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-Marcie

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.

Zoonebooks-Bookshelf-basement

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!

Gyeongbok-Korea-banquethall

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.

TheSecretofZoonepaperback-bookshelf-feathers