A Writer's Playground

Monthly Activities for Kids by Linda Martin Andersen

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Posts Tagged ‘origami’

It’s Fall or Is it?

Posted by lindamartinandersen on October 29, 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.”

Excuse this interruption, but.. have you commented on Deanna Klingel’s guest post for a chance to win a handmade Origami bookmark?  It’s a great way to celebrate World Origami Days and Deanna’s upcoming book, Blue-Eyed Doll.  Enter by 7:00 p.m. on Oct. 31, 2015.  Click here to leave a comment:  https://lindamartinandersen.wordpress.com/2015/10/20/celebrating-world-origami-days-with-deanna-klingel-bookmark-giveaway/  Thank you.

Another request, please consider sending a poem or get well message to Joy Acey, a poet and friend, who has been unable to post to her daily poetry blog recently, due to a hurt hand.  Click here to cheer her day:  http://poetryforkidsjoy.blogspot.com/  Thank you again. 

And now to return to our regularly scheduled program.” (I always wanted to say that.)

“It’s Fall or is It?” by Linda Martin Andersen

Here’s a writing prompt for you…

“It’s Fall or is It?”  The pictures below show something that doesn’t seem right.  Contrary to the norm.  A contradiction.  See definition here:  http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/contradiction

Irises usually bloom in spring.  I promise I photographed these the same day as the burn bushes glowing red with fall color.  How can this be?  Were the irises transplanted and then burst into bloom on a warm fall day?  I don’t know.  Any other thoughts?

Copyright 2015, Linda Martin Andersen

Copyright 2015, Linda Martin Andersen

Burn bushes at T.H. Broyhill Walking Park in Lenoir, NC. Copyright 2015, Linda Martin Andersen

Burn bushes at T.H. Broyhill Walking Park in Lenoir, NC. Copyright 2015, Linda Martin Andersen

Iris in bloom at T.H. Broyhill Walking Park in Lenoir, NC. Copyright 2015, Linda Martin Andersen

Iris in bloom at T.H. Broyhill Walking Park in Lenoir, NC. Copyright 2015, Linda Martin Andersen


Think of other contradictions you’ve seen or heard and use them to prompt a writing exercise.  Here are a few more suggestions:

  1. He’s rich. (referring to a homeless man)
  2. I can make it on my own. (Can anyone, really?)
  3. A lion who is cowardly (Wizard of Oz).  Other book characters?



As always, thanks for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.”  Come again soon and bring a friend.  I hope you’ll leave a writing prompt suggestion of your own 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, Family Discussions, Homeschool Activities, Monthly Activities, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Prompts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments »

Celebrating World Origami Days with Deanna Klingel. Bookmark Giveaway

Posted by lindamartinandersen on October 20, 2015

A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074  Picture

Copyright 2015 Linda Martin Andersen. Created by Deanna K. Klingel, author.

Copyright 2015 Linda Martin Andersen. Created by Deanna K. Klingel, author.

“Celebrating World Origami Days With Deanna Klingel.  Bookmark giveaway.” by Linda Martin Andersen

Meet Deanna Klingel, author of these books and more under contract.  Recently, I commented on Deanna Klingel’s Facebook page.  Here’s a photo of a lovely Origami bookmark she sent me as a gift.  Would you like to have a chance to win one too?But first let’s see what the creator of this lovely bookmark and numerous books is up to.

Picture Avery's Crossroad PicturePicturePicture  Picture   Picture  PicturePicture

World Origami Week is Oct. 24–Nov. 11, 2015.  To celebrate, I invited Deanna Klingel to appear as a special guest author here at “A Writer’s Playground.” Thank you for accepting my invitation Deanna.

Years ago, I met Deanna at a writers’ conference and shortly after that, she published her first book. I didn’t have anything to do with that achievement, but I am certainly proud of her.

Deanna, please answer these questions for children and adults who would like to know more about you and your writing:

1.How long have you been writing? What age do you write for? I’ve really been writing all my life, but writing for publication only since my children grew up. I concentrate mostly on middle grade-YA, but I also have picture books for Pre K, and novels for high school.

