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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
To print these bookmarks put 8.5 x 11 white cardstock into your printer and make sure it is ready to print. Then click the top image. It should pop up a new tab or page with both pages. Please remember to reinsert each page and print the back so that each bookmark is two sided. Or click the link listed above.
After printing them, cut them apart along the dotted lines and enjoy. The second side of the bookmark has a place for you or your child to right their name. That way if you have more than one child it is easy to remember who’s bookmark belongs to who.
Remember only laminate after they have colored it. Laminating isn’t required, but it does extend the life of the bookmark.
These bookmarks are free for you to print and hand out, but they are NOT for you to sale or post on any site.
You are welcome to share my blog post as long as you give me credit and link back to my site. Thank you.
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.
As a homeschooling mom I understand the struggle to find activities that reinforce the books being read. Whether you are doing a unit study approach or not, children remember more when they interact with a character outside of story time.
As I searched for printables to use with my own daughter I found that the majority of things out there are just copies of the same basic worksheets, simply with different clip art. That just doesn’t work, as children continue to learn their skills change.
This means that teacher’s need different things based on where in the school year they are. My activity guide provides a variety of different activities to cover the different skill levels.
What this means for teacher’s in a classroom
For Preschool and Early Elementary Teachers, this means that they can pull the book out and use it when ever they feel like it will benefit that class of students. They can do this and know there is a worksheet to go with it. It also means that they can have some variety while still meeting the needs of that class of students.
What is means for the homeschool teacher
It means that this activity book is uniquely situation for your multiage classroom. A child that has trouble sitting through story time, give them a coloring sheet that works with the book. Young readers, their are some early readers that help the child connect more with the book characters. Older elementary kids in the mix, they can use the writing pages to work on creative writing skills. Something for every level age 3-9.
Just looking for a summer workbook?
Its good for that too. Everyone knows that kids need to practice academic skills through the summer or they lose valuable time and skill. The book can be used as a workbook for child, offering a variety of activities with characters they love.
Available in more than one format.
This book is available as either a printable or a physical book. You choose. The links will take you to either Teacher’s Pay Teachers, for the printable version, or amazon for the physical copy. I am compensated for your purchase.
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.