Activities for kids: Small room—BIG world

bigworld09It sure feels like our world is shrinking with the covid-19 crisis. We’re stuck at home, can’t gather, can’t visit.

Personally, I’m reverting to my age-old survival tactic: Disappearing as much as possible into my imagination.

As a children’s author and specialized arts and creative writing teacher, I’d like to help kids do the same, so I’m presenting some of my favorite activities.

Recently, I posted about building a shrink ray with household items. The bonus project was to imagine that every member of the family was shrunk by the device by building peg-figure versions of everyone!

Well, if you can imagine you’ve an inch or two high, then your world is now suddenly BIGGER. So, I invite you take the next (tiny) step . . .

Map your GIANT world

I’ve done this project with schools I’ve worked with in Canada, Korea, and Thailand, and will be posting some examples of my students’ past projects.

What you will need:

  • Paper
  • Drawing supplies: pencils, colored pencils, markers, crayons, fine-liners—whatever you like to use.
  • Hey, I’m not going to stop you from using stickers or glitter either . . . but you know: the CLEAN-UP!
  • A BIG imagination!

In this activity, you’re asked to imagine a single room in your house as an epic landscape that you have to cross as a miniaturized person. So, for example, a pile of dirty laundry might become “Mount Clothes” or a tipped-over soda can might become “Fizzy Falls.”

This is a fun way to think about perspective—and, also, to just imagine a bigger, vaster world.

Here are some examples of past maps—and at the bottom of this post, I’ve posted links to handouts that you can use to help with this project. I always find a bit of brainstorming helps at the beginning of every project!

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Handouts

First of all, here is a map template.

WS-Map Template

Of course, you can do it on blank paper, but a whimsical frame makes everything more fun, if you ask me. (Also, I want to point out that this is the exact same frame I used for the map in Kendra Kandlestar and the Box of Whispers, which, by the way, is also about tiny people).

Here is a “Small Room — Big World” brainstorming sheet to help get you thinking about the types of items and pieces of furniture you might want to include in your map, and how to convert them into landscape items.

Small_room—big_world

If you’re looking to add a writing project to do this—NO problem! Just imagine you have to navigate your way across this vast—and possibly dangerous—landscape! (Also, I’ll post a nice little wrinkle for you in a couple of days to make this epic journey even MORE fun!)

Stay safe, stay well, and stay tuned . . .

Door of the Day: the lion, the peacock, and the unicorn

Door of the Day: the lion, the peacock, and the unicorn

BlairCastle-Scotland-doorknocker

A stoic lion door knocker greets you at one of the doors to Blair Castle in Scotland.

This castle features a banquet hall, many doors, stairwells with railings of unicorn horns (they are actually narwhale tusks) and grounds with parading peacocks and the ruins of an old kirk.

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Blaircastle-scotland-oldchurchdoor

I’m posting my door inspirations from around the world to celebrate the release of The Guardians of Zoone on February 25!  This door knocker would fit right in at Zoone!

You can find order links for the books of Zoone HERE.

Zoonecovers

Door of the Day: Here live ghosts

Door of the Day: Here live ghosts

York-ghostwarning

Some doors have warnings, like this one to The Golden Fleece pub in York, England. We visited York in 2014, and immediately fell in love with this nexus of history.

Whenever we are visiting a city, we like to go on ghost tours. They are a fun way to learn about the history of the place, especially the macabre side!

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York-skeleton

York-shambles

I’m posting my door inspirations from around the world to celebrate the release of The Guardians of Zoone on February 25!  Many of the doors at Zoone have warnings, too!

You can find order links for the books of Zoone HERE.

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Door of the Day: the door and the station

Door of the Day: the door and the station

koykoGaienPark-leeatdoor-japan

This Medieval-style door is from Koyko Gaien Park in Tokyo, Japan. We visited these stunning grounds in 2018, when we adopted our son. This door features a door within a door, with the smaller gate set within the bottom quarter.

Nearby, is the magnificent Tokyo Station, which was just one of many places that served as inspiration for Zoone Station, located at the nexus of the multiverse, where a thousand doors lead to a thousand worlds.

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I’m posting my door inspirations from around the world to celebrate the release of The Guardians of Zoone on Feb25!

You can find order links for the books of Zoone HERE.

Zoonecovers

Door of the Day: some are guarded by beasts . . .

Door of the Day: some are guarded by beasts . . .

Gyeongbok-Korea-greendoorwithlock

This is a door from Gyeongbok palace in Korea, with a traditional lock to secure its weathered wood.  I have walked the grounds here a few times, and have never tired of its beauty!

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Gyeongbok-Korea-opendoorway

Gyeongbok-Korea-rooflines

Gyeongbok-Korea-reddoorway

Gyeongbok-Korea-guard

I especially love the haetae guarding the gates and entrances to different buildings with the complex—haetae is a famous creature from Korean mythology. It is a protective creature, said to guard against natural disasters.

