A Writer's Playground

Monthly Activities for Kids by Linda Martin Andersen

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Archive for July, 2013

Activities for August

Posted by lindamartinandersen on July 31, 2013


“Activities for August” 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 “August” bring to mind?  Hot summer days.  Last minute family vacations before school starts back. 

Other things we remember in August:  Steam rising from asphalt after an afternoon rain shower.  Record breaking temperatures.  Listening for the ice cream truck driving through the neighborhood.  Summer reading assignments due when school starts back.

Special Days in August: 

  • Respect for Parents:  1  Brainstorm things your parents have done for you.  Now brainstorm things you could do for them.  Decide how you’ll show them respect today. 
  • Spiderman Day:  1  Name qualities you admire about Spiderman.  How many of the qualities do you possess?  Name one you’d like to strengthen.  Set a goal.  How will you accomplish it?  Check yourself each month to see if you’ve met your goal or if you need to reset it. 
  • World Wide Web Day:  1  How do you think this day should be celebrated?  Would you want to visit your favorite web sites?  Before you begin, seek parental permission, if you are a child.  Would you want to visit 3-5 new sites?  Name the countries you have visited while on the web.  Do you email people in other countries?  What are good memories you have from internet use?  What is one problem you have had while on the web?  How did you resolve it?
  • Friendship Day:  4  Who is your best friend?  What do you like to do together?  What special thing can you do for this friend today? 
  • National Doll Day:  4  Visit a toy store or toy department.  Look at the variety of dolls for sale.  If you could buy one, which one would you choose and why?  Which one reminds you the most of yourself?  Why?  Which one reminds you the most of your best friend?  Why?
  • Hiroshima Day:  6  List what you know about Hiroshima Day.  Research and check your list of facts.  Were you right?  Find at least one new fact to add to your list.  Check your library for books on this topic.  Are they fiction, nonfiction, or some of both?
  • Lighthouse Day:  7  Count the number of lighthouses you have visited in your life.  How many have you toured?  How many have you climbed ?  Which was your favorite?  Why?  Name as many lighthouses as you can.  Which is your favorite name?  What are some lighthouse facts?  Research for additional ones.
  • Smithsonian Day:  10  Where is the Smithsonian located?  Have you ever visited it? If so, what exhibits were your favorites?  What other sites could you visit in this area? 
  • International Youth Day:  12  How old is a “youth?”  What things have you done with other youth?  What are some service projects youth participate in?  Have you ever gone out-of-state on a mission project?  Tell someone about things you have done to help others.  It is not essential that it all be out-of-state or country.  Many service projects can be in your own hometown.  Be sure to attend with an organized group or with a parent.
  • International left-hander’s Day:  13  If you are right-handed, spend an hour today doing things  as if you are left-handed.  What was fairly easy to do?  What was extremely difficult?  How did you feel while you were trying things?  How did you cope?  If you are left-handed, try these suggested activities with your right hand.  Discuss your feelings with someone. 
  • National Navajo Code Talkers Day:  14  What war used Navajo Code Talkers?  How did they help?  Research to learn more.  http://www.natgeoeducationvideo.com/film/835/war-code-navajo
  • Look for a copy of Navajo Code Talkers by Andrew Santella or other books on the topic.

