A Writer's Playground

Monthly Activities for Kids by Linda Martin Andersen

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January 2013 Activities

Posted by lindamartinandersen on January 1, 2013


“January 2013 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 “January” bring to mind?  New Year’s Resolutions, winter wonderlands, snow days with snowmen and snowball fights, icicles, frozen ponds, ice skating, coats, hats, scarves, mittens,and gloves.  Warm fires and hot chocolate.  What else?  Check the lists below and expand your thoughts about January.

Special Days in January:

Copyright Law Day: 1  What are some examples of copyright violation?  Have you ever been unsure whether something was a copyright violation?  What did you do?  How could you check?  Who could you ask? 

Ellis Island Day: 1  Where is Ellis Island?  Why is it famous?  Do you know of ancestors in your family who passed through there?  Do you know why they came to America?  Do you know when?

Global Family Day:  1  A day of peace and sharing.  Families often share food with the needy.  What way can you and your family celebrate with peace and sharing?

New Year’s Day:  1  What traditions does your family observe on January 1–New Year’s Day?  Do you eat certain foods for good luck?  What foods do you eat?  Research New Year’s traditions in other countries.  Is New Year’s on a different day?

National Motivation and Inspiration Day:  2  Does setting goals or celebrating victories motivate you?  What inspires you?  Does someone you know encourage you to keep going?  Do you have a strong personal drive to reach your goals even when nobody is urging you on?  Can motivation and inspiration be the same? Why or why not?

Drinking Straw Day:  3  Have you ever used a silly straw, a flexible straw that bends, a straw from a fast food restaurant?  What color straws have you used?  Have you ever made bubbles with a straw?  Have you ever used one as a pea shooter or to blow food around on your plate?  Time to confess.  Nobody’s perfect.  We’ve all been at least a “little bad” before.  Finish these expressions about “straw.” 1. _______ or final straw  2. Straw that broke the _______’s back.  3. _______or clutch at straws.

National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day:  3  When I was a child, all the grandchildren got a box of chocolate covered cherries and a couple of dollars taped on top as a present from a grandmother.  Have you ever gotten chocolate covered cherries?  Have you ever given them?  As a teacher, I received boxes from students occasionally.  Do you like chocolate covered cherries or are they too sweet for you?  What would you expect this day to be like? 

Tom Thumb Day:  4  What country is this fairy tale from?  How long ago was it written?  What details can you tell about Tom Thumb’s clothing and his size?  Was he popular or unpopular?  Why?  Look for a copy of this story.

World Braille Day:  4  Name places you have seen words in braille.  Do you know anyone who reads braille?  Research and locate at least one school that teaches braille.  Research organizations that help serve the blind.  Name books written about a character who is blind.  Can you name a nursery rhyme with blind characters?

Three Kings Day:  6  What holiday is this associated with?  Why?  What is another name for these kings?  Locate their story.  Where did you find it?

Harlem Globetrotter’s Day:  7  Have you ever been to a Harlem Globetrotter’s basketball game?  If not, I’d recommend it.  Perhaps you’ve watched them on television.  What tricks do you remember?  If you’d like to see some videos of their plays check here:  http://www.harlemglobetrotters.com/   What’s their theme song?

Bubble Bath Day:  8  Have you ever taken a bubble bath?  Draw a cartoon with one bubble talking to another.  What might they say?  Would you be willing to share your conversation below?

Rubber Duckie Day:  13  Do you know the Rubber Duckie song?  Have you ever floated rubber ducks in bath water?  Have you ever played Pick Up Ducks at the fair or carnivals?  Have you ever been to a Rubber Duckie charity race down a river?  How else could you enjoy a rubber duckie?

Dress Up Your Pet Day:  14  Have you ever dressed up a pet?  If so, what type pet and how was it dressed?  How about at Halloween?  See Tracy Campbell’s blog post that’s a tribute for a dragon dog (Halloween) here:  http://tracycampbell.net/blog/?p=2217  Be sure to check out Tracy’s art for sale too. 

Appreciate a Dragon Day:  16  Name a book with a dragon character that you’ve read.  I’d like to recommend Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin.  Tell about a favorite dragon scene. Have you ever tried to draw a dragon?  Look for dragon images or check out drawing books to help, if needed.  What would you take with you if you had to slay a dragon?  Who would win–you or the dragon?  How?