Gyeongbok-Korea-haetae

Gyeongbok-Korea-haetae2

I’m posting my door inspirations from around the world to celebrate the release of The Guardians of Zoone on Feb25!  There are no haetae in Zoone but there is, of course, one very unique skyger named Tug!

You can find order links for the books of Zoone HERE.

Zoonebooks-Bookshelf-basement

Door of the Day: Do you dare knock?

Door of the Day: Do you dare knock?

Vernazza-Italy-doorwithhandknocker

This is a door I found in Vernazza, Italy, in 2013—knock if you dare, but the disembodied hand may never release you!

I have noticed a few hand-shaped doorknockers throughout my travels, and they always strike me as creepy and clingy! Vernazza itself is a sweet town, part of Cinque Terre, a string of five beautiful cities on the west coast of Italy. We stayed there during our honeymoon!

I’m posting my door inspirations from around the world to celebrate the releases of The Secret of Zoone (it was released in paperback on January 28) and The Guardians of Zoone on February 25! There are many doors throughout the multiverse of Zoone that you dare not knock on either!

You can find order links for the books of Zoone HERE.

Door of the Day: The door to nowhere

Door of the Day: The door to nowhere

Today, the paperback version of The Secret of Zoone launches, so I’m posting the “door to nowhere” from Exeter England.

Exeter-bricked door

If you’ve read Zoone (or are going to), then this door will mean something to you!

I found the Exeter door just while walking down the street and it’s really just an archway that has been bricked over, but it sure looked like a secret door to me. I imagined that I would just have to find the right stone to press (or the combination of stones), and then the portal would open and lead me (hopefully) to Narnia. Alas, I could not discover the right stones (at least not before my wife wandered back down the street where I had lingered and told me to stop being weird).

You can find order links for The Secret of Zoone HERE.

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Door of the Day: A keyhole with a critter?

Door of the Day: A keyhole with a critter?

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Door of the day: The paint is peeling, the handle is rusting, and the keyhole is encrusted with cobwebs—what sort of adventure awaits? I came across this at the back of Moulin Church in Pitlochry, Scotland in 2014.

The churchyard at Moulin also features a Kirk Bell (first cast in 1749), a crusader’s grave from the twelfth century (look closely, and you will see the etching of a sword in the stone), and an ash tree that is growing on the site of the old “joug” tree—it was as the joug tree where offenders of crimes were shackled with a hinged metal collar for public display (and shame) until the requisite amount of time was passed for their atonement to be completed.

Pitlochry-kirkbell

Pitlochry-crusadergrave

Pitlochry-jougtree

I’m posting my door inspirations from around the world to celebrate releases of The Secret of Zoone (paperback – January 28) and The Guardians of Zoone (February 25).

Zoone might be the nexus of the multiverse, with a thousand doors leading to a thousand worlds, but not all are easily opened and, sometimes, little critters come scuttling out of those keyholes!

You can find order links for the books HERE.

Zoonecovers

Door of the Day: The Downtown Abbey wolf

Door of the Day: The Downtown Abbey wolf

This is a stunning wolf decoration that we found upon entering the front door at Highclere Castle—or, as it is better known, Downtown Abbey!

Highclere-England-dogdoordecoration

We visited Highclere on a VERY rainy day in 2015. This meant that we didn’t really get a chance to patrol the grounds, though I did see a very amazing tree out front (before the rain really set in).

Highclere-England-Marcie

Highclere-England-palace

Highclere-England-lookingup

Highclere-England-tree

Most people visit Highclere Castle because of it being Downtown Abbey, but it has another famous association. It belongs to the Carnarvon family, who sponsored Howard Carter’s expedition in Egypt. As such, the subterranean floors of Highclere feature a museum dedicated to Egypt, and housing many of the artifacts found during that expedition. I had been to the Valley of the Kings many years before, so visiting the Highclere exhibit felt like coming full circle.

I’m posting my door inspirations from around the world to celebrate releases of The Secret of Zoone (paperback – January 28) and The Guardians of Zoone (February 25).

You can find order links for the books HERE.

Zoonebooks-Bookshelf-basement

Door of the Day: Two in One!

Door of the Day: Two in One!

This gateway is from the castle district in Budapest, a beautiful double-door I found on our honeymoon in 2013.  It’s a double door, allowing either a person or a horse and carriage (now a car!) to go through. It’s been around, as you can see by its weathered and worn façade.

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BudapestCastleDistrict-innerdoor

BudapestCastleDistrict-doorhandle

BudapestCastleDistrict-florette

BudapestCastleDistrict-doordetail

Many people ask me where my last name is from (a curiosity spurned by the umlaut)—well, it’s from Hungary! My grandfather immigrated to Canada in 1926, but his name was anglicized to “Fodey.” After I graduated from university, I legally changed it back to “Födi.”

I’m posting my door inspirations from around the world to celebrate releases of The Secret of Zoone (pb-Jan28) & The Guardians of Zoone (Feb25)

Many of the doors that lead to and from Zoone are also worn and weathered. The condition of a door gives an indication of the status of the world beyond.

Purchase and preorder links for both Zoone books can be found HERE.

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