Create a Silly Character


Developing characters inspired by railway heritage

Learning aims

  • Children will learn about the first day of the Liverpool and Manchester railway and the passengers on board. They will learn different facts about the railway line and the jobs involved. They will be able to identify the main differences between present and past railway journeys.


  • Flip-chart paper and pens to create spider diagram
  • Images from current and past railways
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • A4 lined and plain paper
  • Pens/pencils/felt tips


Discuss what happened on the first day the railway opened. What type of people rode on the first railway?

How would they dress? Why would they want to travel? What emotions did the event provoke - before/during/after? Think about what people would have felt/heard/seen and what their life was like before/after. How did it change?

Get into groups of 4-5

Writing exercise

  • Each child finishes the sentence folds the paper and passes it to the next person.
  • Use the following sentences to start each section:
  • They were on the train because…
  • Out of the window they saw...
  • They could smell...
  • When they got on the train they felt...
  • The morning of the train ride they….(what did they do)

Drawing exercise

Each child draws part of a figure folds the paper and passes it to the next person, making sure there are lines going over the fold to connect each drawing.

Picture a man or a woman and what they would wear for the first train journey:

  • Draw their hat
  • Draw their head
  • Draw what they are wearing on their body
  • Draw their legs. Do they need to carry/take anything with them on their journey?
  • Draw their feet and think about how they are travelling (by road, rail, or other)

Now develop these characters using collage

  • All children to select and cut-up images of trains / landscapes / railways / stations to create a single 'character' - the more unusual the better
  • Try to convey the personality of the 'character' developed in the previous activity