Navajo Code Talkers

  • National Relaxation Day:  15  What do you picture when you hear the word “relaxation?”  Do you picture sleeping in, swinging in a hammock, sunbathing, or other scenes.  Describe it.  What other things are in the scene?  Name something in the scene for each of your five senses:  taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight.   
  • Serendipity Day:  18  What does “serendipity” mean?  http://www.thefreedictionary.com/serendipity  Is serendipity usually good or usually bad?   Give an example of serendipity in your life.  Name three events that could form an example of serendipity.
  • Cupcake Day:  19  If you could dip your cupcake in any type topping you wanted, what would it be?  Think beyond icing.  Maybe you’d like hot fudge or ice cream, et.  What would you sprinkle on top?  Name your cupcake variety.  Ask a friend to try this activity and then describe your creation to each other.  The public library in my area sponsored a workshop called “Beyond Sprinkles” which demonstrated ways to decorate cupcakes.  Consider taking a baking class or gather with friends for one of your own.
  • Poet’s Day:  21  Who is your favorite poet?  Have you ever seen one of the poet’s poems dramatized?  Have you ever seen a play about the poet?  Have you ever read a book of poetry by this poet?  How would you like to honor your favorite poet, if you could?  What about a poem for them?  After all, they like poetry.
  • Senior Citizen’s Day:  21  How old is a senior citizen?  Ask three other people and see if they give the same age.  What benefits do seniors get?  What are some ways seniors are discriminated against?  How can you show a senior citizen respect today?
  • National Second-hand Wardrobe Day:  25  Have you ever worn hand-me-down clothes?  Were you ever embarrassed because of it?  Today, consignment shops and thrift stores are popular places to shop.  There was a time when people were teased for owning hand-made clothing.  Now, having something sewn for you would most likely be considered a treat.   Why do you think  attitudes have changed? 
  • National Dog Day:  26  Create a poster of three or more countries and assign a dog you think would make a good national  choice for each one.  Tell why.  Encourage a friend to join you.  If you’d prefer, create a poster for several different states in the USA.
  • Slow Art Day:  27  What picture comes to mind when you read this:  Slow Art Day?  What could you create to represent this?  Would it be a project that is slow to finish or something that reminds you of a slow/lazy day?  Will you give away your project or keep it to remind you of “slow art?”  My family recently bought a new lawnmower.  It’s control shows a turtle for slow speed and a rabbit for fast speed.  I wonder if that makes the turtle the lawnmower company’s “slow art design.”  Would that make the rabbit a “fast art design?”  Thoughts, anyone?
  • Radio Commercials Day:  28  When I was a child, a local grocery store used to advertise livers and gizzards for sale.  My brother and sisters got the silly giggles late one night and recited the store’s commercial, but said that they sold lizards and gizzards.  Every time we were corrected, we repeated our chant.  Do you recall a radio or television commercial or jingle that “stuck in your head” or left you with special memories?  Will you share? 
  • National Toasted Marshmallow Day:  30  How do you like your marshmallows toasted?  Over a camp fire?  In the oven over a sweet potato casserole?  Will you eat them burnt?  Have you ever used a coat hanger to roast them over fire?  How many did you put on your hanger or stick at a time?  Did you let the marshmallow catch fire?

Special Weeks in August:

  • Simplify Your Life Week: 1-7
  •  Look around your bedroom. What things seem cluttered or unorganized? Is there one thing you’d like to simplify?  Make a chart listing things that need improvement and a suggested way to fix it.  Here are some suggestions.
 Needs Improvement             Way to Fix It
 Shoes covering the floor  Shoe caddy or shoe rack
  Not enough drawers  Stackable,labeled plastic tubs with lids
  • Old Fiddler’s Week:  4-10  What is a fiddle?  Have you ever been to a fiddler’s convention?  Do you know anyone who owns a fiddle?  Can the person play it?  Research the names of fiddlers.  What trivia did you learn?  Share with someone you know.
  • National Bargain Hunting Week:  5-11 If you could set up a bargain hunting experiment to do with family members or friends, describe what you would do.
  • Weird Contest Week:  11-17  Give an example of a what you consider a weird contest.  Tell about a time you entered a contest or read about one.  On a weirdness scale from 1-10 (Ten being super weird) how would your rate the contest?  What could have made it have a higher ranking?  Share your contest results with a friend.  Do you know anyone who attended a game show on television?
  • National Aviation Week:  15-21  Who do you know who works for the airlines?  What is the person’s job?  What other jobs are available with the airlines?  Make a list.  Have you ever flown on an airplane?  Tell about going to meet someone at the airport or any another flight story you have.  In November 17, 2012, I spotlighted an airline pilot who is a children’s author.  If you’d like to learn about Mike Downs, check here:  https://lindamartinandersen.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/meet-a-pilot-who-is-also-a-childrens-author-mike-downs-the-spotlights-on-you-for-aviation-history-month/
  • Little League Baseball World Series:  18-24  Do you know Little League trivia?  Research and share trivia with someone you know.  Congratulate any Little League player you know for playing ball.  Ask a player to share a favorite story about one of their games.
  • National Safe at Home Week:  26-30  Check around your house for things that could be done to make it a safer place.  Make a list.  Share those suggestions with your parents. 

