Summer is almost here and that makes me think of heat. Well this summer my daughter and I hope to spend a lot of time with a new friend. That new friend happens to be crazy about succulents. So this months succulents where inspired by her. My daughter, of course, is getting lessons in what the differences are between the different kinds of succulents, and how to keep them alive and thriving. As always I like to provide lots of reminders of the important things we are learning. Coloring sheets do this is a very kid friendly and fun way. Enjoy!
How to get the free printables
Just head on over to Teacher’s Pay Teachers, log in and select my free Cactus 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.
Don’t forget to signup for my newsletter, I’ll send links to all of my new content directly to your inbox. You can also check out my store on Teacher’s Pay Teachers and see what else is there. Have fun!
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
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!
To get the two toned celery “roses” we used spray on fabric paint. We sprayed the paint directly on the celery. you could also paint directly 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.
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!
Of course, I know that not all of you can pull out paints at a moments notice. That is okay, too. Or, you may have a child with sensory issues that just can’t handle the feel or the disorganization of paints. You can still do this project with stencils. Stencils help create a sense of control. Not only do the markers control the mess, the stencils create a set pattern.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can’t help it. When you read something you learn something. It may be reinforcing something you already know, it may be noticing something you didn’t notice before, that is all learning. Reading opens up so many doors to learning new and exciting things. Where will your books lead you?
2. Makes you Smarter*
Reading to your kids creates more connections in their brains. Not just your kids brains, but yours too. Think about it. Your building your vocabulary, reinforcing your vocabulary, you emotionally connect with the character’s, get to visit places you might never see, or revisiting favorite places. All those things make connections in your brain. The more connections the smarter you are.
*I’m not a doctor or a specialist, please don’t take my word for it. Look it up yourself. Remember to be kind and that every person is different and has different potential in different areas.
3.Reading out loud helps helps your memory.
The more ways you learn something the more you remember it. Just like writing something out, reading out load accesses a different part of your brain. So if there is something you want to remember try alternating between silent reading and reading out loud. Feel weird about reading out loud to your self, read to your dog, cat, baby, its not about them any way its about doing something for your.
4. Positive Habits
Daily reading creates positive habits for life. Daily habits put you in control, rather than letting life control you. It means that when you set your mind to doing something, you get it done. This translates to way more than just getting your reading in. Conquer daily reading and move on to other things on your to do list.
5. Accomplishing Something
When you set your mind on a goal, and accomplish it, you builds up your self esteem. It’s important to start with small goals. Reading something daily for a month doesn’t mean you reading a full length novel every day. A poem, or quote, a children’s book, even the back of your cereal box if its been that kind of day.
So you want to write a children’s book, but you have so many questions, like how to start, do I need an agent, how do I get an agent, what about the illustrations? Then there’s I keep hearing about self publishing, it just seems so expensive. I know I’ve been there. Ultimately I decided to self publish, that may not be the route for you and that’s okay.
I’ll go through the most common questions I see posted in author forums.
1. How do I start?
Whether you choose traditional publishing or self publishing the answer is ALWAYS the same. Write. I know it sounds way to simplistic, that can’t really be the first step. Well you’d be surprised at the number of potential authors that have all sorts of ideas in their heads, but haven’t written a single one down.
Its okay if you don’t know anything about writing yet, if you don’t get the ideas on paper they will flitter away and you’ll lose them. So write, type, whatever, your first step is to get the ideas down.
2. Work on the craft of writing.
You may be an amazing story teller, that doesn’t mean you will be an amazing writer from the get go. In fact, even if you are, finding a critique partner, or taking classes will only make you more confident. Master Artists of all types go through a period of honing their craft. Authors are no different. Take time to build your skills, this will make the editing process much easier for everyone.
3. Study your genre.
Are you writing picture books, or middle grade books? Are you aiming for the preschool crown, the barely mobile and not yet articulate? How about the beginning reader, or those firmly in the chapter book section. This is a starting point. Dig deeper, are you writing fantasy, mystery, rhyme? Go out there and see what is on the bookstore shelves. You want to see what is popular, what is not. Then, if your self publishing your looking for what they are selling for.
Do not forget to check out how long those books are. Yes the number of pages, also the size of the print and the number of words. The average picture book, for example is 30 pages and 500 words long. The goal for this type of book is as close to 500 as you can get but the range is typically 500-1000.
