An App Activity Day with Peter Rabbit

It’s the summer holidays at last! Most days when the kids are off school, we can be spontaneous and see what happens, but to be honest sometimes we just need some proper plans to get us out of our pyjamas.  Last summer, I had the idea of doing an activity day based around one of our favourite apps. Mr Tall and Little Miss Chatterbox enjoyed it so much that we turned it into a series (you can see all our earlier ones at Activity Days ). Planning this latest day made me think about a great article by Stuart Dredge at Apps Playground about the ridiculous either/or approach to apps and other forms of reading or play. We are big fans of apps and other forms of electronic entertainment like the CBeebies website or the Playstation but we spend just as much time on other activities like books, play dough, Lego, playing outside and baking – as I am sure do most families who love apps! And these activity days just bring it all together under one umbrella (literally, if the weather isn’t playing ball…)

So, mini-rant over, and on to today’s activities! This time we chose The Original Tale of Peter Rabbit, because both children are obsessed with the CBeebies version at the moment, and through that we have also been going through a phase of rereading Beatrix Potter’s books and this app.

The Original Tale of Peter Rabbit is a very straight forward version of the book (and the only official app version), with optional narration and light animation of the illustrations. It is quite comforting that it has not been changed too much. We all love the classic story of Peter Rabbit’s mishaps and adventures as he ignores his sisters picking blackberries like good little bunnies and instead hops down to investigate the vegetables in Mr McGregor’s garden, losing his coat and shoes along the way as he is chased by the angry gardener and has to find his way home. No blackberries for tea for Peter, only camomile tea to sooth his sore tummy!

As you turn the pages of the story onscreen, you can hop out to visit the burrow, the woods, the vegetable garden or the toolshed. Each location includes an activity – colouring, matching game, a game where Peter is hiding in flowerpots, and a game where you catch vegetables coming down the screen. The colouring pages are lovely and the strongest game by far is the matching game. You can choose between colours, numbers and baby animals, which scroll across the screen until you find the one you need (e.g. click on the ducklings as they pass the mother duck).

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As well as the app, we had a range of rabbit activities to do:

  • We made handprint bunnies using paint and black marker pens to outline
  • We baked Peter Rabbit biscuits using blue food colouring pens for his coat and Haribo heart sweets for his nose
  • I hid vegetable cards  in the garden (from a game, but you could make your own) and we made paper baskets before going on a vegetable hunt – but the children had to make sure they weren’t caught by Mr McGregor aka me!
  • We read Beatrix Potter books as well as the Further Tale of Peter Rabbit by Emma Thompson and other rabbit books such as Martha & the Bunny Brothers: I Heart School by Clara Vulliamy and The Rabbit Problem by Emily Gravett
  • We used printables from the official Peter Rabbit website (there are some excellent downloads for teachers too)
  • Mr Tall made a journal for Peter Rabbit with things like a recipe for strawberry pie, a map to a secret blackberry bush and instructions for how to make a sledge.
  • We made “Peter Rabbit World” from Duplo – the children’s own idea – comprising the garden and the woods

PS I MUST recommend in particular one printable from the Peter Rabbit website – a certificate saying your child is clean and tidy like Mrs Tiggywinkle. This works like a charm when it comes to clearing up.

PPS There is one activity I had thought of which we didn’t do in the end. A visit to a pet shop to see some real rabbits. I’m sure you could guess where that might have ended up!

The Original Tale of Peter Rabbit, developed by Penguin Books, compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Available from https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/original-tale-peter-rabbit/id472348886?mt=8 priced at £2.99/$4.99 at time of writing. 

Sources for activities: Printables from http://www.peterrabbit.com/uk/fun_and_games; basket templates from www.trimcraft.co.uk; rabbit handprints from http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/handprint_bunny.htm

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