August is…

  • American Artists Appreciation Month  I have chosen to spotlight Pete Lupo, a North Carolina wood carver I know.  I hope you enjoy his work as much as I do.  http://www.petelupo.com/index.html
Copyright by Pete Lupo

Copyright by Pete Lupo

Even the basket is carved of wood.  Pete’s carving is so realistic, people touch it to be sure it’s wood.

  • Cataract Awareness Month  Research cataracts.  Do you know anyone who has had cataract surgery?  Ask them about it.
  • Children’s Vision and Learning Month  Have you had your eyes checked recently?  What habits do you have that help you to be a good learner at school?
  • Happiness happens Month  What can you do to make happiness happen?
  • National Runaway Prevention Month  If a friend is thinking about running away from home, what can you do?

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

I hope you’ll leave a comment before you go.  Thank you for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.” Please come again soon and bring a friend. 

Copyright © 2013 Linda Martin Andersen

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Timber Sports–Lumberjack Skills in Axe’tion

Posted by lindamartinandersen on July 27, 2013


“Timber Sports–Lumberjack Skills in Axe’tion” by Tim Livingston and posted 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.

July 25-27 is The Lumberjack World Championships.  To celebrate, Tim Livingston, a forester from California, is here to talk about timber sports.  I met Tim through his blog, the forester artist.  His combined interests intrigued me.  He is also a writer and photographer.  His wife, Mary, shares many similar interests. Together, they own a niche publishing company called Red Tail Publishing.   What a talented couple! 

To learn more about  the Livingstons check here: 

http://thebackdoorartist.com/

http://theforesterartist.com/about/

http://redtail.com/

Readers, please welcome Tim Livingston.  In an earlier blog post, we gave Melissa Barr, our guest zookeeper, our best animal cry.  What if we give Tim our best forest cry:  TIM–BER.  I just realized we’ll be calling Tim’s name when we do that.  Must be meant to be.

Oops, did anyone besides me hear a tree fall?  Hopefully not.  Readers…here’s Tim.  You’re in for a treat!

As a Registered Professional Forester in California, I am often in the woods to meet with loggers. The loggers may have timber to show me that they are selling or I may be giving them instructions on log manufacturing for the mill.   When Linda asked me to write a guest blog about timber sports, she also posed the question, “What is a lumberjack, is that the same as a forester?”

A forester prepares the plans for how a forest will be managed.  Timber harvest planning, logging oversight, log procurement,  reforestation and general forest health are some aspects of a forester’s job.

The lumberjack, commonly referred to as logger, conducts the actual logging operations while following the harvest plans. They are the ones cutting trees and getting them to the mills.  Loggers need to be organized, understand basic physics and be good business people.  They have to be versatile, as some days they are road builders and other days they are preparing land for replanting.

Loggers are hardworking and hard playing people.  During the logging season they work long days in dirty and difficult conditions.  This kind of work environment breeds a strong camaraderie amongst fellow loggers.  It was this mindset that lead to the development of timber or lumberjack sports.

Timber sports are to loggers as rodeos are to cowboys.  Timber sports originated in the 19th century in logging camps and used the tools of the logging trade.  Logging camps began competing against each other, and eventually these local competitions grew into regional competitions.

The timber sporting events of today developed from the actual logging tools and jobs, both historic and modern.  These events test the skill and efficiency of using industry specific tools. Today, both men and women compete in the events.

Logrolling and boom running events originated from handling logs in ponds and on log drives in rivers.

Bucking and chopping events utilize crosscut saws (misery whips), chainsaws and axes.

Pole climbing tests the competitors’ ability to go up and down the trunk of a conifer tree. Even choker setting is a speed event.  A choker is the cable that hooks around a log to haul it in.

Choker Setting Event Copyright 2007 by Mary Livingston

Choker Setting Event
Copyright 2007 by Mary Livingston

Chocker Setting View Copyright by Mary Livingston 2007

Choker Setting View
Copyright by Mary Livingston 2007

The  axe throwing event is a test of skill and accuracy.

