DIY Art Themed Summer Camp Activity

Our summer is starting to look jam packed with activities. So we are getting a head start on making some practical things to make our summer more comfortable. To start that off we are decorating some tote bags. I’m hopeful that these bags will keep our needed supplies at hand. What your going to need is:

  • Cotton Tote Bags
  • cardboard to go inside the totes
  • fabric paint or fabric markers or both!
  • potatoes, celery, sponges, varies other items
  • stencils?

First, I stuffed the card board into the tote so that the paint doesn’t seep through. Then I cut up the celery, potatoes, and anything else we want to use (we used the tops of mini bell peppers, and some sponges). My daughter took a few minutes to plan her design then we got to stamping!

We left the bottom corner blank for her to write her name, but a stencil or sponge letters would be more fun! For older kids, you could have them carve the letters into the potatoes, there are as many options as their are kids!

To get the two toned celery “roses” we used spray on fabric paint. We sprayed it directly on the celery. you could also paint it on the celery. My last suggestion is to spread the paint out on a plate for the child to stamp into them onto the tote bag. I found the fabric spray paint at my local craft store.

Of course, I know that not all of you can pull out pains at a moments notice. You may have a child with sensory issues that just can’t handle the feel or the disorganization. You can still do this project with stencils. Stencils help create a sense of control. Markers control the mess.

I hope you enjoy this craft and have a wonderful summer making memories!

I’ve teamed up with some other talented bloggers to bring you even more DIY Summer Camp Activities. You can check them out by clicking HERE!

Book Review and Craft: Little Narwhal’s Day

A friend and fellow author is getting ready to publish a new book and I’m just as excited as she is! Well close anyways, we love narwhals! So when she posted that she had her sample book in, I jumped right in and made a craft to go with it.

photographed by Angela Castillo

I can’t wait to get my own physical copy to read with my daughter. If you have a love for arctic animals like the Narwhale then help make this dream a reality by supporting Angela’s Kickstarter campaign. The sooner the better, the campaign ends on May 11 and when its gone, the special values go with it.

I hope you and your child enjoy the book and craft as much as my daughter has! We love to read about this fun character and the arctic waters he lives in. After reading the book, dive into this cute painting project. We dug into our recycle bin and pull out some bubble wrap and learned about curves, and how that impacts the stamping abilities of two different shaped bubble wrap, we used different shades of blue and talked about why you layer lighter or darker first. We cut drew and cut out the shape of our Narwhal. Then discussed how paints mix when wet and layer when dry. But most of all we had fun and made a memory!

http://whimsyandpurpose.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/NarwhaleArtProjectPage2-2.pdf

Art and books pair so well together. If you haven’t done art projects based on books you read with you child, I highly recommend giving it a try. I also suggest painting with your child, they love seeing our work, mistakes and all. I thought about making a more perfect example, then realized, that my work would just be different, not more perfect. Child art has a special appeal that we need to encourage.

Free Elephant Coloring Pages

Elephants are everywhere right now.

You may have noticed that I have a new book out! The Little Pink Elephant. You may also be able to guess who my inspiration was? Well inspiration or not, my little one wanted more elephants. Even after illustrating the book, I was happy to provide them. That means you get them too!

I’m not the only one with elephants on the brain. With an upcoming movie, and the general popularity of elephants in the baby section of most stores, I hope you all find my elephants fill a need for your little one, just like they did for mine.

Fun Fact

There really are pink elephants in Africa! I was surprised too, but once I new I had to share the information. No they aren’t born pink, but the dirt in the area they live is bright red, and when it dries it turns the elephants varies shades of red and pink. How cool is that! Click here to find out more about the these elephants!

How to get the free printables

Just head on over to Teacher’s Pay Teachers, log in and select my free Elephant Coloring Pages. It will give your the files to download from there. I want to make this as safe and easy as possible. Since I am providing these at no charge, I wanted a way for you to safely access the pages without paying for anything out of my pocket. Teacher’s Pay Teachers does that for both of us.

