Author Archives: nicolefurlonge

Go Ahead, Parents. Encourage Regifting!

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Hello Inksters,

Did you know that December 22nd is National Regifting Day?

Yes, that’s a thing.

In the United States, regifting is usually discouraged, poo-pooed. But I say, why not regift?

Each year, my children give each other presents. Usually, we would give them a few dollars and take them to a favorite local thrift store to shop for each other. Oh the treasures they would find — great puzzles or board games (sometimes with all the pieces), gently used soccer jerseys, and durable action figures. They were all items enjoyed by other children and would be enjoyed again in our house.

Now, I know, technically that is not regifting. This year, though, I’ve asked the kids instead to regift to each other. We save outgrown clothes, aged-out book series and toys to pass along to the next child in line — a sibling, cousin, or friend — when they are ready. So they are visiting our basement bins to find treasures that were loved by them to gift intentionally to their siblings.

Books are particularly wonderful items to regift. A story, after all, is a gift that keeps on giving! Our oldest sifted through her early chapter books, spoke with wistful glee as she rediscovered Ursula Le Guin’s Catwings series (which she’ll give to her youngest brother) and 100 Cupboards (for her middle brother).

Our youngest loves rocks and picked one from his collection to give to his sister. With it, he is giving her his book of meditations we bought for him a few years ago: A Handful of Quiet.

Toys are great regifts, too. Our middle child found his k’nex bridge building kit that he’d used for a science fair project a few years ago that he now wants to give to his little brother who is now very interested in learning about how bridges work. He loved — and still does love — building and is excited to play with this kit with his brother.

Hand-me-down dress-up and everyday clothes are being handed down as gifts this Christmas, too.

Best part of this for parents? Of course, we spend a little less money and we bring things in storage — items in very good condition — back in useful circulation. It is certainly a more “green” practice. Another perk: while the kids were looking through bins, they also noted what they still want to hold on to and what they’d like to let go of, so we have a healthy pile of items in great condition to donate to people who can make use of and memories from them.

But the most important part? We get to listen as our children rediscover items they made memories around — and to hear them want to give the item to their siblings not just to give something, but because they want a person they love to also experience a similar joy as they use the item, or rediscover the story, too. And you actually get to learn what memories stick for them.

So go ahead and regift. It can be its own kind of inkspiration.

A fun additional inkspiration: Write a note to the recipient of the gift explaining why you wanted them to have this particular item.

Happy Holidays!

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Window Inkspiration

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Hello Inksters!

Take a moment and look out your window. Really! Look out the window at the world just beyond your door. What do you see? I see snow falling on an already snow-covered ground. Winter fun! Use whatever you see outside as inkspiration. Here are some ideas:

 

 

Christmas Inkspiration

  • Write a letter to Santa alerting him to the weather in your area. He may appreciate your extra help as he makes final plans for his trip!

Kwanzaa Inkspiration

  • Kuumba, the KiSwahili word for creativity, is one of the Seven principles of Kwanzaa. Use this inkspiration to practice and reflect on Kuumba — today, during Kwanzaa, and every day!

Anytime Inkspiration

  • Use what you see through your window as a setting for a story.
  • Use the scene to remember. When, for example, was the last time you played in the snow? Write about it!
  • Notice something happening? Write the next step in the action — or the step before!
  • Write an explanation. For example, How does it snow? Write a scientific or mythical explanation.
  • Describe and draw a creature that could live in this scene.
  • Pick a spot to observe throughout the day. Perhaps a particular square in your window pane? Revisit your window throughout the day. Keep track in your journal of the changes you see in a small area.
  • If you can, get outside and observe your small area up close. Use all of your senses to describe the spot. If you can’t get outside, imagine how the spot sounds, feels, smells, tastes.

Nothing sparking your inkspiration outside your own window? Then write about this view outside the windows of the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Indiana:

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Happy Creating! Be sure to share what you create!

Write a Round Up

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Write a Round Up

The National Day on Writing is tomorrow — Friday October 20th.

People around the country will gather to read, write, and celebrate writing. Today’s inkspiration invites you to write a Round Up.
What is a Round Up? Well, a round up is a piece of writing in which you share the best of something — the best places to play, your best memories from summer, your favorite songs, your dearest toys or stuffed animals, the best Halloween costumes. You share all these “bests” in one place and you do it in a way that is short but gets people excited about what you are sharing with them.
Imagine sharing with your readers the five best places to find pizza in your town. That would be a yummy list! Especially if your writing is descriptive, draws on your senses, and is lively.
The writing can be a paragraph or a list. Lists shared in reverse order (10, 9, 8) can build excitement about your roundup.
Try writing a descriptive and fun Round Up — or write in some other form. Whatever you do on the National Day on Writing, be sure to find yourself writing — and remember to share your creations here with us.
P.S. Did you know that the US. Senate passed resolutions in 201520142013201220112010, and  2009 declaring October 20 the National Day on Writing? Now you do!

