A Writer's Playground

Monthly Activities for Kids by Linda Martin Andersen

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Archive for December, 2012

A Sunshine Award for A Writer’s Playground

Posted by lindamartinandersen on December 27, 2012

“A Sunshine Award for ‘A Writer’s Playground'” by Linda Martin Andersen

“A Writer’s Playground”

A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

YES!  I was awarded a blogger award called The Sunshine Award 

for bloggers “who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.”

 The Sunshine Award

What a compliment!  Thank you, Joan Edwards for selecting “A Writer’s Playground” for The Sunshine Award.  

Please take a moment to visit Joan at http://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2012/12/25/i-gave-the-sunshine-award-to-10-bloggers/

Here are the rules for the Sunshine Award:

Thank the person who gave this award in the beginning part of a post about it.

Answer the questions below.

Pass on the award to 10 (1 selected four) fabulous bloggers, link their blogs, and let them know you awarded them.

Here are my favorites:

Favorite Color –green

Favorite Animal –lamb

Favorite Number –3

Favorite Drink –hot chocolate

Facebook or Twitter –Not at this time.  I prefer to email or call a friend.

Your Passion –writing

Giving or getting presents –giving

Favorite Day –Friday

Favorite Flowers –hyacinths

Now, it’s my turn to recognize some fellow blogger friends with The Sunshine Award.


1.  From the Mixed-up Files at http://www.fromthemixedupfiles.com/  A definite ray of sunshine for middle grade readers and writers.  The latest post by Sue Cowing features an independent bookstore in Kansas City MO called Reptile Readers.  You’ve got to check it out.  Other independent book stores are featured in posts, along with book reviews based on themes, and even giveaways.  It’s a super blogging group.

2.  ReaderKidZ at http://www.readerkidz.com/ This site posts book reviews by themes for younger readers.  It features authors-in-residence and resources for parents and teachers.  ReaderKidZ  deserves to be recognized for recommending quality reading materials that brighten a child’s face like sunshine brightens a day.  Another quality blogging group.

3.  The Forest Artist at http://theforesterartist.com/  This site is posted by Tim Livingston, a forester who is also an artist.  He and his wife, The Backdoor Artist, appreciate nature and its beauty.  They are willing to belly crawl for just the right photograph of wildlife.  They see the beginning of each new day together and capture it in their art.  It’s my honor to present them each with the Sunshine Award.

4.  The Backdoor Artist at http://thebackdoorartist.com/2012/10/09/wings-of-autumn/  I spotlighted this particular post because turkey buzzards just flew in my yard.  Mary Livingston’s post mentions a book she’s creating about these birds.  She finds beauty where most only see ugly.  Sounds like she’s someone who deserves the Sunshine Award to me.

*Applause!*  Now, I’d like to ask these bloggers to please pass The Sunshine Award to other bloggers.  Keep the rays shining bright.

Thank you for joining us at “A Writer’s Playground.”  Come again soon and bring a friend.

Copyright © 2012 Linda Martin Andersen

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

C-A-R-I-N-G–Character Trait of December

Posted by lindamartinandersen on December 23, 2012

“C-A-R-I-N-G–Character Trait of December” by Linda Martin Andersen


 “A Writer’s Playground”

A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

December–a month that encourages giving and caring.

When I was an elementary School Counselor in Cumberland County, NC, students studied character traits each month. Now, I have found another way to spread the word about good character.  I volunteer once a month for Story Time at a home school bookstore in my area. Check it out at www.thepilgrimsjourney.com.  

This month, like the Cumberland County Schools in Fayetteville, NC, I planned to present the character trait of CARING which is defined as “being kind, helpful, and generous to everyone.”

At Story Time, I was scheduled to read The Jester Has Lost His Jingle, written and illustrated by David Saltzman.  I had to cancel Story Time due to my husband being hospitalized.  I hope you’ll locate a copy of this book and share it with a special child in your life.  The author wrote this book while being treated for Hodgkins Lymphoma.  Unfortunately, he did not survive.  The Jester & Pharley Phund was established to continue to spread the message of caring. “While we wait for tomorrow’s cures, The Jester & Pharley Phund gives children hope and laughter as they battle cancer and other serious illnesses today.”   http://www.thejester.org/


Another example of caring  is a tribute to a good friend’s twin sister who died of cancer.  Even during her illness, she continued to reach out to others and show her care for them.  Caroline Harsant Whitley, nicknamed Care, is honored by her family and friends in a program called Care’s Coasters.  See more here.  www.carescoasters.com.


