A Writer's Playground

Monthly Activities for Kids by Linda Martin Andersen

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Archive for January, 2015

February–How do you pronounce it?

Posted by lindamartinandersen on January 31, 2015


A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074 “February–How do you pronounce it?” by Linda Martin Andersen Think of February, and you’ll probably think of Valentine’s Day and love.  What is love?  Ask 10 people and you’ll probably get 10 different answers.  But that’s not all, we can’t even decide how to pronounce the month of love–February.  Oh my! According to  Merriam-Webster.com, two pronunciations are listed for February: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/February I found several different pronunciations for February on You Tube sites. One thing I can say for sure, there are lots of things to celebrate in February.  I hope you’ll plan fun things to do on many different days.

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

February is

  • American Heart Month–Just recently, a friend told me that someone she knew had received a pacemaker.  Do you know anyone with one?  Or someone who has had heart bypass surgery?  A heart transplant?  What heart healthy tips do you know and follow?
  • Bake for Family Fun Month–What do you and your family cook/bake together?  Ask friends what they prepare together.  Try something new. 
  • Dog Training Education Month–Has one of your pets attended obedience school?  What did he learn? What did you learn?
  • International Expect Success Month–My parents always expected success in my schooling.  What are some ways this is shown?
  • Library Lovers Month–Check out a stack of library books. Choose a picture book author you haven’t read and binge on their words.  No need to worry about calories either!
  • Love The Bus Month–I used to drive a school bus when I was a high school student.  Would you want to be a bus driver?  What would be something good about it?  Not so good? 
  • National Bird Feeding Month–What kind of birds are seen in your area this time of year? 
  • National Black History Month–Check a library’s display and find a book on this topic that you haven’t read.  Read it and share what you learn with someone.  Attend special planned events in your area. 
  • National Cherry Month–I displayed artificial cherries in a container for a table centerpiece before I even knew this was national cherry month.  Eat cherry products this month.  What will you choose to eat that contains cherries?
  • National Children’s Dental Health Month–Is it time for a new toothbrush, dental floss, mouth rinse, etc?  Do you need to make an appointment with the dentist.  Don’t delay!
  • National Haiku Writing Month–Thanks to all who write and post poems! 
  • National Hot Breakfast Month–My grandson made pancakes for his mom.  Now that’s sweet.  What hot breakfast has someone made for you?
  • National Mend A Broken Heart Month–How would you suggest mending a broken heart?  Whatever you do, don’t send all the kings’ horses and all the kings’ men.  We all know that doesn’t work. 
  • National Time Management Month–Do you often say, “I didn’t have enough time?”  Is there anything that can be done about it?  What time management skills are your strengths? What skills need improvement?  Who or what can help?
  • National Women Inventors Month–Can you name three women inventors in a minute?  Ask a friend the same thing.  If the answer is “No,” research.  Set a goal to learn about at least three woman inventors and what they invented. Which one inspires you and why?
  • Plant the Seeds of Greatness Month–What are seeds of greatness?   What seeds of greatness are you growing?
  • Youth Leadership Month–Name a youth leader you admire.  Tell why?

 

 Special Weeks in February

  • Boy Scout Anniversary Week: 1-7 Thank a Boy Scout and any troop leader for their dedication to the scouting program.
  • Children’s Authors & Illustrators Week: 1-7 (First Full Week) Buy or check out books by an author you haven’t read or an illustrator you don’t know.  Look for their website, with parent permission.
  • National School Counseling Week: 2-6 Do you have a school counselor?  Introduce yourself to this person if you haven’t already.  Ask about her job or thank the counselor for what she does.  Can you name one or more of her duties?
  • Random Acts of Kindness Week: 9-15  Think of some kind act you can do for several people.  Challenge yourself by choosing someone other than a friend.
  • International Friendship Week: 9-13  Think about the character traits of your friends?  Do they all have one or more in common?  What traits are these? 
  • National Pancake Week: 15-21  What’s your favorite variety? How could you decorate pancakes for a friend or a family member? 
  • Texas Cowboy Poetry Week: 27-28  What is cowboy poetry?  Have you ever read any?  Do you have to live in Texas to write cowboy poetry? 

