A Writer's Playground

Monthly Activities for Kids by Linda Martin Andersen

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    Copyright © 2016 Linda Martin Andersen.

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    from Linda Martin Andersen is strictly prohibited.

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WANT TO WIN A FREE SKYPE VISIT FROM ME FOR YOUR SCHOOL?

Posted by lindamartinandersen on October 24, 2016


Teachers and Librarians,
This is a chance to win a terrific giveaway. I hope you’ll take part.

WordWranglerNC

Kindness is needed in today’s world… lots of it!
In an effort to share Frank, and his message of sharing truth with kindness, I’m hosting a “Being Frank: More Sugar, Less Pepper!” contest!
To enter:
1. Post a picture of your librarian, students, or teachers reading Being Frank on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
2. Use the hashtags #MoreSugarLessPepper and #BeingFrankIn followed by your state’s initials (example: BeingFrankIn NY) PLEASE NOTE: BOTH hashtags are required!
3. I will choose the post I like best, so be creative! I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing your principal in a Mrs. Peacock hat!🙂
4. The FIVE winning schools will earn a free Skype visit with me, Donna Earnhardt, author of Being Frank.
Each individual post is counted as its own entry, so the more posts, the better!
Contest ends November 12, 2016.
Winners will be announced on November 13 in honor…

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It’s Raining Katz and Dogs (plus a three-prize giveaway!)

Posted by lindamartinandersen on October 17, 2016


This book sounds hard to resist if you’re a cat or dog person or love magic. That’s a big audience, I would think.

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

by Maria Gianferrari

Maria_Nov2013

The Katz is out of the bag!! Tomorrow’s the book birthday of my latest picture book, OFFICER KATZ & HOUNDINI: A TALE OF TWO TAILS, illustrated by Danny Chatzikonstantinou. Aladdin gets extra points for fitting two very long surnames on its spine!

khcover

Since the blog tour’s kicking off right here at Writing for Kids (While Raising Them), I thought I’d celebrate its release with a sneak peek at some of my favorite images from the book.

There are two kinds of magic in the book. The first is a kind of practical magic. Officer Katz is an inventor. This is his most prized and pawsome invention, the Katzapult:

katz-interior_page_32

Houndini’s magic is more elusive. Like his namesake, Houdini, he’s an escape artiste, practiced in the art of disappearance. I love his exuberance as he bursts out of a box here:

katz-interior_page_19
Officer Katz and Houndini have sidekicks, Deputy Catbird…

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Pumpkins on My Mind

Posted by lindamartinandersen on October 12, 2016


A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074

 

A Writer’s Playground–a place to find wordplay, writing prompts, reasons to celebrate, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart. “Pumpkins on My Mind” by Linda Martin Andersen

I’ve been noticing lots of pumpkin products for sale this fall…

When I went to mail a letter, a sign on the glass door advertised homemade pumpkin ice cream.  It’s served up by Andy, our local postmaster.  You can read your mail as you enjoy a cone.  Almost like being in Mayberry.  I like that about this place.

Recently, my niece ordered pumpkin pancakes at Cracker Barrel and raved about how good they were.  And she’s a finicky eater.  Another favorite I’ve seen on menus is pumpkin roll and of course pumpkin bread.

Most all of us are checking out the pumpkins in the grocery store or produce markets for carving, or just for decoration.  If you make homemade pumpkin pies, you’ve probably purchased pumpkin pie spices.

When I think of pumpkins, I am reminded of pumpkin patches and The Peanuts televised special, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”  If you love Charles M. Schulz specials and great sized pumpkins, you’ll probably enjoy these links:

http://thefw.com/things-you-didnt-know-about-great-pumpkin/

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/the-great-pumpkin-74423844/?no-ist

https://www.giantpumpkin.com/world_records.php

In fall, hayrides always come to my mind, especially those hosted by our family for the past ten years.  Until this year, that is.  The grandsons believe they’ve outgrown them.  Truth be told, most adults don’t seem to think they have.   The last few weeks, I gave away almost all our hayride decorations.  Thinking back on the one pictured below always brings a smile.  Although the photo doesn’t show this perfectly, the inflated pumpkin’s face is printed upside down.  No matter how we tried to hide it, the children always discovered the upside down face and turned it to the front.  It must have brought a smile to them too.  Not quite a perfect pumpkin, which most likely made it all the more fun.

Hayride 2012. Copyright 2016. Linda Martin Andersen

Hayride 2012. Copyright 2016. Linda Martin Andersen

 Writing Prompts:

  • What brings a smile to your face this pumpkin season?
  • Tell about a hayride or other special fall event that you have experienced.  What made it special?
  • What are your favorite Halloween specials? Or horror movies?
  • Have you ever stuffed a scarecrow?  Tell about a time you decorated for Halloween or fall.
  • Have you ever created your own costume?  Do you remember Charlie Brown’s costume?

