Christian the Lion Activities & Books

This week I’ve enjoyed exploring the new website GenZ Online with my kids. As part of a compensated blog tour, today I’ll be sharing one of our favorite GenZ stories, Christian the London Lion. Christian the Lion’s story is a heart-warming true tale of an unlikely friendship between two men and a lion. I’ve put together a Christian the Lion learning unit for you with two picture books about Christian the lion, a lion activities, and Christian the Lion discussion questions.

Don’t miss today’s giveaway of 20 free stories on GenZ Online. You will find the entry form at the bottom of this post.

learn about christian the lion with online resources, picture books, activities, and discussion questions

A little about GenZ Online

GenZ Online is a paid subscription website that allows you to purchase stories to read with your children. Each story has photos, vocabulary questions, games, and a chance to earn points for prizes. The stories that I previewed are written for an audience of 3rd – 5th graders, but the website does contain stories for younger children.

Would you like to try out GenZ Online yourself? Three of you will win a free subscription! And, any of my readers also can use this special promo code:

SUM20 which will allow you to purchase 20 stories on GenZ Online for $3.99.

You can also try GenZ for free with this special link to a sample story!

Try GenZ for FREE!

Christian the London Lion

For those who are unfamiliar with Christian the Lion, he spent his early months in a cage at a Harrods department store in London. Harrods’ claimed that you could purchase anything at their store and anything included a lion at least temporarily. Two Australians, John Rendell and Anthony (Ace) Bourke decided that Christian needed a better life, so they bought him and ended up temporarily living in London while raising Christian.

Christian was eventually taken to Kenya and rehabilitated to live in the wild. The most tender moment of Christian’s story happened after his release into the wild. John and Ace came to visit Christian wondering whether Christian would even remember them. To their surprise, the lion bounded toward them to give them a hug. Christian had not forgotten his friends.

Christian the Lion YouTube Video and Online Resources

Watch the official Christian the Lion YouTube video.

Watch Christian’s reunion with Ace and John by Born Free.

See Ace Bourke’s website.

To see the Christian the Lion story on GenZ Online, subscribe to the Summer Promotion here.

Two picture books about Christian the London Lion

My kids really love picture books and a good story, so I decided to search our local library to see if we could find any picture books about Christian the Lion. I was excited to find two picture books, and both of them are worth checking out!

These links are Amazon affiliate links to help cover the costs and time of this blog at no expense to you.

christian the hugging lion picture book

Christian, the Hugging Lion by Justin Richardson

This picture book about Christian the Lion was perfect for a small child. The illustrations were soft and compelling, and the text simple to understand.

christian the lion picture book

Christian the Lion

This picture book uses photos and a journal style to tell the story of Christian’s upbringing and release into the wild from Christian’s perspective. We enjoyed the book, and my kids loved seeing the real photos.

I did think that the details in the story were a little confusing at times and I couldn’t understand why the famous reunion of Christian with John and Anthony was relegated to a post script. But, the attention to details and photos make this picture book a must-read if you are researching Christian the Lion with your children.

Discussion Questions for Christian the Lion

discussing animals in captivity based on christian the lion

I chose the story Christian the London Lion because the story naturally leads to some great discussion with children about the advantages versus disadvantages of keeping animals in captivity. I find that my kids talk better when discussion happens naturally and we are working on something else. So, we combined working on the lion craft below with discussing the following questions:

1. Why do you think that John and Ace couldn’t keep Christian in London?

2. Why did John and Ace choose to take Christian to Kenya rather than give Christian to a zoo?

3. What are the advantages/disadvantages of animals being kept in a zoo?

4. What sort of skills do you think Christian had to learn to survive in the wild?

5. What do you think that John and Ace thought when they visited and Christian bounded toward them? What would you have thought?

6. If you had owned Christian, would you have taken Christian to live in the wild or given him to a zoo? Why?

Christian the Lion Activities

5 minute lion craft out of a paper plate

5 Minute Christian the Lion Craft

Our reading about Christian the London Lion naturally led to my children pretending to be lion cubs. I even spent one morning petting and playing with my lion cub (aka my preschooler). I decided that we would channel this interest in lions and make lion faces out of paper plates.

