A Writer's Playground

Monthly Activities for Kids by Linda Martin Andersen

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Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

O is for Ottomans, Orchids, and Oxygen Tanks

Posted by lindamartinandersen on April 18, 2016


A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074

 

A Writer’s Playground–a place to find wordplay, writing prompts, reasons to celebrate, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart  “O is for Ottomans, Orchids, and Oxygen Tanks” by Linda Martin Andersen

This month I’m sharing photos and blog posts from A-Z.  I’m excited about trying something new.  I hope you’ll stop by often throughout the month.

Check out the participants for the April (2016) Challenge.  There are plenty to choose from http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

O is for Ottomans

Question:  If one foot stool is called an ottoman, shouldn’t two be called ottomen? 

Answer:  No, it’s ottomans.

Another question:  Who makes these rules?

*Silence*

A family relative recently remodeled their family room and bought new furniture.  Their coffee table is basically an ottoman that opens like a trunk and holds throw blankets, etc.  Great idea.  In our home, we have two ottomans.  One sets on our back sunroom/porch.  During a birthday celebration, I placed that ottoman at the end of a folding table to use as a seat.  One of our grandsons spotted it and chose it instantly  Why?  It’s different–or perhaps he had some other reason. How many ottomans do you have in your house?

Ottoman--porch. Linda Martin Andersen. Copyright 2016

Ottoman–porch. Linda Martin Andersen. Copyright 2016

Ottoman--den. Copyright 2016 Linda Martin Andersen

Ottoman–den. Copyright 2016 Linda Martin Andersen

 

O is for Orchids

Orchid. Copyright 2016. Linda Martin Andersen

Orchid. Copyright 2016. Linda Martin Andersen

Have your ever tried something new and not been sure how you’d do?  Did you surprise yourself by doing okay?  Could you have done something better?  My example is the orchid above.  I was asked why the leaves droop.  I don’t know, but hey I got it to bloom.  First time ever!  Isn’t the orchid beautiful?

Orchid with more open blooms. Linda Martin Andersen. Copyright 2016

Orchid with more open blooms. Linda Martin Andersen. Copyright 2016

 

O is for Oxygen Tanks

Do you know anyone on home oxygen?  Do you know how to tell if the tanks are full or empty without putting on a regulator and reading the gauge?

 

Full or empty oxygen tanks? Copyright 2016. Linda Martin Andersen

Full or empty oxygen tanks? Copyright 2016. Linda Martin Andersen

Full tanks have a band around the top.  The two front tanks pictured here have white bands.  They are full.  The rest of the tanks are empty and are ready to be replaced when an oxygen supply technician makes a home delivery. The patient may also choose to visit the company warehouse and switch out tanks, if needed.  Do you know anyone on oxygen? Have you ever visited someone on oxygen?  Have you ever traveled in a car with someone on oxygen?  Have you ever heard oxygen tanks clang as they touch one another?  It’s a sound you’ll recognize from then on.

What “O” words come to mind for you? I hope you’ll share why they’re special to you.

Thank you for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.”  Come again soon and bring a friend. Please leave a comment.  Remember that children 13 and under need an adult to comment for them.  For more fun, sign up to follow my blog.  Thank you!

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Posted in Activities for teachers and parents, creative play, Family Discussions, Health Care, Homeschool Activities, humor, Science, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Prompts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

“Each Book Has Its Own Family Tree”

Posted by lindamartinandersen on February 21, 2016


A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074             Birds Party 2016[1]

A Writer’s Playground–a place to find wordplay, writing
prompts, reasons to celebrate, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those
young at heart.  “Each Book Has Its Own Family Tree”–quoted from Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s blog by Linda Martin Andersen.

Wishing Amy Ludwig VanDerwater all the best with her book launch of Every Day Birds on February 23, 2016. 

I  love this statement by Amy:  “Each book has its own family tree.”  Read more of her thoughts at Kirby Larson’s blog, where Amy was a guest.

http://www.kirbylarson.com/friend-friday-115_amy_vanderwater/

I read another profound quote by a visiting writer at “Sharing Our Notebooks,” one of Amy’s blogs:

Jenna Kersten stated:  “I firmly believe that we can find the most beautiful moments of wisdom and insight in the minute of the everyday.”  For more visit this post:

http://www.sharingournotebooks.amylv.com/2016/02/jenna-kersten-i-am-left-wondering.html

To see Dylan Metrano, a papercutting artist creating the art for Amy’s book and a video, visit this post:  http://www.amyludwigvanderwater.com/DYLAN_METRANO.html

To see a bird recovering from a hit to a window and a poem inspired by the bird, read Amy’s post here:

http://www.poemfarm.amylv.com/2016/02/humble-is-beautiful-looking-closely-to.html

I hope you enjoyed these shares.  Maybe one will lead you to write something special about birds or a family tree.  If you’d like other writing ideas, try one of these:

Writing Prompts:

  1. What do you think this quote means:  Birds of a feather flock together?
  2. What is your favorite “every day bird?”  Name a person an every day bird reminds you of and tell why.
  3. There is a famous writing skill book by Anne Lamott called Bird by Bird.  Do you know what the author meant by that comment?  How can this advice help you?
  4. Name a favorite book about birds or one with birds mentioned in it.  Reread it or tell someone else about it.  What made this book special to you?
  5. Have you ever researched your family tree?  What did you learn?

