ACTIVITY IDEAS for The Lost Child's Quest
There are oodles of potential cross-curricular links with the Tales of Truth and Treasure that will provide readers with a more immersive experience, and enrich children's learning. Here are a few ideas that tie-in with each events in The Lost Child's Quest. The numbers refer to the chapters you should read up to before doing the activity - you do not need to do the activity as soon as you've read the chapter, but it won't make much sense to do it before.
Read the description of Tia at the start of chapter one. She has “large round eyes the colour
of a stormy sea”. We’re going to have a go at painting one of Tia’s eyes.
Firstly, use a mirror to look carefully at the shape and detail of your own eyes. Find a pencil
and some watercolour paper to sketch a larger version of your eye. Start by drawing a round
circle for the iris (you could draw around a cup if that’s easier – drawing circles freehand is surprisingly difficult!). Then add a smaller circle inside it for the black pupil (you could draw round an egg cup for this). You will then need a curved line above and below the iris to create the full shape of the eye. Add eyelashes, an eyelid, a tear duct and maybe an eyebrow.
When you’re ready to start painting, think carefully about the colours you can use or mix to create the colour of a ‘stormy sea’, like Tia’s eyes. Remember that your idea of what that means may not be the same as someone else’s.
Safety is a key theme in this chapter. What does safety look like to Tia? What
does it look like to you?
Without family, friends or community, people feel very unsafe. It’s a human
right to feel safe whatever your gender, language, religion, ethnicity or ability
level. Feeling safe means you don’t need to worry about neglect or abuse. It
means you are confident that your basic needs, such as food and drink,
healthcare, education, rest and play, will be met. Can you draw or build what an ideal safe environment looks like to you? This is my two-year-old son's creation of a space that makes him feel safe. You can make yours in any way you like.
Even if we have lots of people and things around us that help us feel safe, there may be other things that make us worry or feel unsafe, and that’s completely natural. If you have any worries or concerns for your safety, please share them with an adult you trust and know in person.
Have you ever played Top Trumps? What ratings would you give Mr Silverman for speed, strength and aggression? What else would you give him ratings for… calmness, trickery or intelligence, perhaps?
Try to find specific pieces of descriptive language to support the ratings you have given. You could even draw out a Top Trumps card for Mr Silverman complete with a sketch of what you think he looks like.
If you were to do the same for Tia, what ratings would you give her?
According to Tia, Stormhaven Castle is “a bit like a motte-and-bailey castle”. Have a look at a few images of motte-and-bailey castles to get an idea of what was special about this design. Then have another read of Tia’s first impressions and look at the map of Stormhaven Castle at the front of the book. Which part of Stormhaven is Tia thinking of as the motte and which part is the bailey?
Can you design your own motte-and-bailey castle? The lower courtyard needs a gateway and a few buildings. These would have originally been stables and houses for soldiers and others who worked at the castle, but in our story they are the thatched buildings where the archaeologists and historians work. From the courtyard you need to make a wooden bridge leading to a ‘motte’ (which means ‘hill’) with a ‘keep’ on it, which is like a mini castle. Can you make your castle? You could make it out of Lego, cardboard or just about anything else you like; even cake (I like cake).
Tia spends her first evening in Stormhaven listening to Grandpa Locryn and the Trevelyans tell her all about her uncles, aunts and cousins.
Write out the names of as many of your family members as you can on small pieces of coloured paper – aunts, uncles, cousins, too. Your coloured paper could be leaf, fruit or heart-shaped. Now try arranging these on a big sheet of paper as a family tree, ensuring the older generation appears higher than the younger.
Remember that the Trevelyan family was brought together by morethan birth and blood. Your family tree may include people related to you by birth because that is not the only thing that makes people family.
Activity One: Tia experiences her first Sunday morning service at the local chapel in this chapter. Your local place of worship may or may not be like the chapel at Stormhaven. Why not visit a place of worship that is unfamiliar to you? What do you think of the art, architecture or furniture? Tia is struck by the stained-glass windows in Stormhaven Chapel. Stained-glass windows were often used to tell stories, show important beliefs and inspire people at a time when not everyone could read.
Can you design your own special window to inspire others or share your beliefs? You could create the classic arched window shape by cutting an outline from black card, then fill your background with brightly coloured tissue paper to create “swirling chunks of vibrant colour” like the windows in this story. You could even add a silhouetted image or symbol to this colourful backdrop.
