Animals/ Nature

Playful Writing Book Now Available!

Playful Writing Cover image

Writing for fun and discovery!

Find 150 playful writing explorations for young children. Activities include a creative start and uses writing as a natural extension of self-expression, and playful encounters. Prompts and guiding questions keep children writing for real purposes children care about. Each activity includes Early Writer ideas for those emergent learners, as well as Ready Writer activities for those ready for more advanced and complete writing projects.

The playful writing activities are organized into 15 chapters. That include a combination of informational and fictional writing experiences. Take a look!

Playful Writing Link

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Categories: adventure writing, Animals/ Nature, Early Childhood, Fantasy and Fairy Tales, Holidays, Humor Writing, Poetry, Science Writing, Talking Points, Writing Games | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Turkey Talk!

These delightful puppets make great props for lots of turkey writing fun.

What You Need:
small paper lunch bag, scraps of recycled colored paper, scissors, glue

Directions:turkey puppet image

1.Turn paper bag upside down. Insert your hand to see how the flap works as a mount.
2.Cut out shapes from colored paper for eyes, beak, and wattle. Glue to the bag as shown.
3.Cut out wings and glue to each side.
4.Cut out feather shapes and glue to the back of the puppet.
Let’s Write!
Turkey Interviews: Continue reading
Categories: Animals/ Nature, Early Childhood, Holidays, Humor Writing | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

What’s Up Watermelon?

You know how fun it is to make a Jack-o-Lantern, how about making a watermelon head perfect for summer fun?
What You Need: watermelon, colored paper or cardboard or a collection of other fruit or vegetable piecespaper watermelon head example
Play!
Use imaginations and a group effort to turn the watermelon into a fun creature. Attach colorful paper/cardboard cutout features with toothpicks, draw with non-toxic markers, or add pieces of fruit and vegetables with toothpicks.
Write About It:
Watermelon Head Interview
  1. Write a list of 6 questions for your watermelon friend to answer.
  2. Write out the answers to these questions from the watermelons point of view. Research as needed to find out how the watermelon might answer the question.
  3. Write the questions and answers into a script.
  4. Record or videotape the interview with one student being the interview and another student speaking for the watermelon.
  5. You could also turn your ideas into a picture book with captions describing Watermelon’s most remarkable traits and adventures.
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Animal Riddle Valentines

Riddles are fun to write and create, especially animal riddles for Valentine’s Day.

What You Need: scrap paper, glue, scissors, thesaurus (print or online- not essential))

valentine deer made of hearts

A valentine dear to the heart!

Play! 1. Cut out lots of different sizes, shapes, and colors of hearts.
2. Arrange hearts into animal shapes and glue onto a white piece of paper.
3. Next, write your riddle or riddle poem (see Write About It) and place on the paper next to your Valentine animal.
4. You can also make these into clever cards. Put the riddle on the outside and open the card to find the Valentine animal inside.

Write About It! Continue reading

Categories: Animals/ Nature, Holidays, Humor Writing, Poetry | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Groundhog’s Day Shadow Puppet

It that time again! Time for groundhogs to shine in the spotlight!

groundhog puppet shadow

Ta daa!!!

What You Need: cardboard scraps, scissors, flashlight or lamp

Sample of cardboard groundhog cutout

Cartoon groundhog puppets add to the fun

Play!
1. Draw an outline of a groundhog on a stiff piece of cardboard. This can be a cartoon version like the example. It is fun to have the arms, ears, and tail stick out to create more interesting shadows.
2. Cut out the animal. Use a paper punch to make holes for the eyes. Cut out the mouth if desired.
3. Tape the groundhog to a pencil (eraser side down to avoid pokes).
4. Play together to hold the flashlight and move the groundhog next to a wall or door in a darkened room in order to see the shadow.

5. Hold and move the groundhog at different angles and distances from the light to discover how the shadow grow and changes. Move the flashlight as well to see how this changes the shadow.
6. Play and pretend with the groundhog as a character. Act out the groundhog getting ready for Groundhog Day.

Write About It!
What can happen when a silly groundhog puppet see’s it shadow? Kids will come up with lots of ideas when playing with their shadow puppets. Perhaps the groundhog is afraid of its own shadow, or thinks a bigger dark groundhog is following him. Maybe the groundhog decides to come up with a plan to make sure he does or doesn’t see his shadow on the big day. These fun observations and playful encounters create great Groundhog Day stories.

Categories: Animals/ Nature, Holidays, Humor Writing, Science Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shadow Stories

Turn shadows into fun story characters with nothing more than the flap and wave of fingers, a

bright wall, and a dark night (or dark room!).

What You Need: lamp or flashlights, wall or ceiling

Play!

Darkness comes early on these wintery days. With a little light projected onto a wall and lots of imagination, children have lots of fun creating shadow animals and other story characters.
Try out these old time favorites and soon children will be making up their own versions or birds, animals, and people.

shadow animals: elephant, rabbit, bird, and dog

Try these classic animal shadows!

Once the children have their own favorite characters, encourage them to interact with each other to let the stories begin! Continue reading

Categories: adventure writing, Animals/ Nature, Science Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Turkey Gobbler Cartoons and Riddles

My students have great fun creating cartoon turkeys this time of year. There are many ways to draw a turkey. Once the

Drawing of turkey cartoons.

Turkey cartoons ready to say their mind.

children have their favorite version they are set to make their drawings into characters for turkey riddles and silly cartoons.

What You Need: paper, pencils and pens, pictures of turkeys are helpful but not necessary

Play!

Provide lots of paper and pencils to engage in a drawing circle where everyone contributes ideas and makes sketches of turkeys. Talk about the kind of feathers, neck, head, bodies, and feet a turkey has. Encourage exaggeration in order for the drawings to begin looking like cartoon birds. This also helps the perfectionist from getting too worried about realistic detail.

Write About It!
Continue reading

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Nuts About Words

Acorns are abundant this time of year in many parts of the country. They make wonderful game pieces for children to handle and use to spell new words, make up word games. and use for pretend.

Letters printed on acorns

A bowl full of acorns ready for play

What You Need: acorns!, permanent marker, paper

Play!

Acorns are fun to gather and collect with children.
Once each child has a bowl full of acorns, pass out permanent markers for children to print letters and faces on the nuts.

Games are played by spreading out the nuts and creating words. The acorn faces can bu used as wild nuts and stand for any missing letters during the word building. Of course more acorns can always be added!

Children will have fun adapting other word-building games they know using these natural playing pieces. Also, encourage children to make up their own rules and games. The main playtime objective is to have children manipulating letters  to discover the fun of word building as a part of play.

Continue reading

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Nature Color Hunt

Create a color palette then go on a nature color scavenger hunt!

photo of paint strip with leaves and rocks to match the green hues

Shades of green nature hunt

What You Need: paint strips of different colors found in nature (found in stores that sell paint)

Play!

  1. Choose a paint strip and rename the different hues with your own creative names.
  2. Write them on the color sections.
  3. Go on a nature hunt to find matches to your color cards.
  4. Exchange cards to try a different color range.
  5. See who can find the most matches.

Write About It!

This game will give you great new ways to describe the colors around you. Use your new color words in nature poems, riddles, or stories.

Categories: Animals/ Nature, Writing Games | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

For the Birds!

It is the season for birds singing, building nests, and strutting their feathers. Join in the action with your own silly bird who wants to join the flock!
What You Need: Colorful tag board, pipe cleaners, glue, scissors, stapler Optional: googly eye, feathers, paper fastener

Play!

Photo of paper bird.

How do you think the big pink bird will fit in with the goldfinch on the feeder?

Use your imagination to create a colorful bird from colored tag board. Add some fun moveable parts by attaching wings to the body with a paper fastener and gluing on googly eyes. Bend pipe cleaners into legs and feet that cling to branches or other objects. These can be stapled to the body. Make your bird bright, bold and silly looking by adding other embellishments.

Now play with your bird in different outdoor locations to help you think of funny situations your bird might get into in nature.

Write About It!

Continue reading

Categories: adventure writing, Animals/ Nature, Humor Writing, Science Writing | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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