2.What topics have you have written about for children? Please list each book and its main topic. Why did you choose these topics? Who publishes your books? How did you find these publishers? I have several different publishers because I write in many different genres. Some publishers don’t do picture books, others don’t publish non-fiction, some don’t want YA. One must really define and refine before finding the right publisher. Finding them is a combination of research, timing and luck.

The first book published was Just for the Moment, The Remarkable Gift of the Therapy Dog. This is a non-fiction collection of moments when my two therapy dogs made a difference in other people’s lives with their work as therapy dogs. I didn’t write it for children, but school librarians tell me the kids love it. I wrote it to educate about the therapy dog mission and to share my dogs. I self-published this book with Dog Ear Publishing in Indianapolis, because my dogs were elderly goldens. I wanted the book published while they were still alive. It was their book. Traditional publishing is a lengthy process. My dogs didn’t have that much time.

The next two, Avery’s Battlefield and Avery’s Crossroad are middle grade historical fiction, both are Stars & Flags National Book Award winners. Set in Virginia in 1861-1865, it’s the story of Avery Junior Bennett and his hound dog Gunner. My character, Avery, nudged me into this story which was published by BJU Press/Journey Forth. I’d about given up when their acquisitions editor talked with me at a conference and asked if she might see the manuscript.

Bread Upon the Water is nonfiction YA, the true story of a boy from South Vietnam who escapes as a boat person in order to follow his calling to the priesthood. Father Tien is a friend whose amazing story is an inspiration and needs to be read. It’s published by Rafka Press in Phoenix, which specializes in Catholic themes, a perfect home for this book.

Cracks in the Ice is YA fiction, a novel of a girl with a dream of Olympic gold in figure skating. This book was a Selah Award finalist. I wrote it after reading a YA “best seller” that glorified alcoholism as fun, cool and not dangerous, and never calling it by name. I wanted to tell young people the truth. Write Integrity in Georgia agreed and they published it.

Rock and a Hard Place, A Lithuanian Love Story, is biography about two people with a fascinating life, now in their 80s. The title refers to being caught between a Russian invasion and a German betrayal, and the love of country. It’s important history that’s being repeated today in Ukraine. Shari Parker Publishing, Texas, who I’d met at a conference, published it.

Amanda and the Lazy Garden Fairy, for primary readers, is a humorous picture book that deals with responsibility, written for the developing sense of humor. I wrote it for fun. This one is published by Progressive Phoenix Rising Press in Texas. I heard the CEO speak at a conference and took a chance. I was so happy with their product, I next submitted The Mysterious Life of Jim Limber, which they’ve also published.

Jim Limber is historical fiction. Actually, the first third of the book is nonfiction, biography based on the personal writings of Varina Davis. The middle third is historical fiction, the final third is Choose-Your-Own-Ending. It’s for YA readers. It’s a lot of fun, and adults are liking it, too. When I first heard the story of Jim Limber from a reenactor who embodies Varina Davis, I was fascinated. I started researching and discovered how much there was to this story. I headed for the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, VA, where I did the actual research.

The Little Beth Series is a Pre K-first grade picture book series of backyard nature. The intent is to get the kids outdoors and looking. The first is Beth’s Birds, and the second, soon to be released, is Beth’s Backyard Friends. This series was originally published by Peak City in Apex, NC, but recently they closed their business. Progressive Rising Phoenix rescued Little Beth and are publishing the entire series.

Later this year Walker Hound of Park Avenue, a chapter book about an incident in our animal shelter, will join the family at Progressive Rising Phoenix.

3.  What is your upcoming book Blue-eyed Doll about? When will it be available for purchase? Blue-Eyed Doll is releasing probably after the first of the year, from 4RV Publishing in Edmonton, Oklahoma. I don’t have a date yet, but the launch party is May 5. This is YA/ historical fiction about an actual event here in the United States in 1927. Nearly 13,000 dolls, collected by boys and girls across the country were shipped with passports and visas to the children in Japan as a world peace initiative. My story is about a little girl who wants to participate in this class project and send a friendship doll. She has to circumvent her bigoted father. The story tells how that project affected her world vision for the rest of her life. Her doll, Isabella, has her own story that catches up to Ruth Mary in the end. The story spans 1927-1947.

