Author: John Burningham

It is Christmas Eve and Father Christmas has just returned from delivering all of the Christmas presents, when he finds one present left in his sack. It’s for a small boy called Harvey Slumfenburger, who lives far, far away on top of the Roly Poly Mountain. But no journey is too far for Father Christmas!

This beautifully-told Christmas book has been a firm family-favourite in our house for years and I am sure it will be a favourite in yours too!

Here are my top Harvey Slumfenburger’s Christmas Present activities you can do with your child to help support his/her speech & language development:

1. With his reindeer out of action Father Christmas must use many modes of transport to make his way to the top of the Roly Poly Mountain. As a result this is the perfect opportunity to work on your child’s knowledge of transport/vehicular vocabulary.

To cement your child’s knowledge of the targeted vocabulary point to real vehicles you see when you are out with your child, find toys that match the vehicles in the book, find photographs of the modes of transport in the book or have a go at drawing these vehicles together.

If you want to build your child’s vocabulary knowledge further you can help him/her to sort the vehicles into categories e.g. vehicles with wheel, vehicles that fly. You can then both take it in turns to think of other vehicles, that weren’t included in the story, that fit these categories.

2. Make a timeline of Father Christmas’ journey with your child, covering the route he took and the modes of transport he used each step of the way. You can use this to support your child’s narrative development, by working on their sequencing and retelling skills. Prompt your child to remember elements of the story using blank level 2 questions (e.g. who, where, what, when).

3. If you have older children you can work on their predicting and inferencing skills (e.g. why, how) to support their higher level understanding and verbal reasoning. Sample questions could include:

  • How would Harvey have felt if Father Christmas hadn’t reached him in time?
  • How did Harvey feel when he woke up and found Father Christmas’ present?
  • How did Father Christmas feel when he found Harvey’s present in his sack?

Use the FREE blank level question guide below for examples at each level of questioning.

I would love to hear what you and your family though of this festive book and which activity you liked the most?