Thanksgiving is only a day away. Last year, we invited you to share all that you were thankful for visually — by creating your own Gratitude Mandalas.
This year, let’s show our gratitude by listening. This Thanksgiving, approach a family member or friend and ask them to tell you a story. Perhaps you want to know how your grandparents celebrated Thanksgiving when they were growing up. Or how they met. Maybe your parents have fun memories of a cherished childhood trip. Ask a relative about where they grew up and how they used to spend their time. What was their favorite music or musician? Their favorite book or food? What were video games like when they were growing up? Can they tell you about a memorable game they played in? Or a play in which they performed? Can they remember a time when they got excited about learning something?
Listen carefully. Then later, write down what you remember about the stories you listened to — and what you noticed about the storyteller as she or he told you a story.
Another way to spend time listening to family stories is to participate in StoryCorps’ Great Thanksgiving Listen. Storycorps, a not-for-profit organization, is dedicated to giving everyone the chance to record, share, and save their unique stories. Stories recorded through StoryCorps are archived — carefully saved and kept — through the United States’ Library of Congress, the largest library in the world.
Have a parent visit StoryCorp.org and download the storytelling app. Then spend your holiday interviewing a grandparent or another elder who is either a family member or someone you know. Invite them to share their stories with you and, through their recording, with the world.
Like StoryCorps, Inktopia Kids believes deeply in the importance of stories. Your stories are important to us and we are grateful to have the opportunity to help you find that creative spark, that question or image that will get you not only creating or remembering stories, but also writing them down. And we know how important your stories are to you. Think about how much you enjoy having other people listen as you share your stories with them. Feels amazing, right? Invitations to share your stories with willing listeners are definitely gifts to be thankful for.
So this Thanksgiving, whether you record family stories through your ears and in your Writers Notebooks or participate in StoryCorps’ #TheGreatListen, be sure to show thanks for the people and all their stories by listening.
Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Story Sharing!
Today’s the day to put pen to paper and start writing those letters! Need some inkspiration? How about this:
Have you ever wondered what an older relative was like when she or he was your age?
Yes? Well then, here’s your chance to find out!
- Choose an older relative to write to.
- Gather your paper, pen, pencil, envelope
- Gather any stickers or other fun item you want to use to decorate your letter and envelope
- Write to this person asking about her or his childhood — What did they like to spend their time doing? Where did they like to go? Who was their favorite friend? Ask plenty of questions.
- What to do after writing your wonderful letter? Mail it, of course!
Let us know if and when you start receiving letters in the mail!
This week’s Inkling, found here, asks you to imagine what happens when you choose to walk through one of the doors in the picture. Explain your choice or tell a story about what happens after you step through the door. Inktopia Kids will add one more option: Write about what happens after you step back through the door and back to the outside.
Welcome to another thINK thursday! We’re in gift giving season once more. This holiday season, help encourage your Inkster to keep writing where he or she is with these gift suggestions (by the way, no sponsorship here. We really just like these products!):
Writing Games and Kits
- Rory’s Story Cubes: These were a big hit at our Inktopia Kids Writing Camps the past two summers, and a big hit at home. Buy all three sets: Original, Actions, and Voyages to triple the writing inkspiration. They are a great size for stocking stuffers, too.
- Storymatic Kids: “Six gazillion stories in one little box.” What’s not to like?
- Lulu Jr. My Comic Book: Create your own comic book and then have it professionally printed! A great way to combine writing and illustrating.
Journals and Journaling
- Journal in a Jar: Inktopia Kids fills a jar with unique prompts and ideas for writing. Inksters can decorate their jars and make them their own. And you can request special themes (Frozen or Minecraft prompts anyone?). See our other Write Where You Are Writing Kits for more gift ideas — including card trading writing kits, Writers House kit, Letter Box, and Build-a-Book. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and purchasing.
- Wreck this Journal: My son was sold on the name of this journal alone, designed by Keri Smith. Then he opened the journal and grew very excited with every page that invites creative messiness.
- Rip the Page: Karen Benke has created a book brimming with creative invitations for young Inksters to write. This book is a great resource for grown-ups (parents and teachers) who are looking for ways to enhance their own writing classrooms or writing lives.
For the Smallest Inksters
- Alex Toys ABC Keepsake Book: A wonderful kit to help support letter recognition and to capture your little Inksters earliest experiences with written words.
- Melissa and Doug Stamp a Scene Farm Set: Children are storytellers, even before they begin to write and read. This scenic stamp collection will help little Inksters create stamped images that will prompt oral storytelling. There are different sets. We like the Farm Scenes best.
Writing DIY Style
- DIY Mail Center: This Mail Center from Busy Bees Kids Crafts will help you create another literacy rich play option for your Inkster.
- Sensory Writing Options: Early writers will love running their little fingers through sand, salt, and over gel surfaces as they practice writing with these easy DIY gifts.
On this thINK thursday, take some time to laugh.
Yes, laugh! According to this graphic, there are so many benefits to laughing. Two aspects of laughter that we’ll tune into today: (1) Laughter is a mind-opening activity, and (2) it can also improve memory.
So today, write through laughter. Here are two ideas to help you start:
- Try this: Laugh. Really laugh. Don’t just sit and think about laughing. Laugh in all the different ways you can laugh. Then label each kind of laugh. I, for one, love a good deep down, can’t hold back belly-laugh! Explore the language you can use to describe these laughs. Think about how particular laughter feels as it makes its way through you. How does it sound? Take time to listen to yourself laugh and then record the experience of doing so in your journals. Creating an audio recording would be great, too. Then you could play back your laughter and really listen even more closely to it.
- And this: Close your eyes and think back to a moment that made you laugh — from glee, from discomfort, from a joke. Write down all that you remember about that moment. Recreate the moment on the page for yourself — or for others to enjoy the moment as well. Allow that laughter and that moment to ring from the page.
Here’s to lots of laughter and writing! And remember to share some of your laughter on this site.
For today’s InkStart, write a Soccer ACROSTIC poem!
What is an ACROSTIC? Check this out:
First, BRAINSTORM or write down words that make you think about soccer. Dribble the words onto your the page until you can’t think of any more words.
Then, on another piece of paper, write the word SOCCER down the side of your paper, like this:
Then use your brainstormed words to write your poem.
If you want to change up the way you have been writing, and write this time using a computer instead, check out this on-line Acrostic program: Interactive Acrostic
The first word in each line of your poem will start with the letter on that line. So, for “S” we might write: “Sprinting up and down the field, a fast-paced 90 minutes.” Or you might just write “Sprinting.” You can use single words, phrases, or full sentences in your poem.
When you are finished with your ACROSTIC, be sure to illustrate your poem.
If you want to write another ACROSTIC, try one using the country name of your favorite team.
Want to learn about a national organization that helps thousands of students with little resources to play soccer, write poetry, and learn how to be involved in community change? Check out America SCORES.
Enjoy watching World Cup Soccer! Enjoy writing!
After each World Cup match, reporters run to the field, locker rooms, and media rooms to interview coaches and players. They ask about the score, decisions during the game, specific moves, injuries, upcoming matches — basically, they ask about anything they want to know.
Today’s InkStart invites you to think about what you would ask a player if you had a chance. So grab a pen or pencil and paper and get ready for that interview — just in case!
If you had the chance to interview your favorite soccer player, what three questions you would ask?
To help you brainstorm possible questions, think about this:
- What do you most want to know about this player?
- What do you most want to talk about with this player?
- How can at least one of your questions allow you to share your reasons for liking this player? Or allow you to share an idea you have with this player?
After you write your three questions, read them over and think about this:
If you only had a chance to ask ONLY ONE of these questions, which one would it be? Star it! — this is your most important question. Keep it in your pocket or in your memory just in case you bump into your favorite player someday!
Happy Writing! Happy Soccer Playing!