4.  I recently received an Origami bookmark that you made by hand. It is beautiful and I love mine. Why are you making these special bookmarks? I’m glad you liked it. I made 200 to promote the book Blue-Eyed Doll. (There’s a little blurb on the back, in case you missed that.) After the Friendship Dolls arrived, Japan reciprocated by sending beautifully crafted dolls to the U.S. known as the Ambassador Dolls. My little bookmarks represent the Ambassador Dolls.

5.  What are some places you plan to visit to tell about your doll book? Will you visit Japan? How do you decide where you will visit? I’m not going to Japan, but I do have some exciting places scheduled. I have a Power Point Presentation and costumes ready to go. There are several Ambassador Dolls in museums in the U.S. I contacted them all as soon as the book was under contract. Several of them are interested in having the program and putting their doll on display. The launch on May 5 is at a doll museum in my own state of North Carolina, in Spencer. Then I’m going to South Dakota and Montana, Maine, and other states that haven’t yet settled on a date. My program is for museum audiences as well as libraries and schools. It’s going to be great fun.

6.  Do you travel alone to school visits and other places where you are invited to speak? I usually do travel alone. I love to drive. I’ve gone to Texas, and Mississippi, as well as all the southeast. Occasionally my husband goes if it seems interesting, such as the 150th at Appomattox, or if it’s within a day to a family member. He’s going out west with me, we’re making that a vacation. I had a friend who used to enjoy going to the Civil War reenactments with me, but she’s moved to Oregon. I hope I can get out there.

7.  What is the largest audience you have ever spoken to? The smallest? Probably the largest was a middle school in Albemarle, North Carolina. The entire school was in the gym at the same time! The smallest was probably a precious little museum in Exmore on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. I think there were about seven or eight. Some museums have auditoriums, so those are usually pretty big groups. Appomattox should have been huge, but the weather and logistics were a disaster, so it turned out small.

8.  Do you find your own illustrators for your books or does the editor do that? My picture books are illustrated by Steve Daniels, a professional, who happens to be a friend as well, and he’s known to PRPP. Walker Hound’s illustrators came through PRPP.

9.  Who are Lily and Jessie? What makes them special? Do they ever attend school visits or other programs? Lily and Jessie were my two golden therapy dogs about whom Just for the Moment was written. They both had long and happy lives, I miss them still. You can read about all their beautiful visits and what makes them special in their book.

10. Promoting your books Avery’s Battlefield and Avery’s Crossroad takes you to reenactments and other historical sites. What is an experience you’ll never forget from one of these trips? I’ve had fun selling my books at reenactments. I’ve been to little towns I would never have known about and met the most wonderful, interesting Americans. I’ve a treasure chest of memories. I record them in my mini blog, Selling Books on Mondays and Thursdays. I share what I learn about travel, writing and marketing while on the road selling my books, like a little travelogue. One of my favorites is the story of the Bucket Truck Man, a true American, in Iuca, MS. Another time in KY, a little girl was so excited about her Halloween costume she jumped up and down telling me about it. She was going as Claire, the Civil War hospital nurse in my Avery and Gunner books. That really touched me.

11. What would you like to share that you haven’t been asked? Please do! My favorite blog is yours Linda. It reminds me of all the fun I had raising my kids, learning with them, helping school projects, and leading Scout troops and events. I relive the fun, creative parts of my life when I read your blog. Thanks so much for inviting me in.

Deanna, what a pleasure to have you visit and share more about yourself.  I also appreciate your compliment about my blog.  Thanks also for agreeing to donate one of your lovely bookmarks to celebrate the 2016 release of Blue-eyed Doll.  

