A Writer's Playground

Monthly Activities for Kids by Linda Martin Andersen

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    Copyright © 2014 Linda Martin Andersen.

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It’s July and Time to Celebrate

Posted by lindamartinandersen on July 1, 2014


A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074

What will your July bring? Summer fun? Vacation? Time at the beach or lake? Don’t forget to pack a picnic lunch. Maybe you can grill out and eat on a beach towel spread on the sand. Celebrate fun in the sun.
July brings…
Cell Phone Courtesy Month–What rules would you write for this?
Dog Days (7/3 to 8/11)–“Is it hot enough for you?”
Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month Link–Did you know that children sometimes have arthritis? Learn more about this disease.
National Blueberries Month–Blueberries grow in my yard. What is your favorite way to eat them? Did you know these berries are very good for you? How? Research to see.
National Grilling Month–Make a list of foods you like cooked on a grill. See how fast you can read your list without stumbling over a word. Try to do it faster. Faster.
National Ice Cream Month–What flavor would you like? A waffle cone or a sugar cone? One scoop or two? With or without chocolate syrup? Nuts?
National Horseradish Month–What is horseradish? Do you like it? Have you ever tried it?
National Hot Dog Month–What toppings would you like?
Sandwich Generation Month–White bread or wheat bread? What type sandwich would you like? What condiments? What is the most unusual sandwich you have ever eaten? Do you eat your bread toasted? Do you like your sandwich cut? Do you eat the crust?
Tour de France Month (Goes from 5-27)–Do you ride a bike? A skateboard? Where do you ride? What safety gear do you wear? Name favorite places you like to ride.

Special Weeks in July

*Rabbit Week: 15-21–Have you ever had a bunny for a pet? What would you need to take care of it?
National Zoo Keeper Week: 20-26 Link–Maybe if we cheer loudly enough, our visiting zoo keeper will visit again.
World Lumberjack Championships: 24-26–Describe yourself as a lumberjack. Share with someone else.

Special Days in July

*I Forgot Day: 2–Write an expression that proves that you forgot something. Example: I don’t remember…
*Stay Out Of The Sun Day: 3–Are you wearing your sunscreen? How often do you reapply?
*Superman Day: 3–I met someone who got a lung transplant. A superman balloon hung above his hospital bed. Why? He has Superman lungs now, or so he said. How have you heard someone use Superman in a conversation?
*Fourth of July or Independence Day: 4–No firecrackers are allowed to be fired in my neighborhood. I don’t think I’ll see any fireworks this year, but I have plenty to celebrate. Name three things in your life worthy of a celebration.
*Chocolate Day: 7–Can’t resist, especially if it covers nuts. How about you?
*Father-Daughter Take A Walk Together Day: 7–When was the last time you took a walk with your father? Tell someone about it.
*Tell The Truth Day: 7–No fibs, no white lies. Only the truth today. Can you do it?
Collector Car Appreciation Day: 12–What collector car would you like to own? Have you ever ridden in an antique car? Have you been to a car show? Tell about your experiences.
*National French Fries Day: 13–What’s your favorite meal that includes French fries? Where do you like to purchase your fries?
*Shark Awareness Day: 14–Have you ever seen a shark? Where? How big was it? Was it alive? How was it captured?
*Be A Dork Day: 15–What is a dork? Have you ever been called one? Why?
*Gummi Worm Day: 15–What gummi candy will you eat? Will you eat a gummi worm? Why or why not?
Celebration of The Horse Day: 19-20–Name horse books you have read. Which was your favorite and why?
National Hot Dog Day: 19–There are two hot dog stands near a hospital I have been visiting for over a week. I haven’t bought one yet. Would you have stopped? What would you have bought?
*Moon Day: 20–What is your favorite phase of the moon? Why?
*Space Exploration Day: 20–What type science project have you made that teachers about space? How did you decide what to create?
*National Lollipop Day: 20–Do you have a favorite flavor? A favorite brand? What makes it the best?
National Ice Cream Day: 20–What’s your mother’s favorite flavor? Your dad? Your brother? Finish the list. Ask them if you are correct.
*Cousins Day: 24–Who are your cousins? How often do you see each other? What do you do when you get together?
*Tell An Old Joke Day: 24–Find a joke book. Ask some old ones. How many could the person guess?
*Video Games Day: 25–Name an electronic game you like to play. What would you tell someone about it, if you were telling them it’s the best one you own?
*National Day of the Cowboy : 26 Link–What’s your favorite cowboy thing? A rodeo? A cattle drive? Etc.
Aunties Day: 27–Where do your aunties live? Have you visited them all? What is a good gift for an auntie you are visiting?
*Lasagna Day: 29–Which one do you like better: lasagna or spaghetti? Why?
*Rain Day: 29–What will you do if it rains today? If the weather stays beautiful, save the activity for the next rainy day.
*Friendship Day: 30–Who is your best friend? Why?
*Paperback Book Day: 30–How many paperbacks do you own? Do you read them more than one time?

Children 13 years old or older may leave a comment. Read more about the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. (COPPA) See: http://www.coppa.org/coppa.htm

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Passing Along A Recipe for a Mystery

Posted by lindamartinandersen on June 25, 2014


“Passing Along a Recipe for a Mystery” by Linda Martin Andersen

A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074 “A Writer’s Playground”–A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

What Time Is It? 