Axe Throwing Copyright by Mary Livingston 2007

Axe Throwing
Copyright by Mary Livingston 2007

Timber sports competitions are held in the United States, Canada, Norway, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand.  Nearly all universities or colleges that offer forestry degrees also have a timber sports team.  Logging conferences are held throughout timber country for timber professionals.  These conferences usually hold timber sports competitions or demonstrations.  Most events are free to the public.  If you ever get a chance to attend a logging sports competition or demonstration I really encourage you to go.  Check online to see what is going on in your neck of the woods.

Our granddaughter was presented this chainsaw carved chair at a festival, after watching it be made. Copyright 2007 Mary Livingston

Our granddaughter was presented this chainsaw carved chair at a festival, after watching it be made.
Copyright 2007 Mary Livingston

The Lumberjack World Championships are July 25, 26 and 27 in Hayward, Wisconsin.  Competitors converge on Hayward from all over the world.  Check out their website at http://www.lumberjackworldchampionships.com/index.php.

Here are some other websites with information on timber sports events.

http://www.starinfo.com/ljguide/  This site is a clearing house of timber sports information.

https://www.facebook.com/STIHLTIMBERSPORTS  Stihl sponsors many timber sports events.

Back when I was in forestry school at Humboldt State University, I didn’t compete in timber sports.  It is something I wish I had done, but I didn’t think I had the time.  However, twenty-seven years after I was first at HSU, my youngest son also attended and he participated on the school timber sports team.  Incidentally, the school mascot is the Lumberjacks.

Our son in a log rolling contest Copyright 2007 Mary Livingston

Our son in a log rolling contest
Copyright 2007
Mary Livingston

Our son in a log rolling contest Copyright 2007 by Mary Livingston

Our son in a log rolling contest
Copyright 2007 by Mary Livingston

This weekend my wife, Mary (www.thebackdoorartist.com) and I will be attending the 66th Annual Lumberjack Fiesta in McCloud, CA.  McCloud is a small timber town in Northern California and the fiesta celebrates that heritage.  We will be representing Red Tail Publishing, and autographing books along with another author, Ivy Smith. Come down and say hello if you’re around.  If you can’t come down there will be a 15% off sale on all Red Tail Publishing books at www.redtail.com starting July 26th through August 4th .  Did I mention, there will be timber sports happening there!

http://www.mccloudchamber.com/lumberjack-fiesta

 

Readers, if you get a chance, visit Tim and or Mary’s blog after the weekend and see if they post more about their adventures at the festival.  Once again, let’s thank Tim Livingston for sharing about forestry and lumberjack skills. 

*Applause!*

Readers, please leave a question or a comment.  I encourage you to visit a timber sport in your area when you can.  And be sure to visit “A Writer’s Playground” again soon.  Bring a friend.

Copyright © 2013 Linda Martin Andersen

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The Return of Melissa Barr, a Zookeeper at North Carolina Zoological Park

Posted by lindamartinandersen on July 22, 2013


“The Return of Melissa Barr, a Zookeeper at North Carolina Zoological Park” posted 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.

July 21-27 is National Zookeepers Week.  To celebrate, Melissa Barr, a zookeeper at North Carolina Zoological Park in Asheboro, NC, agreed to return for another visit.  If you’d like to look back at Melissa’s post from July 2012, check here:

https://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)

Readers, have you been practicing your best animal cry?  If so, give Melissa a “zookeeper welcome.”  I wonder how Melissa would score your cry.

Melissa, what message do you have to share about what’s new for you at the zoo?

Hi, my name is Melissa Barr and I am a zookeeper at the North Carolina Zoological Park.  I work at the Cypress Swamp section with the alligators, cougars, waterfowl, as well as a variety of other reptiles and amphibians.

Keeper Barr feeding male gator, NC Zoo photo by Melissa Barr

Please Keep Your Chants Appropriate and Respectful of Zookeepers: 

Zookeepers are trained to practice safety when feeding animals.  Certainly we try our best.  Often pictures or video of our feedings make it look like we are closer to the animals than we are.  While feeding the alligators, visitors frequently call out chants.  Many cry out that they hope we get bitten! Even one of my son’s classmates made this chant during a field trip.  Please keep your chants appropriate and respectful of zookeepers.  Hey, we like our hands too!

