Autumn and Fluffy and the foggy day

Autumn woke up, yawned widely, showing off all of her sharp teeth, and peeked out of the window.  


“Oh no! The world has disappeared!” She cried.


The young fox ran downstairs to tell her Mummy.
“Mummy, the world has gone, look outside!”

She pointed to what used to be the back garden.
Mummy put down her cup of coffee and looked outside the kitchen window. Autumn was right. The back garden was gone. Instead, everything was all white.


“That’s ok Autumn, it’s only fog.” Smiled Mummy Fox.


“What’s fog and why did it eat our garden?” Asked Autumn, feeling concerned.


“It’s cloud. Thick cloud that is very low. Our back garden and the world is still there. It’s just that you can’t see it.” Explained Mummy.


“Ok. I am going to wake Fluffy, to show him the fog.” Replied Autumn.


Autumn ran up the two flights of stairs to the attic, where Fluffy and her family lived. Fluffy was a hedgehog. 


“Fluffly, wake up! There’s fog!” She shouted into the attic room.

Fluffy sat up in her tiny bed, looking confused.


“What’s fog? Where’s fog?” She asked, rubbing her eyes.


“The fog is outside of course!” Said Autumn.


Fluffy crept to the window and looked outside cautiously.


“Where has everything gone? Why is it so white?” She asked.


“I told you, it’s fog!” Laughed Autumn. “But don’t worry, it’s not eaten the whole world! It’s just a cloud.”


“Oh.” Replied Fluffy. “I thought that clouds lived in the sky.”


“They do live in the sky usually,” replied Mr Hedgehog, who had put his slippers on, and was now looking out of the window too.


“But fog is low cloud. It sits on the ground and makes it difficult to see anything.” He explained.


“Fog, like a stratus cloud, is a cloud which forms when cool, still air is trapped underneath a warm air. Fog normally occurs at a relative humidity near 100%…”         

 “Daddy, that sounds incredibly complicated.” Interrupted Fluffy politely.


“Oh, sorry kids. Sometimes I forget that you are still young and don’t have your science degrees yet.”


“That’s ok, Mr Hedgehog. We like to learn all of the facts that you teach us.” Smiled Autumn.


“I have a great idea!” Said Fluffy. “Let’s go and play hide and seek in the fog.”


“Ok  but only after we had breakfast.” Said Autumn. “I’m hungry.”


The friends went downstairs and enjoyed their breakfast.


Fluffy had slugs and snails on toast and Autumn had pickles and chicken on toast. Yum.


Then the friends went outside to play hide and seek. The fog was swirly and white. They couldn’t see much. Autumn held up her paw in front of her face.


“Oh, I can’t see my paw properly.” She said. “I know it’s there, but it looks… smudgy. Like I am a pencil drawing and the artist started to rub me out!”


Autumn giggled. Imagine her being a drawing? Wasn’t that a silly thought? She was a real fox, not just a picture! 


“You hide first, I’ll seek.” Said Fluffy.
“Ok, good luck finding me in this fog!” Laughed Autumn.


“10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, ready or not here I come!” Shouted Fluffy.


Where could his friend be? He couldn’t see a thing. Maybe she was behind the shed? No. Perhaps Autumn was in the gazebo? Fluffy looked all around it. No, she wasn’t there. Maybe behind the apple tree? Fluffy crept close to the tree and peeked behind it. 


“There you are!” He cried happily.


“It was so easy to hide,” smiled Autumn. “The fog is so thick that I bet you didn’t see me until you got really close, did you?”


“No, not until I was right next to the tree.” Agreed Fluffy.


“Now it’s my turn to seek.” Said Autumn.


The friends played hide and seek for the rest of the morning, until they got too cold and had to go inside to ask for hot chocolate.


Later, they looked out of the window, and the fog had gone. The sun was beautiful and shining.


“Where has the fog gone?” Fluffy asked his Dad.


“The sun warmed up the air and so the fog went. We only get fog if the temperature of the air cools to the dew point, or if the dew point rises to be the same as the temperature of the air, fog will form.” Said Mr Hedgehog. 

    “Ok, thanks for all of the facts Daddy. Replied Fluffy.


“I do hope that the fog doesn’t go on holiday for long.” Muttured Autumn sadly.