Thank you for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.”  Come again soon and bring a friend. Please leave a comment about birds, a book’s family tree or your own family tree.  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, art, Book Launch, Family Discussions, History, Homeschool Activities, Interviews, Reading, Science, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Prompts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Project Notebooks–Pass it On

Posted by lindamartinandersen on October 27, 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.”

“Project Notebooks–Pass it On” by Linda Martin Andersen

Recently, Amy Ludwig Vanderwater featured a guest blogger who keeps project notebooks.  Meet Jeff Anderson and learn what inspired his notebooks, which led to a children’s book series.  Leave a comment at Amy’s site for a chance to win a copy of Zack Delacruz–Me and My Big Mouth.

To register to win, leave a comment at this site:

http://www.sharingournotebooks.amylv.com/2015/10/jeff-anderson-project-journal.html?showComment=1445942937348#c2917384762047036816

Thanks for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.”  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, Homeschool Activities, Interviews, Reading, Science, Writing, Writing Prompts | Tagged: , , , , | 9 Comments »

Who or What Inspires Your Story, Art, Career, Etc.?

Posted by lindamartinandersen on July 23, 2015


A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074  “Who or What Inspires Your Story, Art, Career, Etc?”

I’d like to give a shout out to Melissa Barr, a zoo keeper who inspires me. 

If you’ve never met Melissa Barr, a zoo keeper at the North Carolina Zoological Park in Asheboro, NC learn about her here:  https://lindamartinandersen.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/meet-melissa-barr-a-zookeeper-at-north-carolina-zoological-park/

       Melissa Barr,

  • Happy Zoo Keepers Week (July 19-25)
  • Congratulations on a recent promotion to lead keeper at the zoo.
  • Thanks for agreeing to interviews on my blog, not once, but several times. I expect you’ll return again.
  • Thanks for inspiring my current work-in-progress–a zoo story.

 

I’d like to give a shout out to Roxanne Hannah, a fellow blogger who inspires me. 

       Roxie Hannah,

  • Thanks for posting your recent spider photo.  It inspired me to write a manuscript which includes a spider.    https://roxieh.wordpress.com/2015/06/28/lifes-garden/
  • Congratulations.  Your publishing dream is a reality:   Sunscribe is a traditional publishing company founded by me, Roxanne Hanna, a writer with over 30 years experience as an assigned ghostwriter or editor of custom writings and projects for individuals and corporations.”

       Check submission details here:  http://sunscribe.net/submissions/

  • Chapter Books July 20 – 24, 2015
  • Short Story First-person Nonfiction Narratives July 27 – 31, 2015

I’d like to give a shout out for blogging.  It inspires me. 

Sometimes, I question:  Is blogging a wise use of my time?  

My answer:  Yes, keep blogging.  It inspires me to reach out and meet zoo keepers and poet pilots, forester artists, author publishers, and others.  Blogging broadens my world.  What about yours?

I could spotlight other people or things that have inspired my writing.  How about you?  Who or what inspires your stories, art, career, etc?

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!

 

Posted in Activities for teachers and parents, Careers, Homeschool Activities, Interviews, Reading, Science, Writing, Writing Prompts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

I Love You to the Moon and Back

Posted by lindamartinandersen on July 20, 2015


A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074 “I Love You to the Moon and Back” by Linda Martin Andersen

“This Day in History” in 1969, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. 

See here:  http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/armstrong-walks-on-moon?et_cid=77874313&et_rid=724205536&linkid=http%3a%2f%2fwww.history.com%2fthis-day-in-history%2farmstrong-walks-on-moon

Today, we often hear the expression, “I love you to the moon and back.” 

I imagine you’ve seen it or heard it said recently.  Sometimes the expression is abbreviated: “To the moon and back.”  Wonder why?

Take time today to reflect on the beauty of our heavenly skies, their facts and mysteries.  I hope this post inspires you to read or write something based on this topic.  Brainstorm and choose fiction, nonfiction, poetry, related careers, space exploration, or other choices.

What do you “love to the moon and back?”

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!

 

Posted in Activities for teachers and parents, Calendar Events, Careers, Family Discussions, History, Homeschool Activities, Reading, Science, Writing, Writing Prompts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Where Are You Hanging Out This Summer?