An aside–my thoughts and prayers go out to all who were effected by Hurricane Matthew.  I hope you’ll find a way to celebrate fall, even during this difficult time. 

Thank you for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.”  Come again soon and bring a friend. Please leave a comment.  Remember that children 13 and under need an adult to comment for them.  For more fun, sign up to follow my blog.  Thank you!

Posted in Activities for teachers and parents, Calendar Events, creative play, Family Discussions, History, Homeschool Activities, humor, Reading, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Prompts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Look for Joy

Posted by lindamartinandersen on September 26, 2016


A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074

 

A Writer’s Playground–a place to find wordplay, writing prompts, reasons to celebrate, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart  “Look for Joy” by Linda Martin Andersen

 

Poster created at http://quozio.com/index.aspx

Last week, I shared a blog post about joy.  Check it out:  https://lindamartinandersen.wordpress.com/2016/09/21/nothing-says-joy-in-the-morning-like/

I write lists, mostly To Do Lists.  Whether you do or not, I have a different list suggestion.  Record your joys.  List them throughout the day.  A To Do List helps keep you organized.  A list of joys helps keep you positive. 

Yes, I’m suggesting keeping a Joy Journal.  Suggestions on how to begin:

  • Divide your day into segments such as Morning, Afternoon, and Evening. 
  • Name a joy from one or more of these time periods.  Small things count, such as seeing a hummingbird or getting a call from a friend.  Before long, your Joy Journal list may outgrow your To Do List. 
  • Give thanks for joy in your life. 

Do you have a joy you’d like to share here?  I’ll start:

Joy Journal List from a recent morning:  1.  Created and shared this blog post and poster about looking for joy.  2.  Spoke with my son on the phone.  3….

Thank you for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.”  Come again soon and bring a friend. Please leave a comment.  Remember that children 13 and under need an adult to comment for them.  For more fun, sign up to follow my blog.  Thank you!

Posted in Activities for teachers and parents, Family Discussions, goal setting, Homeschool Activities, Posters, Reading, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Prompts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Nothing Says Joy in the Morning Like…

Posted by lindamartinandersen on September 21, 2016


A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074

 

A Writer’s Playground–a place to find wordplay, writing prompts, reasons to celebrate, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart  “Nothing Says Joy in the Morning Like…” by Linda Martin Andersen

Personal grief hit me hard in June.  It left me too sad to do some things I enjoy, such as making small home decorating changes.  Fortunately, my  creativity is returning.  This brings me great joy!

Yesterday, I decided to replace the coffee station in my kitchen.  I purchased a bamboo napkin holder and serving tray to hold my coffee maker and condiments.   This simple decorating change filled me with joy.  Now as I pour myself a cup of coffee, I’m reminded to start my day with joy.  I was also reminded of two Folgers’ coffee jingles:  “Nothing says morning like Folgers in your cup. ” Also:  “The best part of waking up in Folgers in your cup.”

These jingles influenced my writing and this blog title.  Writing and word play bring me joy.  Choosing to change my coffee station brought me two joys:  creative decorating and writing.

What caused this positive change?  Time for a moment of truth…I added too much water to my coffee pot which caused it to boil over and ruin my  tray.  Cause and effect.  That’s one accident I’m glad happened.  ;)  It started positive wheels turning.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7LXSQ85jpw

These jingles influenced my writing.  Can you recognize their influence in my blog title?  Writing and word play bring me joy.

What brings you joy in the morning and throughout the day?

Bamboo Coffee Station. Copyright 2016. Linda Martin Andersen.

Bamboo Coffee Station. Copyright 2016. Linda Martin Andersen.

Writing Prompts:

1.  Look around your bedroom and locate things that bring you joy.  Write or tell about them.

2.  Look for things that bring you joy on your ride to school.  Write or tell about them.

3.  Begin a Joy Journal.  Record things that bring you joy throughout the day.

4.  Write an acronym for JOY.  Here is a site for word suggestions:  http://www.enchantedlearning.com/phonetic/y.shtml

Example of an acronym for  JOY:  J–Jump  O–orbit Y–yell

5.  Write a phrase acronym for JOY.  Example:  J–Jump  O–over  Y–yokes (burdens).  Discuss the meaning of this phrase with an adult.

6.  Do you know someone named Joy?  Tell ways this person brings joy to the world.  Example:  Joy Acey:  http://poetryforkidsjoy.blogspot.com/2016/09/sharks-and-minnows.html

7.  Do you know a song about Joy?  Change some of the lyrics to include things that bring you joy.

8.  Complete this writing prompt:  Nothing says joy in the morning like…

9.  Here are two Folgers’ coffee jingles:  “Nothing says morning like Folgers in your cup. ” Also:  “The best part of waking up in Folgers in your cup.”  Use these jingles as writing prompts to create your own personal jingle or slogan.

10.  What is your definition of joy?  Expand your definition with personal examples.

Thank you for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.”  Come again soon and bring a friend. Please leave a comment.  Remember that children 13 and under need an adult to comment for them.  For more fun, sign up to follow my blog.  Thank you!

Posted in Activities for teachers and parents, Character Traits, crafts, creative play, Family Discussions, Games, goal setting, Homeschool Activities, humor, music, Reading, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Prompts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments »

Nobody Ever Promised…

Posted by lindamartinandersen on August 30, 2016


A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074

 

A Writer’s Playground–a place to find wordplay, writing prompts, reasons to celebrate, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart
“Nobody Ever Promised…” by Linda Martin Andersen

 

 

Poster created at http://www.quozio.com

My dear friend, Sarah Swan, reviews children’s books on her blog.  Earlier this summer, Sarah honored my husband and me by reviewing books that mention death.  Thank you so much, Sarah.  Check out the books Sarah reviewed here:

In Honor of Scotty Andersen and his lovely Wife, Linda

To learn about Sarah’s young adult novel, Terror’s Identity, see here:  https://www.amazon.com/Terrors-Identity-Sarah-Swan-ebook/dp/B01CMUWJ04

What books have you read that mention the death of a pet or loved one?  Use the writing prompts below as conversation starters with your parents/children.

Writing Prompts:

  1. Nobody ever promised…
  2. When my _________ died, I felt like…
  3. When my friend was crying, I…
  4. My Pet Died
  5. Ways to Feel Better When You’re Sad
  6. Who I Talk to When I’m Sad
  7. Visiting the Cemetery
  8. Flowers on the Grave
  9. A Marker on the Grave
  10. Attending a Funeral or Memorial Service

Thank you for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.”  Come again soon and bring a friend. Please leave a comment.  Remember that children 13 and under need an adult to comment for them.  For more fun, sign up to follow my blog.  Thank you!

Posted in Activities for teachers and parents, book reviews, Family Discussions, History, Homeschool Activities, Reading, storytelling, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Prompts | Tagged: , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Middle Grade Novels Tackle Tough Stuff

Posted by lindamartinandersen on August 23, 2016


A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074

 

A Writer’s Playground–a place to find wordplay, writing prompts, reasons to celebrate, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart
“Middle Grade Novels Tackle Tough Stuff” by Linda Martin Andersen

Read all about it

on Facebook and register to win a set of great middle grade novels.

http://mggetsreal.blogspot.com/2016/07/5-middle-grade-novels-with-tough-topics.html

Carol Baldwin read all about it and helped spread the word.  Read an interview on her blog.

http://carolbaldwinblog.blogspot.com/2016/08/mggetsreal-behind-scenes-with-joyce.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+blogspot%2FDtis+%28Carol+Baldwin%27s+blog%29

I encourage you to..

Read all about and help spread the word! Readers need to know!

Thank you for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.”  Come again soon and bring a friend. Please leave a comment.  Remember that children 13 and under need an adult to comment for them.  For more fun, sign up to follow my blog.  Thank you!

Posted in Activities for teachers and parents, Book Launch, Environmental Concerns, Family Discussions, History, Homeschool Activities, Interviews, Reading, Social Studies, storytelling, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Morning Surprises

Posted by lindamartinandersen on August 19, 2016


Look for morning, noon, and night surprises in your life!

Automatic Gardening & Real Gluten Free Food

DSC_0632

This stunning White Texas Star Hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus) made its presence know this morning by putting on a surprising show from across the yard.  It had been struggling, not blooming and mostly forgotten.  Today it received full attention.

DSC_0647

A “Disney” Ginger was spotted peeking out from behind the fence.  Click on the photo twice to find it.

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After further investigation, a small colony of escapees were found.

DSC_0640

This Hedychium coccineum ginger is a good choice for the Automatic Garden.  It just needs some directional guidance!

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Who’s Coming to Town?

Posted by lindamartinandersen on August 2, 2016


A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074

 

A Writer’s Playground–a place to find wordplay, writing prompts, reasons to celebrate, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart
“Who’s Coming to Town?” by Linda Martin Andersen

In summer, many families travel to visit relatives or vacation out-of-town.  This summer, an author friend is coming to town.  She was invited to do a book signing at Ft. Bragg, NC.  I hope you can stop by to see her and check out her latest book, as well as some short stories.

Who is this author who is coming to town? 

Sandra Warren. 

When is Sandra Warren’s book signing? 

Friday, August 5, 2016 from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm and

Saturday, August 6, 2016 from 9:00 am – 12:00 am.

We Bought a WWII Bomber

 

Where is Sandra Warren’s book signing?

At the PX

 5050 Butner Rd, Fort Bragg, NC 28307  

Sandra Warren will be signing copies of We Bought A WWII Bomber, Hidden Casualties: Battles On The Home Front and When Duty Called: Even Grandma Had To GO.  Watch a book trailer here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUmxqhIpadI

Hidden Casualties and When Duty Called are nurses stories about serving in Desert Storm.
 
Sandra Warren didn’t stop here.  She found a way to turn her research and photos into another format.  See here:

http://sandrawarrenwrites.blogspot.com/2016/05/got-left-over-research-photos-put-them.html

Sandra Warren also shared how to create a book trailer.  See here:

http://sandrawarrenwrites.blogspot.com/2016/01/book-trailers-made-easy.html

Come out and meet Sandra Warren.  You’ll be glad you did.  If you don’t live in the area, Amazon carries these and more titles in various genres.  See here:

https://www.amazon.com/Sandra-Warren/e/B00L4BPF2M/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1470137498&sr=1-2-ent

Everyone knows that one of teachers’ favorite back-to-school writing prompts is:  What did you do over summer vacation?

If I were writing in response to this prompt, I’d tell about Sandra Warren, the author who came to town.  Here are other prompts for you to consider.

Writing Prompts:

  1. Who came to visit you this summer or who did you visit?
  2. Write interview questions for a favorite relative.  Ask the person to respond.
  3. What family projects did you do this summer?
  4. What tips can you pass along on how to keep cool?
  5. What books did you read for pleasure?  Tell about them.
  6. How would you organize a book review panel?

Thank you for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.”  Come again soon and bring a friend. Please leave a comment.  Remember that children 13 and under need an adult to comment for them.  For more fun, sign up to follow my blog.  Thank you!

Posted in Activities for teachers and parents, Book Launch, Family Discussions, History, Homeschool Activities, Interviews, Reading, Social Studies, storytelling, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Prompts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments »

The Last Cherry Blossom–Coming Very Soon!

Posted by lindamartinandersen on July 29, 2016


A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074

 

A Writer’s Playground–a place to find wordplay, writing prompts, reasons to celebrate, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart
“The Last Cherry Blossom–Coming Very Soon!” by Linda Martin Andersen

NO, there’s no real danger to cherry trees that provide us so much beauty.  No threat to them in that way.

So what is this post about?  A new book called THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM by Kathleen Burkinshaw.

Burkinshaw, Kathleen wnba                    THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM by Kathleen Burkinshaw

Photos used with permission.

THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM is a book you don’t want to miss.  What have you heard about it?  If you don’t know about this debut book due to launch on August 2, read more here.

Earlier posts I hope you’ll choose to visit/revisit include…

  • One of my earlier posts:

https://lindamartinandersen.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/the-cherry-blossoms-in-washington-d-c-remind-me-of/

Two posts to follow by Carol Baldwin:

  1. “Carol Baldwin’s blog:  Meet Kathleen Burkinshaw–Debut Middle Grade Author” posted at

https://carolbaldwinblog.blogspot.com/2016/07/kathleen-burkinshaw-debut-middle-grade.html

2.  Carol Baldwin also posted a review of THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM.  See here:

https://carolbaldwinblog.blogspot.com/2016/07/the-last-cherry-blossom-review-and-arc.html

  • Here’s a Kirkus review too:

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/kathleen-burkinshaw/the-last-cherry-blossom/

If you want to order a copy of this book before August 2, here’s one place to do so: 

https://www.amazon.com/Last-Cherry-Blossom-Kathleen-Burkinshaw/dp/1634506936/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1469710602&sr=8-1&keywords=Kathleen+Burkinshaw

I’m so happy for my writer friend and her writing journey!  What a great gift to readers everywhere.

Readers, I hope you’ll try some writing of your own..

Writing Prompts:

  1. Tell about a time your life changed for the better.
  2. Tell about a time your life changed for the worse.
  3. What helps you to handle things when life turns worse?
  4. How do you like to celebrate when life changes for the better?
  5. Who helps you through life events when you face changes?

I hope you’ll look for and read THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM by Kathleen Burkinshaw.

Thank you for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.”  Come again soon and bring a friend. Please leave a comment.  Remember that children 13 and under need an adult to comment for them.  For more fun, sign up to follow my blog.  Thank you!

Posted in Activities for teachers and parents, Book Launch, Environmental Concerns, Family Discussions, History, Homeschool Activities, Interviews, Reading, Social Studies, storytelling, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Prompts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

 
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