If you are looking for fun things to do during half term, then the New Room is here to help.

On this page you will find five ideas for projects which can take an hour or a whole day.

Each idea is based around the life of John Wesley, who built the New Room in 1739.

You can look around the historic building in this 360-degree tour.

We have a whole museum which tells John’s story – have a look at the 12 different rooms.

Monday - Cartoons

Gospel’s Story is a book for children written by Gary Best. It tells the story of John Wesley’s horse Gospel and the adventures that they have travelling all over the country.

Animation student Abi Whittle used the book to make a short animated film of the book. You can watch Gospel’s Story Animation by Abi Whittle online.

Why not have a go at drawing some cartoons today?

You could start by drawing a cartoon of John Wesley and then try to draw a cartoon of Gospel the Horse as well.

Where would they go? Who would they meet? What would they say to people? You could add backgrounds, weather, other people to your cartoons. Or maybe you could even draw a cartoon you!

Additional resources:
From Wikihow: How To Draw A Cartoon Horse
From Youtube: Get some tips from cartoonist Christopher Hart

We’d love to see what your family creates, your parent or guardian can email us or share on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Tag us @NewRoomBristol so we can see and share!

Tuesday - Map Making

John Wesley travelled a lot during his lifetime. He lived in the 18th century, 300 years ago, when people didn’t move around that much. Most people stayed in their own village or town. There were no trains or cars and people who were able to either walked, rode a horse, or if they could afford it, rented a seat in a carriage drawn by horses if they needed to go on a long journey. It took two days to get from Bristol to London!

If you have access to Google Maps or a paper map of Britain, look up the route from your house to the New Room in Bristol (36, The Horsefair, Bristol, BS1 3JE) What places would you have to pass through to get there? What is the quickest route?

Here is a useful video: Explaining A Map

Have a go at making your own map. It could be map of your bedroom, showing where everything is in the room. It could be another room. If you have a garden, you could draw a wild map with pictures of plants.

You could even make a map of your street with symbols to represent different things like houses, shops and trees. Use co-ordinates (explained in the video above) if you want to, but you don’t have to.

Additional resources:

Have a look at mapmaker Katherine Baxter’s amazing maps
From BBC Bitesize – 3D Map Making in Bath with Kirsten O Brien

We’d love to see the map you create, your parent or guardian can email us or share on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Tag us @NewRoomBristol so we can see and share!

Wednesday - Self Portrait

There are lots of portraits at the New Room. A portrait is a drawing, a painting or a photograph of a person.

Here are two paintings of John Wesley’s nephews – Charles and Samuel.

They were both really good at music. You can see in the picture that Charles is playing a harpsichord (a type of piano) while Samuel is playing a viola.

You can read more about them here – The Musical Wesley Brothers

These two portraits show Charles and Samuel doing what they love – playing music.

If you could draw a portrait of yourself, what would you include in the picture?

Download a frame for your portrait here, or create your own:

Frame 1

Frame 2

Additional resources: Download a free activity booklet called ‘Playful Portraits’ from the National Portrait Gallery in London.

We’d love to see the portrait you create, your parent or guardian can email us or share on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Tag us @NewRoomBristol so we can see and share!

Wednesday - Self Portrait

Today’s activity does not require writing or drawing. We would like you to make a costume.

John Wesley wore special clothes to show that he was a priest and worked for the church. He wore a black gown called a cassock and white ‘tabs’ or ‘bands’ around his neck.

When school groups visit the New Room, we have a costume that pupils can dress up in (see photo). We also have a dressing up cupboard in the museum which features hats, dresses, waistcoats and skirts – to show everyone what people living at the same time as John Wesley would have worn.

Here are some examples of costumes:


Your challenge is to make a costume of your own using items of clothing (or anything else you can find around your home! eg a black bin bag with some arm holes and a neck cut into it would make a good cassock!)

Get a grownup to join in if you need some help finding things to wear, and make sure you do not cut or change anything without checking it is OK and safe first.

Additional resources:

This will make you laugh! Design your own Georgian wig – from the V&A Museum in London

We’d love to see your costumes, your parent or guardian can email us at education@newroombristol.org.uk

Friday - Dear Diary

John Wesley was famous for writing a diary, known as a journal. He wrote in his journal regularly for more than 50 years. He wrote about all the places that he visited on his travels, the people that he met and his thoughts and feelings about his Christian faith. He experienced a lot of good things but also problems and challenges along the way. He also wrote a lot of books and letters during his lifetime, some of which are still in print today.

Here is a short video about John Wesley’s letter writing:

Today’s challenge is to keep a diary about your day. Write down everything you do today or draw pictures of what you have done – watching TV, playing games, going for a walk or talking to your family. What have you enjoyed doing? What didn’t you enjoy doing? John Wesley tried to be honest about everything that he wrote down in his journal, so be honest about what you liked and what you didn’t like about your day.

Additional resources:

From Youtube: Carrie Walker has written in her journals every day for 1000 days!

For older children (KS3 up): Explore the story of the Diary of Anne Frank (Please note that this story covers challenging topics)

We hope that you enjoy trying out some of these activities in half term!

We would love to see pictures and even videos of what you create. Your parent or guardian can send them to us via education@newroombristol.org.uk

We’d love to share some of the pictures we receive on our social channels, so be sure your parent or guardian gives us permission to do so.

Thank you for visiting us online!

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