Posted by lindamartinandersen on June 25, 2015


A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074 “Where Are You Hanging Out This Summer?”

Are you hanging out by the pool, the beach, with friends, at the mall, etc.?

For more definitions of “hanging out,” check here:  http://www.thefreedictionary.com/hanging+out

Windsocks are often hanging out…

A windsock can be a decorative yard ornament.

Copyright 2015 Linda Martin Andersen

Copyright 2015 Linda Martin Andersen

 

OR windsocks can serve as a device that shows the direction and strength of the wind at airfields.

This morning, I observed one of Nature’s Windsocks 

I saw an elm leaf suspended in the air and twirling in the breeze–one of nature’s windsocks.  I approached for a closer look.   The leaf hung from a spider’s thread.  The leaf was a hitch-hiker going for a free ride.  It was hanging out in the air.  Cool, huh?

Copyright 2015 Linda Martin Andersen

Copyright 2015 Linda Martin Andersen

Copyright 2015 Linda Martin Andersen

Copyright 2015 Linda Martin Andersen

 

Looking for a little summer science study?

  • Why do spiders dangle a leaf from their webs or does the wind blow them there?  At the Physics Forums site listed below, leaves like these are called Christmas ornaments or toys.  Reference:

https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/why-do-spiders-dangle-a-leaf-from-their-webs.539341/

Looking for a summer craft activity? 

 Looking for a summer writing prompt?

  • Write about a leaf caught in a spider’s thread and show how the leaf might explain his behavior.  What will leaf’s response be if Mother Leaf asks:
  1. It’s about time you showed up.  Where have you been?  I’ve been worried sick about you.
  2. Did you get lost?
  3. Did you follow the flight plan we talked about?
  4. Did you tell your brother and sisters goodbye or just float on away?
  5. Did you remember to dry yourself after the rain shower last night?
  • What are some silly responses leaf could give?  For example, I was just hanging out/around.
  • What other plants/trees can show the direction of the wind and its strength, like a windsock?  Write a story about one of them.

Share something you wrote based on this post or an experience you had with one of nature’s windsocks. 

Thanks for visiting.  Come again soon and bring a friend.  Comments are appreciated.  If you’re under 13 years old, please ask a trusted adult to post for you.

Posted in crafts, Family Discussions, Reading, Science, Writing, Writing Prompts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments »

Contribute to a Summer Notebook Project for KIDS

Posted by lindamartinandersen on May 27, 2015


 

 

A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074 “Contribute to a Summer Notebook Project for KIDS.”  This project is organized and coordinated by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater.  Reported by Linda Martin Andersen

Calling all ages, all professions..Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is seeking volunteers to contribute one or more summer notebook activities for KIDS. 

Write it as if to kids.  Make your exercise specific.  The posts should contain a few sentences of what to do and then kids Try It.  Include a photo of your sample notebook page.  See the link below for activities that have been submitted.

http://www.sharingournotebooks.amylv.com/p/summer-notebooking-try-it.html

 I have accepted the challenge.  Will you?  At my last count, 38 activities were posted.  Check here for more information. 

http://www.sharingournotebooks.amylv.com/2015/05/summer-kickoff-notes-from-amy-lv.html

Amy adds, “If each contributor tags one…it will grow!”

 I hope you’ll post an activity to Summer Notebooks.  Kids will appreciate it.

Thanks for visiting.  Come again soon and bring a friend.  Comments are appreciated.  If you’re under 13 years old, please ask a trusted adult to post for you.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Activities for teachers and parents, Games, Homeschool Activities, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Writing, Writing Prompts | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Forests Call to Me

Posted by lindamartinandersen on March 26, 2015


A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074 “Forests Call to Me” by Linda Martin Andersen

Last night,  some family members gathered for dinner at my sister’s new house.  My fifteen-year-old niece decorated her bedroom with a forest theme–her idea.  I’ve enjoyed watching her room transform.   She selected her own bedspread, which is printed in an artistic tree pattern.  She also chose the room’s accessories.  My favorite is a lit bare-branched tree, several feet tall, with an owl (stuffed animal) perched on a limb.  Obviously, the forests call to my niece.

Earlier this month, Tim Livingston shared a guest post on March 21 for International Day of Forests.  Tim is a forester artist.  He manages forests and photographs, sketches, and paints its beauty.  Forests and art are two of his passions.  See here:

https://lindamartinandersen.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/march-21-international-day-of-forests/

 

In 2013, Clarion Books published a poetry book called, Forest Has a Song, by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, one of my favorite poets.  It is also obvious that Amy hears the forests’ song.  See here:  http://www.amyludwigvanderwater.com/BOOKS.html

 

Forest has a song

Like my niece, Tim Livingston, and Amy Ludwig VanDerwater,  forests call to  me.  How do I know?  One way–the house where my husband and I live is off the highway, down a private dirt driveway, and  surrounded by trees.  We love seeing deer, foxes, hawks, and other wildlife in our yard.