Readers, to learn more about Deanna K. Klingel, please visit her here:  http://www.booksbydeanna.com/books.html

(Purchasing information is available here)

Writers, Deanna posts about selling books here on Mondays and Thursdays.  Good marketing tips and tips on school visits and other presentations.  See here:  http://www.booksbydeanna.com/blog-selling-books.html

If you’d like your name entered in a drawing for a handmade Origami bookmark, please comment below.  A random winner will be selected on October 31, 2015 at 7 p.m. EST.

Readers, 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, Careers, crafts, Family Discussions, History, Homeschool Activities, Interviews, Monthly Activities, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 17 Comments »

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 »

Jump on the November Writing Bandwagon! Get Ideas from Calendar Events.

Posted by lindamartinandersen on October 31, 2013

Jump on the November Writing Bandwagon!  Get Ideas from Calendar Events.” 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.

Jump on the November Writing Bandwagon. 

What is a bandwagon?  http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bandwagon 

Why would I say that there is a November writing bandwagon?  Because it’s true.  Read this article from 2012 for ideas shared about this writing movement.  http://thepaperwait.blogspot.com/2012/09/time-to-jump-on-nanowrimo-bandwagon.html  When I did a Google search, this article was first on the list.  I follow this particular group’s blog; so I chose it for a link.   Go Paper Wait group!

Those of you in the USA, what do you think of when you hear “November?”  My guess is that Thanksgiving would be the number one response.  If you’re a writer and you’d like to write a novel in a month (50,000 words),  you probably think of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) when someone says “November.”  Join others here:  http://nanowrimo.org/

If you prefer to write shorter works, but would still like to be part of a group, consider joining Tara Lazar’s program for Picture book writers called Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo).  The goal:  to record one picture book idea per day for the month of November.  http://taralazar.com/2013/10/01/piboidmo-logo-badge-and-guest-bloggers/

Here’s the badge I proudly display to show I am registered for PiBoIdMo.  Learn more below.


Julie Hedlund has posted a video as a promo for PiBoIdMo. http://taralazar.com/2013/10/27/pre-pibo-day-3-julie-hedlund/ She describes this as “the most wonderful time of the year.” 

Julie designed her own program to encourage writers to turn 12 picture book ideas into 12 manuscripts.  She suggests beginning with PiBoIdMo.  See here:  http://www.juliehedlund.com/12-x-12/

I have decided to comb the following November activities for picture book manuscript ideas.  Maybe you’d like to join me.  If not, consider celebrating one or more of the events mentioned here to add “spice to your life.” For the meaning of this expression, check here:  http://www.idiomquest.com/learn/idiom/spice-up-your-life/  By the way, many people add spices to holiday cooking, and it’s fast becoming that time of year!

Special Days in November:

  • National Authors’ Day:  1  Who is your favorite author(s)?  Have you read a biography or website/blog notes about the person?  Are there facts you’d like to share with a friend?
  • Cookie Monster Day:  2  How do you think this character got his name?  Research to see if you’re correct.
  • Cliche Day:  3  What is a cliche?  http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-cliches.html   Share one with someone and see if he/she knows what it means.  Listen for cliches this month.  Where did you hear them?  Who do you know who loves to use them?  Who do you know who says claims to hate them?  Why?
  • Jellyfish Day:  3  http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/kids/animals-pets-kids/invertebrates-kids/jellyfish-kids/
  • Sandwich Day:  3  Check out the history of the sandwich:  http://www.kidzworld.com/article/26495-history-of-the-sandwich
  • Fill Our Staplers Day:  4  Have you ever been asked to get the stapler for your teacher?  Did she run out of staples before finishing her project?  Should this job be added to the Helpers Chart in classrooms?  Why or why not?
  • International Tongue Twister Day:  10  What is your favorite tongue twister?  Listen for tongue twisters this month–ones that are well know and words or phrases that people have trouble saying and have to slow down to get right.  Can you write one of your own?
  • Origami Day:  11  I received an origami gift from a friend.  It was an origami wreath.  Children at a local school made origami cranes and sold them to help a charity event.  A friend decorated her Christmas tree with origami ornaments.  Tell other ways origami brings joy. 
  • Veterans Day:  11  Who is a veteran in your family?  In your neighborhood?  What organizations in your area serve veterans?   Does your church do anything special for the military?  Have you ever participated?
  • World Kindness Day:  13  List ways to show kindness.  Choose one or more to do on this day.  Who will you show kindness?  Can you show kindness to someone who is not a friend?  How?
  • Loosen Up, Lighten Up Day: 14  What does this message mean?  Who might need to hear this message?  Why? 
  • National American Teddy Bear Day:  14  Have you owned more than one teddy bear?  Make a drawing that includes some details from each one.  For example:  A wind-up key from one, a large red bow from another, and a favorite shirt from another.  Part of the bear might be brown, another part dark brown, and another part white.  Tell your parents what you remember about your favorite teddy bears.  Learn the jump rope chant about a teddy bear.  Recite it to your bears.
  • I Love to Write Day:  15  I love to write and I love learning to be a better writer.  What do you enjoy writing?  Do you like to text, pass notes, write in a diary, do research reports, etc.  Ask a friend what he/she likes to write. 
  • International Day for Tolerance:  16  What does tolerance mean?  http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tolerance  List things that come to mind when you hear this word.  Pick a cause from your list.  How can you show more tolerance?
  • National Button Day:  16  Have you ever sorted buttons, played with the buttons on a push button phone?  What other memories do you have with buttons?
  • National Day of Play:  16  What was the last time you did really silly, playful things?  What were they?  Who do you know who would never try something silly.  Challenge them to play today.  After all, it’s the perfect day for it. 
  • Name Your PC Day:  20  You give a pet a name, maybe even a stuffed animal.  How about your PC or Mac computer?  Ask your friends for suggested names.  Pick one.  Is it a nickname?  Do you know what a nickname is?  Would you want to choose one for your computer? 
  • Universal Children’s Day:  20  If you could meet a child from somewhere else in the world, where would you want the person to be from?  Why?  What three things would you choose to share with the person?  What would you ask the person?  What do you think you might be asked?
  • Great American Smokeout:  21  Research and learn more about this day.  Who do you know that is a smoker?  What new fact could you share after reading here?  http://www.cancer.org/healthy/stayawayfromtobacco/greatamericansmokeout/
  • World Television Day:  21  Check your TV guide and see how many programs about other countries are scheduled for today.  Which ones interest you?  Why?  What things in our country might interest viewers from elsewhere?  Why?
  • Family Volunteer Day:  23  What volunteer programs has your family participated in?  What programs would you like to add?  Many families get involved at Christmas.  Would that interest you?  Discuss volunteer project ideas with your family.
  • Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day:  24  What would you say is your unique talent?  How are you developing your talent so it improves?  How do you feel when you are actively using your talent?  Give an example.  How can you use your talent to help others? 
  • Mother Goose Day:  24  Name as many Mother Goose rhymes as you can.  How many can be sung?  Find a copy of the book and share a few rhymes with a younger sibling or read them to your parents.  See if they will act them out with you. 
  • National Day of Listening:  27  What do you enjoy listening to?  What is it difficult to listen to?  Why?  What can you do to be a better listener when it is difficult to do so?  Why is this important to learn?
  • Stay Home Because You’re Well Day:  30  When I read this one, it made me chuckle.  Why? It’s an example of irony.  What is irony?  See here.  http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/irony  Write an example of something ironic. 

