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...
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!
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 Wednesday and Friday, and join him on Thursday evenings at 6pm on social media for a bedtime story!
Art and Drawing
- Daily at 10am: Claire Powell has been doing a children's art activity under the hashtag #letsmakartforfun 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 follow her on Instagram, where she'll be posting some story and drawing videos.
- 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.
For children aged 4-5
- 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! 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'.
For children aged 6-8
- 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 Nincompoops, in 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.
For children aged 9-11
- On Friday 10 April at 10am, Chris Bradford is hosting The Biggest Worldwide Virtual Author Visit Ever! Join Chris, author of the Young Samurai and Bodyguard series, for a virtual author visit on YouTube, where you'll discover the skills needed to become a young samurai, witness a dynamic book reading, and then complete your training.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Teaching resources and activities
- 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.
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.
Storybooks and games
Listen or read along with loads of stories, or play one of our interactive games.
Word searches, puzzles, colouring sheets and lots of creative inspiration. Print out our activity sheets to keep boredom at bay and have fun together.
Test your knowledge of children's books with our fun quizzes - from Harry Potter to Roald Dahl.