Educational Activities for Mr Gumpys Outing by John Burningham

“Mr. Gumpy’s Outing” by John Burningham is an entertaining story for young children. The activities below are aimed for children in foundation station based on the revised framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Communication and language

Show the children the front cover and ask the children to guess what and who the story is about. Write the ideas down at the beginning of the book and then tell the story. The children can join in with the repetitive language and share opinions about Mr. Gumpy’s Outing first with a partner and then to the class. They can think about their favourite characters and talk about what happens in the story.


Having a selection of other books by John Burningham in the reading corner will allow children to explore the different books the author has written. The character Mr. Gumpy appears in another story called “Mr. Gumpy’s Motor Car” which other children may enjoy reading.  The language is simplistic and uses key words the children should know such as “this” and “is” The children can join in on the carpet or in small groups or read some of the words in a guided reading group.  A picture of Mr. Gumpy can be labelled to describe his characteristics.


As more and more characters ask if they can join Mr. Gumpy the children can count them. To make the story come alive for the children choose children to be the characters and have them standing at the front (or sitting in a pretend boat) and count the different characters as the story evolves. The children can have simple addition and subtraction problems as a whole class or small group based upon the story.

Understanding the world

The children can think of the different animals they have seen in the book and the noises and movements they make. They can also talk about the landscape in the book and decide if it is similar or different to where they live. 

Expressive arts and design

Different people travel aboard the boat. Using farm animal toys a boat can be made with the different animals in them and small world people can be used to promote the story. Children can play with the toys and re-enact the story. Mr Gumpy and his guests have something to eat. In the malleable area the children can use the salt dough to create the picnic tea had, such as biscuits, sausages and cakes. Scenes from the book can be painted, shades of blue can be experimented with to show the different colours of water and shades of green for the grass. Characters can be drawn or painted. Masks or puppets can be made to bring the story to life which can later be used to help with counting, the animals. Animal songs such as Old MacDonald’s farm can be sang to reinforce the different animals in the story.

In conclusion Mr. Gumpy’s book can be used for a wide range of activities. Making Learning Fun has practical resources to print and use in class to supplement the story.