along of her book, Asha and the Spirit Bird.
  • For children aged 12+

    • The Hay Festival have shared all of their school events to watch for free on their website, including Welsh language workshops, early years ideas, and 'Hay Level' classes arranged by subject and aimed at older children and teens.
    • LitFilmFest have lots of videos with authors and illustrators on their YouTube channel, plus resources and writing prompts for all Key Stages.
    • Author Chris Bradford has recorded a virtual school visit based on his new book The Soul Hunters, complete with an activity pack and a creative writing competition! Find it all here.
    • 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 has recorded readings of his book Floodland and posted the videos on his website. Listen and watch here. 
  • Teaching resources from publishers

    • Stratford Literary Festival have launched Authors for Schools, offering schools a free package of author events to inspire children learning remotely. The project includes recorded events from Michael Rosen, Sita Brahmachari and Frank Cottrell Boyce among others. View the events here.
    • British Library Learning have a fantastic hub of free resources for primary teachers and parents to share with little ones, inspired by children's books. 
    • Tiny Owl Books have lots of wonderful free online material for children and resources for teachers.
    • 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. Head over to the Facebook page for videos of education consultant and former teacher Catherine Millar's series of interviews 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 of unmissable activities on their website.
    • The poet Joseph Coelho has a huge Twitter thread full of ideas, resources and activities! You can find it here.
    • Konnie Huq's YouTube channel is for parents and caregivers homeschooling children, and is full of fun, educational videos. 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 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 have shared lots of videos on their YouTube channel, 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 an incredible hub of resources designed to help children and parents cope with the challenge of learning at home. They also have lots of brilliant book based activities. Download everything on their website.
    • Egmont previously shared 14 Stories in 14 Days, with 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 activity sheets and resources to keep children busy, entertained, and inspired - including Nosy Crow book at Bedtime, Nosy Crow Storytime, and lots of videos.
    • 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 have shared lots of videos on their YouTube channel.
    • 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! 
    • BBC and Scottish Book Trust Authors Live have an amazing array of video workshops with top children’s authors and illustrators.
    • CILIP, the UK's library and information association, has launched the National Shelf Service, featuring YouTube videos with book recommendations from professional librarians.
    • 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.
    • DK have a brilliant Stay Home Hub, a resource for adults and children focusing on home learning and activities such as recipe ideas, fitness content and gardening advice. There are also videos from DK’s authors and experts on DK’s Instagram account.
    • 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 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 including fabulous authors Taylor Dolan and Louisa Reid.
    • Wacky Bee Books have 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.
    • Tate Kids have lots of fun activity sheets, quizzes, and arty projects to try at home over on their website.
    • bsmall have added lots of teaching resources and activities to their bumper blog post and activity hub.
    • 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 book for little ones which also supports the NHS, Make Believe Ideas have 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.
      • Illustrator Sarah Dennis has made a free 'Thank you NHS' heart download for children to cut and and colour in.
      • Author Natalie Costa has lots of video sessions 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 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.


Try a quiz

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