“Oh, I’m sure that it will come back soon.” Said Mr Hedgehog.


The end.

My daughter Bethany and I wrote and illustrated this story.

Reading, writing and drawing builds confidence in kids, as well as developing their literacy and imagination.

To listen to stories, and access a great selection of educational activities, have a look at the National literacy trust’s website: https://literacytrust.org.uk

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Autumn and Fluffy’s forest adventure

Autumn was a fox. She lived in Swindon with her friend Fluffy the hedgehog.

They loved playing in the forest, especially in Autumn when they could collect conkers and stamp in the crunchy leaves.

One morning, Fluffy and Autumn set out on Autumn’s tricycle to the forest. Fluffy sat in the basket, cosy in a blanket that Autumn’s Granny had knitted.

Just as they got to the forest, they ride over a sharp stone and the trike got a puncture.

“Oh no!” Cried Autumn. “How will be get back home now? It’s such a long way home, with lots of hills.”

“Yes, it will be very tiring walking the trike back, and carrying me!” Sighed Fluffy.

“Oh well, let’s just play for now anyway. We will worry about getting home later. Luckily I brought some snacks to keep us going.” Said Autumn.

So the friends left the tricycle by a tree and went into the forest. They stomped on crunchy leaves, played hide and seek and collected paw-fuls of conkers.

Fluffy dropped one of the conkers, and it rolled down the hill into a dark cave. He ran after it, straight into a big brown bear!

“Who woke me up?” Grumbled the bear. “I was sleeping.”

His tummy rumbled loudly in the cave. It sounded like thunder.

“Oh, I’m so hungry.” He said. “I can’t find my favourite blackberries this year, and now I have naughty mice waking me up.”

“I’m so sorry to wake you, it was my conker. And I’m not a mouse. I’m a hedgehog.” Replied Fluffy.

“And I am a fox.” Added Autumn.

“Are you? My eyes are so bad these days. Now get out of my cave. I don’t feel so hungry when I’m asleep.”

“So sorry to disturb you, Mr Bear,” said Fluffy. “We will go now.”

The bear followed them out of his cave, to make sure that they really were going. He felt tired and hungry, and didn’t have any patience for young animals.

And the two friends scampered out of the cave as quickly as they could. They were so scared that they ran up a nearby tree and hid in a hole.

“That was frightening!” Trembled Fluffy.

“Yes, I am shaking all over.” Agreed Autumn.

Suddenly a voice from just behind them made them jump.

“What are you doing in my tree? Get out! I am sleepy and cold.”

Fluffy and Autumn turned around to see who was talking. It was an owl.

“We are sorry, we didn’t know this was your house. We were hiding from a bear.” Said Autumn.

“Oh that would be Brownie. He is very grumpy. Now leave me to sleep. Brr, isn’t is chilly?”

The friends climbed carefully down the tree and went back to the trike. In its basket, underneath the blanket, were some snacks which they enjoyed. Fluffy slurped up some slimy slugs, while Autumn chomped on a chicken sandwich.

“Phew, what a busy day.” Said Fluffy.

Autumn looked at the cosy blanket in the basket. She had a thought.

“Maybe we should give the blanket to the cold owl as a way of saying sorry for waking her up. I know that Granny would be happy to knit me another one.” She said.

“Ok that’s a good idea.” Said Fluffy. “My mum says we should always try to be kind.”

So the friends took the blanket to the owl as a gift.

“Thank you so much!” Smiled the owl. “Now I will be nice and warm. People aren’t usually kind to me. Is there anything nice that I can do for you in return?” She asked.

Fluffy had an idea.

“Well,” he said, “Brownie bear is extremely hungry because he can’t see well enough to find any blackberries to eat. I know that owls can see really well…”

“Yes we can.” Replied the owl.

“So I was wondering if you might be able to find the blackberry bush,show us where it is, and we could take some berries round to Brownie’s cave.”

“Hmm, well I don’t usually go out in the daytime, but I suppose that I could, just this once.” Said the owl.

She she showed the friends where the best blackberry bush was. Fluffy and Autumn collected as many berries as they could in the basket. They took them to Brownie in his cave. Autumn quietly set the basket down in the bear’s cave and started to tiptoe away.

But Brownie had excellent hearing, and woke up.

“Not you again!” He sighed. “Why do you keep waking me up?”

His tummy growled loudly.

“We just brought you some berries,” replied Autumn. “We didn’t want you to go hungry.”

“How did you find these lovely berries?” Asked Brownie. “I have looked everywhere in the forest for the this year. But I just couldn’t see well enough to find them!”

“The owl showed us where they were.” Said Autumn.

“Oh, that would be Olivia. She doesn’t usually help others. She is a bit grumpy.” Said the bear.

“We gave her a cosy blanket,” answered Fluffy. “That warmed her up so she wanted to do us a favour.”

“And you chose to help me?” Asked Brownie, looking surprised. “Creatures aren’t usually nice to me. They just run away. I am not sure why.”

“My dad always says to try to be kind to others.” Answered Autumn.

“Thank you so much!” Replied the bear gratefully. A happy tear rolled down his furry face.

He ate the whole basket full of blackberries surprisingly quickly.

“I would like to be kind too. Can I help you with anything?” He asked.

“Actually, my trike got a puncture earlier… would you mind giving us a lift home? We would be awfully grateful. There are so many hills, you see.” Asked Autumn shyly.

“What, you expect me to leave my cosy cave, walk out of the forest, and carry you too and your trike all the way home?” He asked in a gruff voice.

“Y… yes p.. please.” Stuttered Autumn.

“Of course I will. You two are very kind friends!” Brownie smiled.

So he helped Autumn and Fluffy to climb onto his back, and picked up the trike.

“Hold tight!” He said, as he walked them home: out of the forest, over the hills, and back to their house in Fox Close in Swindon.

They did get a few funny looks from the neighbours. They had never seen a bear in their road before!

“Thank you so much.” Said Fluffy and Autumn, as they waved their new friend Brownie goodbye.

“What an adventurous day!” Laughed Fluffy. “Let’s ask my mum for some hot chocolate. I think we have earned it.”

The End.

….

My daughter Bethany and I wrote this story together one chilly Autumn morning. She did the illustrations too.

It’s fun writing a story with your child with some simple steps:

  1. Name your main character/s and think about how they look, and some things they like. This can be a hobby or favourite food.
  2. What is the setting? Where does the story take place? It can be a home, school or up a mountain. Let your child come up with as many ideas as they can.
  3. What goes wrong? There is usually a baddie, danger or problem to overcome in a story. It doesn’t have to be anything that will scare your child, keep it age appropriate.
  4. How is the baddie taught a lesson, danger faced and overcome or problem fixed? Ask your child for ideas, and you can narrow them down. It doesn’t have to be realistic. 🙂
  5. Are there any things that you would like to talk about? There doesn’t need to be a moral though, and a story can just be fun or silly. But in this one, I decided to focus in being kind. It could be something simple like sharing toys, or more serious like facing grief.
  6. Your child can do the writing if old enough, or you can do it. Remember to keep asking them what they think happens next, what the main character would say if that happened, etc. Let them input their ideas as much as possible while keeping to the storyline.
  7. Have fun! 🙂
  8. Encourage your child to do some drawings, because art is fabulous. It also improves their fine motor skills.

For more resources and ideas on encouraging children of all ages to read and write in a fun way, see the National Literacy Trust’s website:

https://literacytrust.org.uk

Autumn writing activities with kids

Autumn is my favourite season. Nature is showing off and trying to lure us away from our TVs and phones and get us outside.

If you have a child, you probably spend some time every Autumn collecting treasures such as crunchy leaves, conkers and acorns.

You can use this as a chance to do some literary activities. Children engage better with reading and writing if it’s fun.

Some ideas:

Make a list together of words that describe what you see. For younger kids, you can do the writing, or it can just be a chat. With school age children, encourage them to do some writing too.

Write a poem based on the treasures. Touch them: how do they feel? What colours are they?

Write a short story of your trip to the park. What did you see? Were there any sounds like the leaves crunching underfoot, or a dog barking? Was the sun shining or was it rainy?

You can tie this in with art: drawing a leaf or painting faces on the conkers.

My daughter wrote some descriptive words of the conkers and leaves that we collected recently.

Then we wrote a poem based on some of those words.

What Autumn literacy activities have you done?