Okay, this is a little silly, but for whatever reason the fact that there is a special Robinson Crusoe Day makes me smile.
February 1st is Robinson Crusoe Day, to commemorate the actual rescue of Alexander Selkirk, the Scottish sailor who is said to have inspired Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe story.
Originally published in 1719, the story of a castway sailor deserted on an faraway island has long captured the imaginations of boys and girls (and men and women).
And as I really want the kids to listen to this book for literature, I think we are going to take the day off our scheduled schoolwork and celebrate Robinson Crusoe Day too.
What can be more fun than tossing aside conventional schoolwork for a day of adventure and imagination on a deserted island?
If you’d like to join us, here’s some free resources for you:
Robinson Crusoe Audio Books
Robinson Crusoe audio book (from Libriovx)
For younger children, here’s two more free audio book versions from Librivox that might be easier for them to understand:
Robinson Crusoe Written Anew for Children by James Baldwin
Robinson Crusoe in words of one syllable by Mary Godolphin
Robinson Crusoe E-Books
If you prefer to snuggle up and read alound for the day and don’t already have a copy of this adventure story, here’s some free ebook versions of Robinson Crusoe for you:
The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1808 version) – Kindle Version (free from Amazon.com)
Robinson Crusoe: Edited from Original Writings (1866 version) – Downloadable scanned book from Google Books
Robinson Crusoe Written Anew for Children by James Baldwin – Downloadable scanned original book with wonderful little pictures and easy to read typsetting (via Google Books)
You can also pick up text, epub, and possibly kindle versions for each of these at ProjectGutenberg, just search on the title keywords “Robinson Crusoe” and you’ll find all the versions they have available, including the ones for children.
Robinson Crusoe Activities
If you’d like to turn this into a larger unit study, or give the kids something to do while they are listening, here’s a few more resources to check out:
Interactive Map of Robinson Crusoe Island (the island Alexander Selkirk was deserted on) Zoom out to see it’s proximity to Chile and South America. Then have your student find it on a blank world map.
Interactive Satellite Map of Tobago – the island the bookRobinson Crusoe is said to have been actually based on. Zoom out to the 4th position from the bottom to see a nice view of where it’s positioned between North and South America. Then have your student find it and mark it on the blank world map (above).
Palm Trees amd then your student can press their thumb on a stamp pad or in a little bit of paint and put “coconuts” in on the palm trees
Learn to draw:
A Row Boat
A Tropical Beach
Other Fun Activities to Try
- Get a coconut from the grocery story and make it an adventure to figure out how to open it. We did this one day and had a grand time with it. Then we tasted the coconut milk inside and sampled the coconut meat. Very memorable and fun adventure. Also a good discussion point of how you’d open coconuts if you didn’t have any tools.
- Create your own 3-D island and Palm Trees, using a cake mix or dirt. Or use these instructions from Crayola to do it with construction paper and toilet paper tubes.
- Ask your student(s) what they would do and need to find if they were deserted on a island. Brainstorm some ideas, or if you have a group of students, try this Island Survival challenge activity.
This is also a great opportunity for all ages to reinforce what is needed to survive (food, water, shelter, how to get it when there’s no grocery stores or hardware stores or internet in sight, and what skills would be helpful to know in survival situations, and of course God’s amazing provision.
Lesson Plan for Robinson Crusoe
If you like more formal teacher lesson plans, here’s a free one from the Colorado Unit Writing Project called Robsinson Crusoe: The Original Survivor. It includes 8 lessons, vocabulary words, activities, and writing assignments. It’s geared for 4th grade, but could easily be adapted for multiple ages or up or down based on your students.