Curious Creatures, Wild Minds Collage Project

Curious Creatures, Wild Minds Collage Project

It has been a hot minute since I last blogged, because LIFE, but I had to share these collages inspired by the CBCA Book Week 2020 theme of “Curious Creatures, Wild Minds.”

This year, I am lucky enough to be teaching in the school library. On Fridays, I teach 7 Kindergarten classes.
We had explored the collage technique of Jeannie Baker. As we read shortlisted Book Week books each week, I would model a process that would add to the collage. I’d arm the classroom teacher with materials, and then students would work on their collages in class during Learning Centres. The whole process covered 3 lessons/ 3 weeks.

We now have 140 Curious Creatures from the Wild Minds of Kindy on display in the school library and I am. in. love. with. them. all.

I think this would also be a very rad process art project for Halloween.

How to create your own Curious Creature collage

You will need:
A baseboard cut from a cardboard box
Paper scraps
PVA glue
white paper
black marker
Yarn, paper straws, matchsticks and other bits and bobs

We created our collages on a square piece cut from a cardboard box.

The first step was to cover the baseboard in colourful scraps of paper.
We discussed how you could have overlapping pieces of paper.
We explored some vocabulary around the textures of the paper.

Secondly, we discussed the meaning of the word ‘creature.’
I displayed literary examples of creatures from picture books.
We examined Gwyn Perkins’ tutorial on how to draw your own curious creature.
Students then drew their own curious creatures. I encouraged them to draw a black line drawing on white paper. Some students chose to colour in their curious creatures and I am here for it.
At the outset, we discussed how there is no right way or wrong way to create. We also talked about how I expected all of the creatures to be different.

In the third week, we discussed borders. I presented each class with a bag filled with crafty bits and bobs. Cut up paper straws, matchsticks, yarn- all kinds of fun materials to explore! I modeled how to create a border on the edge of the baseboard.

Once the glue had finally dried, teachers brought their collages into the library and several students discussed their collages and what they enjoyed most about the process.
One of my favourite responses was from a little boy who declared that the collage process made him feel “craftable and older.”
The. Best.

If you make collages inspired by this post, I’d love to see them! Tag @ohcreativeday on social media.

Reading with Children Tip: Play ‘Libraries’

Reading with Children Tip: Play ‘Libraries’

Looking for a way to make reading fun for children? Y’all know that I’m a massive advocate for reading all day and every day with children. I am, however, the first to acknowledge that sometimes things can get a bit stale on the reading front and it’s fun to shake things up a bit.

make reading fun for children with the tip of playing libraries

Whilst we were in the thick of at-home learning thanks to COVID-19, I had to create online library lessons for my Kindergarten students. One of the suggestions I made in my vids to the kids was to play “Libraries” at home. This is an idea that isn’t restricted just to Kindergarten ages.

I thought I’d give you the inside scoop on this activity in case you’re after a way to make reading fun for children.

📚 Ask your mini-librarians to gather a few books from the bookshelves and let them create displays around their “library.” Will they display the books with their front covers out? Or spines out? (See how we’re already using the metalanguage around the parts of a book?)

📚 Do you just want to drink your tea? If so kick back and ENJOY THAT CUPPA.
Or do you want to inject a bit of #playfullearning? You can ask the librarian to recommend a read. What is this book about? Why do they recommend this book? What was their favourite part?
Talking about a book is JUST AS IMPORTANT as being able to read a book.

📚 You can start to point out the features of a book – the front cover, title, author, illustrator, spine, back cover, blurb, endpapers….

📚 My objective with my lessons is to get the kiddos to remotely role-play the borrowing process. Once you’ve found the book for you, where do you go? What do you say at the circulation desk? You’d best find a random household item to be a barcode scanner here because scanning the book and going “BEEP!” is the most gratifying part of the process.
We have an old computer keyboard that we use at the “circulation desk” to type in the names of our “patrons.”
And please make sure your patrons all have a suitable bag to take their books home in.

Want some more reading with children tips? Here are 5 ways to get children to read more.

Chicken Divas Craft: National Simultaneous Storytime

Chicken Divas Craft: National Simultaneous Storytime

Chicken DIva craft for the book "Whitney and Britney Chicken Divas."READ: Whitney and Britney Chicken Divas by Lucinda Gifford for National Simultaneous Storytime 2020.
CREATE: Your own fancy chickens with this Chicken Diva craft.

The National Simultaneous Storytime celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with a rollicking read featuring some jazz-loving, ostentatious chickens.

To celebrate, we created this cardboard chicken diva craft. It was also a fun and simple colour exploration.Chicken DIva craft for the book "Whitney and Britney Chicken Divas."

What you will need for this Chicken Diva craft:

Printable template
Push pins
Craft glue
Colouring materials
Embellishments like sequins, tissue paper or beads

We traced the templates onto an IKEA box to create our chicken parts.
You could simply print the template onto thin card. Or a paper version would work too.

I provided a variety of colouring materials- chalk pastels, paint pens, oil pastels and watercolours. We discussed the colours of the chicken characters. As we created we discussed the tints and shades of pink and blue. We added details in Sharpie.

We fixed all the pieces together with push pins to create moveable chooks. If you don’t have push pins, never fear. Just glue it all together.

Grab your free Chicken Diva craft printable

Chicken DIva craft for the book "Whitney and Britney Chicken Divas."

We then embellished our chickens with sparkly things. I offered to provide pipe cleaners and beads so that we could design some jewellery for our chicken divas, but the offer was politely declined.

Your chicken divas are now ready to strut their stuff.

Chicken DIva craft for the book "Whitney and Britney Chicken Divas."


If you liked this READ + CREATE project, check out the Alpaca craft we created for last year’s National Simultaneous Storytime.

A Simple Drawing Game for Kids: Pass the Portrait

A Simple Drawing Game for Kids: Pass the Portrait

When I posted this simple drawing game for kids on Instagram, the crowd went wild!
So I thought I better dedicate a blog post to its awesome self.This is a collaborative, drawing game that I’ve dubbed “Pass the Portrait.”
Hand-drawn portraits by kids are one of my very favourite things in life.
It involves all family members and simple materials.

Here’s how to play this simple drawing game for kids of all ages. You need some good-quality paper and a Sharpie for each family member.

Everybody starts with an oval on their page. The page is labelled with the name of a family member. That oval is that person’s head.

We started with the feature of eyes. So you had to draw in the eyes of the family member named on your paper.

Then you PASS THE PORTRAIT to the person next to you. Next we opted to draw the nose.

PASS THE PORTRAIT. Add the family member’s mouth.

Keep passing the portrait until all features are filled in and then colour in the portraits. Each family member will end up with a portrait that bears maybe 6% resemblance to their actual visage, but collaborative art activities is where it’s at, my friends!

Yes yes, there are actually 5 members of my family. But the 5th member went off-script and chose to do a self-portrait.

If somebody doesn’t want to stick to the script, my advice is ROLL WITH IT. I would kill for eyelashes like that. This kid is my often-reluctant creator, so it’s important for him to express himself as he pleases.

We then unleashed the watercolour palette and paint sticks. Some family members coloured their own portrait. Others coloured the portrait of another family member.

If you’re after some more drawing tips for kids, I wrote this post on encouraging kids who are reluctant to draw.

If you try this simple drawing game for kids, I’d LOVE to see! Tag me on Instagram or Facebook.

Simple cardboard masks for kids

Simple cardboard masks for kids

These simple cardboard masks for kids are an amazing project. We originally made them as prototypes for a READ + CREATE class I had scheduled for the holidays. We all know how that story ends #coronavirus
Seeing as the class was cancelled, I’m giving the idea to you.

To run this as a READ + CREATE activity in your home, simply read a book about monsters or wild characters.
We were going to read ‘Wild’ by Emily Hughes. ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ would work beautifully too.
Then invite your child to create their own wild creature.

Create your own simple cardboard mask for kids

Seeing as we are all indoors for the moment, we have had a huge influx in online shopping delivered to our door.
Use the boxes to create these cardboard mask.

I cut out several oval-shaped bases for the faces and pre-painted these.

I then cut out various shapes to resemble facial features. Lots of circle, semi-circles and rectangles.
I presented these shapes to my kids with paint sticks and paint pens.

We discussed the different shapes that we could use to represent different facial features.

They coloured their cardboard facial features.
My main tip would be to encourage your children to experiment with the placement of cardboard facial features on their base board.
Once they are happy with how it looks, glue all the features in place with craft glue.

I then presented some tulle and ribbons so that my kids could further embellish, but they weren’t too hot on that step.
Tape a dowel rod to the back of the cardboard mask and let your inner-Wild Thing ROAR!

Here’s another monster-inspired READ + CREATE activity.
After some more monster crafts? Here’s a mix and match monster craft project with paper!

If you try this simple cardboard mask for kids, I’d LOVE to see! Tag me on Instagram or Facebook.

5 Ways to Encourage Kids to Read More

5 Ways to Encourage Kids to Read More

You know that I am a passionate Literacy Advocate Warrior Woman, right? I’m passionate about finding ways to encourage kids to read more. And more. And more.

I passionately believe that reading has the power to change and enrich lives. At the moment, we’re all trying to stay home as much as possible, right? #thanksCOVID19
This means that I’m sick of hearing my own voice by the time I get to bedtime stories with my kids. The consequence of this is that my bedtime read alouds have become a bit, ahem, sub-par. Reading isn’t something that should just be saved for bedtime. It should be happening at different points throughout the day. The current situation did make me consider how we can inject more reading into our kid’s days in a stress-free and authentic way.

So here are my 5 ways to encourage kids to read more…

Plug into audiobooks or podcasts

This is my number 1 tip for when I’m sick of hearing my own voice. Audio books and podcasts are an awesome way to ensure that your child is hearing the written word spoken aloud. Furthermore, an important comprehension skill is being able to take what you are hearing and create images in your mind. Audio books and podcasts aid in the development of this skill.

We’ve been loving accessing BorrowBox through our local library’s website.

Here in Australia, we love the podcasts on offer from ABC4Kids. (I’m not sure if my overseas friends can access these. Sorry!)
We also like the Big Life Kids poddy and the Brains On! Science podcast.
The David Walliams Marvellous Musical Podcast is ace. There is also a (paid) Roald Dahl app that allows you to download his stories.

My 2 eldest kids listen to podcasts during their daily “Quiet Time.” This is when they play quietly in their rooms for 90 minutes or so. Sometimes we’ll play a podcast as we eat lunch or we’ll often listen to an audio book on the school run in the car (remember when we used to drive around?!)

Read recipes and get kids in the kitchen

Look, I know that having kids in the kitchen can be messy and stressful. But recipes are such an authentic way to engage readers in a procedural text. They are one of the most engaging and authentic ways to encourage kids to read more.
And you end up with something delicious to eat! Win!

Create a Book Nook

I’ve yet to meet a little friend who doesn’t love building cubbies and forts. If reading is feeling a bit stale and unloved at your place, rethink the location. Helping your little reader to create a book nook filled with cosy cushions and great reads can be a fun way to mix things up and encourage kids to read more.

I’m also a big fan of scattering books in different places across the home so that books, and reading, are always accessible.
If space permits, I’m also a huge advocate for displaying some books with front covers facing outwards. Books on a bookshelf with spines out can be quite uninviting to a child.

Be a Reading Role Model

In order to see reading as a valued pastime and valuable skill, children need to see the adults in their lives reading for pleasure and embracing books. This is awesome if you’re a book-loving adult. This is your carte blanche to read, read, read. If you’re not much of a reader, I’m going to ask you to fake it until you make it. The benefits for your child are far-reaching. This role also means that you can open up conversations with your children about the books they are reading, what they are enjoying and what they are not. Being able to talk about books is an important reading skill!

Read + Create

If you’ve hung around here for awhile, you’ll know that teaming reading with creating is my superpower. This allows children to go beyond the book and deepen their understandings of and links with a book.
Need some help with reading + creating?
If you sign up to my newsletter crew, you receive a free 30+ page READ + CREATE guide.

You might like to grab my free printable of how I set up a READ + CREATE experience with my kids.

Here are some READ + CREATE ideas from my blog:

Read a book about monsters and make some salt dough monsters

Read a book about superheroes and make some capes

Find more reading tips here.