Activity Two: Grandpa Locryn tells the story of how Jesus recruited his disciples. See what you can find out about who the disciples were and what their roles in society were before they followed Jesus. Put yourself in their shoes and consider how his invitation would have made them feel, and how it changed their lives.
There is a lot of action in this chapter, and it could be a really fun scene to act out with a partner. Start by focusing on your favourite section and turn it into a playscript to follow. Remember that speech and action look a bit different in a playscript. You might need notes about body language and equipment to use as props. Try acting it out, and have some fun
experimenting and creating a mini scene with your partner. You could even film it to analyse
It’s your turn to become an archaeologist, but first you need to make a dig box. You could make a
small one in a shoe box or a larger one in a paddling pool. Fill it with sand or soil. What could you
hide? Some old coins, pieces of broken pottery or fossils, for example. Invite a friend to see what
they can find by digging carefully with small tools and brushes. Try not to touch the artefacts with
you bare hands as you remove them, and brush/scrape away all the sand or soil around it before you
lift it out. If any moves when the object is removed then you are in danger of damaging your artefact!
As each item is discovered, discuss together what the item could be? What might it have been used
for? How old is it and what could it tell you about the people of the time? Museums will sometimes
have schemes where they lend out a box of artefacts relating to a specific period in history. Don’t bury these items in a dig box, though!
The number thirteen is important in this story. Eight of Tia’s thirteen treasures have circles on them, while five (including the pendant) have crosses, giving us the simple sum 5 + 8 = 13. These three numbers – 5, 8 and 13 – form part of a famous sequence. Do you know the name of it, and can you describe how it works?
Can you write out all the pairs of numbers that add up to 13? Do you notice anything about these pairs? Are they odd or even? Do the same for pairs of numbers that total 12. What do you notice about these pairs?
Can you come up with a rule for which two sorts of number you need to add together to make an odd number and an even number? Can you explain why this is the case?
In this chapter we are introduced to two old Welsh names: Llacheu and Gwydre. Welsh pronunciations are very different from English ones. Here are a few words and phrases for non-Welsh speakers to try, but I suggest finding some online videos (or, even better, a real live Welsh person!) for accurate pronunciation.
c – pronounced ‘k’, as in ‘kick’.
ch – pronounced as in the Scottish word ‘loch’ or the name of the composer Bach.
eu, ei – pronounced as the ‘ay’ in pray.
g – always pronounced as a hard ‘g’, as in ‘get’.
i – pronounced ‘ee’, as in ‘queen’.
ll – roughly pronounced ‘hl’. Place your tongue firmly at the top of the mouth behind your
teeth, then blow.
oe – pronounced as the ‘oy’ in ‘toy’.
w – pronounced ‘oo’, as in ‘spoon’.
y – usually pronounced ‘u’, as in ‘fun’, but pronounced ‘i’, as in ‘is’ in the last syllable of a word.
So the Welsh for ‘mountain’, mynydd, is pronounced ‘mun-ith’, but the plural is mynyddoedd,
pronounced ‘munuth-oith’ because the ‘y’ is no longer in the last syllable!
Have a go at saying these Welsh words and phrases:
Cymru (kumm-ree) – Wales
Bore da (bore-ray-dah) – Good morning
Nos da (Nohs-dah) – Good night
[Name] dw i (doo-ee) – I am [Name]
Helô/Hylô (hell-oh/hill-oh) – Hello
Hwyl (Hoy-ul) – Bye
Diolch (dee-olch) – Thanks
Croeso (croy-so) – Welcome
Try playing a game of Halo. You will need two sticks (hockey sticks would work well) and a quoit or ring made of rubber or stiff rope. Divide into two teams, with one player from each team, the goalkeeper, standing at either end of the playing area holding a stick. This goalkeeper must remain on a specific spot, with an area around them at least as far as they can reach with their stick, into which no one else is allowed.
Each team has to pass the quoit around (you can’t move when you have the quoit) and try to throw it onto the end of their team’s stick. You can’t snatch it out of an opposing player’s hands; you can only block a pass. If there is any dispute over who has possession of the quoit, the referee throws it up for a player from each team to contest (this is also done from the centre spot to start the game or after a score). Have fun!
Pasco is a bit worried that they don’t attend a ‘real’ school. Do you think it sounds like a proper school? What do you think the point of school is, and what are the important things children need to learn? What does a good school look like? Can you do school at home?
Come up with a list of answers you think people might say if they were asked, ‘What does a school need to be good?’ Is it the facilities, good teachers, fun activities, nice lunches, strict rules, a good library, laptops, a playground or something else? Once you have some ideas, create a poll and ask your family, neighbours or friends what they think. Decide how many things they can vote for and how to display your results.
Activity One: Tia and Paso reveal parts of their life stories in this chapter and are
involved in a school project where they depict some of this in the style of the
Choose an event from your life that you could depict in this style. It could be a
holiday, the birth of a sibling, a sad death or a great experience or achievement.
Make some notes or sketches before you begin, checking you have the order right.
Add a border before carefully drawing your event in three or four pictures. Add as
much detail as you can to your pictures. Finally, choose which objects you would
like to add to the border around your work to represent your home, town, village
or family. You could even have a go at sewing a personal tapestry onto a piece of
hessian, like the Bayeux Tapestry (you can sketch a rough design out on hessian with a pencil to give you lines to follow with a needle and thread).
Activity Two: Try sketching an object that is unfamiliar to you, so you really need to look at it carefully to draw it. If it is a completely unknown object, think about the design and what it could be used for (use your imagination – it doesn’t have to be the right answer). If you’re doing this activity in a group, each of you could bring something from home that you think others might not know the purpose of and would be interesting to draw.
Here are a few more ways in which Welsh pronunciation is different from English. See if you can use this and the tips in the Chapter 10 activity to pronounce the tricky names from the list of the Thirteen Treasures of Britain.
ae, ai, au – pronounced ‘igh’, as in ‘high’.
aw – pronounced ‘ow’, as in ‘cow’.
dd – pronounced ‘th’, as in ‘breathe’.
f – pronounced ‘v’ as in ‘of ’.
ff – pronounced ‘f ’ as in ‘off ’.
rh – pronounced ‘hr’ with the ‘h’ sound before the ‘r’.
Just before the intruder arrives, the children are devising an alternative game of football called ‘gameball’. The game of football we know today has evolved over hundreds of years from medieval games where two teams would try to propel a ball to opposite ends of a playing area. Beyond that, the rules (if there were any) have been lost and probably varied a lot anyway. Rugby, Gaelic football, Australian rules football, Canadian football and American football, as well as dozens of others, share this same heritage.
See if you and your friends can come up with a version of gameball that works for you. You can use your hands, but the ball should mostly be moved by kicking, and each team needs to get it to an area at the opposite end of a playing area to score. Apart from that, it’s up to you. For example, you could have two balls or an endzone for scoring instead of goals.
Get hold of a map of Britain (a plain printout you can draw on would be ideal) and see if you can follow the history lesson Mr and Mrs Trevelyan give Tia. Add a compass showing North, South East and West. Mrs Trevalyan describes how the Saxons invaded the country. Draw some arrows approaching from the right-hand side of the map to show this, along with advancing soldiers bearing swords, helmets and shields.
Tia learns that, after a lot of battles and many years, the Saxons conquered the majority of the UK. However the native Celts remained in Cornwall, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. You could shade the Anglo-Saxon areas red and the Celtic areas yellow as it looked at the end of this period, but remember that there was probably a lot of Celtic heritage mixed in with the Anglo-Saxon England.
Some place names show the long-lasting influence of Anglo-Saxon settlement in the East and South of England. For example, Essex, Middlesex and Sussex were the lands of the East Saxons, Middle Saxons and South Saxons, respectively, while Norfolk and Suffolk are the north and south parts of East Anglia, the realm of the Angles.
The children are doing some research into medieval hobbies in this chapter. Games and toys back then were very different, and some probably sound more interesting to you than others. Choose one of the games the children mention to research and use a computer to produce a short powerpoint presentation. Can you create three or four slides with effective images, clear headings and relevant information written in your own words? You could even add some medieval music or a video clip to your powerpoint.
Tia and Pasco research a game called Brandubh, which was played on a 7x7 board, but they aren’t sure of the exact rules. Make your own gameboard (weave strips of two different colours of paper together to make a chequered board) and pieces (use small painted stones, shells or little toys) or adapt a chess set, as Tia and Pasco did. Play around with different rules about how the pieces are set up, how they can move (one square at a time or as far as they want in a straight line) and how they are captured. Decide which rules you like best.
In this chapter, the girls are given a replica of the figurine they unearthed. How easy is it to create a new version of something using different materials? Try making a model of a favourite object from clay. For more of a challenge, try creating a mould out of the clay, which you can then fill up with plaster of Paris.