 

Special Days in February

  • G.I. Joe Day: 1  Who is G.I. Joe?  Why do you think he was popular?  Is he still popular?  How do you know?
  • Popcorn Day: 1  What is your favorite brand of microwave popcorn?  Have you ever tried an experiment to see which brand pops the most kernels?  It makes a fun science project. 
  • Robinson Crusoe Day: 1  If you could meet Robinson Crusoe, what would you invite him to do and why?  Do you think he’d enjoy his day?
  • Super Bowl XLIX: 1  Can you read this numeral?  What kind of numeral is it?  What others do you know?
  • Groundhog Day: 2  Which would you rather see:  a groundhog or a sled dog?  Where might you find each one?
  • Sled Dog Day: 2  Name ways sled dogs are used.  Have you ever seen a sled dog or watched a television program about sled dogs?
  • World Play Your Ukulele Day: 2  What does a ukulele look like?  Have you heard one played?  Where could you hear one?
  • World Wetlands Day: 2 Have you ever been in an area declared as a wetlands?  What does that mean?
  • Weatherman’s [Weatherperson’s] Day: 5  Does your family watch the weather, read forecasts in the newspaper or online?  When has the weatherman’s forecast helped you plan for your day?
  • Canadian Maple Syrup Day: 6 Check your syrup.  Is it Maple Syrup?  Is it Canadian Maple Syrup?  What is your favorite way to eat syrup? 
  • National Doodle Day: 6 What do you like to doodle?  What do you doodle?  Do you doodle while you take notes in class?  Why or why not?
  • Bubble Gum Day: 6 Ask your friends to name their favorite flavors of bubble gum.  Favorite brands too.  Do you prefer chewing gum or bubble gum?  Why?
  • Girl Scout Cookie Day: 6 What is your favorite flavor Girl Scout cookie?  Have you ever given these as a gift? 
  • Give Kids A Smile Day: 6  Adults:  Can you make a child smile?  Kids:  Can you make an adult smile?  Why do we sometimes try to hold in a smile?
  • Ice Cream For Breakfast Day: 7  If you were going to have ice cream for breakfast, what breakfast food flavor would you like to have?
  • Ballet Day: 7  Name a favorite ballerina book.  What animal would you like to see star as a ballerina in a book?  Draw the scene you are imagining.
  • Autism Sunday: 8 Do you know anyone who has autism?  Name things that are difficult for this person.  Have you ever helped another student in class?
  • Take Your Child To The Library Day: 7  When was the last time you went to the public library?  What is your favorite section there?  How many books do you usually check out?
  • National Stop Bullying Day: 9 Do you think there is more or less bullying today?  Why?  What do you think would help stop bullying?
  • Read in the Bathtub Day: 9 What’s better than bubbles in the tub?  Books of course!  That is, if the tub is dry or you’re extra careful one!  What type books do you think would be just right for reading in the bathtub?  Why?
  • Extraterrestrial Visitor Day: 10 Can you imagine yourself as a friend to an extraterrestrial?  What do you think you might both enjoy? 
  • Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day: 11  What do you think this expression means? Ask an adult.  Think of it when you pour your milk.
  • Get Out Your Guitar Day: 11  Can you play guitar?  Do you wish you could play in a band?  What instrument would you like to play?  Have you ever taken lessons?
  • National Shut-in Visitation Day: 11  Who is a shut-in?  Do you think all people in nursing homes are shut-ins?  Why or why not?
  • Lincoln’s Birthday: 12 Describe Abraham Lincoln to someone and see if the person can name him from your clues.  Which clue do you think was best?
  • Paul Bunyan Day: 12 (Born Feb. 12, 1834 in Bangor, ME) Read a book about Paul Bunyan  today.    Describe the setting for his stories.  Why do you think Paul Bunyan tales are still told today?
  • Blame Someone Else Day: 13 Name a time when someone else blamed you for something you didn’t do?  Can you also name a time when you blamed someone else for something you did?  Why do you think people do this?
  • National Donor Day: 14  My husband is a lung transplant recipient.  Do you know what that means?  Do you know about organ donation?
  • Valentine’s Day: 14  Smile every time you wish someone Happy Valentine’s Day.  Will you make cards or give gifts today?
  • World Whale Day: 14 What does it mean to make today “a whale of a day?”  Do you have favorite whale books or stories?  Share them today.
  • National Hippo Day: 15 Why do you think we call a hippopotamus a “hippo?”  What does it mean to say someone looks like a hippo?  Is that a compliment or an insult?  Why?
  • Presidents Day: 16  How can you celebrate George Washington and Abraham Lincoln today?  Other presidents?  Perhaps you’d like to research one of them. 
  • My Way Day: 17  If you could have your way all day today, what would that look like?  Would it make you happy?  Would it make others happy too?
  • World Thinking Day: 22 What can you think on today about our world?  Are there any changes you are willing to make?  What are they?
  • George Washington’s Birthday: 22  Where do you see this person’s picture?  What comes to mind when you hear his name?
  • Inconvenience Yourself Day: 25 Why would anyone be willing to inconvenience themselves?  Name a way you are willing to do this today.
  • For Pete’s Sake Day: 26  What do you think “for Pete’s sake” means?  Ask an adult.  Have you ever heard it said?  Why do you think someone said this instead of something else?
  • National Tooth Fairy Day: 28  What is the most money the tooth fairy ever left you?  Do you have any loose teeth?  Tell about a time someone helped you pull a loose tooth. 

