Keeping the kids busy
Discover and get inspired with this page full of free things to do whilst at home with the children. Browse for eBooks and eAudio stories to enjoy together, education and revision resources, online events, boredom busters and more. In addition we will also be sharing new exciting content from our talented library staff- including our regular Storytime with Stacey, weekly activity challenges and our online Stories and Rhymes for Little Ones.
We'll keep updating this page with new content - so you will never run out of things to enjoy together!
It's Storytime with Stacey
Just Good Fun....
Mini Mash-Up Video Podcasts
MishMash Productions is an exciting production company making magical, original music for young audiences.
This series of 11 interactive podcasts explore the music, stories and theatre from their shows Smile, Strange Creatures and Hubbub: A Musical Adventure. Each short podcast includes performances and participatory activities for children aged 3 – 7 and their families and classes.
Watch the podcasts on YouTube here.
Johnny and the Raindrops
Johnny's Music Time! Every Wednesday at 11am on Facebook
Stories from Home with Spark Arts
Join our partners The Spark Arts for children for Stories from Home. Created by storytellers in their homes, these enchanting tales will feed the imagination and encourage you to find the extra-ordinary in the ordinary, and dream endlessly of what can happen at home. Weekly on a Wednesday throughout May and June. 27 May, 3 June, 10 June, 17 June, and 24 June
Draw with Rob
Join thousands of children around the world in drawing with popular children’s author and illustrator Rob Biddulph every Tuesday and Thursday.
Computer Coding at Home
Join the fantastic Raspberry Pi team for new fun coding challenges, music making, games, animations every Monday!
Every week they share a theme that will inspire you to have fun, solve problems, and express yourselves creatively with technology.
StoryParks and more places to enjoy a Story ...
When StoryParks launched in 2019, our Libraries were brought to our Parks.
This year, with the help of the Nottingham Building Society, we are bringing both Libraries & Parks online to you, so you and your little ones can enjoy in the comfort of your own home!
Find out more via our Nottingham City Libraries StoryParks page.
You are never too old to listen to a good story!
There are a lot of ways to listen to stories online, for you to listen to with your child or for them to read along with the author themselves. There are children’s books on our eAudio and eBooks too.
Storyline Online is an award-winning children’s literacy website which streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations. storyline online
Why not listen to David Walliams read his stories - there is a new one every day!
Listen to Oliver Jeffers read one of his picture book stories everyday.
Oliver Jeffers stories
Remember Jackanory? You can watch and listen to the stories read here too!
Silly Squad, Summer Reading Challenge 2020
Join the Silly Squad!
This summer the Summer Reading Challenge is going digital and launching on 5 June, offering families an opportunity to have fun and be silly together in these difficult times.
To take part this year, children need to sign up online to unlock digital rewards, activities, games and video content as well as rewards for reading anything they like – from library eBooks to comics at home or listening to books read live online - whatever makes you happy! Just visit the Silly Squad website to get started. A grown up will need to help with signing up.
“I feel the Summer Reading Challenge is extra important this year! How sensible to have a Silly theme. We've all had to deal with serious and scary issues, so it's time for a bit of fun. There are so many comical and crazy children's books to cheer us all up. Let’s get reading and get happy!”
- Jacqueline Wilson, Summer Reading Challenge Ambassador
The Summer Reading Challenge is brought to you by The Reading Agency with illustrations © Laura Ellen Anderson 2020
Summer of fun
We've got lots of things to do now and loads more coming, so you won't waste a second of the holidays this summer!
Some have started already! Check out what there is on our Summer of Fun page.
Boredom Busters and Challenges!
Library LEGO challenge: We are taking a break from our weekly challenge ...but it will return soon. In the meantime enjoy some of our previous challenges.
Here are some things you can build
- A monster -it doesn’t have to be scary!
- your name in 3D
- a spaceship
- A maze
- your favourite animal
Even More Boredom Busters and Challenges!
100 awesome indoor activities for kids that you can do without leaving the house. Activites, games, craft ideas galore.
