Monthly Archives: October 2014

How Sweet it Is!



Today’s thINK thursday is all about Halloween and all that sweet candy our kids will collect as they go Trick or Treating. While I enjoy so much how creative my little Inksters are in their choice of costume, and how excited they are by Halloween parades and the chance to knock on their neighbors’ doors for treats, I dread thinking about the amount of sugar entering the house at the end of it all.

But, what if we take all that candy and turn it into sweet stories and poems? Here are some prompts:

  • Ask your Inkster to choose a piece of candy from their bags and tell the story of the evening from the candy’s point of view.
  • What if all the candy went on strike before Halloween?
  • Use your senses — seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling — to write a special poem about your favorite kind of Halloween candy.
  • What is it like for that Snickers to meet a Starburst?
  • Write this story and draw an illustration: The Candy that Wanted a Different Wrapper.
  • Or this story: The Candy that Became a Rapper

Remember to post your Inksters’ creations here and share some of your costume choices, too! Don’t forget to feed your own creative sweet tooth on these prompts, too!

Happy Writing! Happy Halloween!

What a Little Crayon Can Do


Hello Inkster Grown-ups! Welcome to another thINK thursday!

Today’s thINK thursday activity is coloring. What can a little crayon do?


According to recent research (see, for example, this piece on Huffington Post), coloring can actually help adults combat stress. It is a quiet activity that promotes mindfulness, reflectiveness, stillness, and creativity (within the lines, off course). Coloring is also linked to the development of our writing selves. Coloring:

  • Invites self-expression: What do you draw and color on a blank piece of paper? What colors do you choose when coloring that dinosaur?
  • Develops grip and control: We know from earlier Inktopia Kids posts that grip and control are important skills to develop and maintain so that we write with pen and pencil legibly and comfortably.
  • Invites and develops focus and concentration through a simple activity: No screens, no email pings…just you, a bucket of color options, and a pre-drawn picture to complete.
  • Encourages the acceptance of boundaries: Sometimes when we become really stressed, all we can perceive is that our lives are full of limiting boundaries. “I don’t have time.” “I don’t have enough _________.” Pre-drawn coloring pages present boundaries in a different way: Within the lines are world’s of creative possibility. How might we use the boundaries of our individual world’s, then, as markers of possibility? How does thinking in that way allow for stress relief? Plus, it’s something you can do alongside your kids, so no need to find a babysitter (see, you feel less stressed already, right?)

How our Inksters interact with boundaries on a coloring page differs according to development stages. While a toddler or preschooler might scribble outside the lines and all over the coloring page, with no respect for the lines on the page, an older child makes an effort to color inside the lines. Early exposure to boundaries in print is helpful when handwriting time comes around, an activity and skill that implicitly asks children to respect the boundaries of the preprinted handwriting lines on the paper.

So, grab those Crayolas and coloring books and get to de-stressing! Looking for a place to start? This lovely coloring book, Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book, an adaptation of the novel, is a wonderful place to start. You can color and engage literature at the same time. Maybe your older Inksters will want to color along and read the original book, too.

And a storybook bonus to share with your Inksters: check out what happens when you use certain crayons too much in this fun children’s storybook, The Day the Crayons Quit.

What are your favorite coloring books? Let us know what you find.

Happy Coloring!

thINK thursdays!



Hello Inkster Parents!

Welcome to the launch of thINK thursday! Each Thursday, Inktopia Kids will share ideas with you about how to support your children as developing writers. We’ll highlight topics like:

  • Research on writing and reading
  • Writing and the iPad (or laptop or tablet or smartphone…)
  • Strategies to help young pre-reading and pre-writing children develop skills that will help them later as readers and writers
  • Ideas about ways to create inktopias — writing-friendly spaces — at home
  • Gift ideas for your Inksters
  • Books your Inksters may enjoy and writing activities to go along with them

And, every once in a while, we’ll even post ways to help you in your writing practice, too!

So plan a visit to Inktopia Kids every Thursday for thINK thursday! And don’t forget to let us know what you thINK by commenting here or on our Facebook page.

And so, here’s the first thINK thursday post (drum roll, please):

From the website, Teaching 2 & 3 Year Olds, a fun fall pinecone activity that will keep strengthening those little Inkster fingers and get them ready for handwriting! Plus, this gets the kids outside to hunt for pinecones and help a bit with yard work. This activity is fun for all ages, not just the littlest inkster:

To spend more time with pinecones, visit this next site for more fine motor skills art developed around a reading of Penguin and Pinecone by Salina Yoon:

  • You could take your painted pinecones and make them into pinecone pals or ornaments.
  • Make the day a “P” Day — What words can your child think of that begin with “P?”
  • For older children: Which of those “P” words can they find a rhyming word for?
  • Which of those “P” words can they work into a poem about Fall?

That’s a lot to thINK about! Take your pick.

Happy thINKing!