5 Fun Activities to do with 10 Tiny Things-book by Meg McKinlay


Ten Tiny Things is an absolutely exquisite book, with a very significant message.

The language in the book is beautiful and alliterative, and the illustrations painted on wood panels are incredible and earthy (a very apt illustrative style for the book’s theme). Both help to create an engaging story for children and adults.

What an excellent walk.

It was slow and simple and splendiferous.

Tessa and Zachary rely on their machine to take them to school every day. When their machine breaks down, they are forced to walk to school. At first they are horrified by the thought, until they start spotting tiny things, such as feathers and shells, in hidden places.

It doesn’t take the children long to realise that the world is made up of amazing things that you can’t see if you’re stuck indoors; the only way to enjoy the world is to slow down and explore it.

The story is a delightful one and although it’s not at all ‘preachy’, Meg’s message is very clear; society relies too heavily on technology to make life easier and more comfortable for us. Living a life that is easy and comfortable comes at a cost, one that prevents us from making the most of the beautiful, natural world around us.

Further book details can be found at the end of this post.


Tessa and Zachary’s adventure sounded like such a fun one, that we couldn’t wait to give it a go ourselves. What began as a walk to our playgroup became a string of explorative tasks. I have no doubt that if you read this book you will also feel inspired to take a walk. In fact, Meg McKinlay and Kyle Huges-Odgers are hoping that you do. They have set up a website for you to share your own tiny discoveries, which you can find at  http://tentinythings.blogspot.com.au


We were ready for our walk. We knew when and where we were going, and we knew we were going to search for ten tiny things. But Cam was asking a few questions:

  • What does tiny mean?
  • How will we carry/store the tiny things that we find?

We searched through our art and craft cupboard and found this cheese box. We decided that it would be perfect for storing tiny things. If our treasures fit inside this box then we knew they would definitely be tiny.

As practise, we also searched for tiny things in our art and craft cupboard to decorate our Tiny Things Collection Box

And we were ready to embark on our exploration of the local area. Now we can’t walk anywhere without our tiny collection box.


When I first read Ten Tiny Things, I read it with a lump in my throat. I am ‘that’ person who drives everywhere. I avoid walking if it’s too warm, too cold, too windy, too wet……. I certainly felt a strong pang of guilt as I read Ten Tiny Things. I really loved the message of the book, and was happy that it had such a strong effect on me. I was keen to put things right and set a positive example for Cam.

We decided to walk to our weekly playgroup session. It is a comfortable walk there (a bit more difficult on the way back) with lots to spot along the way.

It was a little ironic though, because the day we chose to walk to playgroup was one of Melbourne’s windiest days in history. Falling branches narrowly missed our heads and when we arrived at playgroup, a giant pine tree had sheared in half only minutes before. Had we not read Ten Tiny Things, I would have turned back to the car claiming that it was ‘too windy’, but we soldiered on.

We collected far more than ten things. Cam just couldn’t help herself:

  • leaves
  • stones
  • bottle cap
  • berries
  • gum nuts
  • seed pods
  • feathers
  • bark
  • flowers

Cam had a smile on her face the whole time and couldn’t wait to do it again. Her favourite part was when we nearly got swept away by the wind, just like Peggy.


Meg McKinlay’s use of language in this book is exquisite. She uses the most beautiful adjectives and alliteration to describe the treasures found by Tessa and Zachary.

They saw surprising stones and shells.

We read this book many times before our walk, so I was hoping to help Cam understand the meaning of these adjectives.

On cards, I wrote the adjectives that appear in the book (and also made a few blank ones). One by one, we sorted  through our tiny things, talking about them and categorising them.

I asked Cam to describe some other objects, by thinking about what they look, sound and feel like. These were her adjectives.


Our tiny things sat on our coffee table for a few days- just sitting there.

After a few days Cam asked if she could make a picture with them.


One of the elements of this book that I personally find most intriguing is the illustration technique used by Kyle Hughes-Odgers. The illustrations were created by painting on timber panels.
Hubby is a carpenter, so I asked him for an offcut of timber. We also found some bark on the nature strip during our ‘Ten Tiny Things’ walk. It was an exciting prospect for Cam to be using the timber and bark as canvases.

We used different techniques to paint the timber.

  • Stencilling

  • Using the tiny things as painting tools

  • Using plasticine as stamps and making impressions with the tiny things

We also enjoyed painting on bark:

The final products:

Book Details:

Ten Tiny Things

Author: Meg McKinlay

Illustrator: Kyle HUghes-Odgers

ISBN: 978-1921888946

Format: Hardcover

Publisher: Fremantle Press, July 2012

RRP: $24.99

Suitable for ages: 3+

Find your local bookstore or purchase online at:

booktopia.com.au - Australia's #1 online bookstore

International readers can also purchase this book.

5 Fun Activities to do with 10 Tiny Things-book by Meg McKinlay


  1. I have added “Ten Tiny Things” to my list of library holds to be placed. Can’t wait to read it to Miss 7 and go on our own walk/s. I think Miss 10 will probably tag along too.


    FB page: Read-Write Gold Coast

  2. Wow, I love the activities that you did along with this book. I especially like the idea of making a collection box and then taking a walk to find things to fill it.

  3. This is amazing, Jackie! It really is so satisfying to see what people are doing with the book. Thanks for such a lovely post, and for letting us feature you on the Ten Tiny Things blog. I’ve added a post here: http://tentinythings.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/tiny-things-amazing-activities.html

  4. Another beautiful boo to by I do love books that encourage children out of doors! I adore your ltiny collection box. I SO have to do this one (after I buy the book). Also, love how you recycle Jackie!

  5. This book sounds lovely, and what an important message to be sharing. Sometimes when we slow down we see and appreciate what is around us so much more! It also reminded me of Anna Branford’s books which are adorable.

  6. I’ve never seen this book, but it sounds interesting. Little kids love tiny things, don’t they?

  7. What a fabulous little book and I love how you took the idea and ran with it. It’s so true though that all the little things right out there under our noses can sometimes provide the simplest of pleasure. My son is exactly like that – he’s the kid that has pockets full of rocks, sticks, acorns, feathers, and so on. I just LOVE emptying his pockets before laundry! lol

    Thanks so much for linking in to the Kid Lit Blog Hop. We hope to see you again. I’m now following you. Cheers!

    • He he! Yes, best to empty those bowerbird pockets. Thanks for finding us. I hope I remember to link up next week.

  8. What a wonderful post Jackie! love the sound of that book and that little collection of your gorgeous girls is just so special!!

  9. Every post I read of yours, I end up buying the book or adding it to our list of books to buy. Good thing I have christmas and birthdays for an excuse to buy them, lol. So many gorgeous actvitites too, love your ideas as always Jackie…..gorgeous!

    • Thank you Janice. With so many gorgeous books to discover, it’s easy to have a long wish list. I know mine is long too.

  10. I love the intro to adjectives and the painting on timber. Such a wonderful story too!!

  11. I’ve heard such great things about Ten Tiny Things, I really need to find a copy. I also threw away one of those laughing cow boxes the other day and I thought “I really should hang on to this, I know I could use it for something!” These are such lovely activities Jackie. The painting on bark looks like lots of fun.

    • You’ll have to hold on to the next box Ness. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed with the book. It’s a big hit with Cam and myself.

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5 Fun Activities to do with 10 Tiny Things-book by Meg McKinlay

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