It’s Summer Time, Time for a Good Book, and Time to Challenge Your Brain.  

Just when you think it’s time to kick back and relax, what do I suggest?  Challenging your brain.  And why not?  It’s good for you and fun too.

Like a good mystery?  Like to know how to write one? 

 

Let’s talk:   Will you  accept this summer brain challenge.  I’d love to hear about it.  Thank you for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.”  Please come again soon.  Bring a friend.

Children 13 years old or older may leave a comment.  Read more about the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. (COPPA)  See:  http://www.coppa.org/coppa.htm

 

Copyright © 2014 Linda Martin Andersen

Posted in Calendar Events, Careers, Character Traits, Games, Interviews, Math, Monthly Activities, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

It’s June and Time to Challenge Your Brain

Posted by lindamartinandersen on June 11, 2014


“It’s June and Time to Challenge Your Brain” by Linda Martin Andersen

A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074 “A Writer’s Playground”–A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

What Time Is It? 

It’s Summer Time and Time to Challenge Your Brain.  

Just when you think it’s time to kick back and relax, what do I suggest?  Challenging your brain.  And why not?  It’s good for you and fun too. Begin by checking out recent blog posts at Pencil Tips Writing Workshop.

http://penciltipswritingworkshop.blogspot.com/2014/06/by-alison-ashley-formento-do-you-liketo.html

  • If you’d like to participate in a free personal writing workshop, I recommend that you visit “Writers–RETREAT!” by Jane Harrington.   She shares ideas on how to “inspire creative energy.”

  • http://tinyurl.com/mt2hv94

http://penciltipswritingworkshop.blogspot.com/2014/06/writers-retreat.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+PencilTipsWritingWorkshop+%28PENCIL+TIPS+WRITING+WORKSHOP%29

 

Let’s talk:   Will you  accept this summer brain challenge and personalized writing workshop?  Have you set other summer goals?  We’d love to hear them.  Thank you for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.”  Please come again soon.  Bring a friend.

Children 13 years old or older may leave a comment.  Read more about the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. (COPPA)  See:  http://www.coppa.org/coppa.htm

 

Copyright © 2014 Linda Martin Andersen

Posted in Calendar Events, Careers, Character Traits, Games, Interviews, Math, Monthly Activities, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

June Weddings and Other June Celebrations

Posted by lindamartinandersen on June 1, 2014


“June Weddings and Other June Celebrations” by Linda Martin Andersen

A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074 “A Writer’s Playground”–A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

June is a popular month for weddings.  Do you know anyone who was married in June?  Thinking about weddings reminded me of this saying:  “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.”  Do you know its meanings?  Do you know how it became a popular?  Advertising.  Check here if you’d like to know more.  

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2012/11/listerine-popularized-the-phrase-always-a-bridesmaid-never-a-bride/

How would you finish this statement?  June is the month of ________.  Check the list below, if you’d like some ideas.  Share your answers in the comment box. 

Other June Observances:


Dairy Month  Brainstorm about a dairy, dairy products, and manufacturing dairy products.  What would you like to learn more about?  How can do that?  Are there dairy documentaries, dairy books, dairy farms in your area to tour, etc.?  What about a family vacation to a dairy state? 

National Camping Month  Have you ever been camping?  Did you stay in a tent or a camper?  Did you stay with family or friends?  Was it a week away from home at summer camp?  Have you ever been a camp counselor?

National Smile Month  Create a poster for National Smile Month.  Suggestion:  Draw a smile across  an outline of your country. 

National Zoo and Aquarium Month  Visit a zoo or an aquarium in your area.  Which would you rather visit?  What is your favorite animal there?  What is a favorite book about this animal?  If you could work at a zoo or an aquarium, which would you choose and why?  What job would you want to do there?

 

Special Weeks in June..

Lightning Safety Awareness Week: 22-28  Do you know where to be to keep safe in a thunderstorm?  Where is a safe place to be inside?  Outside?  Where can you learn more about lightning safety?  Who could you ask?

Watermelon Seed Spitting Week: 26-29 What techniques do you think might increase the distance a person spits seeds?  Consider having a seed spitting contest with friends.  Chart seed spitting distances on a graph.  What could make the contest more challenging?  What other contests could you have with watermelons?  Describe them. 

Water Ski Days: 28-29 (Last Full Weekend)  Can you water ski?  Do you know people who can?  Would you like to learn?  Consider writing about water ski stories.  Ask people to share a story about water skiing.  Are they funny?  Sad?  Adventure stories?  Fiction?  Fantasy? 

 

Special Days in June…

National Go Barefoot Day: 1 How often do you go barefoot?  Where?  Does going barefoot make your feet wider?  Where can you research this question?  Do you wear water shoes?  Flip flops?  Which do you like best?  Name a book character or television or movie character who goes barefoot.  Is this person stereotyped as poor, ignorant, or uncivilized?  What do you think about this image and going barefoot?  Do you agree with the stereotypes?  why or why not?

Oscar The Grouch Day: 1 What program is this character from?  What habits does this character have that show he’s a grouch?  Name another character who is considered to be a grouch.  Tell  why. 

Say Something Nice Day: 1 Make a list of nice things you could say to someone.  How many of these can you use today?  Which ones were easy to say?  Which ones made you uncomfortable to say?  Why?  What was the other person’s reaction to your nice comments?  Will you tell them what you were doing?  Why or why not?

