Monday, 15 February 2021

Puffy Paint Amazing Hair Activity!

In the book Don't Go Knocking at the Circus Door, you might have spotted some of the clowns have Amazing Hair!

This activity is really easy and loads of fun!

All you need is:

PVA glue

Shaving foam

Food colouring

Amazing hair templates (below)

We have tools that we use for moulding but you can also use a paintbrush or even cutlery.

If you have access to a laminator this activity can be used again and again but if not, simply print off a few copies.

If you have some savvy tech skills you can also superimpose the faces of your children onto the templates. I used Microsoft Digital but any similar software will do. Alternatively, you could cut them out and stick them on.

Mix equal parts glue and shaving foam. Experiment with adding more of each to see what it does to the mixture. You’re looking to create soft peaks.


Add food colouring to create your desired colour.


Add your mixture as ‘hair’ to the templates.

Build up layers and ‘style’ your hair. Add different colours and mess around with the effects.

We hope you enjoy your Amazing Hair Activity! 

Click links for templates

The Mighty Sandwina! Comprehension Exercise - Years 5 and 6

Kate Brumbach was born in Vienna Austria in 1884. She was born into a family already known for their strength performance. Among her siblings, they were known for their great physical strength and often performed together. However it became clear that Kate had natural strength abilities and through intensive practice, she rose to “spectacular fame”.

Her act became one where she wrestled men and challenged any man 100 marks to beat her, but none ever did. It was in this strange way she met her husband!

In the early 1900’s the couple came to New York, it was here that Kate was given her new name. In New York she changed her act to weightlifting. This time she challenged any man in the audience to lift more than her. One man stepped forward. Eugene Sandow, also known as the most famous bodybuilder of the time.

As the contest got under way the pair matched each other at every step. Until finally Kate lifted 300 lbs above her head! Eugene faltered at his chest and dropped the weight back to the ground. From then on Kate Brumbach was known as Katie Sandwina – the female version of Sandow.

Throughout her career she was known for breaking chains with her hands, twisting iron rods, holding her husband above her head and juggling cannonballs!


Comprehension Questions

 Where was Katie born?

What was Katie’s real name?

What unusual way did Katie meet her husband?

What are marks? How many did Katie ask for to wrestle a man?

What do you think people thought of a woman who could lift weights?

Katie had natural strength but what helped her achieve “spectacular fame”?

When did Katie got to New York?

Who was the current most famous bodybuilder?

How much did Katie lift to beat him?

Why did Katie’s name change?

How do you think Katie felt about changing her name?

Katie’s act also included what else?

Curriculum: Year 5 and 6  Reading and Writing Comprehension, Year 5 Science - Forces, Year 6 Science - Evolution and Inheritance

Friday, 12 February 2021

Book Activities - Talking Points

Have you given much thought to how your body image – your thoughts and feelings about your body – impacts your wider life? Or those around you?

The way we understand health is over simplistic. It is holding us back from so much health potential. It’s time for a new level of understanding around health.

Children as young as three-years-old are identifying with diet culture and body shame. The children’s picture book Don’t Go Knocking at the Circus Door and its extension activities gives us the tools to have conversations around body image, the media, gender (un) roles, and self-belief.


To teach children that we cannot all have the same bodies, just like any other species we come in all different sorts. This is normal. If everyone ate the same things and did the same exercise we would still all be different.

To be aware of and avoid appearance-based commentary in the classroom

To be mindful in this respect of what kids say to each other.

What we say to the kids

What we say about our own bodies

What we say about our own food, clothes, movement choices.

We don’t need to comment on other’s bodies.


To understand that people having different bodies is natural and normal.

We don’t have to talk or comment on other people’s bodies or body parts.

If people do comment on our bodies we have a choice of whether to agree with them or not.

Questions to help discussion - What is a good body?

What did Steginoff mean when he said “You look nothing like a circus star”?

What do the posters tell us? How do they help us talk about the media and how bodies are used?

What do “stars” generally look like?

We can talk about the media being a form of “magic” or “trickery”. It’s not that everyone can or should have a certain type of body, it’s that only some types of bodies are chosen to be used in the media – it’s false. Look around, at school, in the supermarket, at the swimming pool. Different bodies are everywhere and that is normal and natural in the real world.

Was Steginoff being kind? Was he being a bully? Is it right to talk about how someone looks?

It’s not nice to talk about or notice is different about people’s bodies. It might be really hard for them. It also might be really boring to have to keep talking about it.

All bodies are great bodies. Our personal value is not in our bodies.

What is it in? How we make people feel, our talents, our behaviour and friendships, our style, our accomplishments, our personality, our …

What is inclusion? Why is it important?

 Who is the Strongest?

What else is happening on this page? What is the Clown Alley Cleaner doing?

What is he feeling, thinking, doing? Why might he be doing that? Does it have anything to do with Steginoff saying “Men are Strong”?

Are only men strong? What ways can we be strong without being able to lift heavy things? E.g. standing up for a friend, being kind, not giving up on something, or believing in yourself.

What is the Popcorn Popper’s reaction to being told she doesn’t look like a circus star?

 It turns out that The Clown Alley Cleaner is very talented but why does nobody know?

Have you ever felt shy? Had to be brave? Is that normal?

Does the Clown Alley Cleaner think his skills are valuable? Did anyone use unkind words or share ideas that weren’t true about bodies?

Don’t Go Knocking on the Circus Door shows us two people who were brave and followed their passion and skills despite what people thought of them.


Gender (un) Roles

It might also provide a good opportunity to talk about gender roles, traditional ones and more modern ideas.

Are there some jobs only men can do?

What are they?

Are there some jobs only women can do?

Some people still have strong ideas about certain jobs being for men and certain jobs for women but actually there aren’t many these days that can’t be done by both. As people choose to follow their passion and show others there’s little we can’t do if we want to.

Thursday, 11 February 2021

The Popcorn Popper's Recipes

Marshmallow and Peanut Butter Popcorn


180g of ready popped popcorn

 20 large marshmallows

25g brown sugar

·       125g margarine

·       3 tablespoons peanut butter


Time: 30 minutes 

Serves: 6 Pour popcorn into a large bowl.

  1. In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar, margarine, brown sugar and marshmallows. Stir continuously until the mixture is smooth and fully melted. Stir in the peanut butter until well blended.
  2. In a separate bowl place the prepared popcorn. Drizzle the melted mixture all over the popcorn stirring quickly to cover the corn before it cools.
It's sticky, gooey and extra yummy. This one scored 10/10 with the kids!