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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 One's.

We'll keep updating this page with new content - so you will never run out of things to enjoy together!  


New Book by JK Rowling!

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:

Ickabog Competition

Calling all budding artists! JK Rowling is inviting you to help illustrate The Ickabog for her.  Every day when chapters of the story are uploaded, she will suggest what you might like to draw or paint to illustrate the story as it goes along.  34 winning illustrations will be selected to bring the serialised story to the printed page when it is published in full, which is intended for November 2020. Good luck!



More Half Term Fun Ideas

School's Out - Have some Fun!

Get ready for Elmer Day on Saturday with this super simple craft activity!  Elmer makes the world a much brighter place and you can too by wearing your brightest colours and making this colourful Elmer ears headband.

Go to our YouTube channel for the full instructional video:

Elmer Storytime with Stacey

Wear your fancy new headband whilst listening to a special Elmer Storytime with Stacey on Saturday at 11am on our Facebook page.
Want even more Elmer Fun? Head to the Elmer website for lots of free resources you can enjoy at home.

Nottstopping Festival - A Bank Holiday Extravaganza

Join Light Hustle on the 23 and 24 May, for some Bank Holiday fun on your sofa! From comedy and music to film and theatre, Nottstopping Festival will have something for everyone!

The aim of the festival is to entertain and connect Nottinghamshire whilst also fundraising to provide gifts, treats and experiences for frontline workers across the whole county.

Featuring a line-up of entertainment from huge names including The Worst Witch star Bella Ramsey, Michelin-starred chef Alex Bond, the band Do Nothing, the Kanneh-Mason sisters and many more. 

There's even a downloadable festival kit- including wristbands and bunting to help you get into the spirit of it all!

 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.  

There will be some special half term fun on Tuesday 26 May and Thursday 28 May at 10am.

We would love to see your creations so do share with us by emailing

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.

It's Storytime with Stacey

Watch the fabulous Stacey tell entertaining stories live on our   Facebook page every Monday at 11am and Friday at 6pm.

Don't worry if you miss it you can catch up with Stacey's stories on You Tube and there's lots of other online stories and fun from the library on our main YouTube Channel

StoryParks and more places to enjoy a Story ...


StoryParks Nottingham

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.                                            

Share your adventure via   Facebook or  Instagram


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.

Here are a few others from trusted sources we have checked out:

World Book Day’s Story time online – listen to stories with illustrations on the World Book Day website.

 Worldbookday storytime online 



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!

The world of David Walliams


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!  

Jackanory video stories

Coming soon!! The Summer Reading Challenge

The Summer Reading Challenge is going digital this year!

The Summer Reading Challenge will return for 2020 with a new website, where children aged 4 - 11 can take part in the Challenge and a "Let's Get Silly" virtual launch event that the whole family can enjoy.

With the disruption caused by COVID-19 and the impact of social distancing on schools and  libraries, the all-new digital Summer Reading Challenge will launch earlier than usual to keep children reading over the summer and support parents and carers with children already at home.

This year it will run from June to September 2020 with a whole host of virtual (super silly!) events from guest celebrities and authors. The website will be free to access, featuring games, quizzes and digital  downloadable activities to encourage children and their families to take part in the Challenge at home.

This year's theme will also offer families a chance to have fun and just "GET SILLY!", with children being encouraged to read anything that makes them happy - whether it be a comic, joke book, poetry, fiction or non-fiction, in digital or print format, from e-book lending through the library or from what they already have at home, with the Summer Reading Challenge official book collection as a guide.

We’ll have more information here very soon!

Here at Nottingham Libraries we have lots more online summer activities and challenges planned for the summer holidays to keep you busy and entertained. We’ll tell you all about it soon. Keep checking here and on our social media.










Boredom Busters and Challenges!

Library LEGO challenge

Every Tuesday we will set a fresh LEGO challenge for the family to enjoy together.

From photo frames to spaceships, each week will provide a new challenge and hours of fun!  If you don't have LEGO, don't worry, you can join in by completing the challenge using whatever else you have to hand.

Visit our Libraries special events page for more information.

Even More Boredom Busters and Challenges!

Code Club: Computer coding projects to try at home

Join the fantastic Raspberry Pi team to create fun coding projects at home with new coding challenges every Monday! Music making, games, animations... Great fun for older children and parents too! 

Every Monday there’s a different theme and step by step video tutorials in 3 different computer programmes at 3 levels, so there is something for everyone! Then save your projects to the Showcase for all to see.

Parents…why not have fun whilst discovering the world of coding with your child? For ages 7+ 

No special equipment is needed just click the link here and get started!! Raspberry Pi at home

Get creative, get connected, get coding!  

Coding with Micro:bit: Short, easy-to-follow coding activities to try at home with great new ideas every week! 

There’s hours of fun for children ages 7+ with games, fashion, music, science projects and more. Try different programmes with step by step tutorials/ videos, and live streaming daily at 5pm!

No Micro:bit is required, just click the link here and get coding: Micro:bit

If coding is new to you, you can learn to code on the website too.

Click the link here to get started: Learn to code 


How to draw book characters

The brilliant Ed Vere, the Booktrust’s illustrator in residence shows you ‘how to’ drawing videos on his website. New ones added every Wednesday and Friday morning at 10am.


Johnny's Music Time 

Full of rock'n'rollin', fun, original music for children and families, Johnny and the Raindrops are sure to get you jumping, smiling and thinking!  

‘Infectious, joyous fun … packed with feel-good songs … perfect for a family audience’ BBC Radio Nottingham. 

Catch them on YouTube every Wednesday and Friday at 11am. You can even send in your song requests and shout outs!

Virtual Tours

All of the tours are better on a device that can download Apps.

The Natural History Museum

Have a look round this amazing Museum. There's lots to see but you'll need to download the Google App for the full virtual reality experience.

The National Gallery 

Enjoy panoramic views of the Gallery in collaboration with Google Street View. See Renaissance masterpieces from Northern Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany, including works by Titian, Veronese, and Holbein from a safe distance.

House of Parliament 

Explore and find loads of information on the website and a really good Virtual Reality experience on iOS. 

The Tate Modern 

A 360 tour with sound, click on a few links and you can dance to art, which is an interesting concept worth a look!


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 favorite 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.

Big Little Moments

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. 

storybooks and games


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.

Fun activities and play ideas


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!

Cbeebies bedtime stories


Helping everyone understand and experience the power of empathy through books on Empathy Day, Tuesday 9 June 2020.

Find Fun Family Activities for Empathy Day here...

Scientists say that we can train our brain with stories, as the more we empathise with characters, the more we can understand other people's feelings.

Throughout the day authors and illustrators are getting involved. There will be brilliant online events and fun home-based activities to help children read, connect and act using empathy. 

You can also take part in the Countdown Fortnight from Tuesday 26 May with a FREE Family Activities Pack - 14 activities for you to do in the build up to Empathy Day. It’s available to download from Monday 18 May with great ideas to get kids writing, drawing, crafting and reading, all whilst developing their empathy skills. All you need is a pen and paper!

You can find out all about Empathy Day, see all the activities planned for 9 June and download the Family Activities Pack here: Activities Pack  

We have several this year’s Empathy Day recommended books in our e-books collection. To find them and lots more click here: e-books

Be a Reading Champion! Challenge yourself - Sign up to the 200 million minutes reading challenge.

Find out how to take part in the 200 million minutes reading challenge



We are very excited to have signed up for the 200 Million Minutes Reading Challenge – a global reading initiative from education charity Achievement for All that launched back in March. We set a personal target of contributing 20,000 minutes which we smashed- amassing an amazing 25,009 minutes!  Thanks for all your help in achieving this. 

Can I still take part?

YES- The challenge has no been extended until July so you can take part from home, logging your minutes directly on to the website.

What sort of reading counts?

  • Any book you read at home- it doesn't have to be a library book!
  • Listening to online stories- check out some of our stories for under 5's on our YouTube Channel.
  • Listening to our Storytime with Stacey on Facebook 
  • Paperbacks, magazines, comics, plays, newspapers and e-books are all included.

CHALLENGE YOURSELF - Why not set yourself a weekly minute challenge at home and see if you can achieve it! There are even prizes to be won.


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:

Primary school ages 3 to 11

Secondary school age 11 to 16

Post 16 maths and english for ages 16+

BBC Teach thousand of free curriculum mapped videos, arranged in age group and subject.

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.


Talking to children about Coronavirus

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.

More on 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.


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.  



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.

More Places to Find New Reads

Books Alive!

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! 

Click here to go to the YouTube page. 



 Scottish BookTrust

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.

Click here to go to the Scottoish BookTrust 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!

Click here to go to the website.



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.

The Solstice Prize for Young Writers 2020 – Creative Writing prize for 10 – 17 year olds, poetry (up to 40 lines) and short stories (up to 1000 words) on any subject can be entered.  Deadline Saturday 20th June.


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.


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