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

Free Valentine Bookmarks

Are looking for a last minute Valentine gift for the children in your house? I’ve got you covered. Print these bookmarks on cardstock and you give to the sweetheart kids in your life.

Need valentine cards for your kids to hand out, but don’t want the same old thing everyone else has? These are unique and offer something that kids can use beyond Valentines Day. Win win.

http://whimsyandpurpose.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Valentine-Printable-Book-Marks.pdf

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.

Copyright Reminder

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.

Shannon L. Mokry

Additional Bookmarks

5 Good Things About Reading Challenges


1. Reading leads to learning.

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.

“Bubbles and the Berry Bush” Teacher’s Activity Guide

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.

8 Things Aspiring Authors Need to Know

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.

6. Your going to need to Market your book.

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.

  • Fiverr is popular.
  • Join a writer and illustrator groups on Facebook, and ask there.
  • Giving a shout out to the community you know. (I actually did this with my local homeschool groups and found my amazing illustrator.)
  • Looking into local art schools.
  • Join SWBCI and use their resources.

8. Dollars and Cents

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.

Want more on Writing? Follow my Q&A Series:

Teaching Personal Responsibility

You may not be aware of doing it, but we start teaching our kids from the time they enter the world. We introduce personal responsibility when we introduce potty training. What I do in my book is take the next step, making children aware of this responsibility.

Setting boundaries.

Once our children start to walk we teach them to not cross the road alone, to hold someone’s hand, etc. As they get older we give them more room to move around this world, its just as important to set boundaries then as it is when they are tiny.

Your child’s boundaries might be the room in school or preschool, the fence, or your yard. It may be stay with your buddy, or stay with your sibling. But what happens when they are outside of the normal boundaries, or their buddy/sibling wants to do something they know you won’t like? That is being personally responsible. They know=not doing it.

At least that is what we as parents would like. So how do we increase the odds of that happening?

Books spark conversation

In my book “Bubbles and the Mermaid Adventure” we delve into personal awareness and personal responsibility. We even introduce real world consequences without, well the real world consequences. By showing kids, hey we know its easy to get distracted, to just go along. Unfortunately, that won’t stop a bad thing from happening.

In my story I give the kids an out from truly facing the negative consequences. I’m hoping it will spark conversation about what could really happen.

Talk while they are willing to listen.

We have just a few short years to have conversations with are kids about important concepts, before we sound like we are lecturing them. Between 3-9 kids are still exploring the world of peer pressure with some adult supervision. This is the time to talk to them! Let them know that just because everyone else is doing it, that is not an excuse for doing something they know is wrong.

How does my book help?

The kids in my book all want to go the beach. You may hear from your kids things like I want to go to the park or just outside with the neighbors. Just like you, they get permission to go, but boundaries are set.

In the book, the kids are told to stay out of the deep water and to be careful of sharks. Okay, so their probably aren’t any sharks at your park or in your neighborhood, at least they don’t look like sharks. We don’t want to scare our kids, but they need to know why you have boundaries. Their are people out there that will hurt kids if they get the chance.

Consequences., in my book the kids get in the water and meet up with some mermaids. Insert, the popular kids, and just like most kids they simply followed along paying no attention to anything but the popular kids. At the end, those mermaids took off and left them in deep water and deep trouble.

Do you have a Bubble Blowing Dragon in your back pocket?

Me either. In my book it was the dragon that saved them. Their are tools you can give your kids to help, a whistle, pepper spray(for older kids), but the best thing you can give them is awareness. Talk to them about how they would get out of a bad situation, and why its so important to pay attention and not get into the situations to start with.

At the end of the day. Tell them you love them.

No matter what happens, make sure your kids know you love them. Once way to do that is to listen. Ask questions and listen to what they have to say.

Extra’s

More books by Shannon L. Mokry

Free Printable Bookmarks

This one is for the fans of my book “Bubbles and the Berry Bush“. If your not familiar with it you can read about it in another post here. Or check it out on amazon here.

Make it a treat or a reward

Bookmarks are an easy and popular treat to give to book loving kids. Even if you and your kids are not familiar with Bubbles the Bubble Blowing dragon these book marks are sure to be a hit! I find that any gift I give is treated better if my kids think they have earned it. Try sitting through a whole story, or reading one to you!

Printing Instructions.

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. Print as you normally would, stopping to flip the page so that it is two sided.

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.

Copyright reminder

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, but please always link back to my site and give proper credit. Thank you.

Thank you!

Want more bookmarks?

  • Valentines Day bookmarks are here
  • Elephant Bookmarks here.