Hot Air Balloon Day: 5 Illustrate a scene with one or more hot air balloons.  Where will you display your drawing?  Where have you seen hot air balloons used in advertising, products, etc.  Check clip art images and count the number of hot air balloon designs you see.   Decorate a hot air balloon design.  What shapes or designs did you include?

National Running Day: 5 Are you a runner?  If so, how often do you run a week?  Draw a route you would like to run.  What would you  like to see along the way?  Do you participate in organized runs?  What experiences would you like to share with others about running?

World Environment Day: 5  Name ways you can protect the environment in your area.  Do you know of any endangered species?  Research for more information.  What can you do to help?

National YoYo Day: 7 (Always on the Birthday of Donald Duncan)  A yo yo is a fun name for a toy. Its name repeats a word.  What toy, game, sport, etc.  could you  rename for fun? Think of a word that you could repeat.   Example:  Zip zip for zip line.

Multicultural American Child Day: 8 What does multicultural mean?  What are multicultural books for children?  Name some book titles with multicultural characters.  Why are these important? 

Ball Point Pen Day: 10  Name a ball point pen maker.  Look for old advertisements for these products.  Can you find the price for ball point pens ten or more years ago.  What color ink do these pens come in?  Which is your favorite color?  What color ink was traditionally used by teachers for marking students’ papers?

Father’s Day: 15  Do you know someone whose father is deceased?  Could you interview this person about their father.  Discuss things your dad and this one have in common. 

Nature Photography Day: 15  Do you have access to a camera on a phone?  What nature photos could you take?  Did you take pictures of animals, plants, scenery, etc.  Do you know a photographer?  Could you ask him for photography tips?  Where do you like to view great animal photos or programs?

 Worldwide Day of Giving: 15 Name three things you could give someone that don’t cost any money.  Choose one of these and give it to someone special. 

Eat Your Vegetables Day: 17 Today, no matter what vegetables you are served, eat them without complaining.  Try a vegetable that’s new to you.

Recess At Work Day: 19  Just for fun, plan a recess at work day for your parent(s).  What kind of things could your mom or dad do at work that would be like recess?  For example, they could have a water cooler relay.  Ask them for ideas.

National Flip Flop Day: 20  How many pairs of flip flops do you own?  Survey your friends.  Have a flip flop party.  Think of events to play while wearing flip flops.

World Handshake Day: 21  What custom do people use as greetings in addition to handshakes?

Pink Flamingo Day (Lawn Ornaments): 23 Flamingo is a word I like to hear roll off my tongue.  It’s fun to say.  How many syllables are in the word “flamingo?”  Choose other fun words with the same number of syllables and write a description or story of a pink flamingo using  words from your list.  Share your writing with a friend.  Ask a friend to write with you.  Research flamingos to learn more about them. 

International Fairy Day or Faerie Day: 24  If you were a fairy for a day, what would you like to do?  Write or draw about it.

Great American Backyard Campout: 28 Do you like to camp out?  Have you ever camped out in your backyard?  This is the day to give it a try if your parents give permission.  Here’s a poem you might enjoy called “The Tent” by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater  http://www.poemfarm.amylv.com/2014/05/this-tent-poetry-calendars.html  Visit this website for many other great poems. 

Log Cabin Day: 29 Have you ever stayed in a log cabin?  Was it an old one or a fairly modern one?  Would you rather stay in a cabin, a tent, or in a motel?  What area of the country do you think of for log cabins?  Why?

*Thank you Brownie Locks.com for June celebration information.  For more, check out: http://www.brownielocks.com/june.html

Let’s talk:  How did you finish this statement:  June is the month of _________.  One internet site’s response:  weddings,  roses, love.  Did you choose any of these?   Something different?  Share your thoughts here.  Thank you for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.”  Please come again soon.  Bring a friend.

Children 13 years old or older may leave a comment.  Read more about the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. (COPPA)  See:  http://www.coppa.org/coppa.htm

Copyright © 2014 Linda Martin Andersen

Posted in Calendar Events, Careers, Character Traits, Games, Interviews, Math, Monthly Activities, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Winner of Giveaway for May Days and My Blog’s 2nd Birthday

Posted by lindamartinandersen on May 24, 2014


Clip Art

Clip Art

“Winner of Giveaway for May Days and My Blog’s 2nd Birthday” by Linda Martin Andersen

A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074 “A Writer’s Playground”–A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

Blow the horns, sing the verses, it’s time for “A Writer’s Playground” to celebrate its second birthday.  But before the candles could be blown out or a slice of cake could be cut, my internal critic said, “Beware the Terrible Twos.”  I am choosing to ignore that warning.  Instead of fearing growing pains, I’ve decided to embrace the number “two” in a special way…

For my blog’s second birthday, I’m giving away a book about twin girls who share many things.  It’s an easy reader by Grace Lin called Ling and Ting Share a Birthday.  cover_ltbirthday[1] Copyright Alexandre Ferron

The rules stated:  Register for the giveaway by posting the name of a book with twin characters or a book written or illustrated by a twin.  The birthday blog drawing will be May 22 (two twos) and the winner will be announced on or before the June 1 post.  

And the winner of this giveaway is….

Joan Y. Edwards

Congratulations, Joan.  I’m happy for you.  Your copy of Ling and Ting Share a Birthday will be coming to your house soon. 

