This is a bit of a gift in National Storytelling Week, today is Robinson Crusoe Day! It marks the day in 1709 that Alexander Selkirk was rescued after 5 years on Juan Fernandez island off the coast of Cuba. His story formed the basis of Daniel Defoe’s Book ‘Robinson Crusoe’.
There is so much potential for family fun in this story, across the ages! Here are a few ideas.
- Young children love packing a bag with a few bits and exploring the house. Each room can be a different part of the desert island and you can go on an adventure to see what you can find. You could have the jungle out in the garden, they can fish in the bath, set up camp in the sitting room, climb the stair mountain and see what they can see from the top. Perhaps they could ‘make a fire’ outside or in with a pile of sticks/toy bricks (which they can go and collect first) and a pretend match. Bonus Boy and his best chum have spent many happy hours in the woodland ‘building fires’!
- There is a fabulous children’s book called Miranda the Castaway which my daughter had first and has now taken up residence in Bonus Boy’s room. Miranda is a resourceful little girl who is shipwrecked on a desert island. She quickly sorts herself out and builds herself a set of tree top rooms. She has to work out an ingenious way of transporting fresh water from the spring to her ‘kitchen’ which involves a lot of bamboo sticks zig zagging through the jungle. There is a lot of potential for some junk modelling on a big scale here! A cardboard box treehouse serviced by a long tube made of loo roll tubes stuck together would be fab and if a marble could travel along it (proving that water could but without a papier-mache mess!), so much the better!
- With older children you could play a version of Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs (this is what we are going to do this evening in front of the fire as part of our storytelling week celebrations!). Pose the question: If you were to be stranded on a desert island which 10 things would you want to have with you to ensure your survival (no electrical goods allowed) and which one luxury would you have to have?
- A treasure hunt is always fun. If you have a collection of seashells, hide them around the house for children to find and reward them with some survival essentials when they have found them. You could have a ‘treasure box’ filled with fruits, nuts and vegetables for them to make a meal, sticks and ‘matches’ to make a fire, fabric and rugs for them to make ‘tree houses’.
Enjoy! If you have any ideas for some Crusoe adventures do pop them in a comment!