Forests call to me.  Do they call to you?  In what way?  Please share your thoughts here.

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

 

Posted in Calendar Events, Careers, Monthly Activities, Science, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Prompts | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 22 Comments »

March 21–International Day of Forests

Posted by lindamartinandersen on March 21, 2015


A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074 “March 21–International Day of Forests” with guest blogger, Tim Livingston.

I can’t think of anyone I’d rather hear discuss International Day of Forests than Tim Livingston.  He’s the forester artist who blogs here:  http://theforesterartist.com/

Here’s Tim with lots to share…

International Day of Forests

image002

International Day of Forests is a day designated by the United Nations to promote the importance of trees and forests in our lives.  A worthy cause in my book for sure.  In the United State we’re fortunate to have a mature forestry profession.  I feel blessed to be a part of it.

image004

In contemplating what this day means to me, I reflect back on experiences that I’ve had. I have only practiced forestry in the United State, but I’ve had opportunities to interact with forestry professionals from other countries a few times during my career.

image006

Once, we were visited by a group of forestry professionals from Mexico. They toured our facilities and our woods operations. It was a positive experience for them and I hope they gained knowledge from us that they were able to put to good use. I’ve also had opportunity to tour a Mexican manufacturing facility during my tenure. It has been enlightening to see how things are done by our southern neighbor.

image008

We were also visited by a New Zealand forester who came to instruct us in the fine art of pruning conifers to enhance wood quality. It sounds simple enough, but the New Zealanders had developed pruning to a fine art. We learned a lot that we put into practice in our own forests.

Sharing forestry knowledge across borders benefits us all. Even when we think we are ones teaching, we are also learning.

image010

I was at Humboldt State University as a student when I had my most memorable international forestry moment. We were visited by a forestry exchange student from a Central American country. He was taking forestry classes for one quarter at HSU. I can’t remember which country he was from, but he had never been this far north. It was a cold December day when a student walked into the Forestry Building lounge and announced it was snowing. Our exchange student bolted for the door. Snow doesn’t fall in Arcata very often. It’s a low elevation coastal town. We students got up to go see the snow. When we stepped outside, here was our exchange student standing in the middle of the street spinning around with his arms and tongue out catching snowflakes. He was so excited and told us he had never seen snow before. It was a moment. The moment really had nothing to do with forestry, except that it was forestry that brought us all together.

 

image012

It’s International Day of Forests, so hug a tree. Then tell it thank you for all the wonderful things trees provide for us. The world would be a lot less comfortable and beautiful without trees.

Thanks so much, Tim Livingston for all you do to keep our forests healthy and beautiful.  Happy International Day of Forests, everyone!

Readers, if you’ve ever observed forests in other countries, I hope you will comment on how they are like your own and how they are different.

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

 

 

 

Posted in Activities for teachers and parents, Careers, Interviews, Monthly Activities, Science, Social Studies, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Prompts | Tagged: , , , , , | 16 Comments »

National Donor Day

Posted by lindamartinandersen on February 12, 2015


A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074“National Donor Day” by Linda Martin Andersen

My Motto for Today:  Good information.  Pass it on!

  • A friend shared this announcement on Facebook.  To learn more check this website:

http://www.giftofhope.org/

  • This same friend recently posted this newspaper article on Facebook.  Thanks, Mona!

http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-organ-transplant-years-saved-20150129-story.html.

Here are some of the share lines from the Los Angeles Times article:

  • Organ donors’ generosity added 2,270,859 years to the lives of transplant recipients, study says
  • Heart transplant patients got an extra 4.9 years of life, on average, thanks to organ donors
  • Study shows that kidney and pancreas transplants don’t merely extend lives, they save them.”

A fact from the article I’d like to emphasize:  ” All of this good news was tempered by one statistic, however: only 48% of patients sick enough to be put on the UNOS waiting list are able to get new organs, according to the study.”

If you’d like to know more about National Donor Day, check out these sites:

http://www.donoralliance.org/events/2015/2

Statistics: 

http://donatelife.net/statistics/

Today’s a great day to research organ, eye, tissue, and blood donation.   Need some general information?  Check here:

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/organ-donation-facts

http://www.organdonor.gov/becomingdonor/index.html?gclid=CLHl8_LzysMCFdNj7Aodtw8AdA

Follow up with a family discussion.  Kids:  What are your questions?  Adults:  What are yours?  Consider having a follow-up discussion in a few days or a week.  It takes time to process serious information.

Now what?

Please leave a comment.  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

 

 

Posted in Activities for teachers and parents, Calendar Events, Family Discussions, Science, Writing, Writing Prompts | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

 
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