Thanks to all who participated.  It was fun sharing my blog’s second birthday with you.

Copyright © 2014 Linda Martin Andersen

Posted in Calendar Events, Careers, Character Traits, Games, Interviews, Math, Monthly Activities, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Good Fences Make…

Posted by lindamartinandersen on May 15, 2014


“Good Fences Make..” by Linda Martin Andersen

A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074 “A Writer’s Playground”–A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

Copyright 2014 Linda Andersen

Copyright 2014 Linda Andersen

I recently saw this beautiful azalea hedge/fence blooming in our apartment complex. When I walked past it, I thought of a line from Mending Walls by Robert Frost:  “Good fences make good neighbours.”  This statement is a proverb.

What is a proverb?  What are some other examples?

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/mend-fences.html

http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-proverbs.html

After this experience, I started to notice other fences in the area.  On a daily drive, I’ve been watching a lady putting up a privacy fence.  I decided to write several different endings to “Good fences make…” based on the lady’s yard project and my thoughts about it.  I hope you enjoy them.  What are other ways you’d complete the statement “Good fences make…?

Building good fences makes… strong muscles.

The lady building the fence dug post holes with a manual post hole digger and added cement that she mixed by hand, a little at a time.  Building strong muscles.  Probably some sore ones too.

Building good fences makes…a time for solitude.  After all, it’s not a project many volunteer to help do!

The lady building the fence works alone for hours.  Maybe she prefers it that way.  Maybe solitude is what she’s seeking as much as a new fence.

Good fences (privacy) make…a personal paradise.

The lady building the fence has added trees inside the fenced area.  I wonder if she will include a garden swing to share with someone special.  Will she sip lemonade under her future shade?

Good fences make…a place for the dog. 

The lady building the fence may have a pet.  I’m imagining a dog running in the new pen once it’s finished.

What are other ways you’d end the statement? “Good fences make…”  Please share your ideas.

This writing exercise has me wondering about this lady who works so hard.  I could write a character sketch about her and then a story.  I hope this exercise gets you motivated to write too.

 Thank you for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.”  Please come again soon.  Bring a friend.

Children 13 years old or older may leave a comment–Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. (COPPA)  See:  http://www.coppa.org/coppa.htm

Copyright © 2014 Linda Martin Andersen

Posted in Careers, Character Traits, Games, Interviews, Math, Monthly Activities, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

May Days and My Blog’s 2nd Birthday

Posted by lindamartinandersen on April 30, 2014


Clip Art

Clip Art

“May Days and My Blog’s 2nd Birthday” by Linda Martin Andersen

A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074 “A Writer’s Playground”–A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

Blow the horns, sing the verses, it’s time for “A Writer’s Playground” to celebrate its second birthday.  But before the candles could be blown out or a slice of cake could be cut, my internal critic said, “Beware the Terrible Twos.”  I am choosing to ignore that warning.  Instead of fearing growing pains, I’ve decided to embrace the number “two” in a special way…

For my blog’s second birthday, I’m giving away a book about twin girls who share many things.  It’s an easy reader by Grace Lin called Ling and Ting Share a Birthday.  cover_ltbirthday[1] Copyright Alexandre Ferron

Register for the giveaway by posting the name of a book with twin characters or a book written or illustrated by a twin.  The birthday blog drawing will be May 22 (two twos) and the winner will be announced on or before the June 1 post.  Thanks for celebrating A Writer’s Playground’s second birthday with me.

Other Things May bring…

ALS Awareness Month   (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s Disease)  Who was Lou Gehrig?  Have you ever known someone with this disease?  What are some of the symptoms?  What is  the treatment?  Research to learn more.

American Wetlands Month  Where are wetlands in your area?  If none, research to learn about this ecosystem.  What wildlife lives there?   

Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month Do you know a child or young person with this disease?  What are some of the symptoms?  What is the treatment?  What is the life expectancy?    Research to learn more. 

Fibromyalgia Education and Awareness Month  Do you know anyone with this disease?  What are some of the symptoms?  What is the treatment?  Research and tell someone what you learned. 

Get Caught Reading Month  What are you reading at this time?  Read something for pleasure.  Read a different genre.  Tell someone about a favorite.   

Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection & Prevention Month  Have you ever known someone with this disease?  What are some of the symptoms?  What is the treatment?  Research to learn more.

Allergy/Asthma Awareness Month  Have you ever known someone with these diseases?  What is the difference between them?  Which is more serious?  Why?  What are the symptoms?  What is the treatment?   

National Inventors Month What does it mean to invent something?  What would you like to invent?  Research to learn inventions kids have made. 

(World) Lyme Disease Awareness Month  How do you contact Lyme disease?  Where might you get it?  What can you do to prevent it, if anything?  What are the symptoms of the disease?  What is the treatment? 

National Smile Month How many different ways can you smile?  Big smile, slight smile, showing teeth, showing no teeth, etc.  Try each one.  Ask someone to play along. 

National Stroke Awareness Month 6/16)  What is a stroke?  Do you know anyone who had one?  Did it cause any permanent damage?  Describe the damage.  What other damage can a stroke cause?  What are the signs that a person is having a stroke?  Research for more information. 

 

Special Weeks in May..

 Be Kind To Animals Week: 4-10 Do you have pets?  Brainstorm ways to be kind to them.  Place a check beside all the kind things you do. 

