What Do We Do All Day http://www.whatdowedoallday.com Books and Activities for Kids Tue, 21 Apr 2015 09:25:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.2 10 SUPER Easy Rainy Day Crafts http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/04/easy-rainy-day-crafts.html http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/04/easy-rainy-day-crafts.html#respond Tue, 21 Apr 2015 09:25:55 +0000 http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/?p=12540 When the kids want something a little more structured than the usual free play (which is the norm around here) I sometimes encourage them to do art or a simple craft with me. We aren’t the craftiest of folks but we’ve tried this ideas for easy rainy day crafts and they have all been a...
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When the kids want something a little more structured than the usual free play (which is the norm around here) I sometimes encourage them to do art or a simple craft with me. We aren’t the craftiest of folks but we’ve tried this ideas for easy rainy day crafts and they have all been a success.

Incredibly easy rainy day crafts for kids.

(Note: this post contains affiliate links.)

We had a huge rain storm yesterday, so instead of our usual run-around at the park and leisurely walk home from school we ran for cover. While we were running I racked my brain for something to do with the boys in case they needed some quick and easy entertainment at home. We ended up working on the science of color experiment from our latest Kiwi Crate. We love Kiwi Crate because it is a craft box for moms like me who “can’t deal with crafts”! (Read my post about our total adoration of Kiwi Crate here.)

However, there are some super easy rainy day crafts that you can keep on your list of last minute ideas for the kids. If you’re inclined to get out the markers, check out 15 of the simplest drawing activities.

1. Make a paper boat. This is perfect for a rainy day because when the rainfall is over, you can sail it in some friendly puddles. When I did this with my son I learned a lot about good techniques for crafty with a non-crafty kid!

2. Make paper dolls. My son turned them into Star Wars clone troopers. How cool is that?

3. Make a simple sail boat. These are different than the paper boats above and even better for younger kids because they don’t involve a lot of folding.

4. Make and fly paper airplanes and design your own landing strips. Make it easy on yourself: we ADORE this paper airplane book which even comes with paper. It has saved many an afternoon. The instructions are so thorough and it has some excellent plane designs.

5. Make duct tape bracelets or watches. Tiny Rotten Peanuts shows you how.

6. Make and fly indoor paper boomerangs.

7. Make paper building blocks. Babble Dabble Do shows you how.

8. Make straw rockets. The Pleasantest Thing shows you how.

9. Make window art and stare out at the rain! Vinyl Contact Paper is my arch nemesis (so environmentally unfriendly!) but a wonderful rainy day craft is to create art for the windows. Fortunately, The Artful Parent has a great idea for a sun catcher that doesn’t use vinyl sticky paper.

10. Make ninja stress balls!! Frugal Fun for Boys shows you how. Let me tell you, when you are trapped at home on a rainy day with two rowdy boys you need some stress relief!

BONUS CRAFT: My boys love these transforming ninja stars. They do take some patience, but the folding technique is not difficult at all.

Do you have any EASY but fun crafts to do on a rainy day with the kids?

 

 

 

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Superhero Chapter Books for Kids age 6-10 http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/04/superhero-chapter-books.html http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/04/superhero-chapter-books.html#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 09:45:17 +0000 http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/?p=12527 This year’s national summer reading theme is “Every Hero Has a Story”. Now, such a theme is not limited to traditional superheroes, but it seemed like a good time to gather all my superhero chapter book recommendations for early chapter book readers into one place. Some of these books I’ve suggested before, but some new favorites...
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This year’s national summer reading theme is “Every Hero Has a Story”. Now, such a theme is not limited to traditional superheroes, but it seemed like a good time to gather all my superhero chapter book recommendations for early chapter book readers into one place. Some of these books I’ve suggested before, but some new favorites are included.

Superhero chapter books for beginning readers ages 6 to 10.

While my 10 year old does enjoy a good superhero story, it is really my 6 year old who is obsessed with comic book superheroes. As I want him to branch out from the usual Batman and Spider Man stories I have been bringing home bags of books which feature non-liscenced superhero characters in a desperate attempt to expand his repertoire. Fortunately, he has been very receptive to my tactics and we have had a great time reading these books aloud.  I am still reading aloud to him, but these books are good independent reading books for the 6-10 year olds.  (Note: covers and titles are affiliate links.)

MORE: If your kids are delving into the world of chapter books for the first time, check out all our early chapter books lists, and read our parent tips for choosing early chapter books.


Supercat vs The Fry Thief (series) is a British import that is silly and fun. I read the first book out loud to my 6 year old in one sitting because he wouldn’t let me put it down. It’s longer than some of the others on this list, but still has the trademark large font and copious illustrations that characterize chapter books for younger readers. Tiger the cat licks a toxic sock and transforms into a walking, talking super cat with opposable thumbs. He and his owner, James, set out to foil the plans of Count Backwards who is trying to destroy the potato crop with weevil bombs. My son laughed out loud at this book so much!


Super DC Heroes. I’m going to be honest with you here, I wanted to avoid placing any licensed comic book characters on this book list. HOWEVER. My youngest son is crazy about DC and Marvel superheroes and I find most of the books and serial comic books to have disturbing imagery that I don’t want my son reading. It has been a challenge. He has been bringing books from this DC Superhero chapter book series (See the little logo in the top left corner? That’s how I’ve been identifying the books. The logo can vary. The publisher is Stone Arch Books.) home from the school library and I have found them quite age appropriate for the genre. In fact, some of them even have nice little lessons. There are discussion questions in the back, too. So if your kid loves DC superheroes but you are like me, check these ones out. (Note: I haven’t read all the books — good heavens!! — but the ones I have read are all titles I can recommend to parents. Now if only he could bring home one about Wonder Woman…)


Captain Awesome to the Rescue! is one of the easiest books on the list, perfect for beginning chapter book readers or kids who may be late readers and want to read chapter books “like their friends.”   Eugene’s imaginary alter ego is Captain Awesome. With healthy imaginations, he and his friend Charlie, aka “Nacho Cheese Man” team up to save the neighborhood from wicked (imaginary) villains.

Freddie Ramos Takes Off (series). I have a great love for Freddy Ramos, and you may recognize him from other lists. After all, he and his mom love to read together. It’s also nice to see a Latino superhero, do you know many of those? One day Freddy receives a mysterious pair of shoes which turn out to have magical powers and Freddy, being the kind of boy he is, uses their power for good.


Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny is not exactly a superhero book in the traditional sense, but I’m including it because I love it so much and there is a lot of superhero-type action.  It is composed of short vignettes about Isabel (the “Bunjitsu Bunny) and her friends (who also study martial arts). Each clever and funny vignette conveys a zen like lesson without being at all preachy. My 6 year old is very into the idea of battles and fighting these days (Yes, I know!) so he of course wanted me to read a book in which the first action sequence involved head butting a door (they don’t actually get that far…) but I was delighted with the “sneaky” lessons in non-violence, friendship, compassion and self-discipline! I’m excited to see there is a second book coming this year, Bunjitsu Bunny’s Best Move!


The Princess in Black is the much anticipated early chapter book series by the author of Princess Academy. Princess Magnolia’s secret identity has her fighting the local monsters when they harass the shepherd’s charges. Tongue in cheek humor, color illustrations, spare text and a bit of action make this a great book for early readers. When the shepherd decides to create his own alter ego, we know we will be getting a sequel.


The Adventures of Jo Schmo (series). Unfortunately, there is a dearth of superhero chapter books about girls! Jo Schmo helps fill the gap. When she gets a mysterious package, (conveniently labelled “mysterious package for Jo Schmo”), a fourth grade girl joins the family business of crime fighting. Because Jo is a 4th grader, this is a good series to hand to older kids who are still working on their reading skills and may not want to read book that “are about little kids”, as many early chapter books are. There is also a lot of age-appropriate silliness, (not surprising as it is by the author of Melvin Beederman — see below)which makes the books fun to read aloud.


Kung Pow Chicken (series) straddles the line between graphic novel and chapter book. My 6 year old LOVED this series and demanded I check all of them out of the library. It is the type of book, however, that has me wishing he would hurry up and learn to read already. In fairness, though, the puns did have me giggling. A young chicken gains superpowers when he accidentally falls into a mysterious vat in his uncle’s lab in their home town of Fowladelphia (see what I mean?). In this first adventure, he and his sidekick must figure out what is causing the local population to lose their feathers. Silly and fun.


Melvin Beederman Superhero (series). Melvin has just graduated from the Superhero Academy and now on the job fighting crime in Los Angeles. But like his more famous counterpart, Superman, he has a weakness.  That weakness? Bologna. Turns out his strength turns to jelly in the face of the cursed lunch meat. Fortunately, his new sidekick, Candace, is there to help. Even if she can’t seem to get all the superhero code lingo quite right. Super silly. Super fun.


Extraordinary Ernie and Marvelous Maud (series). It’s been a few years since I first read this book and put it on my earlier list of Superhero picture and chapter books. Ernie has won a contest to become a superhero! But… hmmmm, his sidekick is a sheep? A very clever and sweet series from Australian author, Frances Watts.


The Adventures of Captain Underpants. I understand that there are parents who don’t want their kids reading Pilkey’s funny series about a pair of boys who turn their principal into a ridiculous superhero who sports a mean pair of tidy whiteys. Personally, I think the series is no more subversive than Roald Dahl and I do think it can be good for kids to have an outlet for their feelings about school. My son loves these books, yet still shows great respect for his teachers and principal.

Middle grade superhero books to check out:
If your child has breezed through all the books on this list, try these two other books which are more appropriate for 8-12 year olds, but which we have also enjoyed.

 

Do your kids like superheroes?

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Poetry Writing Challenge {Week 3} – Onomatopoeia and Couplets http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/04/onomatopoeia-and-couplets.html http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/04/onomatopoeia-and-couplets.html#respond Fri, 17 Apr 2015 09:44:57 +0000 http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/?p=12512 Did you have fun working on alliteration and color poems in last week’s poetry writing challenge? My 6 year old adored making up alliterative sentences! I had to ask him to take a break while we were brushing his teeth because he was getting toothpaste all over his face! Be sure to read all the...
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Did you have fun working on alliteration and color poems in last week’s poetry writing challenge? My 6 year old adored making up alliterative sentences! I had to ask him to take a break while we were brushing his teeth because he was getting toothpaste all over his face!

Writing onomatopoeia and couplets in week three of the poetry writing challenge

Be sure to read all the details (there aren’t many!) in the introductory post about our easy going poetry writing series, or hop over to the poetry reading challenge if that is more your style.

I must confess that we STILL have not done any actual pen and paper writing! Most of our discussions and poetry composing has been done at the family dinner table or while we are getting ready for bed/ How and when are your working on the challenge? Leave a comment so I don’t feel so alone in this endeavor!

Poetry Writing Challenge #1 – Onomatopoeia

Write a phrase using onomatopoeia.

What is Onomatopoeia? Onomatopoeia is when a word sounds like it’s meaning. Giggle, thump, fizzle, crack, murmur, gurgle, babble, chortle, fwoosh, meow, chirp.

Here is a classic example:

Hark, hark!
Bow-wow.
The watch-dogs bark!
Bow-wow.
Hark, hark! I hear
The strain of strutting chanticleer
Cry, ‘cock-a-diddle-dow!’

– Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act 1, sc. 2

… and a more contemporary one.

Your can’t make me eat that,
it’s slimy and gooey
and icky and yucky
and greasy and gluey.

– Jack Prelutsky, from “You Can’t Make Me Eat That” in It’s Raining Pigs and Noodles

I simply adore onomatopoeia! It’s so dramatic. However it is very hard to spell! Thank goodness for the cut and paste function.

But I digress.

Extension activities:

  • Make a list of as many onomatopoetic words you can. Divide them into categories, such as sounds (clank, moo) or perhaps elements (water: gush, burble; air: fwoosh, swish)
  • Get physical. Challenge your kids to add a movement to the sound!
  • Read a picture book and ask kids to assign an onomatopoetic word to actions in the illustrations. Wordless books are great for this! (See our list of favorite wordless books.)
  • Draw pictures of what the words sound like. This could get very abstract!

Poetry Writing Challenge #2 – Rhyming Couplets

Write a 2 line rhyming couplet.

What is a rhyming couplet? A couplet is two lines in which the final word in each line rhymes. Both lines have the same metre.

Here are two examples everyone will know!

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

– Joyce Kilmer

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

I was a little worried that this might be too hard, but then I realized my silly 6 year old likes to make up rhyming lines like this all the time. I think a more intentional exercise like this will tap into that creativity.

Extension activities:

  • Use onomatopoeia in your couplet.
  • Use alliteration in your couplet. (From week 2)
  • Use simile in your couplet.  (From week 1)
  • Illustrate your couplet.
  • Many picture books are written in rhyming couplets. See if your kids can find one on your shelf.
  • Ambitious kids and families can write triplets or quatrains!

Don’t forget! Let us know how the challenge is working out for you.

 

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DIY Temporary Tattoos Designed by Kids! http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/04/diy-temporary-tattoos-designed-by-kids.html http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/04/diy-temporary-tattoos-designed-by-kids.html#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 15:44:21 +0000 http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/?p=12496 Is it bragging to say I am in love with this recent project? Don’t you think these kid-designed DIY temporary tattoos would make a unique homemade Mother’s Day gift?  They are fairly easy to make (as if I would do something complicated!) and kids can make them for mom, dad or the grandparents, or maybe even sport...
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Is it bragging to say I am in love with this recent project? Don’t you think these kid-designed DIY temporary tattoos would make a unique homemade Mother’s Day gift?  They are fairly easy to make (as if I would do something complicated!) and kids can make them for mom, dad or the grandparents, or maybe even sport one on their own arm!

Mother's Day gift: DIY temporary tattoos made from kid artwork.

In the photo I am sporting a temporary tattoo of myself drawn by my youngest son (whose actions belie his claim “I hate art,” more and more everyday). I particularly love how my skin has that photo-edited glow (thanks to the superior skills of my pal, Ana). I would like some of that in real life, please. And applied to my brow wrinkles.

But I digress. (Note: this post contains affiliate links.*)

DIY temporary tattoos: the How-To

What you need:

  • Temporary Tattoo Paper
  • A scanner and ink jet printer
  • Cute art drawn by your kids
  • Photo editing program. I use PicMonkey for crazy-awesome photo editing. You can use it for free, but I love it SOOO much that I actually pay for the upgraded service. I am super cheap frugal, so let me tell you that is the best recommendation you can ever get.