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Cable Car Day:  17  Have you ever ridden in a cable car?  Where were you?  What city do you think of when someone mentions cable car?  Do you know any rice advertisements that have included a cable car?  Pinpoint a cable car location on a map or globe.

Kid Inventors’ Day:  17  This date was Benjamin Franklin’s birthday.  He was an inventor, even as a boy.  At 12, he invented swim fins for his hands.  What would you like to invent and why?  Research kid inventors. 

Winnie the Pooh Day:  18  Where is the setting for Winnie the Pooh stories?  Who is the boy who is a friend of Pooh?  How many other characters can you name from the series?  Which is your favorite?  Which one are you most like?  Which one are you least like?  Would your recognize the music for the theme song without the words?  Name an expression Pooh says.

Thesaurus Day:  18  Have you ever used a thesaurus online?  Do you own a hard copy of one?  When might a thesaurus be helpful.  If you have one, turn to an entry and see what it says.  What would you tell others about it?

Popcorn Day:  19  Have you ever seen popcorn grow?  What do you know about it?  Will any kind of corn pop or only certain ones?  Research and share what you learn.  Which do you think is more popular:  popcorn or potato chips?  Research to find out.  Baseball games, Cracker Jacks, and a song have a special connection to popcorn.  Do you know the song?

Inauguration Day:  21  Will you watch the inauguration?  If so, is it a school assignment or something of interest to you? Name a special inauguration event/happening.  How do you think this one will be remembered?

Martin Luther King Day:  21  Will you attend any special festivities for this day?  If so, what kind?  What fiction books have you read about the years of Civil Rights marches?  What nonfiction ones have you read?  I recently read We’ve Got a Job by Cynthia Y. Levinson.  I’d recommend it.

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National Pie Day:  23  Can you name a kind of pie for most letters in the alphabet?  Which is your favorite?  Do you want it topped with ice cream, whipped topping, or plain?  Have you ever seen someone get a pie in the face?  Where were you?  Could you tell us about it in the comment section below?

Belly Laugh Day:  24  When have you had a belly laugh?  Who do you think is more likely to bring one on:  a friend, a comedy act, a silly movie, a pie in the face, or a funny face?  Others?  Finish these expressions:  1.  Laughter is the best _______ 2.   Laughed so hard you nearly _______ a gut?  (What does this mean?)  3. Laughed so hard I almost _______my pants. 4.  Laughed until I _______ (tears).

National Compliment Day:  24  What was one of the nicest compliments you ever received?  What was one of the nicest ones you ever gave?  Do you think you give or receive more compliments?  Do you ever pass on compliments you hear others make?  Why or why not? 

A Room of One’s Own Day:  25  Have you ever had a room of your own?  If you could re-decorate with a hefty budget what would you change about your room?  If you must share a room, think of a way to make it more “your own” without taking over.  What would you change?

Holocaust Memorial Day:  27  Name books you have read about the Holocaust.  What other titles would you like to read?  Have you visited a Holocaust memorial?  Is a traveling one coming to your area?  The Anne Frank exhibit will be in my hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina from March 18-April 21, 2013.  http://www.visitfayettevillenc.com/blog/liberty-point-blog/2012/10/23/fayetteville-is-the-east-coast-destination-for-national-traveling-anne-frank-exhibits/ Other events are coordinated with this special exhibit.  Check and see if your area is holding similar events.

National Puzzle Day:  29  Do you love puzzles?  Which type?  Crossword, word search, jigsaws, others?  How many jigsaw puzzle pieces do you prefer?  Have you ever put a puzzle together online?  Check this out:  http://thejigsawpuzzles.com/Puzzle-of-the-Day/Bern-Switzerland-jigsaw-puzzle

Seeing Eye Dog Day:  29  Do you know anyone with a seeing eye dog?  Do you know anyone who trains service dogs?  Do you know of other services for the blind such as reading to them?  The Lions Club provides services in my hometown.  What about yours?

Inspire Your Heart with Art Day:  31  How could you inspire your heart with art?  Do you visit art museums regularly?  What about exhibits at colleges in your area or local festivals.  Artists have blogs and websites that you might enjoy visiting.  What about receiving a poem a day from a poet?  I subscribe to Joy Acey’s blog post. You might like to also.   See here:  http://poetryforkidsjoy.blogspot.com/  Search for art that inspires your heart.

Special Weeks in January:

New Year’s Resolution Week: 1-4:  Will you make at least one?  I resolve to…

Universal Letter Writing Week:  8-14:  Write a letter.  Will you write a business letter or a friendly letter?  Look for a template.  Maybe you have one on your computer programs or you can Google a sample.

National Vocation Awareness Week: 14-20:  What career would you like to learn more about?  Research it or interview someone who holds that job. 

Hunt for Happiness Week: 20-26:  Finish this expression:  1. _______ (gems) hunt  2. _______(employment) hunt 3.  _______ _______(Spring holiday) hunt (outdoors).  Give examples of how to hunt for happiness.

No Name Calling Week: 21-25:  Why do you think we call others names?  What could we do instead?  Do you have a brother or sister?  How long do you think the two of you could get along?  Would you be willing to test yourself?  What could you do to reward yourself, if you do not call names for a set period of time?

World Leprosy Week: 27-2/2:  Do you know what leprosy is?  Do you know how you get it?  Do you know how to get well?  Name countries where this disease has been found recently.  Name a book which mentions leprosy. 

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Week:  28-2/2:  If you’d like to read a book of cowboy poetry, I recommend you take a look at this one:  Cowboys by David L. Harrison and illustrated by Dan Barr.  List three cowboy words you would include in a poem of your own.

Cowboys

US National Snow Sculpting Week: 1/30-2/3:  Have you ever made snow sculptures? What shape would you attempt?   See photographs from Colorado here:  http://www.gobreck.com/events/international-snow-sculpture-championships/2012-image-gallery  What other states have snow sculpture competitions?  What other countries?

January is…

  • Be Kind to Food Servers Month.  Consider making cards for school cafeteria workers.  Make a card for a favorite waitress or waiter. 
  • Book Blitz Month.  How many books can you read this month for pleasure?  Consider reading the same title as a good friend and discuss it afterwards. 
  • Get Organized Month.  Name one organizing goal you can set for yourself or one project you can accomplish this month.
  • International Brain Teaser Month.  What do you think of when you hear brain teaser?  Check out this link at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences:  http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/games/riddles/index.htm
  • National Child-Centered Divorce Awareness Month.  Do you have a friend whose parents are going through a divorce?  Are your parents?  What can you do for someone who is sad about a divorce in their family?  Have you ever read tips in a health book? Ask a librarian for suggested books on this topic. 
  • National Clean Up Your Computer Month.  Do you know how to defrag your computer?  Ask a parent or teacher to show you how.  Do you know how to create folders?  Do you know how to empty your trash bin?  What other ways can you clean up your computer? 
  • National Hot Tea Month.  What country to do think of when hot tea is mentioned?  Do you know any hot tea etiquette from Victorian Days?  Here is a site that discusses Victorian rules of etiquette for different occasions.  http://www.logicmgmt.com/1876/etiquette/atteas.htm
  • National Mentoring Month.  What is a mentor?  Have you ever had someone mentor you?  What mentoring experiences have you had?
  • National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.  Does this exist today?  Discuss this topic with an adult.  Ask for safety tips you should know.
  • National Poverty in America Awareness Month.  What examples of poverty in America have you seen?  In what ways can you help those in poverty or those who are homeless?  In what ways do you help?
  • National Skating Month.  What kinds of skating can you name?  What kinds have you tried?  Consider a different type this month.
  • National Soup Month.  Brainstorm different types of soup.  How many letters of the alphabet did you name?  Have you ever eaten alphabet soup.  What words did you spell in your bowl?
  • Self-Love Month.  What ways can you show self-love?  Define narcissist.  What is the difference in these two?
  • Shape Up US Month.  What do you think this month is about?  Is it about about getting physically fit or taking care of things that need to be done?  Could it be both? 

*Thank you Brownie Locks.com for January celebration information.  For more January observances check out:  http://www.brownielocks.com/january.htm

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. 