What special things will you choose to do this month?  Please leave a comment below.  Thanks for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.”  Come again soon and 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

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What is a steam donkey?

Posted by lindamartinandersen on January 27, 2015


A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074“What is a steam donkey?” by Linda Martin Andersen and inspired by Tim Livingston’s blog.

Do you love nature?  Forests?  History?  Photography?  Art? Education?  Preservation?  A steam donkey?

Yes, a steam donkey!

Do you know what a steam donkey is?  Is it a donkey letting off steam?

Not a chance.  But here’s your chance to learn what it is.

Tim Livingston’s got a story to share, photography, and artwork too.  I hope you’ll follow his blog so you can catch each segment of the steam donkey story.

In February, there’s a Forestry Education Fundraising Auction.  Try saying that ten times fast.  After a while, you’ll sound like you’re rolling along on steam.  Tim’s a part of this event too.

Do you want to learn more?

All followers shout:  Yes, we do! Steam donkey, steam donkey, steam donkey now!

Take it away, Tim Livingston.

http://theforesterartist.com/2015/01/23/forestry-friday-steam-donkey-wip/

Please leave a comment below.  Thanks for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.”  I hope you’ll return soon and 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

 

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Top Ten Day Maker

Posted by lindamartinandersen on January 13, 2015


A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074“Top Ten Day Maker” by Linda Martin Andersen

Be-a-Top-Ten-Day[1]

Poster making program compliments of Quozio.com

 

Recently, I wished a friend a Top Ten Day. 

What would you consider a Top Ten Day?

It dawned on me that I should live each day as if it is a Top Ten Day.

Better yet, I should be a Top Ten Day Maker–for others.

What could I do for others that would make their day? If we all lived that way, we’d be Top Ten Day Makers.

What would that look like?  What would our world look like?

Name one thing someone did for you recently that made your day.

Name one thing you did for someone else hoping to make their day?  Did you spend any money?  Is that essential?

January 24 is National Compliment Day.  Mark your calendars.  Please pay someone a sincere compliment on that day.  Who will it be?  Better yet, Be a Top Ten Day Maker.  You have time to plan ahead.  I hope that helps!

I’d love to hear your comments.  Thanks for visiting. Come again soon and 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

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Seventy-five is Five Fifteens

Posted by lindamartinandersen on January 11, 2015


A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074“Seventy-five is Five Fifteens” by Linda Martin Andersen

I have a good friend who turns seventy-five-years-old today.  Happy birthday, to my unnamed friend.  She remains unnamed because a lady never shares a friend’s age.  I hope the birthday girl enjoys my silly take on turning seventy-five and that she and other readers will play along with me.  Here goes…

Clip art sample 2015

Clip art sample 2015

 

Seventy-five is five fifteens.  75=15+15+15+15+15

Brain Teaser for Today:  Which is harder–turning seventy-five or living the life of five fifteen year olds? Don’t answer too hastily.

What are fifteen-year-olds like, you may ask.  Sorry, but thinking back on your life at fifteen doesn’t cut it.  Today’s fifteen-year-old is different.  And remember we’re talking about living the life of FIVE fifteen-year olds.

Questions to consider before answering this brain teaser:

Which name would you prefer to be called:  a teenager or a senior citizen?  Both get a bad rap at times, especially from comedians.  Furthermore, most of us have made cracks about their driving skills.  One group gets discounts more than the other.  Which one?

Which carries more weight? (meaning influence, not pounds)  One seventy-five-year-old or five fifteen-year olds?  Depends on the market.  For example, AARP has little interest in teens, while fashion designers probably have little interest in catering to seniors.

What about being compared to a century? (100 years)  When a reporter is sent out to find the secret of longevity, who would he prefer to interview?  Someone who has lived 3/4 of a century or five teens who have each lived 1/15 of a century?