As you can see, I allowed my toddler to enjoy full artistic license while decorating her lion. Life is too short to insist on a lion being yellow and orange. I think that Christian would approve. It’s not like real lions are yellow and orange.

5 minute lion craft out of paper plate

Our lion activity was simple. For the supplies you just need two paper plates, markers, a glue stick, and scissors. You can also allow your kids to add googly eyes if you like. It’s your lion!

Directions for Christian the Lion 5 Minute Paper Plate Craft

1. On the first plate, color the lion head and mane with markers.

Ideally this would involve using two different lion worthy colors. Don’t try to explain that to a two-year old though.

You could also use paints or crayons to color your lion. I thought that markers made it easy to get a vibrant color without as much of a mess.

2. Cut slits in the mane using the plates ridges as a guide.
3. On the second plate draw the lion arms across the plate. Draw eyes and a nose at the top of the plate.

The lion’s arms should be shaped sort of like a boomerang. The ridges on the paper plate actually look exactly like claws which is rather convenient. If you use the same color to trace the parts as your lion face, the eyes and nose will easily blend right in.

4. Color the arms, nose, and eye balls.
5. Cut the lion’s arms, nose, and eyes out.
6. Glue on the paws, eyes, and nose. Draw on the mouth.

You’ve got a lion!

Christian the Lion Game

This outdoor game is a version of tag and hide-and-go-seek. One person is Christian the Lion, while the other players are Christian’s human friends.

Christian the Lion activities: Lion tag

How to Play this Christian the Lion Activity

All the players other than Christian stand away from the playing area where they can’t see Christian. The players give Christian one minute in the wild. Well, really it’s just your back yard or gym, but it’s more fun if you pretend that it’s Kenya.

Christian hides during the minute.

Once the minute is up, the players call “Christian” and disperse to look for him. Christian waits in hiding until he/she thinks the perfect moment for surprising the friends has come.

Christian must “roar” to give a warning before leaving the hiding place. Christian then runs out and tries to tag one of the players while they all run. (Of course, in the true story the owners didn’t run from Christian, but tag wouldn’t be much fun if everyone stood there.)

The first person tagged is Christian for the next round. Remind Christian that tagging should be friendly (after all he is a “hugging” lion).

For more Lion Crafts, Lion Activities, and Lion Snacks check out my board on Pinterest.

GenZ Online Giveaway for 20 Stories

I’m excited that three of you will have the chance to enjoy 20 stories on GenZ for free. This giveaway will be open until midnight EST on August 13, 2013, and will allow you enter once per day. Don’t miss your chance to enter.

To enter you must be:
1. 18 or older.
2. Reside in the USA.
3. Have a valid email address.

See my No Twiddle Twaddle policy page for a complete list of terms and conditions. Entering the giveaway implies agreement to my terms and conditions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This post is part of an official GenZ blog tour. Check out the other posts about GenZ stories in this series: Monday, July 29: PragmaticMom on the The Lost Atocha Treasure Tuesday, July 30: Artchoo! on The Invention of Velcro Wednesday, July 31: No Twiddle Twaddle on Christian the Pet Lion Returns to the Wild Thursday, August 1: KC Edventures With Kids on The Deadliest Diamond Friday, August 2: Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas on Anita and Arabella in Space   Your Opinion: What do you think about Christian the Lion? Would you have released him or given him to a zoo? Bethany Winston: No Twiddle Twaddle Hi! I’m Bethany. I’m a mom, weekly Greenville News columnist, and blogger also at Kidding Around Greenville SC. Welcome to my parenting blog No Twiddle Twaddle, all about adding a little magic to kids’ lives through play and reading. If you are new, don’t miss these popular posts: 10 Tips for Reading to Babies, Skin Therapy Play Dough, and Sticky Blocks. You can join me on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest (I’m a Pinner Pro!). Subscribe via email to get my updates straight in your inbox.

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    • says

      Thank you so much, Pragmatic Mom. I had heard the story of Christian the Lion before, but I would have never thought to have shared it with my kids, if it hadn’t been for GenZ Online.

    • says

      I didn’t know that the picture books existed until I researched it. They really are great and it’s such a wonderful story for children to teach empathy and love for animals.


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