Friday, July 10, 2015

Speech Bubble Fun

Well, it is about time I publish something. I've been working on a book and devoting my time to far too many volunteer activities and thus neglecting some things--like my blog! I am still sending fun things every other week or so to the grand-kiddos who live out of state but have been remiss in posting them. I used to be committed to posting once a week. My new resolution is once a month. (I may be able to stick to that!)

These "What might they say?" pages are a fun way to add to the conversation.This was an easy one to do because what is needed is so readily available. Everyone gets cards--especially funny ones. Instead of throwing them out after the event, I cut out the characters and then glue them to a white sheet of paper. (Pre-fold the paper if you're going to mail this in a standard envelope.) Adding an empty speech bubble allows for the recipient to suggest what each is saying. You should have heard what some of the kiddos thought these characters said--very funny.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween Crafts

With Halloween just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to post some of the fast, fun and just about free crafts that I've done with, or for, my grand kiddos this year~

Craft 1: Happy Halloween Collage 

All you need for this craft is a piece of paper or cardboard any size you want, scissors, glue and a lot of Halloween newspaper or magazine ads that you would normally throw away. (Packaging tape and index cards and pens are optional.) 

When you have some time or are watching a TV show, you can sit and snip out pictures. Glue them randomly on the paper (or cardboard). You can't make a mistake. If you don't like one thing you glued in place, glue another thing over it. Glue lots of fun stuff all over the paper. To make this collage sturdier, use strips of clear packaging tape taped to the collage face. Lastly, I like to then add an index card that challenges the recipient to find specific items I've glue in place. (I lightly tape the card to the edge of the collage so that it can be easily removed. Since I'm sending these to several children at a time I want the card to be with the collage--at least when it first arrives.) Note: If you're making a collage for a very young child, you may want to outline on the back where the specific "hide and seek" items can be found. These challenges can easily be adapted to fit the age of the recipient. 

I've made these for my grand kiddos and they've made their own and challenged me! They also like to ask me to find additional things in the collages I've made for them. 

Craft 2:  Dryer Sheet Ghostie

While folding laundry recently I began to throw away a spent dryer sheet. I thought, "This would make a good ghost!" 
Cotton ball, yarn, spent dryer sheet
All you need is a spent dryer sheet, a cotton ball and a scrap piece of yarn long enough to tie and hang. (glue, "eyes" and a marker are optional.)
Tie the cotton ball in place

Place the cotton ball "head" in the middle of the dryer sheet and tie in place with the yarn making sure to allow one length of the yarn long enough for your ghostie to hang. Voila! You have a ghost! 

I decided to embellish my ghostie by gluing a few bright hole punch dots in place and then adding some expression with a magic marker dot to the center of each eye. 

Eyes optional 
Florescent green eyes are good.

Craft 3: Make Your Own Jack-o-lantern Card

Instead of purchased Halloween cards this year, I found some autumn, plain pumpkin cards in a craft bin and thought they'd be great for making Jack-o-lanterns. This way, I could write a note inside, but each child could design his/her own Jack-o-lantern. I found a sheet of adhesive-backed, black, glitter paper and cut it into several mailable pieces. In each envelope I enclosed a message in the pumpkin and the piece of glitter paper. On the white side of the glitter paper, each child can trace eyes, a nose and a mouth and cut them out. This way, their own pumpkins turn into their own Jack-o-lanterns. Can't wait to see what the kiddos come up with!
Purchased pumpkin--or make your own.

If you need to, simply cut an orange piece of paper in the shape of a pumpkin. I just happened to find these cards and it saved me one step and all four of the kiddos would have the same pumpkin shape with which to start. Loved the fact that yellow envelopes were provided too. Even if all the cards go in one larger envelope to be assured they all arrive on the same day, it is still nice to have a separate envelope for each kiddo to open. 
A personal note goes inside.

Everyone can create his/her own Jack-o-lantern with the adhesive backed glitter  paper. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Critters are Cool

Critters are Cool is my new book of poetry for kids. (But adults will love it too!) It joins the other "Celebrating Poetry that Fits in Your Pocket" books: When Magic Helps Us Steer and Happy Birthday, Florida!

Five-lined Skink
Critters are Cool features all sorts of animals--some unusual and some well-known--presented in poetry form. Kiddos can learn a lot about these special animals while enjoying the word play and black and white illustrations. This book will make it fun to learn about animals and will encourage additional exploration.

From aardvarks and blue-footed boobies to zebroids--there's a lot to learn about in the animal kingdom.

April is National Poetry Month, but poetry is fun all year long. In the back of this book there is a pocket pattern to encourage children to copy and share a poem they love.

Happy reading!

Blue-footed boobies

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Reusing Seed Catalogs---Making Matches

Time to recycle the old seed catalogs. But before throwing them out, consider turning some of the pictures into a matching game for the kiddos. In these catalogs there will be a lot of similar pictures and each is bright and a good representation of the fruit or veggie. In the first picture, I've simply cut out  two pictures each for each fruit and vegetable used. I glued the pictures in place. Something on the right side matches another picture on the left side. The first line is dotted for the child to trace. Then, the child matches the other pictures in a similar way. (This is a good activity for starting a discussion on good eating habits too.)

Matching Game 1
More. . .
Matching Game 2 (Veggies)

This matching game requires putting a larger picture down one side of the page and then cutting out smaller pictures of the same fruit or veggie. I glued the first pictures in place and then glued the smaller pictures onto sticky tabs. The child can see the picture and read the word. Then, peeling off the backing, the child can match the words with the larger pictures and stick each one in the space provide.
Matching Game 2 (Fruits)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


The hummingbirds are zipping through the yard and I'm working on my new book, Critters are Cool. Of course, that inspired me and I've put a hummingbird poem in the book too. I sent a video of the birds at the feeders to the kiddos in TX and thought that perhaps they'd like hummers of their own so I immediately had the theme for my letter. I based the bird on bilateral symmetry cutting out several plain white ones at a time. I'm sure they'll make them colorful on their own. The letter suggests that they hold the tails and move the birds up and down quickly in order to have the critters "fly."

I also cut out some small pictures of hummingbirds from the purchased hummingbird feeder food carton. (I purchased it once just to get the container that I could continue to refill with my homemade food.)

The grandkiddos who live locally put out feeders too and now call their big classroom window--bird TV.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Countdown to a Visit

The last time I went to visit the grand-kiddos I estimated the number of days between when they'd get the letter I was sending and my arrival date. Then, I lightly glued little planes (cut from credit card promotional materials) to represent the days. (I made sure to have a few extra planes at the front end so that when the kiddos got the letter they could already remove, or X-out, a few of the planes.)

The children took turns taking off, or X-ing out, a plane. It was like a "count down to Christmas" only this time the countdown was a "count down to Mom-Mom" coming to visit.

The children love getting different and unusual letters each week in the mail.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Labeling Fun

Helicopters and Planes to Label
The grandkids in TX love to get letters in the mail. Even with all the electronic connections, the good old-fashion mailbox holds a special place in their hearts. I send a letter each week. Sometimes it's difficult to come up with so many ideas each year, but thus far, I've managed. Some of the ideas overlap. I might send a collage for each season and have the children get out magnifying glasses (I provided inexpensive plastic ones on one trip--anticipation for an upcoming letter) to study the collage and find things, but even those will be of different themes.

Labeling is always fun and I was able to find brochures that had cool pictures of things of interest to the children. The helicopters and biplanes even had the "word cards" easily trimmed from the brochure.