An amphibian alert: 

107_0127                        107_0116 (2)

Decline of Amphibians:  Nearly one third of frogs are in danger of becoming extinct.

One of the animals I love to work with are the frogs.  We are trying to raise awareness of the decline of amphibians.  Most people don’t realize that nearly one third of frogs are in danger of becoming extinct.

Amphibians are important environmental indicators, meaning they are sensitive to environmental problems, and if something is affecting their populations, then likely something is wrong in the environment.  Amphibian populations are faced with many environmental problems, including pollution, infectious diseases, habitat loss, invasive species, climate change, and over-harvesting for the pet and food trades.

Another role of amphibians is their part in the food web.  They eat mosquitos and other pests and  in turn provide food for other animals.

They have potential in medicinal research that could provide new medicines to help people.

Finally, amphibians have a countless number of diverse and interesting species. 

One thing in particular I would like to point out is that frog dissections are unnecessary in schools.  It depletes wild frog populations and could spread disease among amphibians.   A program is available for a virtual frog dissection.

Some of the things that you can do to help amphibians (and other animals too!) is to recycle, turn off the water when you brush your teeth, use less electricity, keep pollution out of all waterways, don’t take amphibians from the wild, be responsible if using herbicides or pesticides, and simply help spread the word about the importance of amphibians!  The zoo holds Amphibian Awareness Day every year at the same time as Save the Frogs Day.  The 6th Annual Save The Frogs Day will be Saturday, April 26th, 2014.  Please visit http://www.savethefrogs.com/ for more info on frogs!

We have a really cool new frog species at the Cypress Swamp.  Now, this frog isn’t a swamp species, but a part of a special exhibit that highlights the worldwide decline of amphibians and features species from around the world.  Our new addition to the exhibit is the golden poison dart frog.  It is found in the Pacific coast of Colombia.  These wild frogs are lethally toxic, perhaps the most poisonous of any animal! Most dart frogs get their toxicity from the ants they eat in the wild.  However, the golden dart frog even has some toxicity in captivity. What do you think causes their toxicity?  Stop by and see these bold, brightly colored frogs on your next visit to the zoo!

The best thing that visitors can do to show appreciation of the animals is to really show them respect.  What a wonderful opportunity it is  to see animals up close that you rarely would get to see otherwise.  Zoo animals may not be active at times, but it is never a good idea to throw things, spit, or bang on the glass.  Learn as much as possible about animals, because if you understand them and are aware of their problems, you are more likely to help them.  Learn how you can get involved in conservation or at least be aware of the impact that your actions may have on wildlife.

Melissa Barr says, “One of my favorite quotes is:  We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.  ~Native American Proverb”

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

*Applause!*

Readers, please leave a question or a comment.  I encourage you to visit a zoo in your area this week or when you can.  And be sure to visit “A Writer’s Playground” again soon.  Bring a friend.

Copyright © 2013 Linda Martin Andersen

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It’s July–What Outings Are on Your Calendar?

Posted by lindamartinandersen on July 1, 2013


“It’s July–What Outings Are on Your Calendar?” 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 “July” bring to mind? In the USA: fireworks, and all things red, white, and blue to celebrate the Fourth of July.  It also means days at the pool, lake, or beach.  Summer camps, Vacation Bible School, and time out of school.  Family reunions and family vacations.  Ice cream, watermelon, and fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden or a local produce stand.  Hot, humid days, sunburns, and time in the SUN.

Make a list of outdoor events you’d like to attend.  Discuss them with your family.  Volunteer to help with planning and preparation. 

Special Days in July:

  • U.S. Postage Stamp Day:  1  For those who live in the U.S, visit your local post office today or some time this month.  Wish them Happy U.S. Postage Stamp Day.  Do you collect stamps?  Do you have favorites?  Ask to see a brochure of stamps for sale.  Why not buy a sheet, a book, or a roll of stamps?
  • I Forgot Day:  2  Find a book about a character who forgets things.  I Just Forgot (Little Critter Series) Here’s one suggestion:  I Just Forgot (Critter Series) by Mercer Mayer
  • World UFO Day:  2  What is a UFO?  Research a UFO sighting.  Do you think UFOs exist?  Why or why not?
  • Compliment Your Mirror Day:  3  What is a compliment?  Give an example.  What does it mean to compliment your mirror?  Give an example.  When you see your mom look in the mirror, give her a compliment. 
  • Fourth of July or Independence Day:  4  What is your favorite way to celebrate this day?  Have you been to a fireworks show?  Does your family grill out for the Fourth?  What foods do you serve?  Do you usually stay at home or go on vacation for this holiday?  Research early Fourth of July celebrations.  Did they have fireworks?
  • Global Forgiveness Day:  7  What is forgiveness?  Do you know the expression “forgive and forget?”  What does it mean to you?  When I read the name of this celebration, I thought of more than one meaning for global.  Global can mean worldwide or all of something.  Have you ever forgiven part of what someone did to you and not all of it?   Tell about it.
  • Tell the Truth Day:  7  What book character comes to mind?  Tell about a time when you were honest, even though  you knew you would get in trouble.
  • International Town Criers Day:  8  What is a town crier?  What did he usually hold in his hand?  Why?  What words did he cry out to get your attention?  Why did he want people to hear his message?
  • Slurpee Day:  11  How many different locations can you name where you have bought a slurpee?  What is the difference between a slurpee, an icee, ice cone, and shaved ice?  Which do you prefer?  Why?  Have you ever made your own?  Search for recipes.
  • Collector Car Appreciation Day:  12  I know three car collectors.  Do you know any?  Have you ever been to a car show?  Did you talk to any of the owners?  Once, I passed by a house with a special glass showroom for collector cars.  What stories can you share about collector cars?  Here’s a photo of one I’ve ridden in. 
1929 Model A ride to celebrate my first magazine publication.  Copyright 2012. Linda Andersen

1929 Model A ride to celebrate my first magazine publication. Copyright 2012. Linda Andersen

  • National French Fries Day:  13  Survey your friends and discover which fast food fries they prefer.  Ask which style they choose at home:  wrinkle cut, home fries, or skinny fries.  Find out how many eat homemade fries at home.  Ask if they deep fat fry or bake in the oven.  Chart your results.  Ask who eats fries with ketchup.  Consider gathering friends for a get-together where everyone brings his/her own fries.
  • Gummi Worm Day:  15  What does it mean to “worm” something out of someone?  What does it mean to “worm” out of something?  http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/worm+out+of
  • Do you know who created gummi candy?  Research to find out.  Name ways to have fun with gummi worms.  Here are some food suggestions: 
  • Have you ever eaten a “dirt” cake?  Would you like to make one?  Gummi worms are optional.  http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/dirt-cake
  • Here’s a link to a YouTube video showing how to make homemade gummi worms (sugar free)  Good for Type 1 diabetic kids (T1 Kids)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEMqOMExjo8
  • National Get Out of the Doghouse Day:  15  What does this expression mean:  get out of the doghouse?  Name comic strip characters who get in the doghouse.  Do you know book characters who do also.  Name them. 
  • Celebration of the Horse Day:  20-21  Name favorite horse movies and books.  Brainstorm words you think of when you hear the word “horse.”   Find nonfiction books at the library about horses.  Use these resources to add to your brainstorm list.  Think of a horse project you can try such as interviewing someone who stables horses or make a collage about horses, etc.  Name famous horses and tell why they are remembered.  If you were to ride a horse, what kind would you like to ride and why?
  • National Lollipop Day:  20  Name businesses that give away suckers to children.  Is a sucker different from a lollipop?  If so, how?  What flavor is your favorite?  Which is one you do not like?
  • Cousins Day:  24  Do you have cousins?  Are they first cousins, second cousins, or some other category?  Who can explain the family tree to you?  Have you ever made one of your own?
  • Tell am Old Joke Day:  24  What is one of the oldest jokes or riddles you know?  Change it somehow. Make it an original idea or borrow from another expression.  Tell it to a friend.  For example:  Why did the chicken cross the road?  “To see if the grass was greener on the other side.”
  • National Dance Day:  27  Have you ever taken a dance class?  Which kind?  Tell a story about it to someone and have them share their experiences with you.  Ask them to teach you a dance step and you teach them one.
  • Walk on Stilts Day:  27 Have you ever seen someone walk on stilts?  Where were you?  What people walk on stilts for their job?  Research and see.  Not all are entertainers.
  • Aunties Day:  28  Name your aunts.  Name something you like about each one.  Find a way to let them know on this day.  Read a book with an aunt as character.  Yuri’s Brush with Magic by Maureen Wartski features an aunt from Japan who visits North Carolina. 

yuri_cover_web[1]                                  Truman's Aunt Farm  Truman’s Aunt Farm by James Kim Rattigan is about a birthday gift from Aunt Fran.  What other titles do you know and recommend? 

