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Roald Dahl Day: five ways to celebrate

Child in Willy Wonka costume BigStock
While there’s always a reason to enjoy and celebrate the amazing books that Roald Dahl wrote, make a special effort on Roald Dahl Day to organise phizz-whizzingly brilliant activities and scrumdiddlyumptious treats!

Get ready to enter the wonderful world of whangdoodles, snozzberries and whizpoppers! Here are some age-appropriate, fantabulous ideas to bring Roald Dahl's beloved characters and stories to life for your kids on Roald Dahl Day (celebrated every year on 13 September, which was the author's birthday).

Roald Dahl activities for Reception

Read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory out loud to your child, or listen to it together, then come up with your own Willy Wonka-inspired sweets.

A perfect introduction to The Twits is the House of Twits app: explore the Twits’ house, including the disgusting bathroom and filthy kitchen, poke Mrs Twit's glass eye and feed Mr Twit worms... there are loads of fiendish games to have a go at!

Roald Dahl activities for Years 1-2 (Age 6-7)

Help your child dress up as their favourite Roald Dahl character, and pretend to be that character for the day. For instance, your child can try to speak like the BFG, or remember all the adventures in the giant peach. On Dahlicious Dress Up Day schoolchildren all over the UK dress up as their favourite Roald Dahl characters to raise funds for Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity, which helps seriously ill and disabled children.

If you’re stuck for costume ideas, our no-sew Roald Dahl costume ideas are perfect for non-crafty parents!

Roald Dahl activities for Years 3-4 (Age 8-9)

Lots of Dahl’s books have been turned into films, so how about inviting friends to a Roald Dahl film party? Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (either version), James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr.Fox and Matilda are all great choices. 

Liven things up with a special Roald Dahl quiz – you can prepare questions, winners’ certificates and more or print out TheSchoolRun's Roald Dahl wordsearch. Oxford Owl also offer a selection of free Roald Dahl word-based activities from the creators of the Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary.

The videos on the Roald Dahl YouTube channel also offer costume and craft ideas and even refreshments recipes!

Roald Dahl activities for Years 5-6 (Ages 10-11)

If your kids already know the Roald Dahl books really well, bring the author himself to life by visiting the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire.

See the area Dahl lived and wrote in for more than 30 years, and take part in storytelling, craft sessions and special events scheduled for each month.

Roald Dahl activities for Year 7 (Age 12)

Set your children a challenge to see how many Roald Dahl books they can read in a week, especially if there are any titles they haven’t picked up yet. There are well over 40 books and short story collections – over 20 aimed at children – so there’s plenty to choose from! How about turning it into a way to raise money for Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity by getting friends and family to pledge a certain amount of money for each book your kids read?

Watch Puffin Virtually Live webcasts themed around Roald Dah's work

Puffin Virtually Live 2012:
Hosted by Michael Rosen, in conversation with Roald Dahl’s legendary illustrator, Quentin Blake.

Puffin Virtually Live 2013:
Hosted by Michael Rosen, former Children’s Laureate and author of children’s biography Fantastic Mr Dahl, in conversation with Roald Dahl’s daughter, Lucy Dahl, the inspiration for Matilda, finding out about the mischief and mayhem her father got up to at home and in the writing of his work. There is also a live performance of “Naughty” from the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda The Musical.

Puffin Virtually Live 2014:
Hosted by Helen Skelton, with a focus on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Puffin Virtually Live 2016:
Hosted by Naomi Wilkinson, featuring the cast of Matilda the Musical.

Puffin Virtually Live 2017:
A Quentin Blake draw-a-thon, hosted by CBBC Book-Club presenter Katie Thistleton.

Puffin Story Makers Show for Roald Dahl Story Day 2020:
The ultimate Roald Dahl guessing game, a draw-along, some r-r-r-revolting witcha-grams and an extract of The Witches, read by Stanley Tucci.

Photo credit: Quentin Blake illustrations from James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, published by Puffin books. © Quentin Blake

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