4. Do I need an agent.
This is where the decision to self publish or not finally rears its head. If you want a tradition publisher then yes you need an agent. Can you get published without one? Occasionally, but an agent will make sure you get the best deal, and gives you more options. They are also a cheer leader for you, its someone in the industry that believes your book has potential. An agent shouldn’t cost you anything, they get paid when you get paid.
5. Traditional or Self-Publish.
You will have to decide for yourself. Just be aware that a traditional publisher does not charge you to publish, they pay you. If your approached by a small publisher asking you to split the cost, check and double check that they are not a vanity publisher. A vanity publisher exists to take advantage of the unwary. If you’ve been approached check the list Writer Beware to see if that company is there.
If you want more info on Self Publishing before you decide Here are some good resources.
Don’t be fooled with either option, you will need to do your own marketing. Yes a traditional publisher wants to make money, but they don’t exactly set aside big bucks to market a first time author. Publisher’s do give you guidelines to follow. They do set the price points. Some will offer advice and maybe hold your hand along the way. In the end, you will still need to market.
There is no way around it, so go ahead and read up on what works and what doesn’t. Start taking notes. Dig around a little and check out established authors, what does their web presence look like. Once you have a draft of your book done, start marketing.
7. How do I find an illustrator?
If your traditionally published, then you don’t. That is another great perk of the traditional route. They want to pick the illustrator and pay them. The downside, you will have less creative control. In many cases the author and the illustrator never meet, or communicate. The publishing company does it all for you.
If you’ve decided to self publish, then their are several routes to go.
I’ve heard that you can publish for no money down or very little out of pocket, is this true? Technically, yes. Just be advised you get what you pay for. At the very least pay for an editor before you start looking for agent. Yes, a publishing house will do more edits, you want to put your best foot forward. So even if you go the traditional route, you may want to invest in some small way to make sure that your have polished it, and made your story the best you can.
Self publishing can be done for very little. For example if you are an artist and can produce high quality illustrations. Here is my break down on what you need money for.
illustrations (unless you can do them yourself)
cover art (this can be separate from the rest of your illustrations)
editing (the longer the story, the more editing you will want done)
Formatting – you can teach yourself, or pay, just decide upfront.
ISBN -in the Unites States you have to pay for this, however it is optional if you publish through Amazon, they will give you an AISN. Its not exactly the same thing but it will work.
physical books-you can use a print on demand company, but you still want some books on hand to give away, or simply show people. The two most common are IngramSpark, or Amazon’s KDP
Marketing -whether is amazon ads, facebook ads, or vendor booth fees you will need an advertising budget.
I’ve never done a word of the year before. It feels a little odd, like I’m doing something trendy just because its trendy. If you know me, then you’d know that I don’t do that. Trendy is not a word that describes me.
So why am I doing it? It feels right. I really don’t have a better reason than that. Maybe you’ve been doing a word of the year for years, or maybe, like me, your new to this. Either way, I’ve put my word out there.
At first I was thinking faithful. Only it didn’t feel right. Faithful has to many meanings or uses that have nothing to do with my focus for the year. So I did a search for synonyms of faithful and found consistent. It really fit so much better to what I am praying for and wanting in this year.
What does it mean to be consistent?
It means to be something regularly. I want to become a person with positive and consistent habits. Someone that can be relied upon. In my work life, I want to set goals and met them. In my homeschool I want to have a daily schedule that helps our family stay on track.
According to Webster’s dictionary it means:
Consistent definition is – marked by harmony, regularity, or steady continuity : free from variation or contradiction.
Have you ever sat at church and felt like every lesson is directed straight at you?
I find it happens the most when I am arguing with God about something. It isn’t always about a conflict in my life, just a direction I am fearful of. Sometimes it is during a difficult time, making the fear even worse. When will I learn that God’s timing is always perfect, while mine is so flawed?
All of these things came to me while listening to a lesson on growing in Christ. We were talking about not standing still in our faith. We are called to grow and mature. After the lesson, my children joined me in my pew. I looked at my three girls and knew that I could no longer live in fear. Instead, I wanted to set an example of living my faith.
I went home that day, and the conviction grew.
Have you heard the phrase ‘running scared’, or ‘paralyzed by fear’, I think we all have. Strange as it may sound, they both represent standing still in life. Everyone else is moving forward and you– you’re afraid to make a decision. If you do make a, the decisions you make take you far away from where you need to go. Fear can paralyze you, spiritually and emotionally. It’s like the world is on fast forward and you’ve hit pause, then you got stuck there.