  Step by step instructions:

1. Scan your child’s artwork.

2. Open the image in PicMonkey.

DIY temporary tattoos to make with kids.

3. Crop out the portions of the artwork you want to make into a tattoo. Save as new images. Repeat for as many tattoos as you want.

4. In PicMonkey, open a “design” (orange arrow) and choose “5×7″ (pink arrow). You can actually choose whatever size design you want, this is simply what I did.

How to make temporary tattoos using PicMonkey

5. Open your tattoo images in PicMonkey using the overlay feature. Click on the butterfly (orange arrow), then click on the “your own” button (pink arrow) to upload your cropped images.

Use overlay feature to make DIY temporary tattoos

6. Fill the page with as many images as you wish. I suggest filling the page. You will only be able to run the temporary tattoo paper once through the printer and you don’t want to waste it. Save the page of tattoos.

DIY temporary tattoos sheet in PicMonkey

7. At this point I converted the picture file to a pdf file in my computer. Strictly speaking you don’t have to do this, but I find it easier to get my desired results printing pdf rather than jpeg.

8. Test print the file on a piece of scratch paper! (Very important!)

9. Print out the file following the instructions enclosed with the Temporary Tattoo Paper.

10. Cut out tattoos and apply to skin, following the instructions.

11. Show off your newly decorated muscles!

TIPS:

  • In PicMonkey you can lighten or darken the images. Darker images make better tattoos.
  • Cut out the tattoos from the paper as close as possible to the images.
  • Print out using your printers photo paper settings, if possible.
  • I repeat: print a test page. Temporary Tattoo Paper is not the cheapest thing in the world!
  • If you want to use words, reverse the image in PicMonkey before saving, or the word will end up backwards on your skin. (I *may* have first hand experience with this….)

I know you are now thinking about which artwork you want to decorate your body with! DIY temporary tattoos are so much fun and of course the possibilities are endless. These would make great Mother’s Day or Father’s Day gifts, but you could also make them for themed birthday parties or special events.

The most awesome benefit, however, is the rush of joy your child will feel when you demonstrate to him that you love his creativity so much you want to wear it on you body.

Enjoy!

*This post contains affiliate links to the products I used to create this project. That means if make a purchase through the affiliate link I may earn a small commission. 

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Summer Book List for Beginning Readers http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/04/book-list-for-beginning-readers.html http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/04/book-list-for-beginning-readers.html#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 12:42:48 +0000 http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/?p=12479 Nurturing beginning readers is a delicate balance of finding the right books and not applying too much pressure! Both of my boys love books but they had very different experiences learning to read. My older child spoiled me by learning to read on his own when he was 3, but my youngest is now 6...
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Nurturing beginning readers is a delicate balance of finding the right books and not applying too much pressure! Both of my boys love books but they had very different experiences learning to read. My older child spoiled me by learning to read on his own when he was 3, but my youngest is now 6 and still working on sounding out words. He’s coming along and I’ve found may ways to encourage him without forcing the issue. (<– click there to read some of them)

Books for beginning readers.

His progress as a beginning reader is encouraging and I created this book list for beginning readers like him with summer reading in mind. Our summer reading style is very casual. No book logs, no page requirements, just tons of books scattered all over the apartment to inspire reading any time, any where. My 6 year old will be headed into 2nd grade in the fall, but this is more of a kindergarten and 1st grade book list as our cut off date means he would be headed into 1st grade almost anywhere else in the country (don’t get me started about that). (Note: book covers and titles are affiliate links.)

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Books for beginning readers


You Are Not Small. Whenever my son starts to read aloud a book with me without my begging and pleading, I know I have a winner. This clever and amusing book about comparisons was also this year’s Theodor Seuss Geigel award recipient. It is well suited for back and forth reading, so my son would read one character’s dialogue and I would read the other’s. He loved switching up the parts, and I loved how that got him to keep reading.


Ling & Ting: Twice as Silly. I am always on the hunt for silly, funny books because those are the ones that grab my emerging reader’s attention. He loves to laugh and find the ridiculousness in every situation. As a result, he loves this easy reader about twins.


Good Night, Knight. Betsy Lewin has a number of easy readers in the “I Like to Read” series. We particularly enjoyed this one about a knight and his horse who wear themselves out looking for golden cookies. If this book is a good level for your child, be sure to pick up some of the other books in the series.


The Littlest Leaguer. It’s always nice to have a classic on the list so parents can feel nostalgic while helping their kids learn to read. It’s also much, much longer than contemporary easy readers, although it also has a nice story arc to keep kids’ attention span. I’m still working on getting my son to read longer books so I’m hoping this story about a small boy with big baseball dreams does the trick.

