A Writer's Playground

Monthly Activities for Kids by Linda Martin Andersen

  • Copyright Notice

    Copyright © 2016 Linda Martin Andersen.

    Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this
    material without express and written permission
    from Linda Martin Andersen is strictly prohibited.

    Excerpts and links may be used, provided that
    full and clear credit is given to Linda Martin Andersen
    with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Archive for September, 2015

October 2015: Have Fun and Be Safe Awards

Posted by lindamartinandersen on September 30, 2015

A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074  “October 2015:  Have Fun and Be Safe Awards” by Linda Martin Andersen


Often parents send their kids off from home with this message:  “Have fun and be safe.”  That expression inspired this list for October 2015.  Enjoy these and other fun October celebrations.  (Awards selected by me for this site only.) Poster created at http://quozio.com/index.aspx

October is… National Bake and Decorate MonthTry something new or bake and decorate a family favorite.  Include some math fun if you have a “little helper.” National Book MonthHow high is your “To Read” stack.  Lower it a little by reading more this month. National Cookbook MonthHow can you tell a great cookbook from one rarely used?  The pages are stained,  dog-eared (do you know the meaning?), ripped out for a personal file, or have modifications written on them.  Name other ways to identify a great cookbook. National Dental Hygiene MonthCan you name your dentist and hygienist?  After all, you shouldn’t let just anyone dig around in your mouth.  😉 Thank them for helping keep your teeth and gums healthy. National Field Trip MonthName school field trips you’ve been on.  Can you remember the grade, teacher, something special from the trip, etc.?  Special moments become lifetime memories. National Popcorn Poppin’ MonthIn your opinion, what’s the right time for pop corn?  What’s your favorite flavor?  What’s your favorite salty snack?  Have you ever strung popcorn for holiday decorating? National Reading Group MonthReading groups aren’t just for kids.  Book clubs are popular with all ages.  Tell about a reading group/book club experience you enjoyed. Pizza MonthAre you a pizza lover?  When you hear “pizza,” do you think of fraction problems, pie charts, topping choices, cheese, meat, crust, friends, parties, or a combination of these?  Do you usually eat pizza at night or during the day?  On week days or weekends?  Do you usually take out or eat in?  Positive Attitude MonthWhat is an attitude adjustment?  If you are told you need one, is that most likely a compliment or a criticism/insult?  Give an example.  Special Weeks in October:

  • National Walk Your Dog Week: 1-7Do you walk a dog on a regular basis?  Where do you like to walk?  Have you ever jogged with your dog or had your dog follow beside along while you rode a bike? 
  • National Storytelling Weekend: 2-4Have you ever heard a professional storyteller?  Who do you like to have tell you stories?  Has anyone ever personalized a story for you where you are the main character?  Do you like to tell stories?  Do you like to act them out? 
  • International Post Card Week: 4-10When did you last receive a post card or send one?  What are “Save the Date” cards?  When are these usually sent?  Have you ever bought post cards of tourist sites instead of taking photographs?  Why?
  • Great Books Week:4-10What makes a book great in your opinion?  If I’m able to compare a book I’ve read to another one, it’s probably because it was great to me.  Maybe the author wouldn’t “see” the connection, but I do.  Sometimes, someone names an animal and you immediately think of a favorite book with that animal as a character.  A connection that sticks with me makes a book special, in my opinion.  What else makes a book great? 
  • National Carry A Tune Week: 4-10Just sing, whether you can carry a tune or not.  😉
  • Kids’ Goal Setting Week: 5-9Name a goal you set and reached.  What action helped you reach that goal?  Who encouraged you?  Who did you thank for helping you?
  • National Metric Week: 5-11Use metric units this week.  Look for them everywhere you go.
  • National School Lunch Week: 12-16Do you eat school lunches or bring lunch from home?  What is your favorite lunch?  Do you drink milk or bring a beverage from home? What’s a favorite cafeteria memory?
  • World Rainforest Week: 12-18Read stories about the rainforest.  Research and learn more about this special place.  Name animals and plants you would find there.
  • National School Bus Safety Week: 14-23What are some ways to keep your bus ride safe?  Who is your favorite bus driver?  I hope you’ll send that driver a card and thank him/her for keeping you safe. 
  • Teen Read Week: 18-24Name favorite teen reads.  Swap books with other teens.  Read extra this week.
  • World Origami Days: 24-11/11Have you ever made origami art?  What objects have you made?  What did you do with them?
  • Kids Care Week: 25-31Name some topics kids care about.  Do you do service projects?  How do these help others?
  • Red Ribbon Week: 23-31Does your school celebrate this week to encourage drug prevention?  If so, how?

Special Days in October:

  • National Book It! Day: 1  Read, read, read.  Who can you read to?
  • National Diversity Day: 2  Name ways you include everyone.  Tell about a time you reached out to someone who needed a friend.
  • World Smile Day: 2  Name big smile moments.   What were you doing? 
  • World Card Making Day: 3  Who could you make a card?  Tracy Campbell is a friend of mine who makes cards.  See here:  http://www.tracycampbell.net/shop.html
  • Blessing of The Animals Day (aka Blessing of the Pets Day, World Pet Day): 4  Name ways animals bless us.  Ask if you can walk a dog for a family friend or neighbor.  Does your family have a pet?  How do you help care for the pet?
  • Balloons Around The World Day: 7  If you could send a balloon to another country, which country would it be?  Why?  Would you write a message on the balloon?  If so, what would it say?
  • You Matter To Me Day: 7 Name as many people as you can who matter to you.  Please tell them so today.
  • National Chess Day: 9  Do you know how to play chess?  Would you like to learn?  Ask your parents about it.
  • National Costume Swap Day: 10 Have you ever swapped costumes with someone?  What character would you like to be?  What if every student in a class brought in an old costume for dress up.  Describe that day.
  • Universal Music Day: 1Name your favorite song, dance, instrument, and a time you attended a musical performance. 
  • World Homeless Day: 10  Name ways homeless are helped in your area.  Do you know any students who are homeless?  How could your school help?
  • World Porridge Day: 10  What story comes to mind when you hear the word “porridge?”  Read that story or tell it to someone else today. 
  • National Face Your Fears Day: 13  Name fears you have.  Ask friends what fears they have.  Share yours.  What can be done about these fears?
  • Silly Sayings Day: 13  What do you consider a “silly saying?”  Name one and tell what you think it means.  Ask others to add silly sayings to your list.
  • National Bring Your Teddy Bear To Work & School Day: 14 Do you know an adult who has a Teddy Bear or other stuffed animal?  A friend gave me a beanie baby monkey named Grapes.  Can you guess what color he is?  I’m writing a story about zoo animals and she surprised me with a stuffed monkey.  When have you given or received a stuffed animal?  Have you ever taken one to work or school?  Have you ever given one to someone in the hospital?  Other times?
  • International Top Spinning Day: 14  Have you ever spun a top?  If not, try it today.  Try spinning plastic lids or pot lids.  What else can be spun?  What do entertainers sometimes spin?  Maybe you’d like to watch a video of a spinning act.
  • National Fossil Day: 14  Where can you see fossils today?  Name some educational websites with fossil information.  Did you know that public librarians can help you identify research sites?
  • National Cake Decorating Day: 15  Have you ever helped decorate a cake?  Could you decorate one today?  What themes can you name for birthday cakes?
  • National Grouch Day: 15 —Name two characters named Oscar who were grouches.  Does that mean Oscar Awards are for grouches?  Who are they for?
  • Wear Something Gaudy Day: 17  What does “gaudy” mean?  Check here:  
  • http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/gaudy
  • Choose clothes you think would be considered gaudy if worn together.  Ask a parent’s opinion.  Maybe you could take a picture of yourself in this outfit and share it with friends.  Or perhaps friends would like to visit you in a gaudy outfit, just for fun.  You never get too old for dress up.  😉
  • Celebration of The Mind Day: 21  How could you celebrate your mind today?  Brainstorm?  Create something, etc?  I hope you will.
  • Make A Difference Day: 24  Name favorite famous people who have made a difference.  How can you make a difference at home, school, your neighborhood, your world?
  • Sourest Day: 25Name sour things.  What would you consider a “sour” day?  Write about it.  Please share a comment with us.
  • Howl at The Moon Night: 26What do you howl at?  Name characters that howl at the moon?  What emotions do you feel when you hear this sound?  Why?
  • Visit A Cemetery Day: 26  Have you ever visited family graves?  Have you ever taken a tour through a cemetery?  Some towns offer tours and ghost stories near Halloween.  Does yours?
  • Checklist Day: 30Do you keep checklists?  Daily?  What happens if you lose your list?  What do you do?  Make a To Do Checklist that’s all Fun–not chores.  What would you include for the week?
  •  Frankenstein Friday: 30  Have you ever watched a Frankenstein movie?  What horror movies do you like?  Do you like to read about zombies and werewolves? Others?
  • Haunted Refrigerator Night: 30 What items in your refrigerator could be frightful?  How?
  • National Candy Corn Day: 30Do you like candy corn?  Do you have a “sweet tooth?”  What is your favorite Halloween treat?
  • Books For Treats Day: 31Name books that would make great Halloween/Fall titles.  Plan to read these throughout the month.
  • Halloween or All Hallows Eve: 31Name your best and worst Halloween experiences.
  • National Forgiveness Day: 31Will you forgive someone who disappoints you or scares you or does something that upsets you today?  My friend Tracy Campbell, shared a blog post and art about forgiveness.  Enjoy:  www.tracycampbell.net/blog.
  • National Knock-Knock Jokes Day: 31What is a knock-knock joke you could share as you Trick or Treat?
  • National Magic Day: 31  Name a magician.  When you hear the word “magic,” what comes to mind?  Can you do any magic tricks?  Show someone a trick.  Learn a new one.  Read stories or books about this topic. 

Earlier posts for October include:



For more celebrations this month, check here:  http://www.brownielocks.com/ I look forward to your comments.  Thanks for stopping in.  Come again soon and bring a friend.  Please remember that children 13 and under need an adult to comment for them.  For more fun, sign up to follow my blog.  Thank you!

Posted in Activities for teachers and parents, Calendar Events, Family Discussions, Homeschool Activities, Math, Monthly Activities, Reading, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Prompts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments »

Revising–Obvious Needed Changes and Ones Not So Obvious

Posted by lindamartinandersen on September 28, 2015

A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074 A Writer’s Playground–a place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

“Revising–Obvious Needed Changes and Ones Not So Obvious” by Linda Martin Andersen

When a motel near my home changed ownership, their sign reflected the change.  But it’s obvious to me it’s time for yet another change.  Wouldn’t you agree?

Copyright 2015 Linda Martin Andersen

Copyright 2015 Linda Martin Andersen


Sometimes, the need for story revisions are just this obvious, but not always.  In my current work-in-progress, I have written numerous versions of the story.  I feel especially good about this one.  Does that mean it’s done?  Not quite.  Recently, a critique partner suggested introducing a group of characters earlier in the story.  Since they play a key role, she thought they should appear sooner.  I definitely agree.  Was this an easy task?  Definitely not, but I think it improved the story.  Was it an obvious need?  Obviously not.  Many others had critiqued this manuscript for me and never mentioned it.

From now on, as I critique my own work, I’ll ask myself what are some obvious needed changes as well as ones not so obvious?

Thanks for the inspiration nearby motel.  Thanks even more for all my critique partners!  Happy writing, everyone.

I look forward to your comments.  Thanks for stopping in.  Come again soon and bring a friend.  Please remember that children 13 and under need an adult to comment for them. 

For more fun, sign up to follow my blog.  Thank you!


Posted in Activities for teachers and parents, Critiquing writing, Homeschool Activities, Writing, Writing Prompts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

How is Story Revision Like Fall Leaves and Women’s Hair Color?

Posted by lindamartinandersen on September 16, 2015

A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074  “How is Story Revision Like Fall Leaves and Women’s Hair Color?” by Linda Martin Andersen

Question:  How is story revision like fall leaves and women’s hair color?”

Answer:  They change.

That’s my riddle for today.  Here’s what inspired it:

I love to write for children.  I’m currently working on a picture book manuscript.  Fellow writers critiqued my story and I revised and sent it back for another round of critiques.  I recently told a friend, “I’m already thinking on my next changes.  I added that my stories change as often as some women’s hair color.”  I hope that brought a smile to her and to you too.

I used to work with a lady who dyed her hair frequently.  If I had been asked to describe her, I’m not sure I would have known what color hair to name.  Today, people may choose to color their hair blue or bright red.  Why?  For FUN!

Why do tourist go to see the leaves change colors?  They’re beautiful.  And it’s FUN!

Let’s make story revision FUN too!

I look forward to your comments.  Riddles are welcome too.  Thanks for stopping in.  Come again soon and bring a friend.  Please remember that children 13 and under need an adult to comment for them. Thank you! 

For more calendar fun, sign up to follow my blog.  Thanks so much.


Posted in Activities for teachers and parents, Homeschool Activities, Reading, Writing, Writing Prompts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

September Days Worth Celebrating and Writing About Too

Posted by lindamartinandersen on September 1, 2015

A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074

“September Days Worth Celebrating and Writing About Too” by Linda Martin Andersen

Top Ten Recipients of September 2015:  Ways to Celebrate Education (Awards selected by me for this site only)


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

September is…

  • All American Breakfast Month–How have recommended breakfast charts changed over the years?  What do you eat for breakfast?  Conduct a survey of what your friends eat.
  • Backpack Safety America Month– How many pounds are too many?  What can you do about it?
  • Children’s Good Manners Month–When was the last time you heard someone compliment you for your manners?  What were you doing?
  • Library Card Sign-up Month–Sounds like I might want to read books about beavers.  I have a public library card and use it almost every week.  How about you?
  • National Sewing Month– Do you know homonyms (same sound/different meanings) for sew?  Write a paragraph, poem, or story about one or more of them.  Can you use all three homonyms for sew?
  • National Service Dog Month–Name places you have seen a service dog.  Have you heard of other pets used as service animals?  Research to learn more.
  • National Shake Month (Ice Cream)–If you could develop a new shake flavor, what would it be?  Sample a flavor you’ve never tasted.  Have you made healthy shakes?  What were the ingredients?
  • Self Improvement Month–What is something you would like to improve about yourself?  Are you willing to work at it?  What goals could you set to reach improvement?  Who could keep you encouraged?  Who would be willing to listen to you share disappointments, successes, progress, etc.?