Special Weeks: 

  • World Communication Week:  1-7  Are you able to communicate with people in other parts of the world?  How?
  • Health Information and Technology Week:  3-9  What are ways to gain health information and technology skills?  Which of these have you done?  Did you find it helpful?  Why or why not?
  • Give Wildlife a Brake! Week:  4-8  Why do you think “brake” is spelled this way?   Check here for ideas to make this a special time.  http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/give_wildlife_brake.html
  • Dear Santa Letter Week:  7-23  Why is it fun to write Santa?  Who else do you like to write letters?  Have you ever written thank you notes and sent them in the mail?  Have you ever made a special thank you card?  Do you have relatives in other states who you could write?  Maybe you could find a pen pal cousin.
  • Pursuit of Happiness Week:  7-13  What is the pursuit of something?  What do you pursue?  If you decide to pursue happiness this week, how will you go about it?
  • Geography Awareness Week:  10-16  What would be a meaningful way to study world geography?  Find places on a map where family members and friends live and places they visit. Keep the map posted for a year and see how the flagged spots grow.  What other things could you do for geography awareness?
  • National Farm-City Week:  22-18  Are you from the country, farm, city, suburbs?  What do you see when you make short trips to buy groceries, go to school, etc.?  A pen pal told me about her home in Sweden and I told her about my home in North Carolina.  It was fun.  What could you do?
  • National Game & Puzzle Week:  24-30  What games do you play with your family, with friends, with classmates?  How many pieces are in the puzzles you complete?  Do you like to put puzzles together alone or with others?  My mom sets up a card table and leaves the puzzle out until it is finished.  What do you do?

November is…

    • American and National Diabetes Month
    • Aviation History Month
    • Historic Bridge Awareness Month
    • Lung Cancer Awareness Month
    • National Adoption Month
    • National Novel Writing Month
    • National Family Literacy Month
    • National Peanut Butter Lovers Month
  • Choose one or more of these events and decide how to make it a special part of your month.  For example, several bridges are being repaired or replaced in my hometown.  I could read articles about these local projects.  I could also read nonfiction picture books about bridges or read a back issue of Cobblestone magazine about The Brooklyn Bridge.  Here is the teacher guide I wrote to accompany this particular magazine.  https://cobblestonepub.com/pdfs/COB/COB1003.pdf  I could  watch a documentary about The Brooklyn Burns by Ken Burns.. 

What will you celebrate this month?  What will you research?  What will you read about?  I look forward to reading your comments.

*Thank you Brownie Locks.com for November celebration information.  For more November observances check out: http://www.brownielocks.com/NOVEMBER2013.html

Please note:   Children 14 and under are not allowed to leave comments. It’s against the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. (COPPA)  See:  http://www.coppa.org/coppa.htm

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

Copyright © 2013 Linda Martin Andersen

Posted in Calendar Events, Careers, Character Traits, Games, Interviews, Math, Monthly Activities, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments »

November 2012–Calendar Activities for Kids

Posted by lindamartinandersen on November 1, 2012

“November 2012–Calendar Activities for Kids” 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 “November” bring to mind?

Thanksgiving, Veteran’s Day, Election Day, Black Friday, Christmas shopping.  What else happens in November?  Choose one of the conversation starters below and leave a comment.

Special Days in November:

  • Give Up Your Shoulds Day: 1 Listen for all the times you hear someone say “should” today.  Write down what is said.  Discuss why it might be a good idea to  give up “shoulds.”

  • National Authors’ Day:  1  Interview each member of your family.  Ask their top three favorite authors.  Does anyone repeat a name?  Learn something new about at least one of these authors.

  • Cookie Monster Day:  2  Make up a trivia sheet about Cookie Monster.  Quiz family or friends.  Who knew the most correct answers?  Make blue icing by mixing blue food coloring in white canned icing.  Spread on cookies for treats today. 

  • Cliche Day:  3  Research cliches.  What is your favorite?  Finish these:  egg on my _____, don’t look a gift horse in the _____, passed with flying _____, eat _____(bird), mind your Ps and _____, chip on your______, chip off the old _______, and crocodile _______.

  • Sandwich Day:  3  What is your favorite sandwich?  Is it made with loaf bread or a bun?  Is it toasted, with sesame seeds, or plain?  Write the steps for making your sandwich.  Let someone follow your directions.  Did it turn out correctly?

  • Use Your Common Sense Day:  4  Give an example of using your common sense.  Have you ever heard someone say, “He has book learning but no common sense?”  What does that mean?