 


The Watermelon Seed. I confess, I didn’t realize when I read this picture book a year ago that it would make a good book for beginners. The story draws upon the age-old facetious warning that if you swallow a seed, it will grow inside your tummy. Of course, any story about watermelon is perfect for summer reading!


Ah Ha! is an interesting challenge for new readers. The text uses only the letters “h” and “a”. Kids will have to really focus on decoding the sounds without relying on familiar words.


Brownie & Pearl Step Out is a cute series by the author of Henry and Mudge, and Mr. Putter and Tabby, (both of which your new readers should also read!). Brownie and her cat, Pearl, have uncomplicated, friendly adventures around town and at home. Pick up any or all of the books in the series.


Bink and Gollie: Two for One is the second book in the much beloved series, and it is also one parents will enjoy reading aloud, or listening to as their kid sounds out words. In this installment, Bink and Gollie visit the fair where, among other things, Bink tries to win the world’s largest donut! (yum)


Benjamin Bear in Bright Ideas! My 6 year old loves the TOON books and I love that he is reading a graphic novel that does not involve licensed superhero or Pokemon characters!  In the Benjamin Bear books, each page is its own self contained comic so kids can read as much or as little as they wish.


Squirrel’s World, a fun story about a squirrel who tries to help all his friends has short chapters so beginning readers can take a break if they need to.


Ollie the Stomper. Dunrea’s books about geese Ollie, Gossie and Gerdie were originally board books, but they translate well to simple readers. My son loves the silly antics of Ollie and his friends.

What will your beginning readers be working on this summer. What easy reader books are on your reading list?

 

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Poetry Writing Challenge {Week 2} http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/04/poetry-writing-challenge-week-2.html http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/04/poetry-writing-challenge-week-2.html#respond Fri, 10 Apr 2015 10:00:32 +0000 http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/?p=12464 How did last week’s poetry writing challenge go for you? We were very casual and one evening around the dinner table we made up similes about our day. I had hoped to get the boys to write down their acrostics, but instead we turned them into songs! Let me tell you, my youngest was ecstatic...
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How did last week’s poetry writing challenge go for you? We were very casual and one evening around the dinner table we made up similes about our day. I had hoped to get the boys to write down their acrostics, but instead we turned them into songs! Let me tell you, my youngest was ecstatic about singing a song about himself!

Weekly poetry writing challenge for kids during National Poetry Month

If you are new to the poetry writing challenge, you can find the introductory post about how it works  in last week’s post here. And in case you are in any doubt about how flexible the “writing” part of the challenge is, re-read the opening paragraph of this post.

If you prefer a poetry reading challenge, or wish to double down on poetry awesomeness, you can find the entire reading challenge from last year in this post.

Don’t want to miss any of our challenges? Click here to sign up for our newsletter. (There is even a free printable bookplate to say thank you!)

Poetry writing exercise #1

Write a sentence using alliteration.

What is alliteration? Alliteration is when closely connected words begin with the same letter or sound.

The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free;
– Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”

And one your kids may already know:

Luke’s duck likes lakes. Luke Luck licks lakes. Luke’s duck licks lakes. Duck takes licks in lakes Luke Luck likes. Luke Luck takes licks in lakes duck likes.
– Dr. Seuss, Fox in Socks

Extension activities:

  • Remember, you don’t have to do any physical writing. Alliteration is a great oral exercise and even toddlers and preschoolers can get involved.
  • Read or recite nursery rhymes and look for alliteration.
  • Read a few favorite rhyming books and have the kids point out alliteration examples. Once kids start looking they will be amazed at how often it is used!
  • Walk around the house or the neighborhood and describe objects using alliteration. “Big building.” “Green grass.” “Peculiar pet shop.” Challenge older kids to come up with more elaborate phrases.
  • Print out our lunch bag note tongue twisters (which use alliteration).

Poetry writing exercise #2

Write a 5 senses color poem.

Choose a favorite color and write one line for each of the five senses. For example:

Yellow looks like sunshine.

Yellow smells like ripe bananas.

Yellow tastes like lemon drops.

Yellow feels like fuzzy chicks.

Yellow sounds like crunching corn.

Extension activities:

MORE:

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Butterfly Fairy Coloring Page (plus activity) http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/04/butterfly-fairy-coloring-page.html http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/04/butterfly-fairy-coloring-page.html#respond Wed, 08 Apr 2015 09:27:28 +0000 http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/?p=12462 This month’s free coloring page from children’s book illustrator, Melanie Hope Greenberg is perfect for my 8 year old self — and doubly so because you can transform this butterfly fairy coloring page into a pretend play theater activity. I’ve always felt a little wistful about the fact that I can never interest my boys in...
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This month’s free coloring page from children’s book illustrator, Melanie Hope Greenberg is perfect for my 8 year old self — and doubly so because you can transform this butterfly fairy coloring page into a pretend play theater activity.

