Educational Activities for five Minutes Peace by Jill Murphy

Five minutes’ peace features the Large family that children may already be familiar with in Jill Murphy’s series. With colourful illustrations the story comes to life and is one that is perfect for using in class for either a one off Literacy lesson,  or as a cross curricular activity. 


The book is a rich resource for Literacy lessons and can be split up as follows:

~Speaking and Listening

In pairs the children can retell the story to each other. As a class a child can be hot seated and asked questions depending upon the character they are. For example if they are Mrs Large then the class might ask, “How did you feel when you everyone interrupted you?” The children can re-enact the story or mime the parts when the story is reread.  Each illustration tells a story in itself and is an opportunity for children to play a memory game and recall what each character is doing in a particular picture.


For younger children a cloze procedure can be provided or a sequencing event to check they can recall what happened and when. More able children could write their own versions of the story or make books. Adjectives describing each  member of the Large family could be found. Book reviews could be written and the children could compare this to other stories by Jill Murphy.


The title refers to time. For children who are studying time then this book makes an excellent starting point. The children can explore questions such as “What is five minutes?” At random intervals the teacher can ask, “What time will it be in five minutes? This is also a good book to use when exploring patterns because there different kinds of patterns, ranging from stripes to flowery ones. The children could make their own repeating patterns.


The detailed illustrations are excellent ways of inspiring children to either draw or paint the Large family or choose their favourite part of the book and illustrate it. A big book could be made with small groups contributing to each page.


Everyone needs a little time to enjoy themselves and time to themselves. During circle time the children could think about what they enjoy doing, e.g. reading, playing a computer game, drawing or making things. Feelings of others could be considered. How do they think Mrs Large felt when she wanted some peace? They could give examples of someone who cares for them and how they help them. In the book the elephants and if it has been a particularly messy week or ground rules still need to be put in place then this book is also a good starting point.

In conclusion, Jill Murphy’s book is still popular today, even though it was published in 1986. The story is one that is ideal for young children to enjoy. 



ISBN 9781406330120