Daily Activity 23: James and the Giant Peach

April 22, 2020

This week’s theme:

Mysterious People: Roald Dahl

Fact of the day:

In this book, James drops some magical crocodile tongues near a peach tree. This makes a peach grow to be as big as a house! James goes inside the peach and meets insects that are his size. James and the group travel in the peach across the ocean and in the sky from England to New York City.

Resources list:

A ‘ramp’, different household objects, stopclock; card, scissors, penny, string; rainbow coloured objects; paint and paper; mirror, CD, torch; pens and paper; Youtube.

Activity 1:

In the story the peach rolls down the hill and breaks through fences. It goes right through fields of animals. It rolls through a chocolate factory and out the other side! Suddenly, chocolate is oozing down the streets and children are running and dancing and swimming in it! Think of a giant bowling ball knocking over pins. That was the giant peach, knocking over everything in its path. Suddenly, the peach rolls straight off a cliff and falls down, down, down right into the enormous ocean. Surprisingly, it begins floating along, as peaceful as can be.

Try rolling different sized objects down a ramp (this could be a sofa cushion placed at a slant, or an ironing board resting on the arm of a chair, or a sloping plastic box lid, etc). Do smaller objects roll slower or faster than larger objects? If the slope is steeper, do things roll faster than if the slope is shallow? Experiment with different shaped and sized objects, do round objects work best or worst? What’s the best rolling object you’ve found? Let us know! You could use a stopclock to time your rolls. You could listen to this song while you roll.

Activity 2:

The Silkworm is one of the creatures James meets aboard the Giant Peach. Although she says little, she is an invaluable member of the Peach’s crew: without her quickly-spun silk, James’s plan to rescue the Peach from the threatening sharks might never have worked. He ties one end of her spun silk to the peach and the other to 502 flying seagulls and the peach is carried away from the sharks like this.

Try making a spinning top to create a silk-spinning action. Or make a spinner like this using this template or this  colour template glued to card.

Activity 3:

When the peach was in the sky James and his friends notice creatures in the clouds. These creatures were much taller than a grown-up, ‘wispy . . . shadowy’, and looked like they were made of cotton candy and white hair. These were the Cloud-Men who are always busy with many different jobs. James sees hundreds of Cloud-Men painting a half-circle with big cans of paints and brushes. They work fast and before long the arch is full of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple paint, making a beautiful rainbow. Once Cloud-Men finish the rainbow, they lower it down from the clouds slowly on ropes.

Find objects in your house that match the colours of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo (dark blue), violet (purple) and lay them out on a table to make your own rainbow.

Paint a rainbow, like the Cloud-Men. Put it up in your window to bring some cheer to your neighbours. Take a photo of you next to your rainbow and share it with us! You can share it on our FacebookInstagram or Twitter or send it to melanie@purplepatcharts.org and we’ll put it online for you!

Try a science experiment to make a rainbow with light diffraction like this or this.

Activity 4:

In the book James, is sent to live with his mean aunts who aren’t very nice to him and don’t allow him to have friends. He is sad and lonely and would love to find a way to escape; James then goes on his journey in the peach and finds happiness and friendship. The ladybird character in the book is very kind to James, she is excited for the journey on the Peach to begin, she believes they will see ‘marvellous places’ and ‘wonderful things’. The ladybird is very optimistic (she believes good things will happen). What are you optimistic about? What are you looking forward to?

Make a colourful sign with an optimistic message for your Purple Patch friends. If you share it with us (without specific friends names mentioned on it, but you could mention which group your friends go to) we can put it online for everybody to see. You can share it on our FacebookInstagram or Twitter or send it to melanie@purplepatcharts.org and we’ll put it online for you!

You could listen to a song from the film soundtrack while you make your sign.

Activity 5:

In the end, James and his insect friends make it to New York and the Peach lands on the spike of the Empire State Building! The enormous peach stone ends up being set up permanently in place of honour in Central Park and becomes a famous monument.

Have a boogie to some New York inspired songs such as this, this, or this. Come up with some of your own moves – can you reach your arms up as tall as the Empire State Building, stretch as wide as Central Park, pose like the Statue of Liberty?

Add-on Activity:

If you have the ingredients, you could try eating peaches, or making a recipe from James and The Giant Peach: Crispy Wasp Stings On A Piece Of Buttered Toast.

If you have a garden, you could look under rocks or in dark spots to see if you can spot any of the (normal sized!) insects that James shared his journey with: Spider, Ladybug, Earthworm, or Centipede.