Category Archives: Nature

Creative Thinking Prompt: Snow Words

Creative Thinking Prompt: Create Your Own Snow Words

Many countries have different words for different types of snow. To date the Sami culture  of Finland, Norway, Sweden and Russia, are known to have 180 words to describe snow while the Scottish have over 413 words for snow.

Skelf – snowflake (Scotland)

Snjór/Snær: Snow (Icelandic)

Ciegar: Snowfield which has been trampled and dug up by reindeer (Sami)

Lappvante- thick falling snow (Swedish)

Aputi: snow on the ground (Inuit/Yupik)

Creative Thinking Prompt: Create Your Own Snow Words

  1. Brainstorm different types of snow. Spark your imagination by looking at how other countries and cultures view snow.
  2. Invent 10 new words to describe different types of snow. Notice how your words sound and look. What if you used marks above vowels, how would that change the sound of your words?
  3. How would people unfamiliar with your language learn your new language?

For extra fun, experiment by making snow playdough using two ingredients.


Equal amounts of each:


Unscented Lotion


Glitter and/or a drop of Peppermint Extract or Oil

SNOW PLAY DOUGH RECIPE 2 using baking soda and hair conditioner:

Creative Thinking Prompt: Animal Letter Writing

Prairie Dog
Creative Thinking Prompt: Animal Letter Writing

Look around your environment.

What types of animals of might live here?

Choose one animal to study.

Pretend to be that animal.

Write a letter to your best friend who is another animal in a different country.

Explain what is like to live where you live, what do you eat, how do you get food, what’s your home like, who are your “friends,” what’s your favorite thing to do, etc. Include a picture of yourself and your name. You could mail your letter to a friend or a family member and see if they write you back as an animal.


Actual Size”

Actual Size written and illustrated by Steven Jenkins brings readers face to face with the actual size of an animal’s physical trait. Some featured animals and their traits in this book are a bear’s head, a dwarf goby fish, an anteater’s tongue, and a crocodile’s snout.

Readers can visually compare themselves to the animal by placing their hand against the page to compare and contrast similarities and differences.

Each page informs about the animal’s length, height and/or weight. Back matter includes facts about each animal.

This book promotes creative non-fiction, imagination, and discovery.

TITLE: Actual Size

AUTHOR: Steve Jenkins

ILLUSTRATOR: Steve Jenkins

PUBLISHER: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: creative nonfiction, imagination, discovery


1) Pick an animal and one of its body parts that you can compare and contrast. Draw that part to its actual size. This activity could also be made into a classroom book.

2) How could you creatively present information about your favorite animal? With a group of friends pick different animals to research. Then write a play or song using the facts you learned. Present your play.


To learn more about author/illustrator Steve Jenkins, visit:

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea!

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea!”

Filled with humor and friendship, Ben Clanton’s graphic novel, Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea, geared toward elementary school readers features three stories with “intermissions.” In the first story, Narwhal and Jelly think each is imaginary. When they find they both love waffles, they become best friends. In the second story, Narwhal searches for his pod family. When he doesn’t find them, he makes his own, asking ocean friends to become honorary tusk-wearing members. But Jelly feels left out. In the third story, Narwhal shares his favorite imagination book with Jelly except the pages are blank.

This book promotes creativity, nature, humor, and originality.

TITLE: Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea!

AUTHOR: Ben Clanton


PUBLISHER: Tundra Books, 2016


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: creativity, humor, imagination


1) Create two best friend cartoon characters. Sketch them and give them names. Write a story about them using their imaginations.

2) Writers use word play – a play on words to enhance their writing and deepen their characters. Ben Clanton used “Tentacular!” as dialogue for his octopus character and “Podtastic!” to describe Narwhal and his group of friends. Use word play in your writing to: What might your best friend cartoon characters say? What behavior might they exhibit?


To learn more about author/illustrator Ben Clanton, visit:

Owl Sees Owl

Owl Sees Owl”

In Owl Sees Owl, a union of text and pictures come together to tell the story of Little Owl who is ready for a night adventure on his own. He leaves the nest and soars across fields and forests. What will he find?

Told in the form of a reverso poem, Little Owl makes a discovery and then safely returns home. A reverso poem is a poem that uses the same words forwards and then reuses the same words in reverse order.

This book promotes creativity, nature, and originality.