I’d love to hear ways you show caring.  Please leave a comment below.  Thank you for joining us at “A Writer’s Playground.”  Come again soon and bring a friend.

Copyright © 2012 Linda Martin Andersen

Posted in Careers, Character Traits, Games, Interviews, Math, Monthly Activities, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

December 2012 Activities

Posted by lindamartinandersen on December 1, 2012

“December 2012 Activities” by Linda Martin Andersen

“A Writer’s Playground”

A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

Think:  What does the word “December” bring to mind?

Pearl Harbor Day, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa. What else happens in December?  Choose one of the conversation starters below and leave a comment.

 Special Days in December:

  • Civil Air Patrol Day:  1  Civil Air Patrol (CAP) was founded in 1941 to spot enemy submarines in WWII.  It is a volunteer patrol auxillary for the US Air Force.  Today it provides inland search and rescue missions and promotes aerospace education for youth.  Where can you learn more?

  • Rosa Parks Day:  1  How can you celebrate this day?  What can you do for someone else today?  Research facts about Rosa Parks.  Consider reading a biography about her. 

  • National Mutt Day:  2  What kind of animal is sometimes called a mutt?  What does it mean to be a mutt?  Some people claim mutts make the best pets. What do you think?

  • Special Education Day:  2  Do you know any students in special education classes?  If so, do any of them attend your school?  Are they mainstreamed?  What does that mean?

  • Bathtub Party Day:  5  Before planning Bathtub Party Day, get permission from your parent(s).   Would you fill the tub with water?  Would you sit in the tub?   Who would be invited?  What activities would you do at the party?  Would you have a rubber ducky race?

  • Miners’ Day:  6  What natural resource(s) is mined?  Why is it used? Research the location of coal mines.  Find photographs.  Read about the dangers of working in mines. 

  • National Pawnbrokers Day:  6  What is a pawnbroker?  What does it mean to pawn something?  Have you  ever been to a pawn shop? 

  • National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day:  7  What happened at Pearl Harbor?  Where is Pearl Harbor?  Which war was this?  Why was the attack a surprise?

  • National Cotton Candy Day:  7  Have you  ever watched cotton candy being made?  What ingredients are used?  What color cotton candy have you seen?  If you got a choice between cotton candy and a candied apple, which would you choose?  Where can you usually find both of these treats?  Where else have you seen cotton candy?

  • Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day:  8  If you could travel to another time, what year would you visit?  Why?  Where would you like to visit?  Why?  Draw a picture of you visiting this time and place.

  • Dewey Decimal System Day:  10  What is the Dewey Decimal System ?  How is it used and where?  What is the card catalog?  What is used now instead?

  • Human Rights Day:  10  What are human rights?  Name one.  Why is this day celebrated?  Name two or more people who have helped guarantee human rights.  How?  Where can you learn more about these people?

  • Gingerbread House Day:  12  Cities often have contests for gingerbread houses in December.  Some may be in craft shops, art displays, public libraries, or schools.  Have you ever been to a gingerbread house contest?  Have you ever entered one yourself?  Name two decorating techniques you would use if you were decorating.

  • Monkey Day:  14  Use Survey Monkey on the computer or conduct a survey by hand.  Ask your friends if they ever had a stuffed monkey.  What was the monkey’s name?  Was the monkey a sock monkey, Curious George, a monkey given a name, or not given one?

    Finish these expressions about monkeys:  (Stop) monkeying _______.  Monkey see, monkey _______.  Stop all that monkey _______(opposite of pleasure).  Playground equipment:  monkey _______.

  • National Salesperson Day:  14 (always 2nd Friday)  Years ago, there were many door-to-door salesmen.  What were some of the items these individuals sold?  Why are there less door-to-door salespersons today?  What other ways are company products sold?  Have you ever sold items?  What method did you use?  How did you keep safe?

  • Bill of Rights Day:  15  For videos and even activities for a smartboard, check out this site:  http://billofrightsinstitute.org/resources/educator-resources/bill-of-rights-day/

  • National Chocolate-covered Anything Day:  16  If you could spread chocolate on one thing that’s not normally chocolate, what would it be?  Who would you share it with?

  • Wright Brothers Day:  17  What two states claim the Wright Brothers?  What state were the Wright Brothers from?  Where was their first flight made?  Have you ever read a book about the Wright Brothers?  Have you read other books about early flight?  Were they fiction or nonfiction?

