My kids love watching the movie version of Howl’s Moving Castle. When I discovered it was based on a book, I decided to add the title to our To Read list. This is one of my favorite books. Thank you Diana Wynne Jones for penning it. If you haven’t read it yet you need to do so ASAP. I love the characters and the story and my only complaint is that it had to end.
Create a Board Game
I came up with this fun little Howl’s Moving Castle themed board game. My kids really enjoyed playing it. As far as educational value is concerned, I would say it is more for fun than anything else. Although you could say it teaches sportsmanship. Especially if you have a kid that hates to lose a turn and isn’t afraid to express it in less than ideal ways (i.e. storming off, crying, throwing the dice and yelling “I hate this game”). And for a real stretch, you could also say that it has a math aspect, for those learning to count, since there is the counting of spaces after the roll of the dice. But mainly it’s just for fun.
Howl’s Moving Castle Game (for 1 – 4 players)
- You will need to print out the game boards on card stock and tape them together. If you don’t have card stock you can print them on paper and then glue them onto something sturdier like a cereal box. I made mine slightly more durable by using a modified file folder.
- Print out the moving castle on card stock and attach it to your board with a brass brad and put a piece of tape on the backside to secure it. (The black dot in the center of the castle indicates where to place the brad).
- You will need two 6 sided dice.
- Four place markers (I printed out some images of the characters from the movie and used those. You could use anything, pennies, pieces from other games, colored paper clips, etc)
Howls Moving Castle Game Board Printable – Make sure to select Borderless on the page set up in the print dialogue options.
Each player selects a star square as a starting point (Porthaven, Kingsbury, Market Chipping or Rivendell). Each player needs their own starting square. You cannot share a starting point.
The player chosen to go first (do this however you like, youngest, oldest, etc it doesn’t really matter) rolls one die. This first die roll determines where to move (rotate) the castle.
The castle will start with its door facing the first players colored squares. When it is time to move the castle, rotate it so that it’s door is “open” to the appropriate area…
Roll a 1 to open the Porthaven door.
Roll a 2 to open the Kingsbury door.
Roll a 3 to open the Market Chipping door.
Roll a 4 to open the Rivendell door.
Roll a 5 to move the castle 3 spaces clockwise.
Roll a 6 to move the castle 1 space clockwise.
Take turns moving around the board until you end up back at your starting point (your star). Then instead of traveling clockwise around the board you will start moving into the four colored squares leading to the castle. (If you are 2 spaces away from your star and you roll a 4, move two spaces onto the star and then proceed 2 more spaces towards the end of your colored squares.
When you reach the last colored square leading up to the castle you then only need to roll one die. That die will move the castle. The goal is to move the castle so that the door is facing the colored square you are on. You may only enter the castle when the door is facing your colored square. The first player to enter the castle wins. Game play can continue to see who comes second, third and fourth.
This is super easy to learn and play. It’s fun for everyone because it’s all luck not skill. Let me know if my directions are unclear and I will try to clarify.
Let your kids use their imaginations and create their own board games. This is an activity that both my kids love to do. Gather up some game making supplies like poster board, card stock, dice, markers, brads for making spinning wheels, and various little items to mark your place on the board. Then take turns playing each others games and enjoy the pride on the little faces who made them when the games are deemed a success.
Design a Fancy Hat
Channel your inner Sophie and create a magnificent hat.
My daughter fashioned this lovely and flowery “butterfly attracting hat.” It was actually more of a headband type of thing but close enough.
Learn to Sew
We haven’t tackled any projects like Sophie making Howl a magical patchwork suit. But we have had fun learning to hand stitch a few projects and also try a couple super basic ones using a sewing machine. Both my kids love when they get to use the sewing machine, even if it’s just to sew random lines down a piece of scrap fabric.
My daughter has been interested in fashion design and learning to sew for several years now. We made this duct tape dress form for her to use for her fashion design projects. It actually didn’t get used much at all for it’s intended purposes. But it was fun to make and she got to learn about taking proper measurements and why you might want to use a dress form.
We used a tutorial similar to this one. http://www.handimania.com/diy/your-own-shape-sewing-mannequin.html
We also purchased this super cute Sewing School book. I have since see it at the library. However it has patterns included in the book and often times reusable items like that in library books get used and abused. You could always check it out first to see how much your kids would really want to use it before you commit to purchasing it.
We have used sewing school to make a cute A line skirt, a skirt for a doll, hand stitched stuffies and as a guide for stuffed animal repairs.
Boys and girls alike enjoy stitching up projects. My son has become come quite skilled with the sewing machine. He enjoys it every bit as much as my daughter.
If sewing is not your thing but you want your kids to learn or they are interested in learning, check with your local fabric store. They often times offer lessons or can point you in the direction of someone who does.
Make Green Slime
Watch for Falling Stars
Do stars really fall? What are meteors? How old are stars really? There are many more questions to find the answers to with the assistance of your kids. Show them how to search the internet, assuming they don’t know how. (Nowadays the chances of that are pretty slim, even with the very young). But do take the time to help them find the answers and don’t just tell them. It will be more fun and educational for everyone.
If you have a telescope, then first let me say that I am jealous. Secondly, I would suggest that you take it outside with your kids on a dark, clear night. See how many constellations you can find or if you can spot a falling star. You don’t need a telescope to do this but I think a telescope or a pair of these Celestron SkyMaster binoculars would make it extra cool.
Check out the link below to see dates for upcoming meteor showers. It’ll give you a better chance of seeing those falling stars.
Watch the Movie
Discuss the movie vs the book with your kids. Which parts were different? Which did you like better and why? This is good practice for them to formulate and express opinions. You could also talk about the difference between facts and opinions.