My big helper

October 24, 2017

Driving my almost 4 year old home from school, I tell her about my day as she tells me about hers.  I had to record our conversation today:

“When you were in school today, I began writing a new book.”

“For grown ups or children?

“For children.”

“What’s it called?”

“It doesn’t have a name yet.  Maybe you can help me with that when it’s finished.”

“How about strawberry tiger?”

“Well, it’s not about strawberries or tigers.”

“Okay.  How about ummmm monkey.”

“It’s not about monkeys either.”

“How about I guess what animal it’s about.”

“Well, it has animals in it, but it’s not really about animals.”

I go on to tell her what it is about.

“But this time, I’m going to need help with the pictures because I can’t draw that well.”

“You need an artist.”

“Yes.”

“I’m an artist.”

“Okay.  Do you want to do the pictures for my book?”

“I’m an artist, but I can’t do pictures.  I do art and it’s just a mess with art all over.  I think you need a grown-up artist.”

I loved this conversation!  And what I loved even more is how much my daughter loved the beginnings of the story.  For the first time, I read her what I have so far, which is about 1/3 of a draft.  She laughed and responded at all the right moments, and wanted me to read it again and again.  And this was just my scribbles on a piece of paper, without the art that I hope will make it even more amazing one day when I find a grown-up artist!

 

 

 

 

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DIY Halloween and Cat toys

October 6, 2017

I’m combining Halloween and cats in this post for one reason, and it’s not because I think cats are scary!  Two of my favorite holidays are coming up: National Cat Day (10/29) and Halloween!

I’m not a big do-it-yourselfer, so for this post, I enlisted the help of friends, Pinterest, and Halloween craft books to include a few of my favorites that are so simple even I could do it.  Maybe try some of these on the upcoming rainy Columbus day when the kiddos are off from school.

Halloween

Clementine Pumpkins: I love these and they are so easy to make, even young kids can get involved and help.  Simply peel the mandarin/clementine/tangerine, etc. and pop a piece of cut up celery in the top.  Just be careful not to push the celery in too far or the orange will split.  Also be sure to find easy to peel oranges.  I love that this is a fun, healthy snack for a holiday that is so candy-central.

orange pumpkin

Here is a link to my online teacher store where I incorporate this activity into Halloween lesson plans: Halloween plans and activities

Paper bag jack o’ lanterns: I actually bought these years ago before realizing how easy they were to make.  Take any paper bag, cut through one or both sides with any design, and pop a battery operated tea light in the bottom.  Warning: your toddler will love turning the lights on and off, on and off, and on and off, to see the face lighting up!20171005_203848

Paper towel roll puppet/mask:  Those of you who know my picture book What Do You Do with a Doodleloo? know that doodleloos (paper towel rolls) make great megaphones.  I saw a craft book take this one step further to make a Halloween puppet of sorts.  You cut out a face (bat, pumpkin, ghost, witch, etc) from a paper plate with a hole for the mouth that matches the shape and size of the opening in the paper towel roll.  Decorate/color in the plate to complete the look of the face, and glue it to one end of the roll.  When you talk into the other end you can make your puppet face sound spooky!

Cardboard jack o’ lantern / treat bag:  My husband came up with this and made it with my daughter the other night, and both my daughter and cat love how it spins around on the string.  Cut out 2 matching pumpkin shapes from a sheet of cardboard and cut out matching faces on each.  Cut a long thin piece of cardboard and tape it to the edge of both pumpkins to make the bottom.  Use tape or another cardboard strip for the handle.  Attach string to the handle to hang on a curtain rod, etc.  Add a battery operated tea light inside.

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If I am so inspired, I may try another one of these as a trick or treat bag, potentially in the shape of a castle to match our Frozen costume theme.  Rather than just put the treats in the top, the castle could even have windows or a door.  This could also be done with a milk carton or other type of cardboard container.

Cat toys

Don’t forget your cat this national cat day!  As I mention in my book, doodleloos are not only a child’s toy.  There are a few great cat toys that can be made from used up paper towel rolls.  My cat loves swatting these around, so I just have to take a roll and toss it across the room, and she’s happy.  Here is one other great idea I found online.  We just can’t get enough of doodleloos at my house!

Have a happy Halloween and cat day!


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