3 Ideas for Creative Storytelling with Sandpaper

Monthly contributor post from Kristen at Celebrate Every Day with Me:

3 Ideas for Creative Storytelling with Sandpaper

We love a good story.  Whether we are sitting down with a book before bed or creating our own tales in the car, we love storytelling and imagination.  Today, I have a fun way to get creative but not with the usual white piece of drawing paper.  We’ll be using sandpaper as our story’s canvas.

You will need:

3 Ideas for Creative Storytelling with Sandpaper:

 1.  Book-Led Art.  Read a story to your child and let them create images with the various materials on the sandpaper.  We read Bear Snores On, one of our favorite stories.  My daughter selected different parts of the story to show on her sandpaper canvas.  Remind your child that there is no right nor wrong on what they choose to create from the story.  Some elements are most definitely easier than others to design in their picture.

Creative Storytelling with Sandpaper - 1 Creative Storytelling with Sandpaper - 3

2.  Collaborative Storytelling.  Let your children take turns on the sandpaper, creating a story and building upon each other’s tale.  Think of it as different scenes on the pages of a book.

3.  Creative Canvas.  Have your child create a scene on their sandpaper.  Then help them develop a story about their picture.  Who is the story about?  What happens?

Creative Storytelling with Sandpaper

What stories will your sandpaper tell?  Do you think your children will enjoy working with sandpaper?

Kristen Summers-squareKristen of Celebrate Every Day With Me is a fun-loving mom to two kids who keep her busy and laughing. Add her great husband and the Lord to the mix and her life is one fantastic (and sometimes crazy) adventure. She is a former youth leader, professional wedding and event planner and has a degree in Christian Thought/Christian Ministry. She loves long lists, diet soda and playing jokes on her husband.

Kristen is the author of Teach Me To Serve:  99 Ways Preschoolers Can Learn To Serve & Bless Others.  On her blog, you’ll find fun ideas for children’s activities, creating memorable moments and party planning.

Three Ways to Reinforce Learning with Activity Books

Ways to Learn with Activity Books

Regardless of whether you homeschool or your child is educated in a private or public school, there will be times you need to reinforce and review what they’ve learned.  One great way to do this is with activity books!  I have three ways you can use activity books to reinforce learning, but first, let me tell you about the workbooks we are using. Be sure to read all the way through because there is a giveaway…and a discount code at the bottom!! 

(In full disclosure, I did receive these books for free and was compensated for my time, but as always, all thoughts are my own…and I review it as I see it!)

One of our favorite publishers of coloring and activity books is Dover Publications. I’ve long been a fan, and we’ve utilized their books in our homeschool curriculum in many ways.  They’ve recently added a line of elementary education workbooks from Education.com, and when I was given the opportunity to review them, I knew I wanted to pick the 2nd grade activity books for my daughter Hannah.

Ever since finishing God’s Little Explorers with her, I’ve just used curriculum I already had on hand.  It’s been working fine, but I knew she would love to do something a little different to reinforce what she’s been learning.  I knew she would love “something of her own.”

Our 2nd Grade Activity Book Set

Dover Publications and Education.com Curriculum review

For math review, we are using Number Round-Up from the 2nd grade set of activity books.  You can see Hannah enjoyed these “Math Mosaics” in the picture above.  This particular book has been an excellent way for her to review math concepts.  It includes:

  • Math Practice
  • Nifty Number Lines
  • Base Ten Bonanza
  • Rounding and Estimation

2nd grade math

Every activity book also includes an award once you finish a chapter.  Those will be great motivators for my girl…but we haven’t quite made it that far yet!

2nd grade activity books

We studied American history last year, so the History and Me book has been an excellent way to review–and even learn more.  We’ve also done a little bit in the Wonderful Words and Fun with Nature activity books.

Education.com Workbooks

Three Ways to Reinforce Learning with Activity Books

Here are a few ways you can use activity books to help your child review:

1)  Make it special

Instead of allowing access to the activity books all the time, keep them set apart and only pull them out once each week.  One idea I’ve used in the past is to have a box for each day of the week and include a different activity book (along with other special learning toys or games) in it.  Familiarity breeds contempt, right?!!  When you only allow the box to be opened one day each week, it keeps interest alive!

2)  Incentivize

I know…some people are against incentives, but there are many things I do on a daily basis because of an incentive (cooking so I can eat, exercising so I feel better, working so I can pay the bills, etc.)!!  Keep review using an activity book fun by offering an incentive when they finish a section.  The certificate of completion is already in the Dover Publications books, so that may be enough…or you may have something like a “date with mom” or play-date with a friend once they finish a section.

3)  Carschool, Officeschool, Whereverschool

Activity books work well to keep in the car in a bag to be used whenever you have a chance.  Maybe you have to wait for an appointment.  Maybe you are waiting for a sibling’s soccer practice to finish.  Maybe you have a little extra time riding in the car.  Activity books are a great way to review on-the-go!

Dover Publications Giveaway

If you are interested in Dover Publications books, be sure to follow them to find out about deals, freebies, and special offers over on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Google Plus. They also have some free samples over on their site–just be sure to look on the left-hand sidebar where it has a picture that says FREE Samples.

You can currently save 25% sitewide with the code WHBH through 10.31.15.  That will make the Education.com workbooks right around $6.  Of course, the code is good on any of the Dover Publications books!

Giveaway Info

Through 10.8.15, you can enter to win a set of activity books from Dover Publications.  Enter using the Giveaway Tools form below!


Do you have a favorite activity book from Dover Publications I should check out?!!


God’s Little Explorers: Week 4 (Z is for Zoo + Noah’s Ark Lesson Plans)


Each Thursday, I will be reposting our lessons from last year.  If you want to follow along with us, we’d love to have you!

Considering purchasing the complete download of God’s Little Explorers?  You can find out the top 10 differences between the weekly free preschool lesson plans and the complete download here.

Welcome!  Here are this week’s lesson plans.  You can find the printable plans at the bottom of the post.  If you’d like to know more about God’s Little Explorers Preschool Curriculum, head over here.

God’s Little Explorers Week 4

  • Theme:  ”Z” is for Zoo
  • Bible Story:  Noah’s Ark
  • Bible Verse:  Noah walked with God…  Genesis 9:6
  • Letter:  Z
  • Shape:  Triangle

Here are a few activities we did:

We cut-out the “z” printable (included in the packet below) and painted zebra stripes with a marble inside of a box.

We had our own “zoo” and did a little bit of veterinary work on the animals with our medical and veterinary kits.

The girls made triangles from playdough and added craft sticks to make a cage for some of our little animal figurines.

We built a zoo from Legos.

The girls counted animal crackers and then sorted them into equal groups for snacktime.

We made “Noah’s Ark” snacks.

We added a “Z” to our treasure map.

A few more activities to try:

Books and Other Resources:

See the complete list of suggested resources for our preschool curriculum here.


You can download Week 4:  Z is for Zoo lesson plans here.


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Ways to Practice Spelling (Activity Idea 1): Spelling Tic-Tac-Toe FREE Printable

One thing I’ve realized over the past few weeks as I’m coming out of survival mode is I haven’t been posting many kid’s activities…and I love coming up with, doing, and sharing activities.  So, I want to get back into that.  I LOVE equipping moms with easy ideas to do with their kids.

Free Spelling Printable Practice - Tic Tac Toe Game

This week, I have three spelling ideas to share with you, and our first idea is to practice spelling words with Tic-Tac-Toe!  This is one of my favorites to use with two different kids on two different spelling lists.  If you’re wondering, we use All About Spelling through 4th grade and then we use the lists from Classical Conversations Essentials list.

By the way, if you are on Periscope, I’d be so grateful if you’d follow me there—I’m trying a 30-day experiment to see if I can get over my fear and step out of my comfort zone.  You can download the app and follow me at @stacieannnelson. I have a video up there on spelling ideas that will be available for the next 24 hours.  You can also find it on YouTube.

Free spelling printable

Spelling Tic-Tac-Toe



1)  Each person chooses one word from his/her spelling list.  The first person writes their word in a tic-tac-toe spot.  The next person writes their word in one spot.  Continue to go back-and-forth writing spelling words until someone wins!

2)  Choose the next word on the spelling list and play again.


I love that this game has kids writing their spelling words multiple times…and they don’t even realize it!