The Singing Mermaid

Age Range: 5 - 11

Did you ever go to Silversands on a sunny summer's day? Then perhaps you saw the mermaid who sang in the deep blue bay.

Book Author: Julia Donaldson

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Teaching Ideas and Resources:


  • The story starts with a question for the reader to think about. Can you make a set of questions that could be used as interesting story starters?
  • Carry out a role play activity at the point when Sam Sly asks the mermaid to join his circus. Should she go? What are the pros / cons of joining?
  • Have a class debate about the use of animals in circuses / zoos.
  • Write your own story about a mermaid.
  • Make a list of adjectives to describe the singing mermaid. Can you find any in the story?
  • Make a list of adjectives to describe Sam Sly.
  • Write a letter from the singing mermaid to her friends in the ocean while she was in the circus.


  • The story mentions a number of different types of fish. Can you find out the names of any more? How are they similar / different?


  • Make a persuasive advert to promote Sam Sly's circus.

Design Technology

  • Design a new luxury tank for the singing mermaid to live in while she worked in the circus.
  • Build a model of the circus tent. What materials will you need to use?


  • The pages all have glitter on them. Can you make a piece of artwork that uses glitter to make things shine?
  • A mermaid is half human with a fish's tail. Can you create a creature that is a mixture of two or more animals?
  • Can you create a large picture of the singing mermaid using collage?
  • How many different patterns can you see in the illustrations. Can you try to recreate some of these… or use them in your own artwork?


  • Compose a song that the singing mermaid might sing. You could use a song from The Little Mermaid as inspiration:


  • Look on a map and find a place that is similar to Silversands.
  • Plan a class trip to the nearest beach. Can you see any cockles / mussels / seagulls and other animals mentioned in the story?

Physical education

  • Plan a gymnastics performance that the acrobats might perform in the circus.


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