I was stuck, and it was setting the wrong example for my girls. It was hurting my marriage, it wasn’t glorifying anyone, least of all God.
Some people spend their whole lives afraid. Stuck. I woke up one day realizing that living in fear was a decision. It was a decision that I made every time I gave into to fear, giving it more power over my life than any other thing. Once I recognized it, I then had a different perspective on the terrible things I had been fearful of.
You know what? They didn’t seem as scary anymore.
I admit, I’m one of the blessed. When I was lost in fear my life looked, well not normal, but good. I had already shaken the fear of not following societies standards. First I made the decision with my husband to be a stay at home mom. Then we made the decision to stay out of public school. At first we went with private school then homeschooling. My life was weird, but a good weird. Jesus carried me. d already shaken the fear of not following societies standards. First I made the decision with my husband to be a stay at home mom. Then we made the decision to stay out of public school, first with private school then homeschooling. My life was weird, but a good weird. Jesus carried me.
It wasn’t always so good. My years at school left me scared. I never felt good enough, or worthy of love. Another lie meant to tear me down and keep my light hidden.
I had faith that God would see me through to the end. Being with me during the peaks and valleys of life was not the same as seeing that I didn’t get hurt. Like many of you, I saw that as my job. I was so wrong. By being so fearful of what people could and did dish out, I held back. I could stand up and fight for you, but I kept myself hidden.
Fear is a learned reaction, I was not always afraid. Hurt me once, shame on you; hurt me twice, shame on me, mentality. Then it hit me in the heart, those were worldly ideas. I could not be a light if I kept myself hidden. By my actions, I was passing that on as a legacy to my girls.
We are told in the Bible not to keep track of the sins against us.
We are told to turn the other cheek, to keep forgiving, just as our own sins are forgiven. These are not idle concepts. Jesus knew what he was asking of us. I needed to decide was if I was up to the challenge.
It all comes back to fear. If I want to find the freedom in life that salvation in Jesus promises, then I have to let go of that fear. If I don’t let go, then I can’t grow in my faith. I won’t really be living. I’ll still be on pause, watching as life goes by.
That is what the path to publishing my writing is about for me. It’s about living my faith, stepping out and being a light. It’s about being an example of living and using the gifts I’ve been given. The legacy I want to leave my girls, is the example of living my faith. How best to live my faith, than to use my gifts!
Follow me as I write about life forging forward through the fear.
Are you fighting the fear? If you are then know you are NOT alone!
This post was originally shared on my facebook page on November 16, 2016. It has been updated it and reposted it here on www.whimsyandpurpose.com by the Author Shannon L. Mokry.
I have been making felt dolls and finger puppets for the last few months. They are super cute, but I ended up with this bag of felt that I didn’t want to toss.
“What’s your deal, just toss ’em” is probably going through your mind at this point.
Well, if it was your typical craft store felt, I would agree. I just toss it that synthetic stuff. This is something different, this is NICE felt. 100% wool felt from Felt on the Fly. I even added a bag of scraps to my order. I know I bought scraps. EEK.
So what am I going to do with those scraps? Well I challenged myself and I made a whole finger puppet with just scraps.
Some examples of what I was doing.
Notice I was using some of my scraps. This piece of green in her hair made a cute leaf. That tiny bit of green was trimmed off of a bigger piece of scrap of felt. At this rate I was going to buried under a pile of scraps!
What I did after I challenged myself.
I challenged myself to use bigger pieces of scraps. When I did, I got these cuties.
I used scraps for the dress’s and the wings:
My next challenge.
After that, I took it a step further. I used scraps for every part of the finger puppet. This is Maeve Fairy. I think she turned out super cute.
Do you want to do something similar?
There are tons of patters available. For finger puppets, check on Pinterest (linked to my felt board) and Etsy (finger puppet fairy pattern). just pick a shape you like and fill it in. Please note, I did not use anyone else’s pattern. The hardest part may be the flesh tones, but who says a fairy has to be peachy cream colored? Have fun and share your creations in the comments!
This post was first posted at www.whimsyandpurpose.blogspot.com on October 6,2018. It has been reposted on www.whimsyandpurpose.com. All copywrite still belongs to Shannon L Mokry the author and owner www.whimsyandpurpose.com, www.whimsyandpurpose.blogspot.com, and Sillygeese Publishing, LLC.