  • Rain Day:  29 Look for poems or stories that include rain.  Watch a documentary on TV or DVD about the tropical rain forest or other locations with high rainfall.  Watch a documentary about people who work in the rain or in areas that are swampy such as “swamp loggers.”  Research tropical storms, hurricanes, or flash floods.  Name ways to keep storm drains clean.  What other ideas come to mind?
  • Paperback book Day:  30  How big is your paperback collection? Is it getting larger or smaller?  Why?  What do you do with copies you have read?  Consider swapping with friends or donating to a public library. 

Special Weeks in July:

  • National Farriers Week:  7-13  What is a farrier?  What does he/she do?  Research about farriers.  Find books, videos, DVDs about the subject.
  • National Ventriloquism Week:  17-21  Name a ventriloquist.  What was his/her dummy’s name?  Was the routine funny?  If so, who got to tell the punch line most times?  Why do you think so?
  • National Scrabble Week:  21-24  Do you have a Scrabble game?  If so, who would you like to invite to play with you?  Or consider asking a friend who owns this game to teach you to play.  Why not have a family game night?  Invite friends to bring a favorite game board and enjoy a game night together.
  • National Zoo Keeper Week:  21-27  What is a zookeeper’s job?  Revisit the interview with Melissa Barr at this blog last summer:  https://lindamartinandersen.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/meet-melissa-barr-a-zookeeper-at-north-carolina-zoological-park/  If we all call out Melissa Barr’s name, maybe she’ll join us again this summer!  Come on, shout it:  MELISSA BARR!
  • World Lumberjack Championships:  25-27  What is a lumberjack?  Is that the same as a forester?  Research to see.  Check the link here to learn about competitions at the championship:  http://www.lumberjackworldchampionships.com/lumberjack-events.php

July is…

  • Air-Conditioning Appreciation Days (7/3 to 8/15) Do you have air conditioning in your home?  Have you  ever had your air conditioner to break down?  How did you keep cool?  Have you ever stayed overnight somewhere with no air conditioning?  Tell about it.  Research air conditioning and its inventor.
  • Family Reunion Month  Have you ever been to a family reunion?  Did everyone bring a covered dish or was a meal catered?  Were games played?  What did you enjoy most about your experience?  Would you like for reunions to continue?  What can you do to make that possible? 
  • National Grilling Month  What comes to mind when you hear the word “grill?”  Does your family own a grill?  What is your favorite grilled food?  Tell about a time you went to a cookout.  
  • National Ice Cream Month  What is your favorite flavor ice cream?  I read that the national flavor is “vanilla.”  If you nominated a favorite flavor, what would it be and why?  Survey friends to find out their responses.
  • National Recreation and Parks Month  Name three parks or recreation centers you have visited.  Recall a memory you have of each one.  Would you recommend this location to a friend.  Ask a friend which ones he/she would recommend to you.  Create a flyer about favorite sites and post them around town or pass them out in your class in school.
  • National Wheelchair Beautification Month  Who do you know who uses a wheelchair? Give a gift to beautify the ride this month.  Items to consider:  flag, silk flower, ribbons, streamers, and a sign. 
  • National Blueberries Month Did you know that blueberries are very good for you?  Do you know why?  Consider going to pick some at a blueberry farm.  It would make a great outing.  Maybe you can make muffins or other desserts with blueberries.
  • National Hot Dog Month  What day of the month do you think more hotdogs will be eaten this month?  Why?  Will you eat some that day?  What places do you think of when someone mentions hotdogs?  Why?  How do you like yours prepared?  With what toppings?

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

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

Copyright © 2013 Linda Martin Andersen

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