Activities for My Books

 Herding Those Animals!         A Fun Activity to Accompany Some of my Books.

              Two of my favorite friends in Texas are enjoying a game in which they must swat the balls with those huge fly swatters. They must move all of the balls to the opposite side of the room and into a hula hoop located on the floor. Each side has a different color of ball. Although I'm not an artist, I drew animal faces on the balls. Some are elephant faces. Others are cow or pig faces. I also try to buy four balls of the same color. I let up to four children play each time. I've also seen teachers against teachers in a friendly game.
              According to which book I'm presenting, my young friends could be herding elephants when they swat the balls with the elephant faces on them. That would  be for my Great Elephant Escape book.
            Or, they could be herding pigs after listening to my book, The Oklahoma Land Run. Pig faces have been drawn on those 8 colorful balls.
            Of course, with Grady's in the Silo, they could be moooooving cattle by swatting the balls with cow faces on them.
            With my new book, Scanner, I drew dog pictures on balls so that the children could sort out the dogs.
            Each team herds their animals into their own hula hoop. It's fun. It's loud. It's something children enjoy. Teachers might want to try it, too.

Do you need an art project for Grady's in the Silo? This cow is made from a wooden spoon craft stick. The features are painted on with paint, or they can be drawn on with crayons or markers. The eyes can be bought, painted, or made from felt. The ears are made from a stiff fabric, but they can be made from cardstock or construction paper. It's a fun project for children.


This is a good project for a couple of my books. Late at night, Grady from Grady's in the Silo might have seen some stars. Elephants, Isa and Lilly, from The Great Elephant Escape, may have had stars guide them after they ran away from the circus grounds. People in the Oklahoma Land Run would have slept under the stars. Toby, as well as his great-great-grandfather, Tobias Frazier, would have slept under the stars.  So, why not make your own constellations. Dark blue or black construction paper works best. Lightly draw the design for your constellation. You might want to use chalk or a pencil.

 Your design can be anything that would relate to the book you have read. Once the constellation is drawn, decide what to use to show your constellation. Cereal works very well. Icing or frosting (just a little bit) will glue cereals in place. You might use a cotton swab or toothpick for the icing. Stars or other small stickers can also be used. Beans, seeds, or popcorn can be used as well as some foods such as potato sticks, crackers, or small, colorful candies. Nuts would work, too,  unless there are children who are allergic to nuts. Be sure and let children name their new constellation.

This could be the Handy Hat, the Cowboy Hat, a Sombrero, or any other name that refers to a hat like the one shown.

Children could make this the North Star, the Shimmering Star, the Shining Star, etc.

This design could be the Wobbly Wagon Wheel, the Land Run Wagon Wheel, the Broken spoke, etc.

The Racecar Driver's Night Before Christmas
      It's always interesting to see how students would design their own racecar. When I go to a class for an author visit, I enjoy having them design their own car. I show them pictures of some of the racecars that race on week-ends, and they begin to get their own ideas as to how their racecar should look. I have a worksheet with a car on it, and they begin designing their car immediately.
      They often have sponsors listed on the car which may be related to cookies or candy names, and some students will write their own names as sponsors. I usually bring along items such as cereals, leather pieces, beans, seed, popcorn, feathers, buttons, foam pieces, beads, rubber stamps, and a variety of other items for them to use as they design their car. Girls will design their own "powder puff" cars using feathers, lace, glitter glue, beads, etc.  I have foam numbers and letters available so students can make their own decals, or put their own names on their cars. I also have glue, crayons, and markers available.
     Some of the decorated cars shown below were designed by students at a library in Texas.

Children like to make their wagons for the land run. Some are fancy and some are not. They often contain dolls inside to represent the children that accompanied their parents along the way.  Many contained signs on the sides of the wagons. Some had shovels, coffee pots, barrels of water, etc. attached to the sides. Many use tarps, sheets, canvas, made the wagon's sides. 

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