The Blog For Kids

This blog is for kids!
The posts you find here will be mostly for children ages 5 to 10, with some stuff for younger or older kids.
Happy reading!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Paper Hog (personal essay)

Paper is a hot commodity in my house. Some families complain about the phone hog, or the bathroom hog. My younger son is the paper hog. He draws on it, cuts it, glues it, or otherwise uses it all up. As a teacher and writer, I like paper too. After all, books are made of paper.
Of course, my younger son and I aren’t the only paper users in the house. My older son needs paper for homework and other urgent reasons, such as writing down game codes and friends’ phone numbers. My husband is the list-maker. You name it, he has made a list for it. My husband, actually, is the paper hoarder. He buys packages of notepads and hides them. I kid you not.
Everyone in the family knows where to find the good paper. It’s in the computer printer. The older son, however, is happy with the backs of old mail taken from the recycling box. He would probably even use old paper for his homework if he had a choice on that. My husband, like I said, has his own paper. That leaves me and the paper hog.
His need for paper must be genetic. I clearly remember my grandmother telling me, yet again, I could only have one piece of paper per visit. She worked for a paper mill and had whole reams of 12-by-18 white glossy paper in the bottom of the china cabinet in the dining room. She was a generous woman, and had plenty of paper. The one page limit was set because I was, you guessed it, a paper hog.
How could I deny my son the joy and endless possibilities of a new piece of paper? I can’t. I am proud that he is inspired by a blank page, and as a parent I must encourage him. Hiding a paper stash, as my husband does, doesn’t work. I’m ready to give in before he even asks. I can only blame myself when I go on a frantic search for paper at 11 pm the night before a due date.
Maybe in some families the members bargain over the remote control or last can of soda. Between my younger son and I, it’s the last piece of paper in the printer tray. So, to editors at the book publishers I would say this: handle with care. That paper my story is printed on may hold more value than you think. Sure, writers pour their heart and soul into their work and the end result comes at the price of sweat and tears, but have you haggled with a preschooler lately?
Not that it has ever happened, but if I am extra tired, or distracted, the next story I send to a publisher might have a bonus story on the back. My favorite? A house drawn with crayon and “MOMDADSAMNATE” written in the sky by a four-year old writer-in-training. Now, that’s a great story.
Did I mention he likes envelopes, too?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Rockhounding Around (non-fiction, geology)

Have you ever heard of a hound dog? A hound is a dog that is good at sniffing for things. A rock hound is a person who hunts for rocks, but they don't sniff to find them! Have you ever found a rock that you decided was interesting? If you have, then you might be a rock hound too.
Anyone can be a rock hound. All you need to do is like rocks, and like looking for rocks. A rock hound needs a place to explore. You can look in your own backyard or neighborhood. Most of the time it is okay to collect rocks at a beach or park. Just remember to ask first, especially before looking on someone else’s property.
If you belong to a whole family of rock hounds, you could go to more places to look for rocks together. There are even places to go rock hunting where you can find unusual gems and minerals. Search the internet for rock hunting places in your state. You could also buy rocks at rock and minerals shows. Buying rocks skips the hunting part, though, which some rock hounds would say leaves out the most fun.
You don’t need any fancy gear to be a rock hound, but if you are going to dig you might want some useful things. A shovel, work gloves, and a bucket for you rocks would come in handy. If you want to break apart rocks with a rock hammer, then you will need safety glasses. A book about rocks and minerals will be helpful if you want to know what you’ve found. Remember to dress for the weather and use sun block.
Rock hounds are proud of their collections. You could put your rocks in a shoebox, on a shelf, or in clear plastic containers. Many rock hounds like to label their rocks by what kind they are, the date they were found, and where they were found. You will probably have a favorite kind of rock and could group certain kinds of rocks together. How you want to show off your collection is up to you.
If you want to tell people you are a rock hound, be ready to explain that you like looking for rocks. Be sure to tell them you can’t sniff for rocks like a hound dog though!