What is Bonfire Night all about? What is Diwali about? Although the two festivals mark very different occasions, there are similarities in the way they are celebrated.
Many festivals traditionally celebrated across the northern hemisphere in October and November for which light is a central theme. Why do you think this might be?
Bonfire Night and Diwali use fireworks as part of their festivities, and you can make your own fireworks in a jar. Fill it three-quarters full with warm water. Pour three tbsp of vegetable oil into a separate bowl, then add some drops of food colouring. Mix it gently with a fork before dropping the mixture into the jar with the warm water. Then sit back and see what happens.
At this point in the book, Tia describes feelings of fear and anxiety, but also feelings of being safe, loved and brave. Can you compose some music to reflect these emotions? Which instruments will you choose to reflect fear, threat and danger? Melodic or percussive instruments? Will they be played loudly or softly? Quickly or slowly?
Now do the same for the positive emotions she feels by the end of the chapter: the love, warmth and safety she feels in her home and with her family. Again, choose the instruments, tempo, and dynamics carefully. You may not have many purpose-built instruments to hand, but percussive instruments can be improvised from just about anything, and you can also use your voice. Play your pieces one after the other and see if listeners can guess which piece of music corresponds with which emotion.
Nana Ollie shares photos of items her team discovered in the wreckage of a slave ship in the Caribbean. The Slave Trade involved kidnapping, imprisoning and transporting people across the ocean, shackled and in filthy confined spaces. Each slave was typically given a space of about 160x130cm. Mark out this space on the floor with masking tape or string, then lie down in it (no cushions allowed).
Listen to some sombre music like Barber’s ‘Adagio for Strings’ as you lie in your space, and imagine being tossed about on the ocean for weeks on end. Remember that you would have been forcibly removed from a home you would never see again, on a voyage towards an unknown future in which you would have absolutely no power. Can you stay in your space for the whole piece of music? You will only have spent a few minutes in a space that an adult would have had to spend weeks in.
Try to express some of the feelings those people might have experienced, using words, art or whatever method you like.
Ms Morgan told Mr Teague that she longs for children to “undertake a greater quest of exploration and discovery; that they’ll explore their own identity and discover who they truly are”. Can you think of any experiences you’ve had that have helped you understand yourself better? It could be something you did for the first time and discovered you were really good at, or a hard experience you have come through. We are all very different and the world would be such a boring place if everyone was the same. Feel proud of who you are and know that this is a lifelong discovery: exploring YOU!
We have now been introduced to all the key characters in the story. Chat to a friend, family member or teacher about how you picture one or more characters. Try to specifically describe the way you think they look, for example skin colour, eye colour and hair. How many did you picture as being Black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME)?
I had a clear idea in my own mind as to what each character would look like, but decided to write in a way that left their ethnicity open to the reader’s interpretation, then ask them to consider why they pictured each character as they did.
Below is an explanation of how I imagine some of the characters ethnically. I did not explicitly describe them in this way, but you won’t find anything in the story that contradicts these imaginings:
Tia is of white British origin.
Meghan is mixed race with a black British birth father and a white British birth mother.
Pasco is white British.
Gwen Trevelyan is mixed race with a white British father (Grandpa Locryn) and a white Polish mother (deceased).
Tom Trevelyan is mixed race with white British father (deceased) and black Caribbean mother (Nana Ollie).
Ms Morgan is black Nigerian.
Mr Teague is white Irish. Bran is black British of Caribbean descent.
It doesn’t mean you’re a racist if you imagined any of these characters differently, and you don’t have to change your image of them, but I would like you to think about why you pictured them the way you did.
Unfortunately, most of us live in a society that is tainted by racism to some extent, and that may mean that we subconsciously make assumptions about race for no good reason. But if we live our lives in a way that is mindful of this, perhaps things will be different in the future.
People use imaginary lines to help locate where a place is in the world. Lines of latitude run parallel to the equator and tell us how far north or south a place is, while lines of longitude run between the north and south poles and tell us how far east or west it is. We record latitude and longitude in degrees, with 0 being the equator, the north pole being 90 degrees north and the south pole being 90 degrees south. 0 degrees longitude runs through Greenwich in London, and we label anything to the east ‘degrees east’ and to the west ‘degrees west.’
