Beatrix Potter

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By Judith Harries

original article published 14 July 2016

Beatrix Potter is not only noteworthy for her beautifully illustrated books – she is also an inspirational figure and a great role model for young children. She achieved success as an artist, author, botanist, environmentalist, farmer and business woman. Celebrate her life by trying out the following Beatrix Potter themed activities in your setting. Make sure you spend time delving into the books with the children as well. Beatrix Potter really did produce some unforgettable characters that are certain to capture children’s imaginations.

Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter Day

Peter Rabbit

Beatrix Potter was born in July 1866 and lived most of her life in the Lake District in the North-West of England. She wrote and illustrated 28 books full of charming and often mischievous animal characters, many with double identities, who children have been entertained by since Peter Rabbit was first published in 1902.

Tell you children that you are going to have a special day in July to celebrate Beatrix Potter and all the wonderful stories and characters she created. Invite parents and carers to attend and ask them to bring in any copies of her books. Many of the activities in this article will provide ideas for your Beatrix Potter day.

When I grow up

Beatrix Potter was always very determined and when her early attempts to get her stories published were rejected she self-published her first tale of Peter Rabbit. This was seen by the publisher Frederick Warne who decided to offer her a deal after all and subsequently published all her stories.

  • Talk to the children about what they would like to do when they grow up.
  • Make a list of different jobs that the children’s parents and grandparents are involved in.
  • Invite some parents to talk about their work at the Beatrix Potter day.
  • Encourage the children to draw a picture of how they look now and another picture of what they’d like to be when they grow up.

Beatrix and her pets

Beatrix and her brother Bertram loved animals and had their own menagerie of pets including frogs, a tortoise, salamanders and at one time even a bat! They were also known to catch mice, hedgehogs and rabbits in the garden and smuggle them into the house in paper bags. She had a pet rabbit called Benjamin Bouncer and she used to take him for walks using a string as a lead. They enjoyed sketching their pets and clearly this skill developed into the fine illustrations in her books.

  • Invite the children to bring in photos of their own pets and to draw or paint pictures of them.
  • Set up a pet corner with lots of soft toy pets for the children to care for, play with and draw.
  • Invite some pets to come to the Beatrix Potter day so the children can learn more about caring for pets and meet the animals first hand.
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