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Friday, August 26, 2016


Okay, some places it's time for school to start again. But there is still going to be summer weather for a while even where winters get icy cold.  So here are ten things you should definitely try while you can enjoy getting outside.

1.  Make something out of mud. Even better do it after it's rained. What is that mud like? How is different from dry dirt? Is there one way it's still the same? Take pictures of what you made and send me one to share here. 

2. Play flashlight tag in the dark. 

3. Go on a shadow hunt to find the following shadows. But take an adult along because grown-ups need to have fun too:
a. Find a shadow with a bright hole in it.
b. Find the biggest shadow you can. Figure out what made it.
c. Find the littlest shadow you can. Figure out what made it.  

4. Fly a kite. But make one first. Here are sites with easy how-to instructions.

5. Make a FOOT painting. Sure, you've probably done fingerprinting. But have you ever painted with your feet? It will really let you STEP UP as an artist. Try mixing your own paints first. Here's some how-to sites to help you. Then send a picture of your art work. I'll share it on my blog. :-)!


6. Look at the world through a magnifying glass. Especially something you never thought to look at closely before. See anything that surprised you?  

7. Put on a puppet show with puppets you make yourself. Here's some sites with ideas to help you do just that.

8. Learn one constellation you didn't know in the night sky. Find out what story people used to tell about it. Then make up a new story yourself.

Here's my favorite constellation ORION. And here's a couple of sites with star stories, including ones about Orion.

Hope you have fun with these activities. I'll share more soon. And, of course, I'm always as close as reading one of my books. Like BUTTERFLY TREE. It's about a special kind of surprise that happened to me once right about this time of year. 


Monday, August 8, 2016


It's back to school time. 
Let's make this a colorful year!

How perfect that for the very first time ever August has been declared NATIONAL CRAYON COLLECTION MONTH. 
The idea launched by Sheila Morovati, President and Founder of Crayon Collection is to help insure every child going back to school has a supply of crayons to fuel their creativity. The source of this valuable resource is all of those local restaurants who provide crayons for children to color while waiting for dinner. I think it's brilliant for three reasons:
1. Children get crayons to make their school life colorful.
2. Teachers who spend their own money adding supplies to what's provided in their classrooms save money, which they'll probably spend on other things for their classrooms. Teachers do that I know from personal experience. :-)
3. Ever wonder where all the old restaurant crayons go? To landfills! So this helps the environment.

So if you take this challenge, here are some restaurants to contact to collect crayons. Of course, you'll need to make the commitment to visit monthly for a few months and collect what they save for you.
For some great ideas (divided into grade level groups) for putting those crayons to use check out this site Crayon Collection Curriculum. You can share photos of your crayon collections and crayon art by using #GotCrayons on social media to encourage others to participate and to show how simply you can gain access to thousands of crayons. 
Kid Friendly Restaurants
IHOP                                          Denny’s
Applebees                                  BJ’s
Cracker Barrel                            Olive Garden
California Pizza Kitchen            Outback
Island’s Restaurants                   Buffalo Wild Wings
Bubba Gump
And, of course, being National Crayon Collection Month, August is the perfect time to share several of my favorite children's books that star crayons.

Red: A Crayon's Story (Michael Hall/Greenwillow Books, 2015)

Red has a bright red label, but he is, in fact, blue. His teacher tries to help him be red (let's draw strawberries!), his mother tries to help him be red by sending him out on a playdate with a yellow classmate (go draw a nice orange!), and the scissors try to help him be red by snipping his label so that he has room to breathe. But Red is miserable. He just can't be red, no matter how hard he tries! Finally, a brand-new friend offers a brand-new perspective, and Red discovers what readers have known all along. He's blue! This funny, heartwarming, colorful picture book about finding the courage to be true to your inner self can be read on multiple levels, and it offers something for everyone.

The Day The Crayons Quit (Drew Daywalt/Philomela Books, 2013)

Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: His crayons have had enough! They quit! Beige Crayon is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown Crayon. Black wants to be used for more than just outlining. Blue needs a break from coloring all those bodies of water. And Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking—each believes he is the true color of the sun.

What can Duncan possibly do to appease all of the crayons and get them back to doing what they do best?

Plus there's lots more ways kids can be creative with crayons. Check out these websites.

Whatever you do with all of those recycled crayons is bound to make this new school year super colorful!