Draw along with Oi Frog illustrator Jim field – follow Jim’s videos and draw Jim’s popular characters.
Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books, is partnering with Andersen Press to provide free and accessible readings of their picture books in exclusive weekly virtual storytimes to be shared on Seven Stories’ Facebook page. Friday mornings at 10am.
Settle down for 20 minutes of storytime magic with Puffin authors or follow a fantastic draw along from amazing illustrators. New content every day.
Loads of book linked resources to download and print out plus craft ideas, quizzes and more.
Fun for Little Ones
Stories and Rhymes for Little Ones
Sing along, laugh along and read along with us every Wednesday at 11am on Facebook as we entertain you and your little one with some of our favourite stories and nursery rhymes.
Enjoy readings of classic children's picture books such as Room on the Broom and sing along with your favourite nursery rhymes. Don't worry if you miss it, you can catch up on the fun on our main YouTube Channel.
More Fun for Little Ones...
It can be difficult to entertain youngsters with a variety of different activities. Here are a list of trusted websites offering a whole range of different things to do with pre-school children. From storytelling, learning a new nursery rhyme or finding a different activity to complete you will find all you need here to help you.
SSBC Big Little Moments Campaign
Babies and toddlers are growing and learning every day and the little moments you share can make a big difference. From morning time to bedtime, waiting for the bus to playing together, every moment is a chance to help build a child’s brain.
Check out the Small Steps Big Changes website for different ideas on how to help your little one grow.
Songs and rhymes are a great way to have fun with your child – and one of the best ways to support their development. Here you will find 166 songs and rhymes with videos to follow – something to suit every mood or time of the day. Discover your child’s favourites!
Even when we’re apart, stories can be a virtual hug.
Through the power of bedtime stories, Ladybird is helping to connect children with those family members
who they can’t see right now: whether that’s an isolated grandparent, a much-missed cousin, a key worker big sibling, a parent who lives in a different home, or somebody else!
Every day, they will send a pair of matching books to a separated duo so they can still settle down for storytime together, over the phone or on a video call.
Want to nominate your child? Simply click the link and complete the form.
All things Peppa Pig! Games, Craft activities, things to do, links to watching Peppa and more to keep your little fans entertained.
Stories and Rhymes for Little Ones
Enjoy this collection of well-loved nursery rhymes in video format with song words too. Children will love singing along and joining in with the actions. Nursery rhymes online
Everyone’s favourite! Interactive site with activity sheets, cooking ideas, make and do, games, songs and much more.
Lots of interactive books to read online or watch with signing. With fun and interactive online games and activities too. Whether you want a story, some number games, puzzle games, colouring or the Shape Game, you'll find lots of things to try.
Tiny Happy People from the BBC has plenty of resources to help develop preschool children’s communication skills. With a wide range of fun activities and play ideas as well as sections about your child’s amazing early development.
Cbeebies bedtime stories. Listen to a variety of favourite bedtime stories read by a host of different celebrities. A perfect way to end the day!
Fun Learning at Home
There are lots of ways to educate, help and entertain your child and you.
Discover BBC Bitesize - free resources, games, lessons and more to help children and young adults with homework and general questions.
More Fun Learning at Home
All of these sites are trusted and can be used for free. There are lots of ways to educate, help and entertain your child and you.
BookTrust have created Home Time, a collection of online books and videos, games, competitions, book themed quizzes and even learning how to draw your favourite characters. Perfect for keeping school aged children busy! Have some fun
The maths factor
Unlock your child's maths confidence with Carol Vorderman's maths site for 4-11 year olds. Kids can watch her maths videos, play games and practise. The Maths Factor is free while all schools are closed, but to keep using when things are back to normal you will have to subscribe to the maths factor.
Need something new to read?
Don’t forget there are over a thousand eBooks and eAudio books for children and young adults, free to borrow on our Borrowbox website or the Borrowbox app.
Just choose young adult or children’s from the list at the top, then on the line below you can choose to look at all releases to see the whole collection or click on categories or genres to help you choose your favourite type of books. If the book you want is out on loan, you can reserve it for free and Borrowbox will let you know when it is available for you.
Fun with your Favourite Authors!
Resources, activities, quizzes etc based on Rick’s popular books - ideal for home schooling parents of Percy Jackson fans!
Teaching resources for most of Michael’s books plus links to Interviews with Michael and more for Morpurgo fans!
Popular children’s author Tom Palmer provides free video book readings, first chapters, colouring and other literacy resources on his website – updated daily
Listen to the stories, things to do indoors, homework help, quizzes etc.
The Harry Potter franchise is one of the best-selling book series of all time loved by children and adults all over the world. JK Rowling has now released a new story for children…launched online especially for lockdown!
The Ickabog is a fairytale about “about truth and the abuse of power” and will be released online in weekly instalments. Find out more and enjoy the first segment here: https://www.theickabog.com/home/
Talking to children about Coronavirus
The Coronavirus pandemic has brought huge change to all of our lives and children can become very worried about the changes they see all around them.
The following websites give child friendly explanations about coronavirus and offer advice and tips for parents and carers who want to talk to children about it.
Nosy Crow is a small, multi-award-winning, independent children’s publishing company. They have produced an illustrated digital book for primary school age children, free for anyone to read on screen or print out, about the coronavirus and the measures taken to control it. Illustrated by Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler, you can download a copy of the book here.
Young Minds is a mental health charity dedicated to achieving a future where all young minds are supported and empowered, whatever the challenges. They have created a blog page with some handy tips on talking to young people about Coronavirus.
Family Lives is a charity with over three decades of experience helping parents to deal with the changes that are a constant part of family life. The webpage is full of information and activities helping you and your family adjust to spending more time at home.
Save the Children is a global charity helping children stay safe, healthy and to keep learning so that every child can reach their full potential. Here they list 7 simple tips on talking to kids about Coronavirus.
Newsround, the BBC’s news service for children and young people has been covering the story, with lots of child focused news stories, advice and information which you can read here.
More Places to Find New Reads
Enjoy this YouTube account that encourages reading through colourful, characterful and fun story telling. Hear the stories, see the pictures, read aloud or read along with some fantastically fun and exciting new and classic children’s books. Supertato, Oi Frog!, We’re going on a Bear Hunt, Aliens love underpants, Funnybones and lots more!
BBC Authors Live brings free, world-class author and illustrator events for children and young people right into your home! Each week there will be three past broadcasts (one for lower primary, one for upper primary and one for secondary) that families can watch together at home at any point during the week. Each broadcast will also have an accompanying set of learning activities, which you will find linked below the video on each Authors Live page.
The British Library
Explore centuries of stories, poems and illustrations with Discovering Children's Books. For children, teachers and book-lovers of all ages. Click here to go to the website.
14 Stories in 14 Days
Egmont books are offering 14 Stories for 14 Days for families– story videos, activities, giveaways and more to share anytime!
Creative Writing Competitions
Encouraging children to write stories can give them an enormous confidence boost as well as building on their literacy skills. Below are a few writing competitions for young people.
Generation Lockdown: A writing competition for ages 7 – 17. Submit a piece of writing about what life has been like in lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic. Entries should be 700 words and under and can be a personal account, a poem or creative story. Deadline is midnight Friday 17 July 2020.
C.A.A.B. Publishing Short Story competition: 8-13 year olds can enter a 1000 word magical short story which must feature a taxi cab. Deadline is 30th September 2020.
Culture around the City
In our vibrant literary city, there's always something amazing taking place everywhere you look!
Lakeside Arts #InWithLakeside. Online content to explore curated by the Lakeside team and associate artists. Lots of activities to try, listen to, read and watch for all ages.
Nottingham Playhouse Digital Playhouse. Online content featuring activities, podcasts, workshops and video performance.
Nonsuch Theatre Creative Quarantine. Sign up to this fabulous free daily email with creative activities to try at home for young and old.
UNESCO City of Literature. Find out what’s on in Nottingham for literary events and activities online.