  • Election Day:  6  How old must you be to vote in national elections in the United States?  What is absentee voting?  Who might use it?  Did your school have an election for students?  Does your school have Student Government or Class Officers?

  • National Parents as Teachers Day:  8  Name something your parents have taught you to do.  Thank them for it today.  Is there something else you would like them to teach you, such as how to make cupcakes?  Ask if they can teach you this week.

  • X-ray Day:  8  Have you ever had an x-ray?  Where you at the dentist, or the hospital?  Have you ever broken a bone?  Write a story that includes someone who has an x-ray.

  • Domino Day:  9  Do you have any dominoes?  Have you ever lined them up and tapped one which began a chain reaction?  Try it again today.  Learn to play the game of dominoes if it is new to you.  Research other chain reactions. 

  • International Tongue Twister Day:  11 Look for books listing tongue twisters.  Find someone who will try saying some of these with you.  Examples:

    “She sells seashells by the seashore.”

    “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.”

  • Origami Day:  11 Would you like to learn to fold paper and create origami objects?  Books contain instructions for making easy and difficult items such as jungle animals, ones under the sea, Christmas decorations, and others.

    Have you read any fiction books about origami?   Some suggestions include:  The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger and Lissy’s Friends (picture book) by Grace Lin. 

    Lissy’s Friends by Grace Lin. Used with permission

  • Veterans Day:  11  How will you remember veteran’s today?  Will there be a parade in your town?  What other special events are scheduled?

  • World Kindness Day:  11  Brainstorm ways to show kindness.  Underline the ones you’d like to have happen to you.  Choose one of these to do for someone else.

  • Veteran’s Day (observed):  12  See November 11.

  • National American Teddy Bear Day:  14  Do you have a teddy bear?  What is the bear wearing?  Do others have teddy bears in your house?  Write an adventure about the teddy bears in your house.  Do you know the origin of teddy bears?  Research and see.

  • America Recycles Day:  15  Name products that can be recycled.  Research products that are made from recyclables.  Find a nonfiction book about recycling.  Tell someone something you learned.

  • Great American Smokeout:  15  What is this day?  Research and see.  Create a poster that shows what this day stands for.  Where can you display it?

  • Guinness World Record Day:  15  Research Guinness World Records.  What are three Guinness world records you’d like to read about?  What is the most unusual record you saw?  Tell someone about it. 

  • I Love to Write Day:  15  What do you love to write?  Jokes, riddles, poems, short stories, letters?  Write one and give it to someone you love.

  • Homemade Bread Day:  17  Name the types of homemade bread you’ve eaten.  Which is your favorite?  Have you ever made bread?  Was it baked in a loaf pan, a biscuit pan, or something else?  Name three or more of the ingredients.  Have you ever used a rolling pen?  Write the steps for baking bread or write a story about baking.

  • National Unfriend Day:  17  Why would you unfriend someone?  Why is this day celebrated?  Where can you unfriend someone?  Would you like for someone to unfriend you?

  • National Day of Play: 17  Name things you like to play.   Number these in order of most liked to least liked.  Which is number one?  Which is last?  Star the ones you play with friends.  Do you play more with others or alone?

  • Mickey Mouse Day:  18  What facts do you know about Mickey Mouse?  Who is Minnie Mouse?  Where can you learn more about Mickey Mouse?  What is the Mickey Mouse Club?  Research about it.

  • Push-button Phone Day:  18  When did phones begin to have push-buttons?  What was used before push-buttons?  What can you do to celebrate this day?  Look for photographs of old phones.

  • Thanksgiving Day:  22  Read Thank You, Sarah:  The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving by Laurie Halse Anderson and illustrated by Matt Faulkner.

  • Buy Nothing Day:  23-24  What does it mean to “window shop?”  Have you ever done it?  Research if you do not know the meaning of the expression.  What do you think about “Buy Nothing Day?”  Would you be pro (for) celebrating?  Why or why not?  Why do you think it is celebrated?