  • Crossword Puzzle Day:  21  Do you like crossword puzzles?  Do you buy books to complete?  Create your own crossword puzzle about December or a special day this month.  Use www.puzzlemaker.com or other sites for your creation. 

  • Humbug Day:  21  What does it mean to say, “Humbug?”  What book or movie character have you heard use this expression?  When have you been a humbug?  Why? 

  • Underdog Day:  21 (3rd Friday)  Underdog!  TV Program.  Have you ever seen it?  What is an “underdog?”  Do you ever cheer for one?  Give an example.

  • World Peace Day:  21 Research the reason for this day.  How is it remembered?  With ribbons? Candles in the window?

  • Christmas:  25  Why is this day celebrated by Christians?  What traditions do you participate in at this holiday? Do you exchange gifts with anyone?  Do you make some of your gifts?  Where do you get your ideas?

  • National Thank-you Note Day:  26  Who do you want to send a thank you note?  Could you make one yourself?  Will you email or send it through the post office?

  • National Whiner’s Day:  26  Define a whiner.  Make a list of things a small child, a teenager, and an adult  might whine about during a day.  For example:  I didn’t get _______(list a popular toy that might have been requested).  How would you suggest that a whiner get over it?

  • National Chocolate Day:  28 &29  Check out this website  www.thestoryofchocolate.com.  Learn facts like this…”Did you know?  It takes two-four days to make a single-serving chocolate bar?”

  • Pledge of Allegiance Day:  28  Where do you hear this recited?  Who leads it?  What books have you read which mention the flag of a country?  What are ways countries honor their flag?

  • Make Up Your Mind Day:  31  What does it mean to be “sitting on the fence or straddling the fence?”  What does decisive mean?  Explain pro, con, neutral.  What are goals you have set?  What can you do when you can’t make up your mind?

  • No Interruptions Day:  31  List things that interrupt you when you are trying to concentrate.  What can you do to lessen these interruptions?  List your ideas.  Ask others for suggestions, if needed.  Try your strategies.  Are you able to complete more in less time? 

  • Universal Hour of Peace Day:  31 Celebrated from 11:30 p.m. on December 31, 2012 to–12:30 a.m. January 1, 2013.  The goal is to create peace throughout the planet though peaceful thoughts and actions.  http://www.answers.com/topic/universal-hour-of-peace

  • World Peace Meditation Day: 31 What is mediation?  How is it different from prayer?  How is it different from devotions?  Where is meditations used?  By whom?  Name a way to connect the Univeral Hour of Peace Day with this observation. 

Special Weeks in December:

  • Cookie Cutter week:  1-7  What personal memories do you have that include a cookie cutter?  What books?  What can you create using this theme?  Cookie cutters make special sandwich cut-outs, provide a chance to bake and share your treats, become ornaments for your Christmas tree, create a special holiday display (see mine below), and provide writing prompts about a baking experience.  What creativity will it stir in you?  Here’s a twist–sometimes the expression “cookie cutter” is used to suggest that something is not creative.  Have you ever heard someone use it like this?  See here: 

  • http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/cookie-cutter.html

    Cookie Press, biscuit cutters, cookie cutters. Copyright 2012 Linda Andersen

  • Tolerance Week:  1-7 What does it mean to be tolerant?  What words come to mind when you hear this spoken?  Name positive examples of tolerance in your town, school, and home.  What improvements could be made?  What could you do?

  • Recipe Greetings For the Holidays Week:  2-8  Share a treat and its recipe with someone.  Create a recipe for friendship, love, the Christmas season or other topic. 

  • National Handwashing Awareness Week:  2-8  During cold and flu season, it is especially important to follow good handwashing.  How do you do that?  What steps do you need to improve?  Where can you learn more about this?

  • Human Rights Week:  10-17  See the post below for Universal Human Rights Month. 

  • Kwanzaa:  26–1/1  This holiday celebrates African-American and Pan-African communities.  The official website is here:  http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org/index.shtml

December is…

*Thank you Brownie Locks.com for December celebration information.  For more December observances check out:


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.

*Resources:  http//vertex42.com (calendar) and http://www.brownielocks.com/DECEMBER2012.html (observances)

Copyright © 2012 Linda Martin Andersen

Posted in Careers, Character Traits, Games, Interviews, Math, Monthly Activities, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments »

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