Free printable butterfly fairy coloring page activity

I’ve always felt a little wistful about the fact that I can never interest my boys in playing with fairies. I did once convince my then four year old that magical gnomes lived in the garden, but alas, it it superheroes that inform their pretend play, not fairies.

But I digress.

Of course you can print out this fairy coloring page for a quick boredom buster on a rainy spring day, but it is also good to tote along to restaurants and appointments when you know you need your kids to have a quiet time activity.

DOWNLOAD AND PRINT –> (By clicking the following link, you agree to our terms of service. *See below.) Fairy coloring page.

Fairy Theater Activity:

Extend the fun by turning the musical fairy, her peacocks and butterfly into a tabletop theater. Here’s how:

  • Print the fairy coloring page out on card stock.
  • Color.
  • Cut out butterflies and glue onto wooden craft sticks.
  • Make crisp folds along the side borders of the frame where the fairy picture meets the peacocks.
  • Fold slightly inwards so the page stands up by itself. (Alternatively, you could glue the page to cardboard and fold in sides for a sturdier theater.)
  • Put on a show!

More spring themed and dramatic play coloring pages:

See all of Melanie’s coloring pages:

Free coloring pages for kids

Meet the illustrator:

Melanie Hope Greenberg is an award winning author and illustrator of more than 15 children’s books. Her cheerful, vibrant illustrations can be found in books such as Good Morning, Digger, Down in the Subway and A City Is, a book of poems by Norman Rosten, the poet laureate of Brooklyn. Her very popular Mermaids on Parade was selected as a Bank Street Best Book, and for the Texas Reading Club and PBS Kids Summer Reading Lists.

As well as visiting schools and libraries to talk about the process of creating a book, Melanie is an expert on author led promotion. Coming up in April she will leading a workshop, “Capturing the Spotlight: Getting the Gigs 2015″ to help authors improve their visibility and give their books a long and happy life. Learn more about her internationally recognized art work at her official website. If you live in New York City, she is frequently seen at local events, reading from her books.

If you haven’t read one of Melanie’s books, yet, you are in for a treat (and I’m not just saying that ’cause she’s my friend!) Melanie signs all copies of her books purchased through her Amazon vendor link. (You can also click on a cover below and scroll through the third party vendors to find Melanie’s vendor link. Please note: book covers are affiliate links.)

*Terms of Service: this coloring page is used with permission from Melanie Hope Greenberg and is for non-commercial use ONLY. You many print out as many copies as you like for personal, library or classroom use. If you would like to share this coloring page, you MUST link to this blog page. It is expressly forbidden to link directly to the coloring page pdf file. 

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Magic Early Chapter Books For Kids Ages 5-9 http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/04/magic-early-chapter-books.html http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/04/magic-early-chapter-books.html#comments Mon, 06 Apr 2015 10:00:06 +0000 http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/?p=12438 I’ve been working on putting together book lists that will be useful for summer reading. Since summer is that mythical magical time, it seemed like a list of magic early chapter books would be a good addition to my ongoing series of lists for kids who are past easy readers but not yet ready for...
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I’ve been working on putting together book lists that will be useful for summer reading. Since summer is that mythical magical time, it seemed like a list of magic early chapter books would be a good addition to my ongoing series of lists for kids who are past easy readers but not yet ready for middle grade fiction.

Magic early chapter books perfect for kids ages 5-9 who have just started reading chapter books.

These books all feature large-ish fonts, illustrations and an easy reading length, perfect for 5-9 year olds. There is variation in reading level, so some are slightly harder than others. When I first started looking for early chapter books I learned a lot and wrote my parent tips for finding early chapter books. There are lots of helpful suggestions in that post.

In the past I’ve worried about repetition of titles on my book lists. I’ve decided to abandon that concern. Some of you wonderful people follow all of my posts (you are awesome, of course) but the changing blogosphere means that most visitors drop in for what they want and then go on their way, so they never know books are on more than one list. NOTE: If you don’t want to miss any of our book lists, sign up for our weekly newsletter, and be sure to visit the index of our more than 100 kids’ book lists.

MORE: Books for kids not ready for Harry Potter.

In any case, I still think it is useful to have lists arranged by theme even if there is repetition. Let me know what you think in the comments. (Note: book covers and titles are affiliate links.)


Magical Mix Up series. I read the second book, Grasshopper Magic out loud to my 6 year old (who unlike his brother at that age, is not reading early chapter books yet), and he quite liked it and asked for more. There was is quite a bit of age appropriate humor and it’s a very friendly sort of book series. In each book (there are four so far) four siblings encounter a bit of magic, whose source is beneath their lawn and they rally around each other to undo the magical mix up.


Heidi Heckelbeck Has a Secret. (Series) Heidi comes complete with a glitter-covered cover. Don’t let that put you off. Heidi, home-schooled until now, is starting second grade. Her discovery that she is a witch doesn’t come until the end of the book, which means your child will demand, “Next book, please!” And that is always a good thing.  The large font and illustration-heavy pages make this series a good choice for emergent readers who want to feel like they are reading “real” chapter books but may still not be ready for some of the others on this list.

