House hunt for Desmond and the Super Colour Challenge

Who doesn’t like a challenge? It focuses your mind and once completed, gives you a sense of achievement. It’s the principle behind most games and children’s activities, and it’s one of the reasons why we thought it was time for a competition. To challenge you all to dip into our activity sheet toolkit and come up with something that would stimulate and entertain our junior visitors or, simply put, KEEP THEM HAPPY.

© Heritage Open Days - Our three furry explorers created by artist Chris House for our activity sheet toolkit

Meet the H.O.D. explorer gang

Hermione, Oscar and Desmond, that’s the cat, bat and rat, created for us by artist Chris House. Together with a choice of mazes, activity captions and explorer objects, they are part of an online DIY kit to help you design fun activity sheets tailored to your Heritage Open Days event. The possibilities for combination and customisation are only limited by your imagination. Turn our furry friends into companions who guide your young visitors’ discovery of your site. Or use them as black-and-white line drawings for a beautiful colouring-in sheet. It’s really up to you. The whole point of the toolkit is that you decide for yourself what works for your venue and get creative. And our competition last month was the perfect excuse to do just that.

The winners

I’m delighted to announce the two winners for our “Keep them happy” competition. 1st prize went to Margaret and Justin Jackson from Godalming followed by seven-year old Daniel Procter.

House hunt for Desmond

Margaret Jackson is a volunteer member of the Guildford organising group, who put on one of the largest and most popular Heritage Open Days programmes in the country. With her Heritage Open Days experience under her belt, she and her husband came up with a clever building survey template which could be used for a whole range of buildings, from private houses to churches, shops to windmills.

While “house hunting” the children’s attention will be drawn to various aspects of the building to decide whether it makes a comfortable home. The fun bit is that it’s all from a rat’s perspective. So why don’t you invite Desmond to a special house viewing? Or if you don’t fancy a rat as a lodger, maybe Hermione or Oscar could take his place?

Download the Jacksons' sheet together with some additional suggestions from the designers.

Super Colour Challenge

At the tender age of seven, Daniel Procter has certainly understood one of the most important principles of good design: less is more. For his colouring-in sheet, he carefully selected three pictures from our toolkit that he felt would most appeal to 5-12 year olds. And we really love the snappy title. Don’t you?

Daniel’s mother Claire explained that her son enjoyed creating the design as part of his home education and that it “was great for developing his ICT skills.” What a wonderful way to use our toolkit! And indeed, why don’t you let the kids have a go at designing, whether at your home computer or at school?

Download Daniel's sheet.


Caught the creative bug? Yes! You can do it! Simply download the following files, pick and mix and add at leisure, making your very own, unique activity sheet:

Oscar the bat
Hermione the cat
Desmond the rat
Line drawings black & white for the rat, cat and bat
Activity sheet captions
Activity sheet mazes
Trail objects

And don’t forget to send us your creation.