Which would you rather bake?  Five birthday cakes or one?  (assuming all five teens share the same birthday and are celebrating together).  Either way, you need a total of seventy-five candles, unless you use numbered ones.  In that case, ironically, there is more need for the Fire Department to be on standby for the teens’ cakes. 

Who would you rather feed?  Five fifteen-year-olds or one seventy-five-year-old?  In my mind, there’s no contest on that one. 😉

Do you have other questions to add?

Want to know more about fifteen-year-olds?  Check these topics:

Diet, exercise, stress:

http://parentingteens.about.com/od/agesandstages/a/Behavior-And-Daily-Routines-Your-15-Year-Old-Teen.htm

Social and Emotional Development:

http://parentingteens.about.com/od/agesandstages/a/Emotional-Development-Your-15-Year-Old-Teen.htm

Once again, the Brain Teaser for Today is:  Which is harder–turning seventy-five or living the life of five fifteen year olds?

Want a different challenge? 

  • Writers need to know their audience.  Please share tips for creating strong teen characters in stories.
  • If you’re a teen, please share character traits you like to read about in books.
  • Share an experience from when you were 15.

Thanks to readers of all ages for joining the fun and helping me celebrate my friend’s birthday.  A celebration like no other! 

I look forward to your comments.  Come again soon and bring a friend.

I’d like to add an extra special birthday wish for my good friend!  I hope she enjoys her birthday tribute. 

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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A Word of the Year–Choose One of Your Own

Posted by lindamartinandersen on January 6, 2015


A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074“A Word of the Year–Choose One of Your Own” by Linda Martin Andersen

Laura Purdie Salas is another great poet I know. Today, she shares one of her traditions for starting each new year. She chooses a word and “embraces” its meaning all year. See more here: http://www.laurasalas.com/blog/for-teachers/word-of-year-2015/

Parents, teachers, and kids:   If you’re looking for poems and activities about poems, check out Laurie Purdie Salas’ collection called 30 Painless Classroom Poems on her webpage.  I recently bought a book of poems and activities based on fairy tales called Fairy Tale Garage Sale:  Poems of After Ever After.   Check it out here:  http://www.laurasalas.com/poetry/poetry%20books/30pcp_fairytale.html

I’d love to hear your comments.  Thanks for visiting. Come again soon and 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

 

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Years Come and Gone Are Personified by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater

Posted by lindamartinandersen on January 2, 2015


A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074“Years Come and Gone Are Personified by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater”

I’d rate this poem a ten.  A must see!  Amy Ludwig Vanderwater is a poet I recommend you know, if you don’t already.  I just found this gem in my inbox and wanted to share it with you.

http://tinyurl.com/kvl5ac3

Wouldn’t you love to visit Old Year Lodge?  I’d love to hear your comments.  Thanks for visiting. Come again soon and 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

 

 

 

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Happy New Year! Will You Be a Mover and a Shaker in 2015?

Posted by lindamartinandersen on January 1, 2015


A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074“Happy New Year!  Will You Be a Mover and a Shaker in 2015?”

I’ve been helping my sister and niece move to a new home and the expression “movers and shakers” came to mind.  I was definitely a “mover.”  I hope I won’t be remembered as a “shaker,” as in rattle-rattle, was that glass?

If you’d like to check out the real meaning of “movers and shakers,” check here:  http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/movers-and-shakers.html

What about you, will you be a mover and a shaker in 2015?  Will you accomplish things that make you proud?

And your response:  Certainly!  Of course!

Here are some fun celebrations for January.  Perhaps you can start with traditional New Year’s Day foods and choose a few other celebrations to enjoy this month.  The complete list of January events can be found at http://www.brownielocks.com/january.html

 January is…

Book Blitz Month  How many books can you read in a month?  Reminds me of  “How low can you go” when doing The Limbo.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limbo_(dance)  In this case, it’s how high a stack can you read?  What’s tops on your list?
Get Organized Month  Straighten, shuffle, do things more efficiently, and better.  How will accomplish this?
International Brain Teaser Month  What type brain teasers do you like to do?  In my mind, writing and illustrating for publication counts.  Do you agree?
Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month  Our older son took skiing classes while in college.  It was the best money we ever spent on physical education courses.  Do you ski? 
National Hot Tea Month Someone gave me a special hot tea mug once.  Now, that’s a serious hot tea drinker.  Are you?
National Skating Month  Spotlighting Tara Lazar and her upcoming publication, as announced here: http://taralazar.com/2012/06/21/ryan-gosling-makes-a-book-announcement/

LITTLE RED GLIDING HOOD
illustrated by Troy Cummings
Random House
October 2015

National Soup Month Link  What’s your favorite soup?  Have you tried something new lately?  We’d love to hear about it. 
National Volunteer Blood Donor Month  Always needed and appreciated. 
Oatmeal Month  Do you eat oatmeal?  I like mine with raisins.  
Teen Driving Awareness Month 
My niece just got her driver’s permit.  Makes this one personal to me.  Do you know a teen driver?  How can you show him or her support and courtesy?