Want more?

You can sign up for my newsletter, and I’ll deliver them right to your inbox. If you want to know more about my book, you can check it out on amazon by clicking the link above or here. You can also check out my store on Teacher’s Pay Teachers and see what else is there. Have fun!

Every Person Has Room to Shine

http://www.hyperurl.co/LittlePinkElephant – amazon link

When I first became a mother I had so many ideas on how it would go. As any seasoned mother can tell you, those dreams soon went out the window. They had to, as I got to know each of my unique and precious daughters reality set in. Over the years I have learned so much from them, and been humbled in the process. The enormity of being the right mother for each of them with all of their unique needs was not lost on me.

The Little PInk Elephant

While each of my girls is very unique, they did have some things in common. For some reason they got the idea in their heads that the world was a musical and would burst into song and dance at every opportunity. This proved challenging as I’m sure you can image. The first few times, I was a little embarrassed, then I embraced it. To be so secure and confident, it was a beautiful thing and I wasn’t go to steal that joy. As they each grew out of this phase, I found myself missing it.

That experience, combined with an recent art project with my youngest daughter, was the inspiration for my newest book, “The Little Pink Elephant”.

Shine Bright

I’ve written before about choosing to live without fear (you can read more about that here). Part of choosing to live without fear, means shining my brightest. To be the best mother, wife, artist, author, person, that I can be. It’s what we all want for our kids, right? The only way for that to happen is to model it. Let your joy shine, if you’ve lost it, don’t worry, you can find it again. Start by remembering your dreams, and take steps to follow them, no matter how scary the idea.
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”
—2 Timothy 1:7

Support One Another

We teach this concept at a young age, intentional or not. Its not about building up our children’s self esteem, its about building up our friends and family. Lets start doing this with intention! Do you kids see you building up those around you? How about yourself? Our kids learn more by what they see us doing than what we tell them to do. So sing along with them, encourage your friends, and speak positive things. It will make a difference in their lives as well as yours!

Other Books by Shannon L. Mokry

More books coming soon:

  • The Little Purple Porcupine – July 2019
  • Bubbles and the Big Race – September 2019
  • The Little Yellow Llama – November 2019
  • The Little Green Fox – February 2020

Free Spring Coloring Pages

Spring is officially here, even if the weather doesn’t cooperate every day. Pollen fills the air, bugs are out in force and my little one is coloring up a storm.

Change is in the air.

Just like the seasons, what my daughter wants changes and I need to be on top of things, by changing up her travel bag. I still keep a few blank pages, but I pull out last months unused coloring pages and file them away for later. This month I’m putting in my Spring Coloring Pages.

How to get the free pages

Just head on over to Teacher’s Pay Teachers by clicking here, log in and select my free Spring Coloring Pages. It will give your the files to download from there. I want to make this as safe and easy as possible. Since I am providing these at no charge, I wanted a way for you to safely access the pages without paying for anything out of my pocket. Teacher’s Pay Teachers does that for both of us.

Want more?

You can sign up to get my new posts directly in your inbox. You can also check out my store on Teacher’s Pay Teachers and see what else is there. Have fun!

Previous Free Coloring Sheets

Why Arts and Crafts Are Important

Even if your not good at them.

Are you a perfectionist? Or, someone who wants to put their best forward at all times? That isn’t a bad thing, even if I have some trouble relating. Oh, don’t get me wrong I want to put my best foot forward too. I just know that it takes a lot of mistakes to get there, and I’m not afraid of to let my progress be seen. This is where it gets tricky with kids. You need to let your kids see you struggle. So that they understand that it takes time and practice to get good at things. Show them your mistakes.

Why arts and Crafts?


Arts and crafts help children learn all kinds of important lessons. They get to explore their imaginations. Learn small motor skills, and even work through some engineering type problems. Depending on the craft all kids of connections can be made. Learning something new with your child, shows them they are important. It shows them that your not perfect either, and that its okay to struggle.If nothing else, it should be fun and you both end up giggling over how awful they both look! But, your kid may surprise you and have natural talent you never would have found if you hadn’t introduce them.

