Lighthouses, enormously popular with tourists and historians alike around the UK, can form the basis of many children's activities. Reputable websites offer photos, location information, historical data and physical descriptions of lighthouses around the UK's coast. Engaging activities will entertain and educate children about these beacons of light that help ships with navigation.
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The oldest towers registered with lighthouse historical and information societies date back to the late 1700s. Have secondary school children research the location of a UK lighthouse they find interesting. In addition to library books, ask them to use web resources. Assign children to create an informational poster or short composition informing others of the history, location and current condition of their chosen lighthouse.
After explaining the purpose of lighthouses to younger pupils, have them create a watercolour resist painting of a lighthouse. Incorporate some lessons about lighthouse structure into the project by explaining the difference between a lighthouse and a beacon, and outlining the basic lighthouse requirements for base height and width. Ask them to draw a picture of a lighthouse on a sturdy piece of poster board, colouring it with a heavy coat of crayon. Model how to draw a cone-shaped stream of yellow light coming from the top of the lighthouse. After finishing the crayon drawing, have the children wash over the entire picture with thin, blue watercolour paint.
Ask a children use a website such as Trinity House, which maintains 69 lighthouses in the UK, to locate information about lighthouses in a certain coastal area. Instruct children to imagine they work for a tour company and must create a map and brochure about that lighthouse. Provide kids with a county or region map on which to chart the location. Children should also create a brochure on folded paper, either by hand or on the computer, that provides additional information about the lighthouse and the surrounding area.
Read a picture book that explains the job of a lighthouse keeper, such as "The Lighthouse Cat" by Sue Stainton, aloud to kids during story time. Have a discussion about what it would be like to be a lighthouse keeper. Point out the tasks that the keeper has to perform to keep ships safe, and discuss what he hears and sees daily in his job. Instruct a younger child to draw a picture that shows him doing the job of a lighthouse keeper. Have older kids write a short, illustrated story about life as a lighthouse keeper.
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