National Family Week: 4-10 How many are in your family?  Brainstorm things your family likes to do together.  What is one thing you could do from your list without spending any money?

National Post Card Week: 4-10 Have you ever sent someone a postcard?  Were you on vacation, at camp, or somewhere else?  Did the postcard arrive before or after you returned home?  Share a postcard memory with someone.

Teacher Appreciation Week: 4-10  Brainstorm a list of things students give teachers.  Write a poem naming at least three of these.  Write a note to your favorite teacher or share your poem.

National Transportation Week: 11-17 Name your most unusual mode of transportation.  Where were you going?  How did you get there?

National Etiquette Week: 12-16 Brainstorm etiquette rules used by families today.  What are some Victorian etiquette rules?  Which are more strict?  Tell why.

National Tourism Week: 12-17 What tourist locations would you suggest to someone visiting your town?  Have you been to them?  Which was your favorite and why?

National Stuttering Awareness Week: 13-19  Do you know someone who stutters?  Is this a child or an adult?  Research this disease, its symptoms, and how to treat it.

National New Friends, Old Friends Week: 18-24     Name old friends you have and name new friends made this year.  Where did you make new friends?  What did you do together?

National Backyard Games Week: 19-26 Do you and your friends play outdoor games?  Teach your friends games you know and ask them to teach you games they know.  Have a lot of fun playing outdoors.

Hurricane Preparedness Week: 25-31 Do you have hurricanes near where you live?  Do you know where you can get a hurricane tracking map?  Where can you get a list of emergency supplies to have on hand?

Special Days in May…

Mother Goose Day: 1 Who is your favorite Mother Goose character?  What is your favorite nursery rhyme?

International Space Day: What space events have you seen?  Which ones would you liked to have participated in?  What space events do you think will happen in your lifetime?

National Two Different Colored Shoes Day: 3 What color shoes could you match for this day?  What do you wish you could wear? Why?

World Laughter Day: 4 Can you recognize someone’s laughter from another room?  Whose laughter do you recognize?  Can you recognize some actors’ laughter?  Whose?  How do you spell the sound of laughter in stories?  What other ways sound like laughter?

National Babysitters Day: 10 Have you ever had babysitters?  Can you name all of them?  What is your favorite game to play with a babysitter?  Do you have a favorite book you ask to have read? 

National Miniature Golf Day: 10 Do you know how to play miniature golf?  Do you have a favorite shot?  Describe it.

National Train Day: 10 What’s your favorite movie with a train, book with a train, song with a train?  Do you have a favorite train photo?  See steam trains in pen and ink by Tim Livingston at The Forester Artist blog:  http://theforesterartist.com/pen-and-ink/

National Windmill Day: 10 Do you know the name Don Quixote?  Why is he mentioned with windmills?  http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/donquixote/summary.html

Do you know the meaning of “tilting at windmills?”  http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/tilting-at-windmills.html

Eat What You Want Day: 11  Make a list of what you’d like to eat today, if you could have anything.  Predict how you’d feel at the end of the day if you ate as much as you wanted of these foods?  Have you ever done something similar to this?  Tell about it.

Mother’s Day: 11 Do you buy your mom a card or make one for her?  Are there other traditions you do for this day?  Tell about one of them. 

Limerick Day: 12  What is a limerick?  Where can they be found?  Read a limerick and then read it to someone else.  Can you write a limerick of your own?

Frog Jumping Day: 13  Do you like to watch frogs jump?  Where can you do this?  Who can you get to join you?  Will you and your friend(s) jump too?

National Chocolate Chip Day: 15  Have you ever eaten white chocolate chips?  Which type chocolate do you prefer?  My son likes to make white chocolate chip pancakes with fresh strawberries.  Sweet!

Straw Hat Day: 15  What does a straw hat remind you of?  Do you have one?  Where have you worn it?

Bats Day: 16-18 How many words can you rhyme with “bats?”  How many words can you rhyme with “day.”  Research bats.  Make statements about bats.  Ask friends if they are facts or myths.  Be sure you can explain the answers. 

NASCAR Day: 16 Have you ever been to a NASCAR race?  A NASCAR museum?  Have you ever met one of the drivers, someone from the pit crew?  Research NASCAR.  Pass on trivia you learn.

International Museum Day: 18  Visit a nearby museum.  Ask about special events coming up.  Subscribe to the museum’s newsletter or mailings.  What are three things you learned on your last museum tour?  Tell someone else about them.  

International Jazz Day: 24  Research famous jazz musicians.  Name as many jazz musicians as you can.  Listen to jazz.  Read picture books about jazz.  Research the history of jazz. 

International Tiara Day: 24 Do you know anyone who won a tiara?  How?  Have you ever entered a contest that gave away tiaras?  Where might you see someone wear a tiara?  Name a book character who has a tiara.  How do you think it would feel to wear one in a parade? 

Morse Code Day: 24 Research Morse Code.  Send a message to someone.  Give them the code to translate their message.  Have them send you a message so you can translate it too.

Cookie Monster’s Birthday: 25  Research Cookie Monster.  How old is he?  Why do you think he loves cookies?  What food  are you crazy about?  What would you do for some?

National Tap Dance Day: 25 Name someone who is famous for tap dancing.  Watch an old movie, a You Tube video, or other information about tap dancing.  Do you know a child who takes lessons?  Have him or her share with you.

Memorial Day: 26  When is Memorial Day observed?  Why is it observed?  Who can you honor on this day?  Why? 

*Thank you Brownie Locks.com for May celebration information.  For more, check out: http://www.brownielocks.com/may.html

Let’s talk:  Choose one or more of the conversation starters above and leave a comment.  Don’t forget to enter the contest by naming a book by a twin author or illustrator or naming a book with twin characters.  Thank you for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.”  Please come again soon.  Bring a friend.

Children 13 years old or older may leave a comment.  Read more about the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. (COPPA)  See:  http://www.coppa.org/coppa.htm

Copyright © 2014 Linda Martin Andersen

Posted in Calendar Events, Careers, Character Traits, Games, Interviews, Math, Monthly Activities, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments »

Our Zookeeper Friend Returns

Posted by lindamartinandersen on April 25, 2014


“Our Zookeeper Friend Returns” by Linda Martin Andersen

A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074 “A Writer’s Playground”–A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

April 26, 2014 is Amphibian Awareness Day at the North Carolina Zoological Park in Asheboro–

an annual event held in conjunction with

Save the Frogs Day

that occurs around the world.  Visit here to learn more:  http://www.savethefrogs.com/

Melissa Barr, the zookeeper pictured below, is here to tell us about Amphibian Awareness Day. She works with the alligators, cougars, waterfowl, as well as a variety of other reptiles and amphibians in the Cypress Swamp section of the North Carolina Zoological Park in Asheboro.  Anyone with this kind of courage deserves our attention and respect! 

You’ll also want to meet Melissa’s friend, the special frog mascot of the day. 

Zookeeper, Melissa Barr, with the Frog Mascot

Zookeeper, Melissa Barr, with the Frog Mascot

 

Amphibian Awareness Activities and presentations are scheduled from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and are free of charge.  Cypress Swamp will host the trivia wheel game.  Kid Zone will include activities such as face painting and crafts. 

Zookeeper, Lane Bactot, with Spin the Wheel Amphibian Trivia Game.

Zookeeper, Lane Batot, with Spin the Wheel Amphibian Trivia Game.

 

 

Poison Dart Frog Exhibit

Poison Dart Frog Exhibit

What are amphibians? Amphibians consist of  frogs, toads,  newts, salamanders, and caecilians.  Most people are familiar with frogs and toads as they are the “hoppers.”  Salamanders are amphibians that have four legs, a long and slender body and a long tail.  On a side note, North Carolina has more salamander species than any other state due to the diverse geography from mountains to coastal swamps.  Caecilians are a rarely seen amphibian that lacks limbs. 

Why Amphibians? 

Amphibian populations around the world are declining at an alarming rate. Almost 1/3 of all amphibians are in decline.  If something is affecting these animals, we should be concerned as well.  They are an indicator species as they have permeable skin that is sensitive to environmental hazards.  And of course, frogs are just awesome and we don’t want to lose such beautiful animals! 

What is cause of decline in amphibians?

Pollution, infectious diseases, habitat loss, invasive species, climate change, and over-harvesting for the pet and food trades.
What can people do to help? 

A lot of the things that people can do to help amphibians also help other animals as well.  When possible, try to recycle or buy items that are made of recycled materials.  Use less water when taking a shower or turn off the water when brushing your teeth.  Keep pollution out of all waterways, including using pesticides and herbicides responsibly is used at all.  Don’t remove amphibians from the wild, but observe and enjoy them when you see them.  Learn as much as possible about amphibians and educate others!

How do amphibians benefit humans?

They eat lots of insects!  They are part of the food chain.  Tadpoles keep waterways clean by feeding on algae.  Frogs are an important food source for many animals.  Frogs are studied for use in medicinal research that benefits humans.

To read earlier posts by Melissa Barr, check these sites: 

http://lindamartinandersen.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/the-return-of-melissa-barr-a-zookeeper-at-north-carolina-zoological-park/

http://lindamartinandersen.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/meet-melissa-barr-a-zookeeper-at-north-carolina-zoological-park/

To learn more about the North Carolina Zoological Park, check here: 

nczoo.org (NC Zoo website)

nczoo.com (NC Zoo Society website)

Let’s thank Melissa Barr for sharing her zookeeping experiences with us. Melissa, please tell all the animals in your area “Hello” from us.

Readers, please leave a question or a comment.  I encourage you to visit a zoo in your area.  And be sure to visit “A Writer’s Playground” again soon.  Bring a friend. Copyright © 2013 Linda Martin Andersen

Children 13 years old or older may leave a comment–Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. (COPPA)  See:  http://www.coppa.org/coppa.htm

Copyright © 2014 Linda Martin Andersen

Posted in Careers, Character Traits, Games, Interviews, Math, Monthly Activities, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

The Cherry Blossoms in Washington, D.C. Remind Me of…

Posted by lindamartinandersen on April 9, 2014


 

“The Cherry Blossoms in Washington, D.C. Remind Me of…” by Linda Martin Andersen

A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074 “A Writer’s Playground”–A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

March 20, 2014–April 13, 2014 is National Cherry Blossom Week.

The Cherry Blossoms in Washington, D.C. Remind Me of… A Family Vacation There.

