Virtual Museum Visits Are Designed for Kids by Marilyn Ostermiller

(First in a two-part series on how to accompany the children in your life on virtual visits to a variety of museums.)

Museums can introduce children to unknown worlds, spark their imagination and provide them with valuable perspective about the world in which they live.

Museum exhibits are typically so diverse that kids always can skitter around and find something that grabs their attention.

Now, more than ever, the world’s finest museums are accessible digitally. The following are among several international museums that offer free virtual exhibits, tours and dramatizations children can enjoy at home.

The Louvre, Paris:   https://louvrekids.louvre.fr.

The children’s section of this website offers several videos, in English, or in French with English subtitles, of stories related to the museum exhibits, such as the theft of the Mona Lisa and a priceless diamond. The story of Little Red Riding Hood features a painting of the girl and the wolf from the museum’s collection. An actress dramatizes the story, which has a surprising ending!

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Photo from the Louvre of Little Red Riding Hood, painted by Fleury Francois Richard, (1777 – 1852)

British Museum, London:

https://blog.britishmuseum.org/how-to-explore-the-british-museum-from-home/

The treasures in this museum’s collection range from a clay tablet from Babylon during the time of King Nebuchadnezzar to a miniature solid gold llama figurine that was buried with a king. The free learning resources online range from how Egyptian mummies were made to what Romans ate and drank in ancient times.

You can visit the British Museum’s blog for more information:

https://images.app.goo.gl/WanU1EmhQdH9yVUcA

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam:     https://www.vangoghmuseum.nl/en

Children will become acquainted with Vincent van Gogh through kid-friendly videos. For six to nine-year-olds, a video introduces the artist as an unassuming young man who loved to paint, shows what he painted, how he did it and where he did it. For nine to fourteen-year-olds, videos tell of a misunderstood, determined man who wouldn’t give up. It’s a story about needing to do what you’re good at. For youngsters who want to immerse themselves in the artist, there are drawings to print and color, crafts, games and books. It’s all in English so it’s easily accessible.

van gogh doll

Books about the works of art, ancient animals, and fossils can compliment the virtual museum tours. Among the options:

13 Artists Children Should Know by Angela Wenzel.

This picture book, suitable for children from eight to 12 years old, features works by some of the world’s greatest painters, including Leonardo de Vinci, Vermeer and Matisse.

13 artists bookcover

Fossils for Kids: A Junior Scientist’s Guide to Dinosaur Bones, Ancient Animals and Prehistoric Life on Earth, by Ashley Hall. From interesting facts about such prehistoric dinosaurs as Velociraptor to Tyrannosaurus rex, the book explains how fossils form, where they are found and how to identify them. Reading age: 6 to 8 years. 

fossil cover

Marilyn Ostermiller is a long-time journalist who seeks out family-friendly activities.

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Halloween Crafts For All Ages.

Several years ago I came upon a wonderful site that teaches craft-lovers of all ages how to make some amazing things. RED TED Art hosted by MAGGY, makes crafts using household objects, paper, yarn, origami, crayons, clay, and more. Here are some great links for Halloween Crafts for kids of all ages.

https://www.redtedart.com/halloween-crafts-ideas/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=early_bird_halloween_special&utm_term=2021-09-26

Halloween crafts for kids

https://www.redtedart.com/halloween-activities-for-families/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=early_bird_halloween_special&utm_term=2021-09-27

Halloween Activities for Families

https://www.redtedart.com/halloween-tp-roll-crafts/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=early_bird_halloween_special&utm_term=2021-09-27

If you’re still hesitant about letting your kids go out trick-or-treating this season, they can still have a blast and get into the spirit of the season by making some of these kid-friendly crafts.

Happy Halloween!

New Middle Grade Book: 101 HILARIOUS PRANKS AND PRACTICAL JOKES! Read at Your Own Peril!

Today it is my pleasure to feature author Theresa Julian’s new book on how to be a successful prankster. Her previous book THE JOKE MACHINE provided everything  you need to be a joke teller, so this one is a must read for potential pranksters out there. Here’s Theresa to tell you more about it:

101 Hilarious Pranks and Practical Jokes Cover

Did you know:

  • Cows moo with different accents – depending on where they live?
  • The bones in the human body are held together by marshmallow taffy?
  • Snakes don’t live in swamps, they live in potato chips cans, like this:

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If you didn’t know these facts, it’s okay because – none of them are true. I’m pulling your leg. Kidding. Pranking you.

If there’s a little jokester in your life who wants to learn about pranking, check out 101 Hilarious Pranks & Practical Jokes, a middle grade book written by me and illustrated by Pat Lewis. This super silly book includes – you guessed it – 101 pranks, AND explains how to pull the perfect trick.

The book teaches kids how to pace their prank, find the right attitude, and create a story around it. It explains how kids can kick their pranks up a notch through physical humor, which is using their body to make someone laugh. It’s using goofy faces, funny voices, slipping, tripping, and weird smells and sounds to make their pranks extra awesome.

Here are some tips from the book:

Attitude

Start a prank with the right attitude. How would you feel if you were really in the prank situation? If you’re pretending you’ve just won a million dollars, act thrilled. If you’re pretending you broke a window, act shocked. If you’ve filled the cabinet with ping-pong balls, act casual and wait for someone to open the door. Pick an attitude, commit to it, and sell it.

Story

Create an interesting story around your prank. Let’s say you want to convince your friend that your family has a “dead finger” collection and you’ve brought in your favorite one to show her. But, of course, it’s really just your finger in a box, covered in ketchup and avocado mush.

If you walk up to your friend and show her the box, it may not be very effective. But if you build it up with a story that draws her in, and then show the box, you’ll get a bigger reaction.  thumbnail_Picture 2

Try creating a story like this: You crept down your creaky basement stairs; opened the rusty door to the back room; and gagged at the stench of rotting skin. When you turned on the light, you found that there, in your very own basement, was a dead-finger collection – probably great-grandpa’s from the war. Now, when you show the box, you’ll probably get the reaction you were looking for.

Pacing

A good prank is carefully paced, not blurted out or rushed.

Picture this: Your brother walks into the kitchen and hasn’t yet seen the fake tarantula on the cheese casserole. Do you jump up and yell, “Look at the cheese casserole, ha ha!”? No, of course not. You sit and wait, distract him with comments about how good you’ve been (which, is always true, right?), and wait for the time to be ripe. It’s sooo much better if he finds the hairy spider himself!

Funny Faces

Let’s face it, facial expressions are key to a good prank because they help sell your story. Picture a face that’s afraid, amazed, annoyed, or bored, like the ones below.

 

The right face can say a lot more than words. So when you’re pranking, let your face do the talking!

Kooky Arms & Legs

Get your whole body into the prank. If you tell your friend the rat in the garage is THIS BIG, fling out your arms and show just how big. If you’re pretending you’re about to vomit, clutch your stomach, moan and double over in pain. In the prankiverse, body language reinforces your story and paints a picture, and is often funnier than words.

Silly Voices and Sounds

Silly voices and sounds make pranks more believable and fun. If you’re pretending you’ve broken a window, download a crashing glass sound and play it on your phone or computer. If you’ll make a prank call, you’ll need to disguise your voice with an accent or different tone. Funny voices are fun to create and once you’ve nailed a few, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them!

Slipping, Tripping and Prat-falling

 

101 Hilarious Pranks & Practical Jokes teaches you how to pretend you’re slipping, tripping and falling, so you get the reaction you want. For example, here’s how to pretend you’re hitting your head on a door:

The book also explains how to crack your nose, bite off your finger, detach your head, spit out your teeth, push a pencil through your head, rip your eyeball out, slip in poop, and control gravity. You’re welcome.

 

So, if there’s a little prankster in your life who’s looking to learn completely ridiculous skills, such as how to use goofy faces, funny voices, bad smells, weird sounds, and smooth body moves to trick their friends, check out 101 HILARIOUS PRANKS AND PRACTICAL JOKES which goes on sale Sept. 28, 2021. Then — watch your back!

Theresa is giving away a signed copy of this “practical ” guide to being a prankster. Leave a comment for one entry into the random drawing. Share this post on social media and get a second entry.  

 

theresa pic Theresa Julian loves chocolate, changing her ringtones, and writing humorous books for middle graders. Her books have been featured in TIME for Kids magazine, the Barnes & Noble Kid’s Blog, and Today.com. Theresa is a graduate of Boston College and has a Master’s in Corporate Communications. After many years of writing business documents for large corporations, she’s now happily living on the beach, writing funny books for kids. Her mother claims Theresa spent most of first grade sleeping on her desk, but don’t worry, she’s awake now, dreaming up new ways to keep kids reading and laughing.

Connect with Theresa on http://www.TheresaJulian.com
Twitter: @Theresa_Julian
Instagram: @tm_julian

Laurie Wallmark Presents: Dino Pajama Party – A New Picture Book Review.

I recently had the pleasure of reading an advanced copy of a new picture book by author Laurie Wallmark. Here’s my review:

Dino Pajama Party by Laurie Wallmark,  Illustrated by Michael Robertson is a delightful new bedtime picture book for the little ones. Though Laurie is known for her award-winning STEM biography  picture books, this first foray into fiction is sure to be a winner.

As dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes rock and roll their way to bedtime, kids will enjoy the action and lively illustrations as they get ready for their own bedtime pajama party. A fun, rhyming, read-aloud that is sure to be a favorite with kid dinosaurs and their parents.”

Dino Pajama Party: A Bedtime Book

Here’s the link to the activity kit:

Laurie Wallmark

www.lauriewallmark.com 

Dino Pajama Party (Running Press Kids, October 2021)

Code Breaker, Spy Hunter (Abrams Kids, 2021)

Numbers in Motion (Creston Books, 2020)

Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life (Sterling Kids, 2019)

Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code (Sterling Kids, 2017)

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine (Creston Books, 2015)

Award-winning author Laurie Wallmark writes picture book biographies of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) as well as fiction. Her books have earned multiple starred trade reviews, been chosen as Junior Library Guild Selections, and received awards such as Outstanding Science Trade Book, Best STEM Book, Cook Prize Honor Book, Crystal Kite Award, Mathical Honor Book, and Parents’ Choice Gold Medal. Her titles include ADA BYRON LOVELACE AND THE THINKING MACHINE, GRACE HOPPER: QUEEN OF COMPUTER CODE, HEDY LAMARR’S DOUBLE LIFE, NUMBERS IN MOTION, CODE BREAKER, SPY HUNTER, and her debut fiction picture book, DINO PAJAMA PARTY. Laurie has an MFA in Writing from VCFA and is a former software engineer and computer science professor. You can find Laurie on the Web at http://www.lauriewallmark.com and @lauriewallmark. 

Laurie Wallmark

www.lauriewallmark.com 

One Small Thing You Can Do For Mother Earth.

As we transition from summer into fall, many of us plant bulbs, flowers, and tidy up our gardens. How about adding a tree seedling as well?

Trees are the “lungs” of the planet. If we want to breathe cleaner air, reduce global warming, and decrease our carbon footprint, the easiest and one of the most planet=friendly things you can do  is PLANT TREES. If you are in an area where there is no space for trees, consider supporting organizations that plant trees around the globe.

Check out the search engine ECOSIA: 80% of their advertising revenue goes to tree planting all over the world.  They’ve already planted more than 100 Million trees worldwide.

https://www.ecosia.org/?c=en 

You can also visit: http://www.TreeSisters.org 

This organization is a major INTERNATIONAL tree planting charity that has already planted more than 19 million trees in tropical areas of the world.

Image result for Treescapes. Size: 151 x 160. Source: www.pinterest.com

Here’s an interesting statistic regarding Global Warming: If worldwide we plant 3 billion trees in areas such as open fields, backyards, schoolyards, empty lots, etc, not touching agricultural areas used for food production, we would END Global Warming.

Three Billion might seem like a lot, but that’s less than one tree per person. Every tree counts and helps make our air cleaner and our environment healthier.

Is there a place in your yard, neighborhood, community that could be home to a tree? Please share this post.

SCURRY! THE TRUTH ABOUT SPIDERS by Annette Whipple Will be Arriving to the House of…

The winner of the recent give-away of a signed copy of SCURRY! THE TRUTH ABOUT SPIDERS  by author Annette Whipple is…drum roll please…

Danielle Hammelef.  Congratulations! and thanks to all who left a comment about this interesting and fascinating book on spiders. For those who didn’t win, the book is available at: https://www.amazon.com/Scurry-Truth-Spiders-Annette-Whipple/dp/1478870230/

and at local INDY bookstores: https://www.indiebound.org/search/book?keys=Scurry%21++the+truth+about+spiders

Cover for Scurry! the Truth about Spiders

International Day of Peace: What You Can Do.

Tomorrow, September 21, 2021 is the INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE. If there is one things our planet needs more of, it is peace. Setting aside a day to recognize, reflect, and honor the idea and concept of PEACE may seem futile in our violent and contentious world. But I believe that focusing on peace and recognizing ways to live a more peaceful life can have a ripple effect.

 How can we observe International Day of Peace? (ideas and suggestions are taken from the National Day Calendar website: https://nationaltoday.com/international-day-of-peace/

  1. Observe the global “Minute of Silence”

In 1984, the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Pathways to Peace inaugurated the Minute of Silence. At noon in each time zone, this observance of silence creates a “Peace Wave” around the world. Individuals, organizations, communities, and nations are invited to participate in this shared and practical act of peace-building.

  1. Host a global peace feast

Bring people together with a ‘global’ potluck, encouraging your friends and neighbors to share a unique dish from various countries or cultures. Breaking bread together is one of the oldest yet most effective ways to bring peace into your life. Interfaith and intercultural discussions can make the evening even richer.

  1. Foster peace through education

Let peace begin at home with you and your family. Teach your children key concepts that promote peace such as conflict-resolution, peaceful dialogue, consensus-building, and the choice of non-violence.

5 Factors That Promote A Culture Of Peace

  1. ​Seek to understand

Around the world, we are more alike than different; seek common ground, understand and value the differences you find in the people you meet and cultures you experience different from your own.

  1. ​Promote economic and social stability

Eliminating poverty, food insecurity, and social injustice leads to a stronger culture of peace because it removes common causes of unrest and violence.

  1. ​Respect all human rights

​At the core of peaceful relations is the belief that all humans are valuable – no one group being better than another; see how you can contribute to this understanding in your sphere of influence.

  1. ​Advocate for equality

Support the advancement of women in society through political and economic initiatives; actively oppose violence against women and girls in your community and promote the elimination of discrimination in the workplace.

  1. Choose democratic principles

​Encourage the democratic participation of all peoples in your community so that every voice is heard in civic decision-making and corruption in political leadership and operations is eliminated.

 DID YOU KNOW?   The first Nobel Peace Prize was awarded in 1901 “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”.

In the words of JOHN LENNON, GIVE PEACE A CHANCE.   PEACE

 

 

Author Annette Whipple Presents: SCURRY! THE TRUTH ABOUT SPIDERS + A Chance to Win a Signed Copy.

Today it is my pleasure to feature Author Annette Whipple with the third STEM book in her Truth About series: SCURRY! THE TRUTH ABOUT SPIDERS (Reycraft Books).  Annette is here to tell you about her research and some fascinating facts about these amazing creatures. And she will be GIVING AWAY A SIGNED COPY OF THE BOOK TO ONE WINNER CHOSEN AT RANDOM FROM THOSE WHO LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS POST. Now, here’s Annette:

Thanks so much for featuring Scurry! The Truth About Spiders on your blog! Since Scurry is the third book in the series, I finally had a few things figured out. Researching it was a ton of fun. I knew it would be a question- and-answer book and that I wouldn’t be able to include all the cool information I learned. Scurry cover

After some very basic spider research (no note-taking, just wanting to better understand spiders in general), I began brainstorming. I used the bubble method and explained how I did it for the topic of spiders and specifically for Scurry! The Truth About Spiders in this blog post about nonfiction brainstorming. https://www.annettewhipple.com/2021/07/how-to-brainstorm-nonfiction-writing.html

Spider brainstorming

After brainstorming, I categorized similar topics together and decided (loosely) what questions I wanted to include in this Q&A book. That narrowed my research quite a bit. I took notes in a spiral notebook and printed out and saved bunches and bunches of research, too. (Keep an eye out for a blog post about my research notebooks. It’s on my to-do list.)

Once I began researching, I used books focusing on spiders (even a field guide), as well as websites like https://arachnology.org/ and published papers. I consulted with an expert who had over 60 years of experience studying spiders. He answered my questions and reviewed my manuscript (with small suggestions and clarifications). I also worked with another spider expert…and met hundreds of tarantulas! I even held one! And I might have brought a spider exoskeleton home with me. Edna’s been a huge hit during author visits. (I always warn people before I remove her from her box.)

annette with spider

I knew spiders were cool, but through my research, I found out they are truly fascinating! I’ll share 3 spider-ific facts!

1. I was surprised to learn that 99.9% of spiders are not dangerous to people. Insects—very dangerous. People—very rarely! Honestly, I thought that was an exaggerated statistic. But it’s true!

2. If a spider is in danger, they can self-amputate. So if a bird grabs onto a spider’s leg, the spider can just pop off that leg—and grow a new one! Or at least it will grow a new leg if it has another molt left.

3. We use our tongue to taste, ears to hear, and nose to smell…but spiders use the hairs on their bodies to sense their world! (Most spiders have very poor vision. Jumping spiders are the exception to that.)

I love to include activities in my books, especially activities that get kids focused on STEM. A web-building challenge is included in the back of the book!

Scurry 14-15 cover

Even if you don’t love spiders, I hope you’ll give Scurry! The Truth About Spiders a try! Just request it at your local library or bookstore. Oh, one more fun fact…the hardcover editions of

The Truth About books include a full-size poster! I think that’s pretty cool and am so thankful that Reycraft Books puts so much thought into creating beautiful books for readers.

Other titles in this wonderful and informative series are: Whooo Knew? The Truth About Owls, and Woof! The Truth About Dogs. Next year the series will continue with a book about frogs and another about cats!

 To be entered in the giveaway of a signed copy of SCURRY! THE TRUTH ABOUT SPIDERS, leave a comment. If you share this post on social media, let me know and I will give you a second chance to win. US residents only, please.

 About MeAnnette Whipple celebrates curiosity and inspires a sense of wonder while exciting readers about science and history. She’s the author of ten fact-filled children’s books including The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion: A Chapter-by-Chapter Guide (Chicago Review Press), The Story of the Wright Brothers (Rockridge Press), and Whooo Knew? The Truth About Owls (Reycraft Books). The Truth About series also includes books about dogs, spiders, frogs, and cats. When Annette’s not reading or writing, you might find her baking for her family in Pennsylvania. Get to know her and explore her resources for teachers and writers at http://www.AnnetteWhipple.com.

Book Review: BEACH TOYS vs SCHOOL SUPPLIES by Mike Ciccotello

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of a charming and fun-filled picture book in a give-away on the Writing and Illustrating blog run by Kathy Temean: http:kathytemean.wordpress.com

BEACH TOYS vs SCHOOL SUPPLIES by Mike Ciccotello is that book. Here is my review of this delightful story that bridges the transition from summer to Back-To-School for the youngest kids.

Beach Toys vs. School Supplies

            The contest is on for who can build the best sand castle of all: The beach toys who have done it forever, or the school supplies who have all the proper equipment to measure and make the sand do what it does best. Does bigger mean better?  School supplies think so, but when things don’t work out quite the way they envisioned, will beach toys come to the rescue?

            Engaging illustrations and “punny” word play make the contest fun to watch. The message of friendship, co-operation, and kindness make this a perfect book for the transition from summer to school for the youngest readers.

So, grab your beach toys and school supplies and head on over to the beach for some sand castle building of your own…now is the perfect time.

PB Review: THE TRUTH ABOUT DOGS by Annette Whipple.

I always look forward to a new non-fiction picture book by author Annette Whipple. Her books are not only informative, but entertaining and never fail to teach me something. In this second book in her THE TRUTH ABOUT series (Whooo Knew: The Truth About Owls), Annette tells us some amazing things about dogs.

WOOF:THE TRUTH ABOUT DOGS (Reycraft Books 2021) by Annette Whipple, is a fascinating and close up look at people’s best friend. Interesting facts are told in a question and answer format that will give kids all  they need to know about this popular pet.

Back matter shows readers how to help dogs, how to greet an unknown dog, how to make a dog TUG TOY and more. This is a perfect book for anyone who loves dogs and wants to know more about them. It will make a great addition to a home or classroom library.

 

To learn more about Annette and her books visit:

Annette Whipple
Scurry! The Truth About Spiders (Reycraft Books, Fall 2021) 
Woof! The Truth About Dogs (Reycraft Books, June 2021)
Whooo Knew? The Truth About Owls (Reycraft Books, 2020)
The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion: A Chapter-by-Chapter Guide (Chicago Review Press, 2020) 
The Story of the Wright Brothers (Rockridge Press, 2020)