St John's C of E Primary School

"Use your God-given gifts to serve others." 1 Peter 4: 10

Snail and the Whale (Under the sea)

The Snail and the Whale | Julia Donaldson | Axel Scheffler | children's book | Story time

The Snail and the Whale is a children's book by former children's laureate Julia Donaldson, illustrated by longtime collaborator Axel Scheffler. It has won s...

Weekly Reading Tasks


Monday- Share the story ‘The Snail and the Whale’. If you don’t have a copy at home watch this online reading. 


Tuesday- ​ Sing a variety of rhymes. Favourites can be repeated. Hearing the patterns of language in a story will support your child’s language development.




Listen to free children’s stories on Audible:



Wednesday- ​Read a variety of books at home in different places. Favourites can be repeated. Hearing the patterns of language in a story will support your child’s language development.



Thursday- Watch the online storybook- ‘Sharing a Shell’. Discuss how the crab felt in the story at each stage. Your child could draw a picture to represent the crab’s feelings. 



Friday- Ask your child to look at the books you have in your house (or on the Nursery stories page). Can they find any other books about creatures that live under the sea? Can they group the animal books e.g. farm animals, jungle animals, under the sea animals?



Weekly Phonics Tasks

Monday- Ask your child if they can hear the sounds that come at the beginning of snail and whale​. Can they think of/ or find other things that begin with the same sound? They could create a poster or take photographs of the things they see.

Tuesday- ​ Ask your child to sing their favourite rhyme. You could base it on items in the house  (see the start of this video).

Wednesday- Speaking and listening challenge: Get a bowl and spoon and some items that have 3 letters (eg bat, cat, hat, dog, log) and  play ‘silly soup’ (there’s an example on this video from 1 minutes 40 seconds onwards). Mix the pretend soup with the spoon and sing ‘I’m making lots of silly soup. I’m making soup that’s silly. I’m going to put it in the fridge to make it nice and chilly.’  Put  one items into the soup and talk about how the rhyme.


Wednesday- Sounds challenge: Follow a Set 1 session from Read Write Inc


Thursday- ​Sing ‘1,2,3,4,5 Once I caught a fish alive’. Click here for the words. Can your child learn this by heart? 

Friday- ​Play Fish for Sounds – write out some letter sounds that correspond to objects found in the sea – f for fish. Try and write them outside in chalk or similar and encourage your child to trace over them. 

Weekly Writing Tasks 

Monday- ​Ask your child to draw a picture and write about their favourite underwater creature. They could label the picture too.  (The writing may look like scribbles to you but the important part is that they say what they have written. If you child doesn’t want to write, it may help if you scribe for them).

Tuesday- ​Have a try at Snail Writing. Using hair gel, shaving foam or any other slimy liquid, show your child how to form the letter ‘​s​’ using your finger. If your child can, ask them to try the word ‘snail’. Repeat for other words. 

Wednesday- ​Ask your child to close their eyes and imagine being at the beach. Can they draw a picture list of what they could see, taste, touch, smell and hear?

Thursday- ​Use this animated letter formation tool to help your child practise letter formation. You can select those they find most challenging.

Friday- ​Listen to the song Henry the Crab- Ask your child to draw a picture of what they think Henry the crab looks like.​CHALLENGE-​ Ask your child what they would like to ask Henry about what it is like to live under the sea. You could write down the questions and pretend that Henry answers or use these to scribe a letter. Scribing helps our children to see the purpose of writing.

Weekly Maths Tasks- Making Simple Patterns

Monday- ​Can your child join in with tongue twisters: ​red lorry, yellow lorry, red lorry, yellow lorry​? 

Tuesday- ​Ask your child to make a simple shape pattern or a​ ​colour pattern by visiting String of beads CHALLENGE​: Make your own repeating pattern.

Wednesday- ​Can your child make a repeating pattern using objects around the house/garden i.e. apple, banana, apple, banana. ​CHALLENGE:​ Ask your child to build on the above to create more complex patterns e.g. apple, apple, banana, apple, apple, banana. 

Thursday- ​Ask your child to create repeating patterns with actions: Clap hands, tap knees, clap hands, tap knees. Make your own action patterns. ​CHALLENGE:

one person makes the action pattern, the other person is to listen and repeat

Friday- ​Draw the outline of a fish for your child to make a pattern in. Could they make the pattern out of 2D shapes? Can they make a repeated pattern?  


Learning Project - to be done throughout the week

The project this week aims to provide opportunities for your child to learn more about life in and around the sea. Learning may focus on the strange and wonderful creatures and plants that occupy our oceans, their habitats and how human beings affect this environment. 


After listening to the story, ‘The Snail and the Whale’ ​(see reading task). 

  • Take your child on a snail hunt around the garden. Can they think about the places a snail might want to live? 
  • Show your child a picture of a sea snail. Ask, how is it different from the snails they found in the garden? 
  • Have a Snail Race- Use chalk to draw out lines on the ground (or sticks to mark out the lines) to create a race track. Place your snails at the starting line and watch them go! You could give your child a timer to measure how long it takes for the snails to make their way across.

Make your own ‘Under the Sea’ Scene

  • Watch this video of the coral reef.​ ​Talk about the animals you can see. What are the animals called?
  • Use junk modelling or craft items you have around your house to create the scene. You could even add in natural objects e.g. grass as seaweed.


Counting Undersea Creatures

  • Show your child how to play this game. There is a simpler version with amounts to 5 and a more challenging version with amounts to 10. ​CHALLENGE​: Support your child to create a record of how many of each creature there were. 


Make your own Fishing Game

  • Make a fishing rod using a stick or similar (a wooden spoon would work well!). Tie some string on to one end and tie a magnet onto the end of the string (you could use a fridge magnet). 
  • Using the rod, your child could explore which items are attracted to the magnet around the house


Explore Floating and Sinking

  • Fill up a bowl, sink or basin and provide your child with a range of objects to explore. Which ones float and which sink? Ask them why they think they float/ sink? ​CHALLENGE: Keep a record of the objects that float and sink? This could be using pictures or written.​  

STEM Learning Opportunities #sciencefromhome

Unplugged Coding

        ●    Watch this video. 

●    Create a simple under the sea obstacle course or draw an obstacle course on a piece of paper.  Children have to guide an under-water robot (Parent/sibling/toy) through the obstacles by shouting out simply instructions.  E.g. forwards, right, left, backwards.