If nothing else, it should be fun, you both may end up giggling over how awful they both look! And thats okay! But, your kid may surprise you. They may have natural talent you never would have found if you hadn’t introduce them to something new.

Don’t know where to start?

Pinterest is a great resource. Just pick a medium or a subject. Painting, paper, yarn, fabric, these are all mediums. Princess’s, cars, horses, dinosaurs, etc, these are subjects. Let your child see you struggle and learn, but most of make sure your both having fun!

Pinterest Win: Fairy Wands

Inspiration

The original inspiration for this was from a post about reading pointers for early or beginning readers. It looked like a fairy wand to me, so I took the idea and ran with it. You can find that post by clicking the image below or CreativeFamilyFun.

picture courtesy of CreativeFamilyFun.net

My criteria for a Win:

  • Can children aged 5-7 do this with only verbal instruction? Yes.
  • Can more than one child do this project at a time? Yes.
  • Does the finished product look like the pinterest picture? Yes, if the same items are used.
  • If not, does it look good? Yes, my changes still looked good.

What I did different:

  • I added ribbons.
  • I found smaller sticky gems and stickers.
  • Different foam shapes are okay. If you are not using it to point at something then you can use what ever shape you want. Hearts anyone?

Groups:

My sample group only had 1-4 kids at a time, but I had over 20 kids come through my tent, with a wide range in ages and genders. They all seems to enjoy this craft, the youngest needing more help, but still had lots that they could do themselves.

I’d say this is great for groups aged 5+. For younger kids it might be best with one on one attention. I also think there is lots of room to make this craft personized for a specific group or event.

Be Aware:

My indorsement in no way implies the safety of this item. You must use your own judgement and take responsibility for your own choices. Follow the age restrictions for the items you choose to use and never leave a small child unattended with anything made from popsicle sticks or anything similar in shape or size.

Pinterest Win: Origami Dragon Bookmark

Are you like the rest of us? Scrolling Pinterest looking for a craft or project to do with a group of kids. Maybe you have a theme, maybe not, but you just need something that will fill 10-15 minutes and come out in one piece? Hey I’m on kid three I’ve seen what a classroom or group of kids can fail at. Truth be told its not the kids that failed, its the quality of the craft supplies. Still we want wins for all the kids.

The Craft: An Origami Dragon Corner Bookmark

You can find the original post here: https://www.redtedart.com/dragon-corner-bookmark-design

The Pinterest Effect:

It looks so good on Pinterest. Tons of people are pinning it. But will it really work? Can I really get a group of kids to follow along and end up with a cute craft? Pinterest says you can but we all know Pinterest lies.

I set out to see if this craft was worth doing, by doing it myself. Then I had my 7 year old do it. So far so good. Then I analyzed the possible problems in a group setting with a wide range of ages. (My group of kids was at a Pfarmers Market, so I had no idea who would show up.)

How I Prepped for Success:

What I learned from my test samples helped me decide the best way to prep for this event. This may be different than what you need. For example if you have a classroom full of 3rd graders, then you’ll want them to do some of these steps themselves, a troop, or classroom full of 1st graders may be different.

  • I used cardstock and cut out the rectangles for this project 3in. x 6in.
  • Color and precut the eyes. (I per dragon)
  • Draw and precut the ear piece.
    (I per dragon)
  • Draw and precut the wings.
    (I per dragon)
  • Precut the spikes as one solid piece. To do this I cut a 2in x 2in square and shaped the outside edge on two attached sides, then cute off a 1in x 1 in square from the opposite corner.
  • Use glue sticks on the dragon , not the individual pieces.
  • Stick the ear on last, with instructions to hold it tight for awhile.