MORE: Early chapter book series with girl protagonists


Matter-of-Fact Magic Book Series Ruth Chew wrote about 30 books in the 70s and 80s. Several have been republished in the last year and more are currently in the works. . I have only read 2 of the books in the series so far but each story is a stand alone (no character cross over — so far) and the plots revolve around normal children discovering strange happenings in their neighborhoods – like magic trees or enchanted fudge from friendly neighbors who turn out to be witches.


Moongobble and Me (series). Moongobble has a problem. He is a wizard, yet everything he works his magic on turns to cheese. With his new apprentice, Edward, and a talking toad, he sets out to complete three tasks to prove he is a wizard in more than just name. This fantasy series, with lots of illustrations, is a good choice for kids who wish they were just a tad bit older and ready for Harry Potter.


Freddie Ramos Takes Off (Zapato Power). I have a great love for Freddy Ramos. After all, he and his mom love to read together. It’s also nice to see a Latino superhero, do you know many of those? One day Freddy receives a mysterious pair of shoes which turn out to have magical powers and Freddy, being the kind of boy he is, uses their power for good.

MORE:  First chapter book series with boy protagonists


The Worst Witch (7 book series) This series takes place at a  boarding school for magic kids. In the introductory novel, Mildred begins her first year by getting a black cat and a broom. Poor Mildred, however, is not exactly the most skillful, coordinated witch in her class and her cat is a tabby! She mixes up potions and spells causing all sorts of chaos (and fun, of course).


Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher: A Magic Shop Book. The Magic Shop Book series reminded me of Olivander’s shop in Diagon Alley. Jeremy is not a wizard, but the eccentric shopkeeper insists he take home a mysterious box. Inside the box is an egg which hatches into a small dragon, and now Jeremy must quickly learn how to take care of it. The dragon cannot stick around forever, though, but tending him as helped Jeremy discovers new ways of navigating the perils of tween-dom. There are several books in the series, all with children who suddenly come face to face with something magical.


Early chapter books, Stuart Goes To School and Stuart’s Cape are charmingly quirky stories by the author of the popular Clementine series. When Stuart is anxious about being the new kid, he makes himself a cape out of old neckties and it turns out to have magical properties. However things don’t always go quite the way Stuart wants! These two short books also make great read alouds.


The Lost Stone (The Kingdom of Wrenly). I probably would have loved this series as a kid, even though I found it a bit unsophisticated now. However, the series has loads of fans, and I’m for anything that gets kids reading. Lucas is a reluctant prince. He’d rather dress in peasant clothes and hang out with the village children. He makes friends with Clara, the daughter of a seamstress and the two team up to find the queen’s missing emerald. Lots of traditional fantasy elements like fairies, wizards, mermaids will appeal to kids who like imaginative worlds.

MORE: Adventure early chapter books


Earwig and the Witch. I found Diana Wynne Jones’ final book fairly odd, but then so is the main character (you might expect the same from a girl named “Earwig”). Earwig is adopted by a very bizarre, but very magical couple. Earwig hopes to learn magic, but is treated as a servant instead. However, the clever Earwig and a talking cat are soon able to outwit their guardians. This is for kids who love pure fantasy with odd-ball humor.

Do your kids like books about magic and fantasy?

More book lists like this one:

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Poetry Writing Challenge for Kids {Week 1} http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/04/poetry-writing-challenge-for-kids-week-1.html http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/04/poetry-writing-challenge-for-kids-week-1.html#comments Fri, 03 Apr 2015 09:55:05 +0000 http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/?p=12440 Welcome to the second annual What Do We Do All Day? poetry challenge for National Poetry Month. Last year’s challenge was all about getting you to start reading poetry on a regular basis with your kids and this year we are going to focus on writing. Don’t worry, it will be super simple! After all,...
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Welcome to the second annual What Do We Do All Day? poetry challenge for National Poetry Month. Last year’s challenge was all about getting you to start reading poetry on a regular basis with your kids and this year we are going to focus on writing. Don’t worry, it will be super simple! After all, most of it will be relatively new for us, too.

A poetry writing challenge for kids .

Even if you are just getting started with sharing poems with your kids, I encourage you to join us. The weekly ideas can be adapted to any age or skill level.

How the Poetry Writing Challenge works

Just as with our poetry reading challenge, the rules are free and flexible. Use our suggestions, but do what works for you! You can use our guidelines as a jumping off point to explore further, or stick to the basics.

Every week this month I will offer up two suggestions to encourage your children (and you!) to think about composing poetry. One will be extremely simple, the other will get you writing a poem. You can choose to do one or both exercises.