TITLE: Owl Sees Owl

AUTHOR: Laura Godwin


PUBLISHER: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2016


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: creativity, nature, originality


1) Research a favorite animal of yours. Make a list of 8 adjectives, 8 nouns, and 8 verbs that describe your animal. Arrange these words into a poem.

2) Try your hand at writing a reverso poem.


To learn more about author Laura Godwin, visit:

To learn more about illustrator Rob Dunlavey, visit:

My Heart Is Like A Zoo

My Heart Is Like A Zoo”

In My Heart Is Like A Zoo, author/illustrator Michael Hall writes in rhyme, exploring zoo animals as metaphors for love traits such as steady, happy, and silly. Made from a variety of heart shapes, his animal illustrations further depict the message of love.

“Eager as a beaver.”

“Quiet as a caterpillar wearing knitted socks.”

How many hearts can you count throughout this book?

This book promotes inventive, originality, analogical, and creative thinking.

TITLE: My Heart Is Like A Zoo

AUTHOR: Michael Hall


PUBLISHER: Harper Collins Children’s Books, 2010


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: inventive, originality, analogical, and creative thinking


1) From construction paper, cut a variety of heart shapes. Combine, arrange and rearrange these shapes to create a new heart-shaped animal. What’s your animal’s name? What part of love does your animal represent? As a group, create a classroom heart book, My Heart Is Full Of Animals.

2) Draw a heart shape. Fill it with heart designs. Cut it out and give it to someone you love.

3) Construct a 3-D heart using only heart shaped cutouts.


To learn more about author/illustrator Michael Hall, visit:

Creative Thinking Prompt: Snow Artist Simon Beck


Simon Beck Snow Art

12-2-16 Creative Thinking Prompt: Snow Artist Simon Beck

With an engineering background and a keen sense of direction, snowshoe-cladded Simon Beck treks through the snow creating awe-inspiring geometric art.

In this six minute video, watch Beck work and discover what inspires his designs.

Creative Thinking Prompt: Design a geometric image. First sketch it on paper, then draw it in fresh snow or in sand.

To learn more about Simon Beck, visit:

To view more of Simon Beck’s snow art, visit:

“All Year Round”


“All Year Round

 In All Year Round, author Susan Katz creates whimsical, rhyming poems that teach shapes, seasons, and the twelve months of the year – all rolled into one. Each month is paired with a shape. March is paired with an oval.


July and summer are paired with a rectangle.


Eiko Ojala’s 3-D illustrations make you want to jump into the book.

This book promotes concepts, making connections, nature and flexible thinking.

TITLE: All Year Round

AUTHOR: Susan Katz


PUBLISHER: Orchard Books, 2016


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: flexible thinking, nature, making connections


1) What’s your favorite shape? What is your favorite month of the year? Connect your shape and month – what do they share in common?

2) How many shapes can you think of? Brainstorm for at least ten minutes, making a list of all the shapes you can think up. Pick six shapes from your list and use them together to form an image.


To learn more about author Susan Katz, visit:

To learn more about illustrator Eiko Ojala, visit:

Rain Fish


Rain Fish”

When it rains, the fish come out and play. Through rhyme and using nature items, vibrant colors and items from around the house, author/illustrator Lois Ehlert brings to life a new species – rain fish.



When the rain stops, where do they go?

This story promotes nature, imagination, resourceful, and inventiveness.

TITLE: Rain Fish

AUTHOR: Lois Ehlert


PUBLISHER: Beach Lane Books, 2016


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: nature, imagination, resourceful, and inventiveness


1) Create your own rain fish using materials only from around your home and nature.

2) Make a list of weather occurrences and another list of animals. Pair a weather occurrence with an animal to create a new species. For example, create a tornado bird or a sandstorm worm.


To learn more about author/illustrator Lois Ehlert, visit:

Creative Thinking Prompt: Gourd Art


Owl Gourd Rattles

Creative Thinking Prompt: Gourd Art

What can you do with those strangely shaped gourds? Paint them. Carve them. Transform them into decorated animals, birdhouses, cups, bowls, even earrings.


Tuma (Decorative gourd craft) Artisan Jagat Ram Devangan from Bastar, Chhattisgarh creates beautiful lamps.

Think Deeper: What Else Can These Gourds Be?

gourd1  wartypumpkin2 gourd2


Gourd Artist Marilyn Sunderland, visit:

Visit this site to view a variety of gorgeous Gourd Art and inspire your own gourd creations: