You know what kids like? Giant boxes! For my pre-school class’s hibernation theme, a washing machine box transformed into a bear cave where the kids could hang out and, when the lights were turned out, make their own shadows. Fun! Shout out to Ilene, my college friend and also a preschool teacher, who shared the Easy DIY Kids Craft for Popsicle Stick Hibernating Bear she found on Glued To My Crafts. An added bonus? Shape recognition. The kids held up our triangle instruments to the triangle dens and realized they lined up.
Our new bulletin board “Hot Chocolate Weather” inspired fingerpainted mittens (younger class) and painted and glued hot cocoa mugs (slightly older class). Flames and logs–ummm-light up the fireplace. Now all we need is some real snow.
Easy DIY Kids Craft, Hibernating Bear
felt, sticker or cut-out leaves
white glue (optional–hot glue gun and glue)
Draw sleeping bears. Cut out.
Create a triangle out of craft sticks and glue to construction paper.
Glue bear in middle of the den.
Add cotton ball “snow” and leaves.
Optional–for extra adhesion, secure cotton balls to paper with hot glue.
Some of the written-word art at Santa Fe’s Meow Wolf, “The House of Eternal Return,” makes you laugh, some makes you think, and all of it enhances the interactive, exploratory art exhibit that allows your imagination to think of time and space as non-linear. So fun!
“Mind-bending, explorable art experience for people of all ages in Santa Fe, New Mexico.”
Have you heard of Meow Wolf? I hadn’t either until my recent trip to Santa Fe. Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return “takes participants on a macrocosmic adventure of seemingly endless possibilities.” It’s art, music, a mystery, a story, and an experience. You walk into a house and discover endless pathways to seemingly other dimensions. Walk into the fridge, slide inside the dryer, duck into the fireplace, climb layers of a tree-house, interact with on-site actors, and explore materials and mediums in ways you’ve never thought of–all of it opening up your mind and sense of wonder.
303 Magazine’s Corinne Anderson describes the one-of-a-kind art installation “by breaking down the main themes that tie the psychedelic smorgasbord of Meow Wolf together.”
It Encourages Curiosity
Using your imagination is almost unnecessary if you just wander throughout The House of Eternal Return because the wildly fantastic environments easily transport you to unearthly dimensions. But within these dimensions there are countless ways to interact and immerse yourself which take at least a little inquisitiveness to uncover.
If wandering around with no purpose doesn’t suit you, then you can try to puzzle out the mystery that was written by five different Meow Wolf writers about the event that pushed this regular house into an irregular rift between space and time. With this addition, Meow Wolf has invented an escape room and fantasy funhouse hybrid that tickles every single one of our senses, no matter our age.
Interaction With the Art is Key
Almost everything is handleable, and if it’s not, it’s clearly marked. Find a piano? Play it. Walk through a fabric corridor? Rub your hands along the walls and see what happens. Encouraging discovery and interaction is essential to Meow Wolf, which gives the installation an unusual spot in the art world.
You Will Question Time and Space
Without giving away too much of the mystery, it is important to understand that the house and its inhabitants have been affected by a fracture in the space-time continuum.The House of Eternal Return is in fact, a house. But a better way to imagine it is as a portal. The portal serves as a kind of transport station to other dimensions. These dimensions seem to have no order, no relation to one another because they exist as memories and feelings of the members of the household.
Meow Wolf has created a completely new style of experiencing art and it’s exciting to feel that as a visitor you are a part of that experience, rather than an onlooker.
It must be all the rain, but I’ve seen more wild mushrooms in the past few weeks than I’ve seen, maybe, in my entire life! Wild mushrooms make me think of fairies, especially when they look like little umbrellas.
Who was collecting these mushrooms?!
I always ask published authors to, please, sprinkle some pixie dust on me!
Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. C.S. Lewis
Since I’m always drawn to children, I was curious where a bunch of little kids were running. They’d piled out of a car and were headed to the Fairy Trail.
What’s more magical than fairy houses? Fairy furniture!
Indoor fairy furniture was formed using wood, rope, mushrooms, cork, burlap and pebbles. Some of the pieces must have come from old-fashioned doll houses. All of it is oh-so-cute! Clickhere to learn more about the Fairy Trail in the South Mountain Reservation.
Want to learn how to make your own fairy furniture? Clickhere for a link for some great ideas. Happy creating, hon!
I’d heard mention of a Fairy Trail in the South Mountain Reservation, but didn’t know much about it until recently. When my sister and her three daughters visited, we found a whole village! I went a little crazy taking pictures of the tiny houses, so I’ll share them over several posts.
Happy fairy house hunting, Hon!
Want to make your own fairy house? Click here to find out how on wiki How
Looking for a show to see? Are you a Roald Dahl fan? Both?
“Unwrap a world of pure imagination.”
My youngest daughter loves Broadway shows, so what better way to celebrate her birthday than to surprise her with tickets to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The New Musical in Manhattan? We appreciate Roald Dahl’s dark humor and twisted characters (We loved “Matilda the Musical.”), not to mention that Willy Wonka is played by Christian Borle who was excellent as Shakespeare in “Something Rotten.”
One of my favorite childhood movies was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I saw the newer version, and didn’t mind Johnny Depp playing a deeply disturbed Willy Wonka, but Gene Wilder’s Wonka stuck in my psyche.
The musical is wonderful! The set design is clever, interesting, colorful and illusional. The larger than life characters are modern, and each has his/her own “voice.” The humor is both timeless and relevant to the times, and, of course, of course, the story is evergreen. The messages that imagination is valuable, dream big, and work for your passion makes me–sniff-a little weepy.
Oh and, hon, the Oompa Loompas are hysterical!
I thought most people knew the story, but at the Broadway show the woman sitting behind us seemed genuinely surprised when Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregard, Mike Teavee, and Augustus Gloop met their sweet rewards, and when Charlie Bucket was the last child standing. The show’s website describes the story like this:
Willy Wonka, world famous inventor of the Everlasting Gobstopper, has just made an astonishing announcement. His marvelous—and mysterious—factory is opening its gates…to a lucky few. That includes young Charlie Bucket, whose life definitely needs sweetening. He and four other golden ticket winners will embark on a mesmerizing, life-changing journey through Wonka’s wondrous world. Get ready for chocolate waterfalls, exquisitely nutty squirrels and the great glass elevator, all to be revealed by Wonka’s army of curious Oompa-Loompas.
Have you seen a good show lately? I’m always interested in what else is on stage.
As a writer, I didn’t just see shoes; I saw characters. One grimaced as she rubbed her bound feet. One strutted down the runway in her silver, architectural heels. One cantered alongside Mr. Tumnus in Narnia. And me? I stomped atop Horse Shoes, hand-on-hips, then swished my black velvet cape rimmed in red as I turned my back on the Demons and galloped into the forest where the fairies and elves awaited my return.
(Please excuse the poor photo quality. Shoes were behind glass in dark rooms.)
Hon, have you seen the exhibit? What did you think? Which shoe on display here is your favorite?
Thanks to Laura Sibson, I am participating in a “My Writing Process” Blog Hop. I added the Bunny Hop part as a nod to Easter, Spring, and my own beautiful Tween Bunny who is my first reader.
Laura earned her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts after discovering a passion for writing novels geared toward teens. Laura’s a fellow runner (she runs much longer distances than me), dog-walker, coffee-drinker, “ingester-of-pop culture,” and mom of teens. She lives in suburban Philadelphia and has impressed me with her knowledge of “Bawlmor” accents.
Laura describes the paranormal young adult novel she’s writing on her blog, Laura Sibson,A journey toward writing dangerously. Her novel sounds spooky and fascinating, and it involves the Black Aggie, a real statue that used to reside a stone’s throw away from my parents’ house, in Druid Ridge Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland.
Do you think its a coincidence that Laura connected with a Bmore girl? I don’t know, hon. You’ll have to ask her!
My Writing Process Questions and Answers:
What are you working on?
Coco, the main character in my chapter book is based on a true story and a real dog. An article describing how a dog ended up on a NJ Transit train headed to Manhattan appeared in my local paper. We had recently adopted a puppy. A story was born! Coco’s inherent doggie abilities and desire to find bones will, hopefully, lead him on many adventures (meaning more chapter books).
In the picture book series I’m writing, my five year-old main character wanted to become a superhero just like his big brother. In the first book, he did it! Now he’s off to conquer the world (and his fears) as the fastest superhero ever. I’m working on books about the day he thought his mommy was a zombie and about the time he battled deep sea creatures at the town pool.
How does your work differ from others of its genre?
Guess what one of my goals is? Hint: it’s in the name of my blog. ENERGY!
I hope my writing grabs readers from the get-go! My manuscripts are populated by relatable characters, alliteration, funny phrases, and a dash of silliness. The universal theme underlying all of my manuscripts is family. Whether the action revolves around siblings or parents and their children, the action happens between the humor and heart.
In my chapter book, Coco stays true to his doggie characteristics, but his impulsivity takes him to unexpected places. He meets a zany cast of characters along the way and, inadvertently, saves the day while on the search for the perfect bone. This chapter book (and the others I plan to write), will fill the gap for elementary school kids who are one step beyond First Readers but not yet ready for longer chapter books.
Logan, my latest picture book‘s main character, is just like real little boys. How do I know? Because he’s a compilation of my “superhero” nephew, my son, and the boys I teach at pre-school and at the elementary school. My nephew says, “Activate! Pshht! Pow!” So does Logan. My nephew says things are “mega.” So does Logan. Sibling rivalry amongst my triplets plus one more was rampant. My hope is that kids will love Logan and his brother’s vivid imaginations while parents will appreciate the heart of the story.
Why do you write what you do?
I write because ideas pop into my head, words and phrases tumble off my tongue, and characters stand in front of me, tail wagging and arms crossed, begging to be brought to life.
I write because the child inside of me connects to children from toddlers to teenagers. I still love playing in a sandbox, climbing to the top of the swingset, and sledding down a hill at lightning speed.
I write because I believe stories are magical.
How does your writing process work?
An idea or a character or a turn of phrase will start off as a wisp of thought. The ideas, characters and turns of phrases that stay in my head like a song-on-the-radio-you-can’t-stop-singing must be written down. If scenes start appearing in my mind’s eye, while I’m driving, running errands, walking Lucy and, always, when I try to go to sleep, then I have to get my thoughts on paper. The process has begun.
First drafts go to my wonderful critique group. I revise. Second drafts are critiqued. I revise. Etc!
My most important revision tools are a thesaurus, dictionary, rhyming dictionary and critiques from my group (or an editor or agent, if I’m lucky). More importantly, I take my watch off, don’t answer the phone, concentrateon listening to how my characters would speak and inhabit the world I’ve created.
Last November, I signed up for Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo challenge to come up with a new picture book idea for a month. Thirty new ideas are now residing in my Idea Box.
Joining the My Writing Process Blog Hop, I’d like to introduce you to (drumroll, please):
Michelle and I connected on Twitter (Michelle on Twitter, me on Twitter). Michelle not only has a blog called Michelle Karéne, Children’s Author, is a member of SCBWI and an aspiring children’s writer, she earned her doctorate in Biomedical Engineering, works for a biotechnology company, and has published fifteen articles in various scientific journals. Michelle’s short story, “Magnolia Fall,” will be published in the 14th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection. Michelle, who lives in North Carolina with her family, blogs about her chapter book and young adult works-in-progress, funny things her three daughters say, nature photographs and dinner ideas. I hope you’ll check out her blog.