The Gruffalo

The Gruffalo is one of the most popular children’s books so I thought we should explore it with Lockdown Learning. If you have the book, read it to your child or watch this video here.

The mystical creature of the Gruffalo feeds into the imagination of a child. Julia Donaldson uses fantastic adjectives to describe what the Gruffalo looks like…. purple prickles all over his back, terrible teeth and turned-out toes. Listed below are some sensory, maths, art, role play, phonics and fine motor activities.


Sensory and Retelling the Story: The Gruffalo

After reading the story, create a sensory tray which you can use to retell the story, using the language of the story.

  1. You will need: a tray, soil or sugar to create the ground, the animals (we used a monkey for the Gruffalo), bottle tops for the stream and sticks for the log pile house.
  2. Set up the scene together, discussing where everything should go and the order of the animals in the story.
  3. Move the mouse along and retell the story using different voices for the animals. Can your child tell you what comes next?

Maths: Log Pile House

Snake needs your help. He would like to build a log pile house and needs different amounts of logs. He finds counting tricky and so would like some help.

  1. You will need: 5 bowls, numbers which your child needs to practise counting, pictures of snakes and something to represent the logs. You could use pasta, sticks, wooden pegs – anything you have in your home. Before your child starts, set it up like the photo above.
  2. First, touch the bowls and ask your child to tell you the number. Are they in the correct order? 12. 13, 11, 10. No! Can they put the numbers in the right order? What do we start with?
  1. Ask your child to count the correct amount of logs to match the numbers in the bowls. Make sure they use one number name for each log.
  2. Once they have finished, as them to check their counting by emptying the bowl, putting the logs in a line and counting them one by one. Have they got the right number? If not, what do they need to do to get the right number? Add more or take any away?

Sensory: Gruffalo Crumble

This Gruffalo Crumble is a lovely sensory activity, using the descriptive words from the story. Repetition is key, so using the words in their play will help your child to use them independently.

  1. You will need: Anything that you have at home which can represent the terrible teeth, terrible tusks, terrible claws, orange eyes, poisonous wart and the purple prickles.
  2. Set everything up – a bowl and spoons for mixing the ingredients together and water.
  3. Watch as your child creates their Gruffalo Crumble. What will they put in first?
  1. My daughter was so excited for me to taste it! Delicious!

Art: Gruffalo Mask

  1. You will need: A paper plate, sticks, orange eyes, tusks, ears, mouth, glue, paint or pens and tape.
  2. Colour or paint the paper plate brown.
  1. Discuss where the face parts of the Gruffalo go and stick them down with glue.
  2. Using tape, stick the sticks on the back and Hey Presto, you have a mask!
  3. Walk round the house being the Gruffalo saying things like, “I have knobbly knees and truned out toes and a poisonous wart at the end of my nose. I have terrible teeth in my terrible jaws. May favourute food is Graffalo Crumble.”

Role Play: Ice Cream Shop

You can make an ice cream shop selling owl, fox, snake and squirrel ice cream. It’s great because this is an activity that can last all morning! It’s using role play, enhancing their imagination, turn taking, using the language patterns of the story and fine motor skills too.

You will need: coloured paper for the ice cream, card for the cones bowls and spoons. We also added extras: pom poms for sweets, coloured rice for sprinkles and pipe cleaners for swirls.

  1. For the ice cream we scrunched up paper which is great for the fine motor skills.
  2. For the cone we used card, cut out a circle and then cut a chunk out like below.
  1. It was then folded into a cone shape and stuck down with tape.
  2. My daughter then wrote labels for the different flavours of ice cream.
  1. We used money and had a till and then it was time to play!
  2. We took it in turns to be the customer and the ice cream shop keeper.

The most popular part was placing the sprinkles on the top!

Phonics: Initial Sounds

For this activity use sounds that your child already knows. They will be listening to the initial sounds of the words.

  1. You will need the Gruffalo book and sounds for them to use.
  2. Place the sounds above the book. Touch each of the sounds and ask your child to tell you what sound it is.
  3. Ask them to choose a sound. ‘s’. What can you see on the page that starts with the ‘s’ sound? Is it ‘s’ for Gruffalo? No. Is it ‘s’ for tree? No. What is it ‘s’ for? Yes, ‘s’ for snake. Place the sound by the snake. Always over exaggerate the first sound so that they can hear it.
  4. Ask your child to pick another sound and repeat until you have finished all of them.

Art and Fine Motor: Terrible Claws

Time to make some terrible Gruffalo claws!

  1. You will need: pasta, paint and play-doh.
  2. First of all paint the pasta by moving it around in the different coloured paints.
  3. If your child would like they can mix the colours too!
  4. Let them dry overnight.
  1. Create a Gruffalo shaped foot with the play-doh and press in the different coloured claws on the end.
  2. Now you have a Gruffalo’s food with terrible claws!
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