Success is in the smiles

I had about 20 kids stop by my tent and make this project, they ranged in age from 2 – 12. The day of the event it became very clear that the younger kids wanted to participate and just couldn’t do the folding. If I had used regular paper, they still would not be able to fold, but thinner paper would have been easier for the 5-7 year olds. So I quickly folded up a small pile of dragons, and the kids had just as much fun, gluing the pieces on.

The project took between 5-10 minutes per child. I personally could walk a group of about 3 through the process, but my table was small. Everyone left my table happy, even if some of the dragons got an extra eye, or some bling from my stash of sticky gems meant for a different craft.

Self Publishing Question and Answer Series

Price Points

  1. How do I know if my book is priced to sell?

One of the joys of self publishing is doing your own market research. Go to a local book store, wonder over to the section that fits your books and take notes. Here is my list:

  • What is your trim size? Exactly what sizes are your books printed in? Really look around, take a tape measure if you need it.
  • Besides, what other differences are there? page count, hard cover, soft cover, color vs black and white images, etc.
  • Make a graph and list price points that go with each difference you found.
  • Make a list of at least 10 books featuring those differences to compare online pricing.
  • If your book is only an ebook, then research your genre, look for page length, word count, and popularity of genre.

After you have done this research you should be able to pinpoint the market standard for your book.

Examples:

  • I write children’s books. 8×8 fully illustrated hard cover books sell for $8.99-$12.99 in the US. If it costs me $8 to print it, then I won’t make any money.
  • The same book, printed in 8.5×11 fully illustrated with a hard cover. They sell for $17.99-$22.99 and cost the same $8 to print, then I have room for profit.

Traditional Publishers have their books printed in China and get their pricing down to $2 or less per book. That is how they can sell an 8×8 book for so little and still make a profit.

2. I though self published authors made more per book sale, than traditional authors?

I can’t guarantee that your book will sell, nothing is guaranteed in life or in business. If you do the research and size your books accordingly, then the profit per book should be greater than what a traditional author earns. I can tell you that a traditional author typically makes an advance then a small % of each book AFTER the advance has been earned through sales. I can also tell you that the % (called royalties) is split with your literary agent.

Self publishing is a business, so you have to get to know the competition. If you treat it like a business and not a hobby, then you will have done this research before you finalize the details for your book so that you can maximize your potential profit.

3 .I did the research and my price and size is competitive , what else could it be?

If your using Amazon’s KDP then, raising your price is the only option for making more. If your using someone else, like Ingram Spark, then you can change a few things. One you can change your wholesale discount. Yes the industry standard is 50-55% but if most of your sales are Print on Demand, then changing it to 30-40% can give you the extra profit room per book that you need.

Ingram Spark has a handy calculator that shows the differences that wholesale discount makes. Play with it and see what difference it may mean for you. https://myaccount.ingramspark.com/Portal/Tools/PubCompCalculator?hsCtaTracking=d9033cc7-9d81-4894-a3a6-99b8cc08bf02%7C42e1dc3e-a6a6-4177-b468-589181ab94f4

More about Writing

Please, always do your own research. All the information is presented in good faith. I gathered this information from information I gleaned while walking through the process of self publishing myself. Every genre is a little different, I personally publish children’s picture books, and middle grade fantasy novels. At the time I wrote this article I had two pictures books, one middle grade novel, a coloring book, and a teacher’s guide self-published.

Free Valentine Coloring Pages

In honor of Valentine’s Day

Thank you for visiting my site. This month I have made a series of heart images. Maybe your like me, and just have a child that likes a simple page to color. Something to give them direction without filling the whole page. Or maybe your a teacher who just needs something for those kids that finish their assignments/projects early. Or maybe your someone else entirely. No matter, I hope you find these printable helpful and useful. Enjoy!

Teacher’s Pay Teacher’s

Please go to Teacher’s Pay Teacher’s to download the free coloring Pages.

Come back for more.

Then throughout the year I’ll share them with you here on my blog. Make sure to follow me on Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram to get the next set. Click below to get This months free coloring pages.

Previous Free Coloring Pages