The longitude and latitude coordinates Tia and Pasco find (53°58’56”N 0°30’27”W) are written in degrees, minutes (signified by ’) and seconds (signified by ”), which is the old-fashioned way of recording the coordinates. There are sixty minutes in one degree and sixty seconds in one minute.
Can you work out how many seconds there are in one degree? How many in 30 minutes and 27 seconds? How many seconds in 53 degrees, 58 minutes and 56 seconds?
Lots of the action in this chapter takes place around a church font. See what you can find out about the Christian practice of christening and how the font fits into it. What are the similarities and differences between this and adult baptism, both in practical terms and in symbolism?
Imagine a child you know is being christened. Which symbols would you use to design a card for them?
In this chapter, Tia and Pasco are underground, walking around in the dark. This is frightening and exhilarating at the same time, and is an experience you can (almost) replicate yourself.
Head to an open space with a friend or adult, taking along some string or rope and something you can use as a blindfold. Use a local park, field or woodland where you can create an outdoor route with string or rope tied between trees to turn left, right, down slopes, up hills or behind buildings. The route must have a clear start and finish.
Wearing a blindfold, take it in turns to go around the course from start to finish, holding tight to the string with one hand. You could even go round together. How many times did you fall before you reached the finish line? This is a great activity for building trust and confidence in each other.
At this point in the story, our heroes are terrified about the bridges collapsing around them. Working as part of a team, can you design your own bridge to span the distance between two chairs placed a metre apart, using whatever materials you have at your disposal?
Remember, the longer and heavier the bridge, and the more weight it carries, the greater risk it has of collapsing. See if you can design a bridge that will support the weight of this book, then a pile of books. Don’t be afraid to stop and redesign if you need to.
The children face the test of worthiness in this chapter. Each of us is worthy of being loved, accepted, helped, happy and experiencing success, but sometimes we struggle to see it in ourselves. Write a note or email to a friend to remind them why you think they are such a great friend. Remind them that it is who they are that makes them special, not what they give or do for you. It might just make their day!
I love the idea of the magic pot in this chapter. What foods would you find in the pot of Rhygenydd if you could have anything in the world for dinner? Design a menu for your ideal three-course dinner (a starter, main course and dessert). Can you shop for ingredients, then cook and serve it to your family?
Let’s look at the characteristics of Mr Silverman, the story’s villain. How many of the following would you attribute to him: brave, strong, clever, selfish, proud, powerful? Are there any I have missed? How about Tia? Do any of these attributes match her character? Are any missing?
On a piece of A3 paper, draw around two plates, side by side with an overlap at the centre. Arrange these characteristics in a Venn diagram with Tia on one side and Mr Silverman on the other to show any ways they are similar in the overlapping area.
Megan describes their adventure as a treasure hunt. Can you make a treasure hunt for a friend with tests and challenges? You will need a pencil and around eight slips of paper.
Write your first positional clue, for example ‘look somewhere very cold’ for the freezer (or perhaps yours will be much more cryptic!) and keep hold of it. Then hide your next slip of paper in the freezer with a challenge on. It might say ‘sing a nursery rhyme’ or ‘do ten star jumps’. On the back it must have the next positional clue, for example ‘look where you wash and relax’ for the bath, with the next challenge on the reverse.
Create six more positional clues with challenges on the back. Hide them carefully and start a friend off with the first clue. Don’t forget your ‘treasure’ for the end. It’s always a good idea to try it out yourself first to make sure you’ve got the order right!
This is a chapter of questions, answers and more questions. Perhaps the story has raised some questions for you. If so, I would love to hear them. Ask a parent, teacher or other adult to contact me via social media (links on the website) and I will do my best to reply!
Activity one: Can you write a short adventure story in which a character discovers an item that initially appears ordinary but turns out to have magical properties? On your next visit to a museum, choose an artefact and concoct a story that fits with its known history. Add as much magic as you like.
Spend some time thinking about this item and its power before you plan your story. Aim for five paragraphs using a simple structure, such as ‘First, Then, Next, After, Finally’. Think about ways of improving your writing like authors do by improving the vocabulary, punctuation and flow.
Activity two: In this final chapter we discover that Tia’s name is an anagram. That means the letters of her name can be rearranged to create a new word or phrase. Your final challenge is to try this with the letters from your own name. Your full name might give you more options. Can you create a word or phrase using all the letters from your name? If not, can you create a list of words your name contains? You could also try it with the names of friends, family members, famous people or just about any words really. You might be surprised how many secret messages there are out there just waiting to be unscrambled…