Special Weeks in January:

World Leprosy Week: 25-31 Joyce Hostetter wrote a book called Healing Water.  Learn more about it here:

http://joycemoyerhostetter.com/my-books/

Joyce Moyer Hostetter - Healing Water Book Cover
Healing Water
This is the story of Pia, a thirteen year old Hawaiian boy who is banished to the Kalaupapa leprosy settlement. Like so many others in the settlement he is in a fight for survival.  He finds he must choose between anger and forgiveness, goodwill and hatred.

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Week: 26-31 Gather your favorite poetry books.  Invite friends to bring their favorites.  Sit around a fireplace and take turns sharing.  That’s a deviation on a cowboy poetry gathering.

US National Snow Sculpting Week: 28-2/1  Snow sculptures are amazing sights.  What would you like to sculpt with snow?  Why?

Special Days in January:
Argyle Day: 8  What is argyle?  Research to learn more about it?  Have you ever owned an argyle sweater?
Bubble Bath Day: 8 Do you shower or bathe?  Bubble bath or plain?  Favorite brand?  
Rubber Duckie Day: 13 Do rubber duckies join you in your bath?  Other tub or shower favorites?
Dress Up Your Pet Day: 14 Do you dress up your pet?  Only at Halloween?  On a regular basis?  Share about it.
Appreciate A Dragon Day: 16  Would you rather have a real or pretend dragon?  Why?  What is your favorite dragon story?
Cable Car Day: 17  Name three words that come to mind when you hear this.  If you can’t name three, research this topic, just for fun.  
Kid Inventors’ Day:  17  What would you like to invent?  Why?
Thesaurus Day: 18  Online or hardcopy?  Which do you prefer?  When do you use a thesaurus?
Martin Luther King Day: 19  How will you honor Martin Luther King’s influence on civil rights?
Popcorn Day: 19 I love popcorn.  Do you eat it at the movies, as a snack at home, or some other time?  Have you ever popped it in a big commercial popcorn popper?  Tell a popcorn story of your own.
Tin Can Day: 19  Why do you think this day is significant?  What is used today instead of tin?
Inauguration Day: 20  Have you ever watched a presidential inauguration?  What was special about it to you?
National Hugging Day: 21  Who or what would you like to hug?  What is a tree hugger?

Squirrel Appreciation Day: 21  Dogs like to chase squirrels.  People like to watch them.  Some even hunt them to cook squirrel stew.  What’s a squirrel story you could share?  Any favorite books with squirrel characters? 
National Pie Day: 23 
 Have you ever participated in a pie throw?  What is your favorite experience with a pie throw?  Do you bake pies?  What is your favorite.  Bake one today!
Belly Laugh Day: 24 When did you belly laugh last?  What made you laugh?  Did you cry tears too?
National Compliment Day: 24  What was one of your most treasured compliments?  Why?
National Peanut Butter Day: 24 What is your favorite way to eat peanut butter?  Try a different way today.  I recently tried it with pretzels.  Good!
Opposite Day: 25  Play a modified version of April Fool’s jokes today.  Say the opposite of what you mean.  Then call out, “It’s Opposite Day.” 

National Peanut Brittle Day: 26  Have you ever made peanut brittle?  I love eating it.  To me, it’s like potato chips, in that “it’s hard to eat just one.”
Holocaust Memorial Day: 27 Have you ever visited a Holocaust memorial?  What books have you read on this topic?
National Puzzle Day: 29 What type puzzles do you like?  Crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, life’s puzzles (real and in fiction stories)?  Tell about your favorite.
Seeing Eye Dog Day: 29  Like to read dog books?  Look for one on this topic. 
Inspire Your Heart with Art Day: 31  Do something artsy today.  How about every 

 

Here’s wishing everyone a super start to a brand spanking new year!  I’d love to hear your comments.  Thanks for visiting. Come again and 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

 

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