Coming soon:  A guest blog by Joyce Hostetter, children’s book author.

Copyright © 2013 Linda Martin Andersen

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28 Responses to “January 2013 Activities”

  1. Dear Linda,
    Wow! You come up with the neatest activities to celebrate. Thanks for sharing with us.
    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards

  2. Joan,

    Glad you enjoyed looking through the activities to celebrate. Hopefully, one will tickle your fancy. Happy New Year’s, loyal blog follower. I appreciate you.

  3. Your blogs always give food for thought! As I read your post, two items especially caught my day. One was about dragons. I always thought it strange that Western folklore views these creatures as being malicious, destructive, and evil while in China, dragons are thought to be benevolent and helpful! The other post that caught at my heart concerned the holocaust.

    Great job as always, Linda. Thank you for all your thoughtful work!

    • Maureen,
      Glad you enjoyed my blog post and found two entries especially interesting. Your comments about dragons brought this to mind: “As far as the East is from the West.” I don’t know it’s original meaning, but it seems to fit with this discussion. I do plan to visit the holocaust exhibits when they arrive here. I did that with students many years ago and I’m thankful I’ll have another opportunity. What a tough way to learn about tolerance and many other vital lessons.

  4. Oh my, Linda! You sure put a ton of time and effort into this post.
    So many great questions to choose from. Hmm…what shall I choose?
    I pick today as it’s the perfect day to wish you a Happy New Year!
    Today was a day to sleep in and do whatever I liked, which was work on writing related items!
    Thanks so much for endorsing my blog post and greeting cards, Linda! 🙂

  5. Just shared this on FB. What a lot of activities!!!

  6. Kathleen said

    Linda, I always enjoy your posts and learn something new! It is neat to know my birthday falls on belly laugh/national compliment day! 🙂

    • Kathleen,
      I love that your birthday is going to be remembered by two bits of January trivia. Fun! Happy upcoming birthday to you! Glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for saying you always do. I appreciate your stopping by and leaving a comment. Come again!

  7. I shared on FB. So proud of you. Great blog. You make me want to get back to mine! Way to go, Linda!

  8. Donna,
    Thank you so much for the compliment and for sharing my post on FB. I’m enjoying learning more and more about blogging. I look forward to the day you post again. Thanks so much for stopping by and for leaving a comment. It’s so good to hear from you. Come again when you can.

  9. June said

    Dear Linda,
    January for me is the start of new beginings. A time to challange yourself. I never say. No I can’t. I always say Yes I can!

  10. Susan Williams said

    Regarding World Leprosy Week: Leprosy is also called Hansen’s disease. The classic symptoms are skin lesions and involvement of the peripheral nerves. It is a chronic disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae. It is not highly contagious, requiring close contact, but people with the disease used to be socially ostrasized in leper colonies, where they lived out their lives. Treatment is now available. According to CDC, there were 82 cases of leprosy reported in the US in the year 2011.

    Look online or read a book about Father Damien. In 1873 he dedicated himself to the leprosy patients quarantined for life on the island of Molokai, Hawaii. He himself was stricken with leprosy.

    • Susan,
      So good to hear comments from you. You have shared much valuable information here. I’d like to invite you to check back on January 27 for a question and answer session about leprosy and Dr. Damien provided by Joyce Moyer Hostetter who discusses her book, Healing Water: A Hawaiian Story. Please join us for more discussion then.

  11. Susan Williams said

    I once rode a cable car in San Francisco, CA. It was a lot of fun.

    Although not strictly a cable car, the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway in Chattanooga,TN is very similar. It is an inclined plane railway that carries people straight up and down the side of Lookout Mountain. According to http://www.ridetheincline.com it “reaches an incline of 72.7%, which makes it one of the steepest passenger railways in the world.”
    I would recommend that anyone who is in the Chattanooga area ride it. It sounds scary, but is not, due to the design of the car. Both the car and seat feel level as you ride.

    • Susan,
      I didn’t know about this railway at Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee. What a great adventure that must be. Sounds more fun than the cable car in San Francisco. Thanks for mentioning this one.

      You’ve shared two bits of interesting information today. Thanks so much. Please check back and comment again. Always glad to have you.

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