  • National Day of Listening: 23.  Sometimes it is listed as Nov. 27.  Make a list of people you listen to.  Place a check beside the ones you listen to well.  Who could you listen to better?  How?

  • Cyber Monday:  26  What is Cyber Monday?  How do people celebrate?  Why?

Special Weeks in November:

  • American Education Week:  11-17  How is this week celebrated?  Have you ever made a school project for this week?  If so, what was it?  Where did you display it?  How is education in American different from other countries.  Where did you find your information?  What educational advantages do you have? 

    Do you know what this is?  How is it used?  How is it gathered?

    Fall 2012. Close up. Copyright Linda Andersen

    Fall 2012. Copyright Linda Andersen

  • Geography Awareness Week:  11-17  Can you spell geography?  Here is a mnemonic device for spelling this word:

    G-George, E-eats, O-old,  G-gray,  R-rats, A-and, P-paints, H-houses, Y-Yellow.

    This memory device reminds me of Curious George and the man with the yellow hat.  The author of the Curious George series by H.A. Rey and Margaret Rey.  Find these locations on a world map or globe: Germany, France, and Massachusetts. 

    Name another book title this memory device reminds you of such as Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien.  Research places the author lived and locate them on a world map or globe. 

    Here are two more memory devices for spelling geography: 

    G-General, E-Eisenhower’s, O-oldest, G-girl, R-rode, A-A, P-pony, H-home, Y-yesterday. 

    G-George, E-Emerson’s O-old, G-grandmother, R-rode, A-a, P-pig, H-home, Y-yesterday. (Several different last names were listed with this one) 

    What other ones do you know?

  • World Kindness Week:  12-18  Name an act of kindness for an animal.  Name an act of kindness for a younger child.  Name an act of kindness for an older neighbor.  Name an act of kindness for a friend.  Name an act of kindness for a parent.  How many of these can you do today?

  • National Bible Week:  18-24  Do you have a Bible?  Do you have favorite Bible stories?  Do you know one with children?  Who could you tell this story?

  • National Family Week:  18-24  What is something fun your family does together?  Our family has an annual hayride.  Tell about a fun outing you had with your family.  Look at a family photo album.  Find three of your favorite memories. 


November is…

  • Aviation History Month  What facts stand out in aviation history? Develop an aviation history timeline.  If you could interview someone living or deceased, who would it be?  What books would you recommend to a friend about aviation?

  • Family Stories Month  Share your favorite family stories.  Consider recording them or writing them down.  A night of stories by the fireplace or a campfire would make the event extra special.

  • Military Family Appreciation Month  Do you know families who are military?  Are there children in the family?  Does your school have a club for children who have parents in the military?  Does the school have Military Appreciation events?  What do you do to make children in this family feel welcome?

  • National Adoption Month  Have you  ever wondered if you were adopted?  Have you ever thought you’d like to adopt children?  Do you know adults who have traveled to other countries to adopt a child or children?  Do you know people who are adopted?  Have you ever read a book about a character who is adopted?  Was it fiction or nonfiction?  Look for books about adoption at the library.

  • National Family Caregivers Month  What is a family caregiver?  What are some of the duties of a caregiver?  What are some ways a child can help care for others.  Look for books at the library.

  • National Native American Heritage Month  Read books about Native Americans and Native American cultures.

  • National Novel Writing Month  Some adults sign up for NaNoWriMo to write a novel in the month of November.  Maybe you could write a book review or report for your favorite book or write a paragraph about a favorite book character.  Make a list of your favorite books.  Ask a friend to suggest book titles. 

  • National Peanut Butter Lovers Month  What is your favorite peanut butter food?  Do you know anyone allergic to peanuts?  Have you ever been in a classroom that was peanut-free?

*Thank you Brownie Locks.com for November celebration information.  For more November observances check out: 


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.

*Resources:  http//vertex42.com (calendar) and http://www.brownielocks.com/november.html(calendar observances)

Copyright © 2012 Linda Martin Andersen


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

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