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.

Posts Tagged ‘Mary Livingston’

N is for Neighbors, Nests, and Notebooks

Posted by lindamartinandersen on April 16, 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  “N is for Neighbors, Nests, and Notebooks” 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/

N is for Neighbors

Do you live in a neighborhood in the city, country, along the shore, in the suburbs, or elsewhere?  My husband and I live down a dirt road in the country, although the road we live off is dotted with motels near the interstate.    Where we stay, deer and other wildlife are our neighbors.  The closest building to us is a church. We love where we live and appreciate that our human and animal neighbors are good to us.  How about you?

This blog post talks about revising your writing by searching for obvious needed changes and ones not so obvious.


Here is a photo of one of our neighboring motels.  Is there a need for change here?  If so, is it obvious or not so obvious?

Copyright 2015 Linda Martin Andersen


N is for Nests

Have you ever found a bird’s nest?  Where?  Every spring, a bird nest is built on our front porch.  Once a bird built in a wreath hanging on my front door.  We have found nests in large azaleas in our yard too.  One of the most fascinating bird nest stories and video I recall is shared on Mary Livingston’s blog.  Learn more about turkey vultures here:




N is for Notebooks

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater has a blog called “Sharing Our Notebooks.”  Stefanie Cole’s post about notebooks is awesome,  plus there’s a book giveaway.  Check it out here:  http://www.sharingournotebooks.amylv.com/2016/04/stefanie-cole-notebooks-are-important.html

I keep lots of notebooks.  Some contain writing tips, some organize health information, and another is a journal of things seen outdoors different days of the year.  My goal was to complete a year’s study, but I fell short.  There’s always another day.  Right?

What “N” 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!

Posted in Activities for teachers and parents, Family Discussions, Homeschool Activities, humor, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Prompts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments »

April Inspired a Poem

Posted by lindamartinandersen on March 31, 2014

“April Inspired a Poem…” by Linda Martin Andersen

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.

Just for fun…Choose a month.  I chose April, which is National Poetry Month.  List the sequence of months that follow and let that inspire a poem.  Here’s mine:

April, May, June, July–

Decided to make an apple pie.

Baked, cooled, and sampled it.

Naughty me–didn’t share a bit.

Sharing about some favorite blogs…

  • Recently, I subscribed to a poet’s weekly blog post.  Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s blog is called The Poem Farm.  Visit her blog here:   


  • When I was a child, my grandfather used to say that if the first words spoken in a new month were, “Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit,” you would have good luck.  Occasionally, I remembered.   When I read Tim Livingston’s recent post entitled “Forestry Friday…Otter, Otter, Otter,” the title’s repetition reminded me of the rabbit superstition.  Perhaps saying otter three times will bring you good luck or fun, fun, fun.  Tim’s blog is definitely, a fun site to visit.


  • Another recent favorite is Mary Livingston’s blog.  She’s Tim’s wife.  See her terrific spring art here: 


  • To read more about saying “rabbit,” check out these sites: 




April brings…

Confederate History Month 

Jazz Appreciation Month

Keep America Beautiful 

Month of the Young Child

Math Awareness Month –Here are two math poems:

It’s Pi Day  http://www.poemfarm.amylv.com/2014/03/its-pi-day-celebrate-314159.html


Month of the Military Child 

National Child Abuse Prevention Month National

Card and Letter Writing Month

 National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month  As a child, this was one of my favorite things served in the school cafeteria.  What is one of your favorite dishes?

National Garden Month 

National Humor Month

National Kite Month  Have you ever flown a kite?  If not,  I hope you won’t let April slip past without trying it.

National Poetry Month   Enjoy Joy Acey’s reading of one of her poems:  “How Tall is the Boy?”  http://www.nowaterriver.com/portfolio/poetry-videos/

Straw Hat Month Describe your favorite hat and tell where you like to wear it.

Stress Awareness Month


Special Weeks in April…

Golden Rule Week: 1-7  Can you quote the golden rule?  What helps you keep it?

Bat Appreciation Week: 6-12 (First Full Week)

 National Library Week: 13-19 (2nd full week)

National Park Week: 19-27  How many can you name?  How many have you visited?

Bedbug Awareness Week: 20-26

Coin Week: 20-26 ( 3rd  Full Week) 

International Whistlers Week: 20-26  Check out music by Phyllis Heil, my favorite whistler.  http://www.thewhistlingwoman.com/

National Playground Safety Week: 21-25 

Special Days in April…

April Fools  or All Fools Day: 1

National Fun Day: 1  

National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day: 2 What flavor jelly do you like with your peanut butter?  Do you ever eat honey instead? 