Special Weeks in September…

  • International Enthusiasm Week: 1-7  List things that you get enthusiastic about.  How do you show enthusiasm?  Do you ever get asked to calm down?  Do you get asked to show some enthusiasm?  Discuss this with your parents.
  • National Nutrition Week: 1-7   What’s your favorite nutritious meal?  Tell a favorite food story.  Was the story about a nutritious food or junk food?  Now tell a story about something from the other category.
  • National Clean Hands Week: 20-26   What hand cleaning rules do you follow? Name three or more.  Ask friends for other rules.  What additional rules will you try?  Do you think it’s important to use good hygiene?  Why or why not?
  • National Keep Kids Creative Week: 20-26   Where do you get ideas for creating things?  What things do you like to create?  What challenges you?  What creative projects do you avoid?  Why?

Special Days in September…

  • National College Colors Day: 4 What college colors are popular in your family and why?  Does this ever cause problems?  How can families solve this?
  • National Wildlife Day:4  What wildlife lives in your area?  Tell about a time you witnessed something in nature you will never forget.
  • Pet Rock Day: 5 Have you ever had a pet rock?  A worry stone?  How can these be helpful?  What can you use when you don’t have a worry stone or a pet rock?
  • Swap Ideas Day: 10–Have you ever begun a story and then let someone else write a paragraph?  Passing a story around can be fun.  In addition to stories, what other ideas could you swap?  How could it be accomplished?
  • Grandparent’s Day: 13 (First Sunday after Labor Day) Do you have living grandparents?  How far away do they live?  How often do you see each other?  How often do you call or visit?  Tell about a special time with your grandparents.
  • Scooby-Doo Day: 13  Do you know this character?  What do you like or dislike about him?  If you could give him another name, what would it be?  Why?  What is a name you are sometimes called?  Why?
  • Play-doh Day: 16  Name five fun things you’ve done with Play-doh.  Are there things you wanted to create with Play-doh, but you didn’t?  Why not?  Do you ever mix colors?
  • Big Whopper Liar Day: 19  Is there a difference between a fib, lie, and a whopper?  Have you ever heard someone say something was “a big fat lie?”  Would that be something serious or something funny?  Why?
  • International Coastal Cleanup Day:19  Have you ever helped with International Coastal cleanup?  If that’s not possible or something you’d like to help with, what could you help clean instead?
  • Talk Like A Pirate Day: 19 What letter of the alphabet would you repeat when speaking if you talked like a pirate?  What vocabulary words would a pirate use?  Try creating a sentence or two in pirate language.  Share it with a friend.  Listen to your friend’s sentences.  How does talking like a pirate make you feel?  Why?
  • Dear Diary Day: 22  Do you keep a diary?  A journal?  What can you do to thank a person who inspired you to keep a diary?  How can you decorate your diary or where it’s stored.  How important is it to you that it be kept private?  Discuss this with your parents.
  • Ice Cream Cone Day: 22  How many scoops do you like to buy?  Waffle cone or sugar cone?  Tell a time when you were given ice cream as a treat.  Does it ever give you a “brain freeze?”
  • Punctuation Day: 24  What punctuation confuses you?  What punctuation rule is easy for you?  Create a paragraph with punctuation errors.  Ask a friend to correct it.  Is it right now?
  • Johnny Appleseed Day: 26  If Johnny Appleseed hadn’t planted apples, how would things be different today?  What might a kid bring to his teacher instead of an apple?  What would you rather have had planted instead of apple trees?  Tell why.
  • World Tourism Day: 27  Where in the world would you like to be a tourist?  What is a “tourist trap?”  How do you think the term got its name?  Name places you notice tourists in your area.  How can you tell that they are tourists?
  • National Good Neighbor Day: 28  Name ways to be a good neighbor.  Name ways people have been a good neighbor to you.  Name neighbor greetings you know.

For more September holiday celebrations visit here:  http://www.brownielocks.com/september.html

I hope you’ll leave a comment.  Thanks for stopping in.  Come again soon and bring a friend.  Please remember that children 13 and under need an adult to comment for them. Thank you! 

For more calendar fun, sign up to follow my blog.  Thanks so much.



Posted in Activities for teachers and parents, Calendar Events, Family Discussions, Games, Homeschool Activities, Monthly Activities, Reading, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Prompts | Tagged: , , , , | 32 Comments »

%d bloggers like this: