Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween from Brimful Curiosities!



Halloween leaf message inspired by leaf invitation on page 4 of Mary Pope Osborne's Haunted Castle on Hallows Eve (Magic Tree House #30).


Bats on our ceiling. Idea from Pinterest and Reading Confetti's Handprint Bats post.
Bat [pdf] templates available from: Martha Stewart or Country Living


Our halloween snack: Chocolate Pudding Cup Ghosts


And presenting -- Buzz Lightyear (from Toy Story) and Lady Lilac (from Elsa Beskow's The Flowers' Festival). Trick or Treat!

Razzle-Dazzle Ruby by Masha D'yans - Giveaway and Book Review

Snow?! Goodness, just last week we played outside without any coats. Now we're watching with awe and trepidation as our Northeast friends work to restore order after this weekend's freak October snowstorm. Winter is coming whether we want it to or not. Rather than focusing on the negatives, it's best to focus on the wonder. Here's a book that helps kids and adults discover the magic of winter!

Razzle-Dazzle Ruby by Masha D'yans. Scholastic Press (October 2011); 9780545225007; 20 pages; Pop-up / moveable art book
Book Source: Review copy provided by publisher

Dainty snowflakes, snowmen with stick arms, sparkly snow angels ... those are the delightful sights of a razzle-dazzle snow day. An imaginative little girl named Ruby wakes up and can hardly contain her excitement as she gazes at the snow-covered world outside her window. All bundled up in her fabulous winter garb, she pretends she's a "gleaming-beaming" snow queen and joyfully embarks on a journey in her winter fairy tale world. She looks for her knight (her puppy, Rocket) and tries to avoid the evil ice prince with help from her nobleman friend, Sir Zac.

Author/Illustrator Masha D'yans knows exactly how to dazzle young readers. In Razzle-Dazzle Ruby she creates a magical and whimsical winter world with her splendid watercolor illustrations. The dainty snowflakes and cute Ruby in her striped red tights -- oh, it's a charming story for sure! And then, as if her gorgeous illustrations weren't enough, D'yans adds more magic by providing hands-on interactive play with some seriously cool pop-ups, pull-tabs and other moveable parts. Kids can help Ruby throw a snowball through the air, ice skate on a glistening pond, and make snow angels on the ground and more.

D'yans truly captures the childhood delights of a magical snowfall and my kids can't get enough of her impressive paper-engineered, enchanting snow world. This really is a winter experience you don't want to end! My kids want to jump into the book and embrace the snow-filled world with zeal along with Ruby. We wish there were more than just the ten interactive spreads to carefully explore (like other pop-ups, the book has a thick cover and thinner pages meant to be handled with care). Luckily, it won't be too long before we can play in our own, real snow-filled wonderland.

Related links:
http://www.razzledazzleruby.com
http://masha.com/

Watch the whirly twirling action in this YouTube Sneak Peak:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZZsG1VaXCI



❄❄❄❄❄❄❄❄ Watercolor Resist Snow Angel Art ❄❄❄❄❄❄❄❄


Our very favorite page in Razzle-Dazzle Ruby shows Ruby and Zac creating snow angels. Both my kids like to make their arms move back and forth using the pull tabs. Because we don't have any snow yet to play in, my son and I decided to create our own magical snow angel artwork. I taped a felt snow angel onto a piece of watercolor paper and encouraged my son to paint the entire picture with blue and purple watercolors. When he was finished we removed the felt snow angel and marveled at the resist art. Later on he added some sparkle glaze to add shimmer.






Add a little razzle-dazzle to your winter! Scholastic Press has kindly offered to give away a copy of Razzle-Dazzle Ruby to a Brimful Curiosities' reader.

For a chance to win, leave a comment relative to this post or answer the following question: What's your favorite outdoor winter activity?
• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US only
• Contest ends on Monday, November 14th, 2011 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random and sent an email notification.
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4; please leave a separate comment for each entry):
1st extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
2nd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.
3rd extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader

I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Giveaway & Review: Little Sports Series from Sleeping Bear Press

Why do some kids (and their favorite adults) love various sports and others not so much? Part of it has to do with exposure. Many kids grow up with an ingrained love of certain sports passed down generation after generation. Same goes when choosing favorite sports teams. My kids root for the Packers, the Brewers, and the Badgers, as does our entire extended family.

With exposure comes familiarity. If a kid is familiar with a sport, he or she will also likely feel more confident participating. I started playing t-ball when I was around six years old. I went on to enjoy athletics in school and played on many different team sports throughout my school career. While I don't participate in any organized sports now, I do enjoy watching and sharing my love of sports with my family.

Sleeping Bear Press has published a series of board books that focus on the basics of several different types of sports. The Little Sports Series books turn learning about the various sports into a guessing game for young kids. All the books feature the same design. Each book consists of ten rhyming riddles with picture teasers, one per page. After listening to a rhyming riddle and viewing the corresponding picture teaser, kids use the clues to guess each fundamental of the game.

Little Baseball (Little Sports) by Brad Herzog, illustrated by Doug Bowles. Sleeping Bear Press (February 2011); ISBN 9781585365470; board book

Sample riddle: "Hit the ball? / You surely could / with a mighty swing / of this piece of wood."

Baseball terms covered: Bat, Pitcher, Home Plate, Baseball, Umpire, Baseball Glove, Scoreboard, Hot Dog, Baseball Cap, Bench


Little Football (Little Sports) by Brad Herzog, illustrated by Doug Bowles. Sleeping Bear Press (February 2011); ISBN 9781585365463; board book

Sample riddle: "It's full of air / and mostly brown, but in this sport / it isn't round."

Football terms covered: Football, Helmet, Goalpost, Shoulder Pads, Referee, Jersey, Cheerleaders, Whistle, Scoreboard, Quarterback


Little Basketball (Little Sports) by Brad Herzog, illustrated by Doug Bowles. Sleeping Bear Press (September 2011); ISBN 9781585361816; board book

Sample riddle: "This is what / you pass and shoot. / It's round and orange / but not a fruit."

Basketball terms covered: Basketball, Jersey, Net, Court, Whistle, Shorts, Shoes, Backboard, Bench, Mascot


Little Soccer (Little Sports) by Brad Herzog, illustrated by Doug Bowles. Sleeping Bear Press (September 2011); ISBN 9781585361977; board book

Sample riddle: "It rolls and bounces, / flies through the air. / Players chase it / from here to there."

Soccer terms covered: Soccer Ball, Whistle, Net, Cleats, Goaltender, Teammates, Foot, Shin Guards, Jersey, Coach

The Little Series board books probably are not the best choice for babies but are most suitable for toddlers, preschoolers and quite possibly early elementary students. In fact, answering the riddles requires problem solving and logical thinking skills. All kids will enjoy the challenge.

The bright, zoomed-in, partial illustrations that accompany each riddle offer essential clues for helping the youngest readers solve the riddles. When you turn the page for the answer, the illustration shows the element of the game in its entirety. Some of the riddles, like the one introducing a soccer ball aren't specific enough to be solved without the help of the illustration or knowledge of the book title. Additionally, both my kids pointed out that some of the elements featured like the whistle, bench and jersey, are not sport specific and appear in multiple books. Of course, this is not something you would notice if you were reading only one of the books alone.

Even with the picture clues, my 3yo son has a hard time solving some of the riddles because he just doesn't have the vocabulary and background knowledge necessary to correctly identify, for example, an umpire or referee. My daughter likes to help him solve the riddles and sometimes even she stumbles. But, as in sports, practice makes perfect. After a few rereads, the books have enlarged both my kids' sports vocabulary. Now, when we sit down to watch a football or baseball game together they both can point out the scoreboard as well as home plate or a goalpost, as well as many other aspects of the game!

Other titles in the Little Series from Sleeping Bear Press (publication date in parenthesis):
Little America (July 2011) ---------------- Little Arizona (January 2012)
Little California (March 2011) ----------- Little Canada (March 2012)
Little Colorado (April 2011) -------------- Little Florida (May 2010)
Little Illinois (May 2011) ----------------- Little Louisiana (July 2011)
Little Maine (February 2010) ------------ Little Michigan (February 2010)
Little Minnesota (December 2011) ------ Little New Jersey (August 2012)
Little New York (February 2010) -------- Little North Carolina (July 2011)
Little Ohio (January 2011) --------------- Little Pennsylvania (April 2010)
Little South Carolina (January 2011) --- Little Texas (July 2010)
Little Wyoming (June 2010)

Story Extension - Pennant Flag Craft

This week my son and I worked on making our own sports pennant flags. I posted a homemade sports pennant tutorial yesterday. Instead of using paints, my son used markers to decorate his flag.





Shibley Smiles
A Mommy's Adventures hosts the "stART" meme (Story + Art) each week. Add your kids craft post to the Kid's Get Crafty linky at Red Ted Art's Blog. Writing a post about play? Join the It's Playtime party! Find more great book tie-ins at JDaniel4's Mom Read, Explore, Learn link-up. Browse more book posts at Little Sprout Books' Feed Me Books Friday.


Want to solve a few riddles? Sleeping Bear Press has kindly offered to give away a choice of a Little Sports series book to two (2) different Brimful Curiosities readers.

For a chance to win, leave a comment relative to this post or answer the following question: Which Little Sports book would you choose if you won?
• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US only
• Contest ends on Monday, November 14th, 2011 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random and sent an email notification.
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4; please leave a separate comment for each entry):
1st extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
2nd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.
3rd extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader

I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

How to Make a Sports Pennant Flag - DIY Tutorial

I'm still a little disappointed the Brewers didn't make it to the World Series. No National League Championship pennant this year. That's OK, though. Despite the outcome of the playoffs, the Brewers still had a record breaking season and we will remain loyal to the Brew Crew.

We decided to make our own pennant flags to celebrate the Brewers impressive 2011 season. A pennant is a triangular shaped flag typically used to show support for a sports team. Baseball pennant flags have been around since the turn of the twentieth century and vintage pennants are highly collectible.

Most full size pennants measure about 12" x 30." Traditionally pennants were made of wool or felt, although thinner, stiffer pennants are now produced and are available for sale at ballparks and online. However, it is much cheaper to make a homemade version!

This design could easily be adapted to make personalized name pennant banners to display in your child's room, too.

Materials:

30" long piece of heavy interfacing (available at fabric stores)
Tacky glue (I use Aleene's Original Tacky Glue)
Felt
Acrylic Paint
Paint brush
Pencil
Scissors or rotary cutter
Yardstick
Clear Tape
Paper
Computer and Printer

1. Use a ruler and pencil to draw a triangle measuring 12" x 30" onto the interfacing. Cut out the triangle using scissors or rotary cutter. (Interfacing is a pretty inexpensive material and works perfectly as pennant flag material. It is stiffer and thinner than felt. It is also see-though, making it easy trace a pattern onto your pennant. The 30" piece cost me a little under $2.)


Decorate the pennant with paint and felt. In this example I painted on yellow and gold stripes and glued felt letter cut-outs to the pennant. How you choose to decorate your pennant is completely up to you!

2. To add painted decorations: Thin the acrylic paint with a few drops of water and carefully apply thinned paint to pennant with a paint brush or foam brush. Before I painted I drew a stripe design onto the banner and then painted yellow and gold stripes using the design as a guide.


3. To add felt letters: I used Microsoft Word to design a template to make my slanted letters. I created a text box, choose the Britannic Bold font and applied the following Text Effect: Transform - fade right. You'll have to play around with the font size to get the desired effect and make the font decrease along with the width of the flag.


Once you have your letters the right size, print out your template. Cut out each letter separately and tape each letter onto the felt. Carefully cut around the letter using a pair of sharp scissors. This technique results in nicely formed, professional looking letters (we use this method to make letters for our banners at church).


Position your letters onto the pennant. Once you're happy with placement, glue on each letter using tacky glue. (Tacky glue is more flexible and adheres to fabric nicely.)




4. Make the pennant sleeve. Pennants usually have a sleeve at the end through which a stick may be inserted. Cut a 1" wide and 12" long piece of felt. To form a sleeve for the stick, sew the both sides of the felt to the end of the pennant using a sewing machine. (Because we're not planning on using a stick to display our pennant, I decided to forgo the sewing and glued the sleeve right to pennant.)



Here's a video showing another method for painting a sports pennant flag:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Haunted Tunnel

We own a Pacific Play Tents I See U 6' Tunnel. Our tunnel gets used quite a bit, especially on rainy days. I've even caught our cat lounging inside.


This evening while I was making supper the kids covered it with a blanket and transformed it into a haunted tunnel, complete with spooky ghosts. So creative and an entirely child-initiated activity! BOO!

Find more of this week's Wordless Wednesday (or Wordful) posts at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Everything Goes On Land by Brian Biggs - Book Review and an Even/Odd Street Activity

Perusing the library with my son never fails to entertain. He has very specific criteria in mind when it comes to choosing books. Basically anything with a train, car, airplane or other vehicle on the cover will garner his approval. Does this selection method hold true for all preschool-age boys? I don't know, but judging from the ragged condition of the transportation themed books in our library, I'd say this subject is very popular with little boys and quite possibly with little girls as well.

Since we've devoured nearly every transportation book in the library, we're always on the lookout for the latest and greatest zooming, zipping, chugging, or digging book. Enter Brian Biggs and his new Everything Goes picture book. My son's reaction? Love at first sight!

Everything Goes: On Land by Brian Biggs. Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins (September 2011); ISBN 9780061958090; 56 pages

From cover to cover, Everything Goes: On Land is chuck full of cars, trucks, bikes, trains -- tons of land-going city vehicles. Eye-catching and completely riveting for all transportation book aficionados, Biggs doesn't leave anything out in his jam-packed, cartoony illustrations. Even the odd, not oft seen vehicles make an appearance. Double Decker Bus. ✔ Elevated Train. ✔ Penny-farthing. ✔ Bird with a hat. ✔ (No, that's not a typo. There really are birds with hats. What's that got to do with vehicles? I have no idea, but the birds are pretty silly and appear in all the city pictures along with a lot other out-of-place things! Channeling Richard Scarry and Goldbug, perhaps?)

This is the kind of seek-and-find book one could easily stare at for hours, days, and not see everything, and there's also an interesting storyline weaving through the book about a little boy to consider. Henry drives into the city with his dad to a surprise location and the two talk [via speech balloons] about all the vehicles they see along the way, discussing some in great detail. Through a number of simple vehicle diagrams, the reader learns along with Henry about the interworkings of a car, tractor-trailer rig, RV, bicycle, and motorcycle. To add to the educational experience, Everything Goes: On Land also works as a challenging counting book. Readers can count one-by-one to 100, searching for each number in order.

The side-stories are quite amusing as well. One speedy driver gets pulled over by a cop, much to my son's amusement. And, my son gets a huge kick out of the tuna seeking cat and pocket-watch carrying, late bunny. But, more than anything else, my son adores the pages with the trains, especially the steam-powered locomotive. I think he might like trains even more than the little boy in the book, and that's saying quite a bit! You'll have to read the book yourself to find out why. :)

The book is targeted at preschoolers, but older kids enjoy checking this one out, too. My daughter took it with her to first grade when her class was discussing numbers in print. 'Twas a hit!

A corresponding I Can Read book, Everything Goes: Henry in a Jam is planned for future release, in addition to another Everything Goes series picture book about air travel.

Related Links:
http://www.everythinggoesbooks.com/
Brian Biggs - Author Website
Everything Goes On Land - Road Trip Event Kit [pdf]
Everything Goes On Land - Activities [pdf]
Everything Goes on Land Downloadable Coloring Book



∞ ∞ ∞ Even and Odd Numbers Activity ∞ ∞ ∞


Everything Goes On Land contains the numbers 1-100 so I thought we'd work a little on our number and counting skills this week. The whole family (including DH) worked on coloring different Everything Goes vehicles. We used some of the coloring images from Biggs' Downloadable Coloring Book and I traced several other vehicles out of the book. My son only wanted to color trains and he requested I trace all four trains from the train page for him to color. (Mr. Biggs, you need some train coloring pages! My hand hurts from tracing.)

In total we colored 10 vehicles and numbered them. The kids sorted the even and odd vehicles and placed them on the correct street. My son also worked on his number recognition and order skills and placed all the vehicles in order from 1-10.

The even/odd idea is one I found on Pinterest. The teacher wife posted a similar activity involving houses.






Shibley Smiles
A Mommy's Adventures hosts the "stART" meme (Story + Art) each week. Add your kids craft post to the Kid's Get Crafty linky at Red Ted Art's Blog. Writing a post about play? Join the It's Playtime party! Find more great book tie-ins at JDaniel4's Mom Read, Explore, Learn link-up. Browse more book posts at Little Sprout Books' Feed Me Books Friday.

I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Scenes from Sheboygan Children's Book Festival 2011

Reading books opens new worlds. Meeting the authors and illustrators that create those worlds is an even more exciting and eye-opening experience. This past weekend my family had the opportunity to meet a few children's book authors and illustrators at the 2nd annual Sheboygan Children's Book Festival.


Illustrator Open Studio with Tom Lichtenheld - Lichtenheld gave the kids two words and challenged kids to create their own drawings using the words as inspiration.

Warming up.



Discussing art with Tom Lichtenheld.



Angry boy drawing.



Hiding boy drawing.




We met Tom Lichtenheld, Candace Fleming, Liz Garton Scanlon and Jerry Pinkney at the book festival.



Contemplating Mark Fox's "Dust" exhibit at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center. Kind of blows your mind away.



Hansel & Gretel Learning Cottage at Bookworm Gardens, Sheboygan, WI. The gardens seem like they are right out of a fairy tale.
It's an enchanting place to visit.



Reading All the World with Liz Garton Scanlon in the A Sock is a Pocket for Your Toes arbor area at Bookworm Gardens.



Ending the magical weekend with a walk along Lake Michigan.



Find more of this week's Wordless Wednesday (or Wordful) posts at 5 Minutes for Mom.