Have you ever been to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C.?  Over thirty years ago, my family took a vacation there.  We arrived when the blossoms were at their peak.  We waited in line for a couple of hours.  Our sons passed the time by playing Frisbee on the lawn.  Then we climbed to the top of the Washington Monument. (897 steps)  Our younger son said that the view was the best part of our trip and that it was worth the wait.  Music to a mother’s ears.  I hope you’ll be able to see this view of cherry blossoms one day too.  Due to increased national security, no one is allowed to climb to the top today.  Instead, you may ride a glass-walled elevator to the top.  Hope that won’t disappoint you.  ;)  Check this link for more information

http://www.viator.com/Washington-DC-attractions/Washington-Monument/d657-a1100

Time for some Cherry Tree Trivia…

1.  Who was Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore?

2.  What was the Cherry Tree Rebellion?

3.  Name the places where cherry trees are planted in Washington, D.C.?

To answer these trivia questions,  check the sites below: 

Write your own trivia questions.  Please share them in the comment section.

http://www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/visitor-information/faq/

http://www.nps.gov/cherry/cherry-blossom-history.htm

http://www.history.com/news/the-drama-behind-100-years-of-washingtons-cherry-blossoms

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/gardeningpicturegalleries/9153916/100-year-old-Japanese-cherry-trees-blossom-in-Washington-DC.html

http://www.ecumenicalnews.com/article/the-national-cherry-blossom-festival-in-washington-d-c-22823

http://www.americaslibrary.gov/jb/progress/jb_progress_cherry_1.html

http://www.americaslibrary.gov/jb/progress/jb_progress_cherry_2.html

http://www.americaslibrary.gov/jb/progress/jb_progress_cherry_3.html

The Cherry Blossoms in Washington, D.C. Also Remind Me of…Kathy Burkinshaw. 

P1040817

Kathy Burkinshaw is a  friend I met in Charlotte, North Carolina.  She writes for children.  I’m so glad I’ve gotten to know her and I’d like for you to get to know her too.  After reading this interview, see if you can tell why I associate Kathy with cherry trees in Washington, D.C.  Please share your comments below.

Kathy, thank you very much for agreeing to speak with us at “A Writer’s Playground.”  Let’s start with an ice breaker:

Tell us three things  you like to write about.  Why?

Thank you Linda for inviting me to be your blog guest! 

Three things I like to write about:  History, Mystery, and Japan.  I have always been drawn to books that have a plot line one  could relate to with a splash of suspense.  And if it takes place in the midst of a historic event – that is a novel trifecta for me!  I love to research, in fact I am probably OCD about researching a topic or setting.  I am half Japanese so I love learning about traditions in my culture so that I can share it with my daughter. 

Why do you write for children?

I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to teach Christian youth classes to preschoolers and first graders, as well as being my daughter’s Brownie troop leader.   I love working with or presenting to students.

Please tell us about the writing contest you won.

I would be happy to!!  I was in blissful shock when I found out last July that I had won first place in the YA/MG Novel category of the SCBWI Carolinas 4th Annual Art and Writing Contest!

What is the topic of your winning manuscript?

My manuscript gives a non political manuscript glimpse into a 12 year old’s daily life in Hiroshima during the last year of World War II.  A shocking family secret is revealed and as she gets closer to the truth, a bright flash of light on a clear August day threatens to destroy her sense of what she cherishes most.

What can you share about the tentative title of your manuscript?

It is THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM.  One of my mother’s favorite memories is celebrating the cherry blossom festival with her Papa and her family.  Also, scientists originally said nothing would grow again on Hiroshima soil for many years.  Yet the cherry blossoms bloomed again the following spring.  The cherry blossoms endured much like the spirit of the people affected by the bombing in Hiroshima.

Who or what planted the seed for your manuscript?

THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM is my mother’s story.  When my daughter was in 7th grade, she had asked me to come in and tell my mother’s story about the people under that famous mushroom cloud.  I was encouraged to write The Last Cherry Blossom when teachers inquired if I had a book to complement my discussion, one they could add to the class reading list.  I wanted to write this book not just to honor my mother and her family, but to honor all the people that suffered or died from the effects of the atomic bomb.

Recently, you were interviewed by your local newspaper.  Please tell about that.

A contributing writer to the Charlotte Observer, read about my award on my husband’s Facebook page.  I was thrilled and nervous when she asked to interview me about my mother’s story that lead to writing the manuscript.

I understand that you are represented by a literary agent.  Who is it?  How did you find representation?

In September I was signed by Anna Olswanger of the Liza Dawson Agency in New York!  She did a long distance critique of the first 20 pages of my manuscript at the 2012 SCBWI Carolinas conference.  In February 2013 I sent my revised manuscript to her.  We worked on several revisions and that September she offered to represent me.  I am not ashamed to admit that I yelped a “woohoo” and did a happy dance!

What are you writing about now?

I am in my research phase of a couple of historic scenarios for my next story.

What else would you like to share?

I have been presenting my mother’s story to middle school students for the past 4 years and love it. Also, I am so glad to have met you at the 2012 SCBWI Carolinas conference!

And I’m glad I met you too!  Thanks again for agreeing to this interview.  I wish you much future writing success.  You know I’m a big fan!

Readers, can you guess why Kathy Burkinshaw reminds me of cherry blossoms?  Please leave your answer in the comment section.  Thank you for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.”  Please come again soon.  Bring a friend.

Children 13 years old or older may leave a comment–Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. (COPPA)  See:  http://www.coppa.org/coppa.htm

Copyright © 2014 Linda Martin Andersen

Posted in Careers, Character Traits, Games, Interviews, Math, Monthly Activities, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments »

April Inspired a Poem

Posted by lindamartinandersen on March 31, 2014


“April Inspired a Poem…” by Linda Martin Andersen

A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074 “A Writer’s Playground”–A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

Just for fun…Choose a month.  I chose April, which is National Poetry Month.  List the sequence of months that follow and let that inspire a poem.  Here’s mine:

April, May, June, July–

Decided to make an apple pie.

Baked, cooled, and sampled it.

Naughty me–didn’t share a bit.

Sharing about some favorite blogs…

  • Recently, I subscribed to a poet’s weekly blog post.  Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s blog is called The Poem Farm.  Visit her blog here:   

http://www.poemfarm.amylv.com/

  • When I was a child, my grandfather used to say that if the first words spoken in a new month were, “Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit,” you would have good luck.  Occasionally, I remembered.   When I read Tim Livingston’s recent post entitled “Forestry Friday…Otter, Otter, Otter,” the title’s repetition reminded me of the rabbit superstition.  Perhaps saying otter three times will bring you good luck or fun, fun, fun.  Tim’s blog is definitely, a fun site to visit.

http://theforesterartist.com/2014/03/28/forestry-friday-otter-otter-otter/

  • Another recent favorite is Mary Livingston’s blog.  She’s Tim’s wife.  See her terrific spring art here: 

http://thebackdoorartist.com/2014/03/28/stalking-butterflies/

  • To read more about saying “rabbit,” check out these sites: 

http://www.yankeemagazine.com/article/marysfarm/rabbit

http://geyserofawesome.com/post/15802168301/rabbit-rabbit-is-a-common-british-superstition

 

April brings…

Confederate History Month 

Jazz Appreciation Month

Keep America Beautiful 

Month of the Young Child

Math Awareness Month –Here are two math poems:

It’s Pi Day  http://www.poemfarm.amylv.com/2014/03/its-pi-day-celebrate-314159.html

http://www.poemfarm.amylv.com/2014/03/meter-stick-new-book-new-look-winner.html

Month of the Military Child 

National Child Abuse Prevention Month National

Card and Letter Writing Month

 National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month  As a child, this was one of my favorite things served in the school cafeteria.  What is one of your favorite dishes?

National Garden Month 

National Humor Month

National Kite Month  Have you ever flown a kite?  If not,  I hope you won’t let April slip past without trying it.

National Poetry Month   Enjoy Joy Acey’s reading of one of her poems:  “How Tall is the Boy?”  http://www.nowaterriver.com/portfolio/poetry-videos/

Straw Hat Month Describe your favorite hat and tell where you like to wear it.

Stress Awareness Month

 

Special Weeks in April…

Golden Rule Week: 1-7  Can you quote the golden rule?  What helps you keep it?

Bat Appreciation Week: 6-12 (First Full Week)

 National Library Week: 13-19 (2nd full week)

National Park Week: 19-27  How many can you name?  How many have you visited?

Bedbug Awareness Week: 20-26

Coin Week: 20-26 ( 3rd  Full Week) 

International Whistlers Week: 20-26  Check out music by Phyllis Heil, my favorite whistler.  http://www.thewhistlingwoman.com/

National Playground Safety Week: 21-25 

Special Days in April…

April Fools  or All Fools Day: 1

National Fun Day: 1  

National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day: 2 What flavor jelly do you like with your peanut butter?  Do you ever eat honey instead? 

Find A Rainbow Day: 3  I know where to see a rainbow any day.  Check Laura Renegar’s blog:  My Side of the Rainbow.  http://laurarenegar.blogspot.com/2014/03/a-pitmad-victory-winters-hibernation.html#comment-form

Pony Express Day: 3

Weed Out Hate: Sow The Seeds of Greatness Day: 3

“Sorry Charlie” Day: 6

Winston Churchill Day: 9 

D.E.A.R. Day (aka Drop Everything And Read): 12 What are you reading now?

National Dolphin Day: 14

Jackie Robinson Day: 15

Ellis Island Family History Day: 17

National Haiku Poetry Day: 17   Included here in memory of Maureen Wartski, a dear, departed friend who wrote haiku poetry and shared it with her readers:  http://maureenwartski.wordpress.com

Poem In Your Pocket Day: 17

 Earth Day: 22

Eeyore’s Birthday Day: 26  Do you know who Eeyore is?  Where does he live?  Name two of his friends.  Which one are you most like?  Why?  

Richter Scale Day: 26  What does this scale measure?  Why is it important?

Save The Frogs Day: 26  My husband loves frogs.  Do you?  Why do you think there is a day for saving the frogs?  Research to learn more.

Holocaust Remembrance Day: 27  What have you read that tells of this period in history?

Bugs Bunny Day: 30

*Thank you Brownie Locks.com for celebration information.  For more, check out: http://www.brownielocks.com/april.html

Let’s talk:  Choose one or more of the conversation starters above and leave a comment.  Thank you for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.”  Please come again soon.  Bring a friend.

Children 13 years old or older may leave a comment–Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. (COPPA) See:  http://www.coppa.org/coppa.htm

Copyright © 2014 Linda Martin Andersen

Posted in Careers, Character Traits, Games, Interviews, Math, Monthly Activities, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

 
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