How Did this Peacock Lose Its Colors?

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Hello Inksters,

Happy Midsummer! It’s been way too long since we posted.

Your Inkspiration: 

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Yes, this is a peacock. Yes, it is white. We saw this peacock at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey a few years ago.

So how did this peacock lose its colors?

Or

How does the peacock get its colors?

Choose one of these questions and write away — right where you are!

Send in your stories, poems, explanations, plays, or songs. If you decide to color or paint the peacock, send your illustrations in as well.

Happy Creating, Inksters!

 

#2017ReadYourWorld

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Logo drawn by Logan

Hi Inksters!

Today’s inkspiration is linked to a book collection project. Logan, age 12, aims to collect 2,017 books that feature stories, settings, and characters from countries and cultures across the globe. Inspired both by Marley Dias’ #1000blackgirlbooks and by her own past bookraising projects that resulted in she and her brothers sending books to underserved children in Nigeria, Trinidad (through Ray of Hope), and to the Lund Home in Burlington, Vermont, Logan wants to collect even more books this time around. “Maybe if we read stories about people from parts of the world that are different from where we live,” Logan said, “we would understand and appreciate each other better.” Logan wants readers to enjoy seeing characters like themselves inbooks, and she wants young readers like herself to see the world beyond where they live. She hopes to collect books for children ages infant to YA.

As a part of #2017ReadYourWorld, Logan and other inksters will post book titles and reviews of books that will help us all travel through literature — right from where we are. They will also create writing inkspirations based on each book they review. Hopefully these books will inspire you to read and write where you are! 

If you have a book you would like to share with other inksters, please post a comment to this post with a title.

If you would like to review a book, please send your name, age, and review to inktopiakids@gmail.com and your review will be featured here at Inktopia Kids. Send along an inkspiration based on the book as well — a favorite line, a question, a theme, a favorite illustration or passage from the book.

If you would like to contribute a book to #2017ReadYourWorld, please send books to Inktopia Kids P.O. Box 1879 Plymouth, NH 03264.

Happy reading, writing, and globe trotting, inksters!

What is Your “Be”?

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Hello Inksters!

We believe that words and writing can inspire you to make the world a better place. Words and writing can help you imagine how you want to help make the world a better place. They can also inspire the people you share your words with. All you have to do is be willing to start just with yourself, right where you are!

Today’s Inkspiration is also the beginning of an Inktopia project — an on-going Inkspiration that asks you to respond to this question:

What is your “Be”?

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(image from Print and Use)

 

In other words,

  • Who do you want to be?
  • What do you want to be?
  • How do you want to be?
  • What do you wish the world to be?

So, what is your “Be”? Think about it. Then write it down in a way that reflects you.

  • Perhaps you’ll make a large, colorful sign that shouts your “Be” to everyone who sees it.
  • Perhaps you’ll write a small, quiet note to yourself in your Writer’s Journal recording what your “Be” is.
  • Maybe your “Be” will grow into a list poem, each line beginning with the word “Be” and expressing a different idea.
  • Perhaps you’ll draw an illustration to show your “Be” in action.

Be sure to share your “Be” statements here on this site! And visit again for more of our “Be” project in the coming weeks.

 

Letters to the President

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January 20th is Inauguration Day in the United States. This means that President Barack Obama leaves the White House after 8 years in office. What would you like to say to him? What do you want him to know as he leaves the White House? Michelle Obama is also stepping down from serving as the First Lady of the United States. What would you write in a letter to her? Take some time to write a letter to one or both of them.

Inauguration Day also means that the United States welcomes a new president to the White House. Perhaps you want to write a letter to Donald Trump. What would you like to say to him? What do you want him to know as he enters the White House? Take some time to write a letter to him.

Writing a letter is a special kind of Inkspiration. When you write a letter, you are writing to someone in particular. You are entering a conversation with them. You are letting them know that you are thinking about them enough to take the time to write to them. You are sharing what you are thinking or what is going on in your life and world. You are inviting the person you write to to write back and share something with you. Here is a letter page for to you use if you wish:

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Remember to send an image of your letters here for posting or to share your letter in a comment to this post.

Keep Writing, Inksters!