You or your kids do not actually have to write anything down. Want to make it an oral exercise? OK. I can almost guarantee my 6 year old is not going to want to pick up a pencil. Don’t let the physical act of writing get in the way.

I’m neither a teacher, nor a literacy specialist. In fact, I’ve only ever formally studied dramatic poetry. I’m a parent, learning about poetry along side my kids. Instead of letting my lack of formal qualifications put you off, let it encourage you that YOU can do this, too!

There is no test, no accountability to anyone but yourself and your kids. However, I would LOVE to hear from you! Please tell me how the challenge worked for you!

Poetry writing exercise #1

Write a simile. (I’ve always thought that similes were easier than metaphors, so we’ll start here.)

What is a simile? A simile is a phrase that makes a comparison between two objects or actions using a specific connecting word, such as like, as, so, etc.

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose, – Robert Burns

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun? – Langston Hughes

That’s it! Easy peasy and the simplicity belies how much fun this is to do with kids.

Extension activities:

Poetry writing exercise #2

Write an acrostic poem. An acrostic poem is one of the easiest types of poems for kids. An acrostic poem uses the letters in a word to begin the first word in each line.

Poems

Only

Entertain

Monkeys on

Saturdays

Many kids like to write an acrostic poem using their names. If they’ve done this exercise in school, have them choose another word.

Extension activities:

  • Illustrate the acrostic.
  • Create a collage by cutting out the first letter of each line from a magazine.

Want more on acrostics?

(Note: book covers and titles contains affiliate links.)

There are four books in this series of seasonal acrostic poems.

Spring: An Alphabet Acrostic

Animal lovers will enjoy these wild acrostics!

African Acrostics: A Word in Edgeways

MORE:

 

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Awesome Math Art: Transforming Ninja Star http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/03/transforming-ninja-star.html http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/03/transforming-ninja-star.html#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 16:27:32 +0000 http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/?p=12412 We are in love with these origami transforming paper stars. This gem of a project combines math, art and paper engineering. I’ll be totally honest, it’s not the easiest project for very little ones, but if your child can fold a paper airplane, then he or she can make the transforming ninja star. It’s a good...
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We are in love with these origami transforming paper stars. This gem of a project combines math, art and paper engineering.

How to make paper transforming ninja stars. A fun math art origami project.

I’ll be totally honest, it’s not the easiest project for very little ones, but if your child can fold a paper airplane, then he or she can make the transforming ninja star. It’s a good math art project when you have some one on one time with your older child. Alternatively, you can make them yourself and if your younger children are old enough that they won’t rip the completed project, you can show them how to play with it. (Note: this post contains affiliate links.)

Bonus: the completed project looks so complicated that you can fool people into thinking you are an origami ninja. And isn’t that what we all want in life?

How to make transforming paper stars

What you need:

  • Origami paper.
  • Curious kids.

Instructions:

You can also see the technique in action in the video below.

First make 8 parallelograms: 

1. Fold paper in half. Open and repeat fold so white side of paper is showing.

2. With paper oriented vertically,  and open side on the right, bring bottom left corner to right hand edge. Crease well. (Note: I like to also crease this same fold on the alternate side. It is not strictly necessary but it makes the final fold easier.)

Beginning fold of paper transforming stars.

3. Open paper with colored side facing down.

4. Fold top two corners to middle crease. Crease well.

Folding paper transforming stars.

5. Fold paper in half (repeating step 1).

6. Push the center of the bottom edge up. The creases you made in step 2 will collapse between the sides.

Making parallelograms for paper transforming stars.

7. The resulting shape will be a parallelogram.

8. Make 8 of these.

How to make the star:

1. You will now connect all 8 parallelograms.

2. Orient two parallelograms so the the “pocket” in which you see the interior color is on the right.

3. Insert one parallelogram into the pocket of the first.

Putting paper transforming stars together.

4. Fold down the tips of the first parallelogram inside the pocket of the second.

5. Insert a third parallelogram into the pocket of the second.

6. Fold down the tips of the second parallelogram into the third.

7. Repeat until you have 2 left.

8. The last part is the trickiest. Slip the pocket of the seventh parallelogram around the point of the first. Then put the pocket of the eighth around the point of the seventh. The point of the eighth parallelogram will be in the pocket of the sixth. Fold all the tips down.

How to transform the star:

Push and pull the sides and watch it transform from an octagon to a star!

Please experience its awesomeness by watching this video:

Now I know what you are thinking. There is no way I came up with this idea myself. Of course not! That is what the library is for. We checked out Cool Flexagon Art: Creative Activities That Make Math & Science Fun for Kids!.

MORE: Do you love math art as much as we do? See all our math art projects.

Paper transforming ninja star for math art project

This is the final week of the STEAM power project. This week’s theme is “grow”, sort of like how we grew stars from 8 parallelograms, or how you can grow a circle into a star. (Am I stretching it a bit?)

STEAM learning series

Visit more awesome GROW posts:

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