The end of National Poetry Month is not an end at all. It’s the beginning of a new year of exploring the many gifts reading and writing poetry can bring into our lives. So we end April and move into May with a few ideas to keep you reading and writing throughout the year.
Blackout Poetry is a type of “found poetry” that involves darkening sections of previously published writing in order to create a poem. While this type of poetry often involves the use of black markers, it can be particularly creative and exciting to use colored media to create a visual artwork that interacts with the written words. We’ve linked a Scholastic article that takes this process step-by-step to lead you into creating beautiful works of written and visual art. The artwork feature today is all offered with permission from Stacy Antoville, the art teacher cited in this article. For more exquisite student art, follow her class on Instagram @art_o_ville.
We want you to get up and moving every day during quarantine, so here’s an activity to incorporate with a daily walk. Grab a pen or pencil and notepad, or if you prefer use a notepad app. Take a walk, preferably a good long one. Write down at least 5 things you see, 3 things you do, and 1 thing you overhear. Draw a quick sketch of one thing you see. You may or may not actually decide to use this in a poem later. The point is to notice details. (Adapted from an activity offered by Erika Meitner, VQR Writers’ Conference, 2019).
There are numerous audio and downloadable poetry books at the Jefferson Madison Regional Library. Temporary library cards are available online during quarantine.
Our director, Mary Anna Dunn, will be offering an online poetry class through Charlottesville Parks and Recreation’s Adaptive Recreation Program later this summer. Details TBA.
Grow Gummy Giants. Well, this certainly changes the meaning of “growing your own food.” All you need are your favorite gummies, glasses of clear water, and a spoon. For a similar experiment and other activities to try at home find a copy of The 101 Coolest Simple Science Experiments ( Rachel Miller, Holly Homer, and Jamie Harrington. Page Street Publishers, 2016).
A Growing Girl. Speaking of growing out of control, that certainly was a problem for Alice. When she wasn’t growing smaller and smaller that is. You may have seen a movie or cartoon version, but have you ever sat down and read or listened to the book itself? As the saying goes, the book was better than the movie so chose your favorite device and enjoy:
Now Streeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetch. You may not get as tall as Alice, but still it’s a great idea to stretch those muscles, especially if you’ve been schooling online all day! Try these Simple Stretches or Wheelchair Yoga.
How about a theme park? You can get some great ideas to get you started on creating your own theme park from Pinterest . Use what you have in your house and your own imagination to build a magnificent park.
Sometimes all you need is a deck of playing cards, and you’re good to go for hours.
Just on this one site you can find 15 different card games. There are a variety of types of card games here, as well as games suited for different ages and for different numbers of players.
Not everyone can hold cards in their hands, so we’re providing a link to products that hold cards for players.
When you’ve run through all the card games you know, and you still are looking for something to do, it’s time to build a card house.
Here is a video that does the best job ever of explaining how, but we’d suggest leaving out the cinder block!
Now that you have the basics, you can do some utterly amazing things. Type card houses into images.google or YouTube to see some architectural wonders. You’re sure to be inspired, and when you are remember to take pictures of your creations and tag enrichmentalliance on Instagram.
We’ve suggested numerous virtual field trips, and we we’ll be adding more below. But the outdoors is still, well out there. Some local trails are open, but if you visit them it is absolutely critical that you maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance. Outside provides some very sound suggestions for minimizing spread of this extremely contagious and dangerous disease. Please read their article before considering a visit to any of the trails below.
Wildrock. The Barn and Nature Playscape are closed but trails are open by appointment.
Ivy Creek Natural Area. Their barn is also closed, but their trails are open. Please follow the safe guidelines in the Outside article. Pay special attention to trail heads and other close areas.
Darden Towe Park, again, playgrounds and educational facilities are closed, but trails are open and include wheelchair accessible trails. Please follow the guidelines for safe outdoors activities.
Virtual Field Trips
Explore Maryland Science Center Activities in your own home. Just as if you were in a physical science center, you can move through a selection of activities, but using materials you are likely to be able to find at home.
You can go on Cultural Field Trips, too. artsandculture.google.com offers virtual museum tours (one led by a penguin!) and also has some creative activities involving works of arts and cell phones.
Go on a nest walk. Walk around your community, carefully looking for nests. The link to the left will give you some hints for looking. Follow the guidelines on the Cornell Nest Code of Conduct so you don’t disturb the nests, eggs, or fledglings. Take a camera if you have one. You can zoom in more, plus you may want some pictures for the final activity.
You’re almost ready for the next activity, but you’re going to need a bird. We’re providing two sets of instructions for origami birds.
Origami Flying Bird. Recycle some gift wrap to make a bird with flapping wings. The instructions for this activity are presented in diagrams, with accompanying instructions detailed in words. There are fewer folds than the more common origami crane, so if you have found that one frustrating, you might like this one better.
Origami Flapping Bird. People who benefit from a “step-by-step side-by-side” style of instruction might really appreciate this wikiHow, which offers both written instructions and short videos.
Make like a bird and build a nest. Now you are finally ready to make your own nest. The instructions say to make it big enough for at least one “egg” but let’s try making one big enough for your origami bird to warm that egg.
Cooperative Games are games in which the players are not pitted against each other. Instead they work together to compete against an element of the game. It could be a time limit or a goal, or there could be chance elements that have the potential to defeat the players. For example, in Snow Storm, players turn up cards as they try to complete errands and get home during a winter storm. Sometimes they draw a helpful card, such as a snow plow, but other times they turn up ice. Cooperative board games are available for all ages, including adults.
Why Cooperative Games? The article we have linked discusses commonly cited reasons for adding cooperative games to your shelf. In addition, cooperative games make playing more accessible and fair. We used cooperative games in our inclusive after school program. The games created a more supportive playing environment for children with differing abilities and reduced the stress level for children with anxiety.
Creating new games and adapting old ones. If you’re stuck at home during the pandemic, you may not have access to cooperative games, but once you have the basic idea, you should be able to adapt some of your own games or create new ones. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Group Goals. Cooperative Scrabble. Cooperative Monopoly. Set a goal to reach collectively. For example, when playing Scrabble, set a goal of reaching a combined score of 500. Raise the goal every time the team wins. If you hit 515 points this time, can you hit 550 the next time you play? Similarly, set a group goal for cash earned in Monopoly. According to some sources, the original version of Monopoly, The Landlords Game, had cooperative options.
Beat the Clock. Cooperative Dragon Strike Game. Set a timer, and try to help all players reach a destination or accomplish a task before it goes off. For example, in Dragon Strike Game instead of trying to collect the treasure for yourself, change the game so that players must get all the treasures out before the timer goes off. This may require passing a treasure to another player if you are in trouble, which can actually be a more interesting way to play .
Adverse Cards or Dice Rolls. Cooperative Candy Land. Many cooperative games depend on all players competing with the game to complete a goal before something bad happens. What if the goal was to get everyone to the Candy Land house before mice ate it? Mark some of the playing cards with a small drawing of a mouse. Every time you turn up a mouse card, cover 1/10 of the house with a slip of paper. (You can adjust the amount of it takes to cover the house to increase or decrease the challenge.) All players simultaneously draw one card per round, and may strategically exchange cards to help one another advance. These more complex, strategic goals may make the game more fun for older children.
Commercial cooperative board games are readily available, and you will be able to find several curated lists by googling “cooperative board game.” Games are available at all levels, from preschool through adult. Parental discretion and a trigger warning: some have violent and/or macabre themes, and the most popular game, Pandemic, just might not seem like the best idea to some families! Here is one list of family-friendly games.
Printable cooperative games. Parental Discretion. This list, like many lists we found, is leveled for all ages and does include some games that may not be appropriate for all players!
Picture Tutorial. Ever see those colorful magazine baskets and wish you knew how to make them? This series of photographs takes you through the process step-by-step.
Video Tutorial. If you need a more detailed explanation, watch this video. The video calls for decoupage glue, which most people don’t have on hand. Try making this substitute.
Science and Math
Turned used paper into seed paper. Gather up used paper from around your house and turn it into handmade recycled paper with embedded seeds. The whole page can be planted. These make fantastic greeting cards.
The Poetry of Trash
Cast Away Young People’s Poet Laureate, Naomi Shibad, finds treasure in trash, writing poems about objects she encounters in on her walks. Download this book, and play it while you take a walk in your neighborhood. Why do YOU notice while you’re out walking?
Okay, enough with the eggs already. Easter was three days ago. What to do with all those eggs? Well, you can put them in bottles. Or transform them into beautiful vases. Or just make them disappear.
Art and Literature
Egg Vases. Use your empty eggshells to create a lovely vase. This one uses a white egg, but shells from dyed Easter Eggs would be beautiful. Consider decorating your eggshells with bows or glitter.
Science and Math
Who knew eggs could be this fascinating?
Egg in a bottle. Make a hard boiled egg drop down into a bottle without even touching it. Don’t be a spoiler! This experiment is especially fun if you don’t tell the kids what’s going to happen to the egg. The activity is extremely popular with kids. It does require close adult supervision, because it involves burning a slip of paper.
Disappearing egg. This activity was posted earlier this week on the Virginia Discovery Museum website. They are posting activities daily, with a material list for the week also provided, so visit VDM@Home for more ideas.