Find A Rainbow Day: 3  I know where to see a rainbow any day.  Check Laura Renegar’s blog:  My Side of the Rainbow.  http://laurarenegar.blogspot.com/2014/03/a-pitmad-victory-winters-hibernation.html#comment-form

Pony Express Day: 3

Weed Out Hate: Sow The Seeds of Greatness Day: 3

“Sorry Charlie” Day: 6

Winston Churchill Day: 9 

D.E.A.R. Day (aka Drop Everything And Read): 12 What are you reading now?

National Dolphin Day: 14

Jackie Robinson Day: 15

Ellis Island Family History Day: 17

National Haiku Poetry Day: 17   Included here in memory of Maureen Wartski, a dear, departed friend who wrote haiku poetry and shared it with her readers:  http://maureenwartski.wordpress.com

Poem In Your Pocket Day: 17

 Earth Day: 22

Eeyore’s Birthday Day: 26  Do you know who Eeyore is?  Where does he live?  Name two of his friends.  Which one are you most like?  Why?  

Richter Scale Day: 26  What does this scale measure?  Why is it important?

Save The Frogs Day: 26  My husband loves frogs.  Do you?  Why do you think there is a day for saving the frogs?  Research to learn more.

Holocaust Remembrance Day: 27  What have you read that tells of this period in history?

Bugs Bunny Day: 30

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

Let’s talk:  Choose one or more of the conversation starters above and leave a comment.  Thank you for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.”  Please come again soon.  Bring a friend.

Children 13 years old or older may leave a comment–Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. (COPPA) See:  http://www.coppa.org/coppa.htm

Copyright © 2014 Linda Martin Andersen

Posted in Careers, Character Traits, Games, Interviews, Math, Monthly Activities, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

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: 




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!



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. 


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

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments »

A Sunshine Award for A Writer’s Playground

Posted by lindamartinandersen on December 27, 2012

“A Sunshine Award for ‘A Writer’s Playground'” 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.

YES!  I was awarded a blogger award called The Sunshine Award 

for bloggers “who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.”

 The Sunshine Award

What a compliment!  Thank you, Joan Edwards for selecting “A Writer’s Playground” for The Sunshine Award.  

Please take a moment to visit Joan at http://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2012/12/25/i-gave-the-sunshine-award-to-10-bloggers/

Here are the rules for the Sunshine Award:

Thank the person who gave this award in the beginning part of a post about it.

Answer the questions below.

Pass on the award to 10 (1 selected four) fabulous bloggers, link their blogs, and let them know you awarded them.

Here are my favorites:

Favorite Color –green

Favorite Animal –lamb

Favorite Number –3

Favorite Drink –hot chocolate

Facebook or Twitter –Not at this time.  I prefer to email or call a friend.

Your Passion –writing

Giving or getting presents –giving

Favorite Day –Friday

Favorite Flowers –hyacinths

Now, it’s my turn to recognize some fellow blogger friends with The Sunshine Award.


1.  From the Mixed-up Files at http://www.fromthemixedupfiles.com/  A definite ray of sunshine for middle grade readers and writers.  The latest post by Sue Cowing features an independent bookstore in Kansas City MO called Reptile Readers.  You’ve got to check it out.  Other independent book stores are featured in posts, along with book reviews based on themes, and even giveaways.  It’s a super blogging group.

2.  ReaderKidZ at http://www.readerkidz.com/ This site posts book reviews by themes for younger readers.  It features authors-in-residence and resources for parents and teachers.  ReaderKidZ  deserves to be recognized for recommending quality reading materials that brighten a child’s face like sunshine brightens a day.  Another quality blogging group.

3.  The Forest Artist at http://theforesterartist.com/  This site is posted by Tim Livingston, a forester who is also an artist.  He and his wife, The Backdoor Artist, appreciate nature and its beauty.  They are willing to belly crawl for just the right photograph of wildlife.  They see the beginning of each new day together and capture it in their art.  It’s my honor to present them each with the Sunshine Award.

4.  The Backdoor Artist at http://thebackdoorartist.com/2012/10/09/wings-of-autumn/  I spotlighted this particular post because turkey buzzards just flew in my yard.  Mary Livingston’s post mentions a book she’s creating about these birds.  She finds beauty where most only see ugly.  Sounds like she’s someone who deserves the Sunshine Award to me.

*Applause!*  Now, I’d like to ask these bloggers to please pass The Sunshine Award to other bloggers.  Keep the rays shining bright.

Thank you for joining us at “A Writer’s Playground.”  Come again soon and bring a friend.

Copyright © 2012 Linda Martin Andersen

Posted in Careers, Character Traits, Games, Interviews, Math, Monthly Activities, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

%d bloggers like this: