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Fun with the Borrowers & Arrietty


As a child, I loved the idea that ‘little people’ might be living in our house. 

Books like “The Borrowers” and “The Littles” allowed for much imagination and creative thinking on my part. 

When “The Secret World of Arrietty” was released as a movie (a film based on “The Borrowers” series), I made sure to dig out some of the old books that I loved as a child so I could share them with my kids. 

Here are a few fun ways to explore the world of tiny people in your own home:



Meet the Clocks & the Littles

I would suggest beginning with one of the original books in order to introduce kids to the idea of who ‘borrowers’ are and how they live.  Here are three of the original books that share stories of ‘little people’ along with affiliate links for your convenience.


Mary Norton wrote The Borrowers which is a book series about the Clock family as they scavenge for items, avoid family pets, get lost, and are found out by humans.

If you enjoy The Borrowers, continue reading the other novels in this 5 book series. Norton also wrote Bed-Knob and Broomstick which includes two stories: “The Magic Bedknob” and “Bonfires and Broomsticks” – these two stories were later the basis for the Disney movie Bedknobs and Broomsticks.


The Littles by John Peterson is another series of books that cover the adventures of a family that lives in the walls of a human house. Similar to the Borrowers, the Littles are small humans with mouse-like features who live in a house owned by the Biggs.  In return for taking the items they need, they help to keep the house in good working order.   Tom, Lucy, Dinky and the rest of the family are famous for their creative inventions and exciting adventures.



Another classic book about small beings is Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift.  The book tells the story of a human named Gulliver who discovers the town of Lilliput and it’s small inhabitants.  Unlike Borrowers, Lilliputians have their own land where everything is tiny however once Gulliver arrives, they begin to create unique creations in order to



Go on a Borrowers Hunt

Borrowers are well-known for taking human-sized items and making them useful in their world. 

Give your kids a bag with some household items and ask them to create something that would be used by ‘borrowers’.  See how many ideas they come up with as they look at the different things. 

Items that you might include:

  • buttons
  • straw
  • paperclips
  • spool of thread
  • old flash drive
  • cotton balls
  • a coin
  • a hairband or rubber band
  • some small pieces of paper
  • string or dental floss
  • a playing card
  • a pencil
  • some Lego bricks


See what other small items your kids might find around the house that they think a ‘borrower’ might use and then construct some cool inventions!


Visit a Miniature Museum

If you’d like to see what things look like in miniature, head to a museum that houses miniature exhibits, dollhouses and more tiny exhibits.  Visit the listing of Miniature Museums to find one near you.

We visited the Toy & Miniature Museum at the University of Missouri in Kansas City where we saw some amazing doll houses, many that have items that were recycled from things that were ‘borrowed’ from around the house. (Kids were really creative before Super Target stores existed!) 


Enjoy a Movie

Many of the books introduced above were also made into some fun movies.  It’s always a treat to be able to read the book and then watch the movie!



The Secret World of Arrietty

Gulliver’s Travels

The Littles


For a humorous look at the trials and adventures faced when you’re only 4 inches high, kids will also love Disney’s movie Honey, I Shrunk The Kids.  After four kids are accidentally shrunk to the size of ants, they must navigate their way through many obstacles in order to get their parents to return them to their original size.  Lots of laughs and a unique perspective on what it would be like to be the size of an ant.


Hope you have some fun ‘little’ adventures!