This Saturday is Elmer Day 2020 – a day we love celebrating in our libraries as we share the fantastic stories of Elmer the Elephant and his many friends, written and illustrated by David McKee. We love reading stories about the adventures Elmer and co get up to and making elephant-related crafts. Although this year’s celebrations will be slightly different, they will be no less fun.

In today’s blog, we’ll run through the many things you can do at home to celebrate the day and bring you lots of other elephant-related trivia, information and resources, as well as a look back at previous celebrations we had in our libraries. We’ll also tell you about the surprising links Warwickshire has to elephants.


Elmer Day

When you wake up on Elmer Day, the first thing to do is to get dressed in your brightest colours – Elmer is a very colourful elephant so to feel like Elmer, why not wear your brightest colours all day? You could find a bright jumper, some snazzy socks or add a colourful scarf or hat to your outfit.

To fill up the day with fun activities, you’ll find lots of ideas on the Elmer Day website. It’s worth having a look around as you’ll find stories to share, videos to watch and the all important crafts and activities available in the ‘Activity Pack’. We are big fans of the colouring sheets and if you have an empty milk bottle, you could make a milk bottle Elmer (there are instructions in the Activity Pack and make sure you have a grown up helping you if you’re cutting up the bottles).

You could also make an Elmer garland to decorate your house or maybe front window – this has been a favourite activity in many of our libraries in previous years. And you’ll also find the templates you’ll need to make your very own Elmer ears to wear at home.

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Some Elmer garlands and colouring in from previous Elmer Day activities at (from top, clockwise) Stratford Library, Southam Library & Leamington Library

There are activity sheets to complete and you can watch a video of the ‘Be a Rainbow‘ song from the ‘Elmer the Patchwork Elephant’ theatre show as well.

You could try your hand at making salt dough elephants – Leamington Art Gallery and Museum have made this video to show you how. Alternatively, if you have Lego at home, you could make a Lego Elmer (if you’re reading this before Elmer Day, you’ve just had a sneak peek into what this week’s Lego Challenge is – sshh, don’t tell! We’ll let everyone else know on Saturday at 10.30 on our Twitter and Facebook pages and if you have built an Elmer, if you can, send us a photo or post a picture online and tag us so we’ll see what you’ve created)

Don’t forget to share lots of stories on the day too – search on BorrowBox for Elmer titles or you can see the author of Elmer, David McKee, read a story here. Joseph Coelho has also posted this video, reading ‘Elmer and the Rainbow’. We’ve mentioned some other elephant-related stories further down too.

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Left and top right: Elmer and friends at Leamington Library (the elephants belong to Art Gallery & Museum in the Pump Rooms and were decorated as Elmer to celebrate Elmer Day last year). Bottom right: Atherstone Library all set up and ready for some Elmer fun in 2018.

Elephants

There’s loads of other elephant-related fun to be had out there. If any of your Home School lessons are featuring elephants (or animals in general), our eInformation resources will have lots of information for you to search.

Encyclopaedia Britannica

You can search through the Encyclopaedia Britannica for information about elephants at a junior, student or adult level using your Warwickshire Library card to log in. You can find out all sorts of things on there – did you know that an adult elephant can consume up to 180 kilograms (400 pounds) of food a day? That’s the equivalent of 115, 045 M&Ms! You’ll also find video clips and images to help you learn more about elephants.

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Other Home Learning resources

There are lots of websites filled with facts about all kinds of animals, not just elephants and we’ve found two we love. The World Wildlife Fund has pages of facts about elephants and how they are live their lives. It also explores the dangers that elephants face, both from other animals and from humans and gives some ideas for how we can help. Similarly, The National Geographic website has some stunning photographs of elephants and lots of information too.

Have you ever visited a museum and seen life-sized models of elephants? While museums are shut, you can still go on virtual tours – the Natural History Museum in London has several virtual tours to explore its collection as well as this page which features some vintage photographs of old exhibits, including their elephants.


Elephantastic fun stuff

If you still want more elephant fun, there’s this video from children’s author and former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq featuring lots of fun facts and ideas for activities as well as Konnie reading from ‘The Girl Who Stole an Elephant’ by Nazrana Farook.

There are even more ideas for elephant related fun on the National Literacy Trust website and you can read an extract of Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin’s book ‘The Elephant who wants to fall asleep’, illustrated by Sydney Hanson here. There are loads of other authors and illustrators who are creating activities for you to do online, some elephant related, some not – have a look at the Booktrust ‘Fun At Home‘ website for lots of ideas.

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Elephants in Warwickshire

You probably wouldn’t think it but there are a number of Warwickshire links to elephants throughout the county. If you search on the ‘Our Warwickshire‘ website for ‘elephants’, you’ll get a surprising number of results. You’ll see a photograph from the 1970s of elephants walking down Queen’s Road in Nuneaton, passing Woolworths and some confused looking spectators. You can also find out about the ‘Elephant Wash‘ in Leamington, the Snitterfield elephant skull and see a photograph from 1910 of elephants visiting Rugby.

Our absolute favourite of all the locally linked elephants mentioned above are the 1970s Nuneaton elephants and ‘Our Warwickshire’ have made this photograph into an 80 piece jigsaw that you can complete online. You can find it here and when you click on the first piece, your time will start – let us know how long it takes you to complete!


We hope you have lots of fun on Elmer Day this year – it’s sure to be a bright and colourful day and hopefully, we’ve given you lots of ideas for ways to celebrate everyone’s true colours!

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