Listen: Children's author R.A. Spratt discusses ways to keep kids happy at home with Sam Robinson on Hope Breakfast
With Sydney experiencing a school holiday at home, and parents running short on ideas, R.A. Spratt is here to save the day.
Children’s author R.A. Spratt is exactly the kind of creative person we all need in our lives. Known for her Nanny Piggins and Friday Barnes series, R.A. joined Hope Breakfast to share some dangerous (and not so dangerous) ideas for keeping your kids entertained while staying at home.
Through last year’s lockdown, R.A. shared a number of physical challenges on her YouTube including doorway handstands, and passing a dictionary over your head with your feet (she warned this challenge may see a dictionary land on your head). And now she shared with Hope Breakfast how to get imaginative about writing stories just by going for a walk.
“When you notice things, you start to imagine what it could mean,” R.A. said. “I was walking with my daughter in autumn. She said, ‘Mum, look! There’s a leaf and it’s levitating!’ It was an autumn leaf caught in a spiderweb between two cherry trees, and it did look like it was levitating, it did look really magical.”
R.A. commented that the spider would be annoyed to find that its breakfast was a leaf – and this led them to speculate whether a vegetarian spider might exist – and they went home and researched, in Mexico, there’s actually a vegetarian jumping spider. This is how stories start to emerge, and it’s so helpful for kids to develop these skills.
They went home and researched… there’s actually a vegetarian jumping spider. This is how stories start to emerge.
R.A.’s new collection of 20 short stories, Shockingly Good Stories, is meant to be read out loud.
“We hear how important it is for cultures all around the world to share their stories so it continues their culture. But this is part of our culture too,” she said.
“Children are little worry machines, and their brains fill up with worries throughout the day but when they’re running around they aren’t thinking about them. But when they lie down at night, all the worries they’ve stored up in the day suddenly pop into their heads.
“That’s why every culture in the world tells bedtime stories. Bedtime stories have this fundamental calming balm. It’s like magic: you’re told a story where there’s a beginning, a middle, and and end; the good people prevail and the bad people are punished..
“Telling stories and sharing stories is really important.”