Open A Door To Creativity


Possible Classroom Concepts: Language Arts – Literature, Writing, Social Studies – Countries Around the World, Underground Railroad

Possible Art Concepts: Art History – Karen Anderson

Types of Art – Sculpture (Relief), Elements of Art – Form


As we’re opening the door to a new year, I’m reminded of artist, Karen Anderson’s Tiny  Doors , that I saw on CBS’ Sunday Morning Magazine. Doors have always intrigued me. They come in all sizes and shapes. Doors can be portals to beginnings, endings and adventures. Thinking about doors opened up my mind to so many  classroom lesson possibilities. 

Probably the most obvious correlation would be in language arts. Doors have played a role in some famous literature. Just think about Alice in Wonderland, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Secret Garden and The Harry Potter books, just to name a few.  

For younger students, I found several picture books with door themes. The  first three are a series of wordless books by Aaron Becker entitled,  Journey, Quest and ReturnIn Journey, a young girl uses a red crayon to draw a door onto the wall, opens it and steps into a magical world of adventure. The story continues and concludes in the next two books. These stories remind me of a very sophisticated version of Harold and the Purple Crayon. The next picture book I found, Ruby’s Wish by Shirin Yim,  just so happens to also be about a red door. While researching for this blog, I discovered that red doors have significance in history and cultures around the world. To learn more about red doors check out this post by Apartment Therapy. Aaron Becker’s books are about imagination and adventure. Ruby’s Wish is based on a true story about a Chinese girl who yearns for an education and how she goes about getting it. Find a video version of this story here. This is a great book to correlate with a children around the world unit. Another internationally themed book  is The Old Man And His Door by Gary Soto. This story is about a Mexican husband who doesn’t listen very well, but ends up being a bit of a hero in the end. Find a video version of this story here. This book investigates the many uses for a door and I love all the Spanish words that are introduced.


So, if you are reading any of these books, studying cultures around the world or just want to open up your student’s imaginations, a door themed art project might just be in order. I love these popsicle stick doors from The WHOot. Dreamworks has produced  an adorable  instructional video which can be found here. For some more inspirational doors, check out my tiny doors board on Pinterest found here. A box of popsicle sticks is inexpensive and readily available at most craft stores. Tacky glue can be used in place of hot glue. All Purpose Elmers Glue can even be used. Simply glue and let the glue set before turning over. Add color with markers or watercolors. I bought pre-colored  popsicle sticks. Old buttons, jewelry and beads can be added for embellishments. Once the door is complete, students could write a description or a story about what’s behind their door. Find some teaching suggestions in this pdf and this pdf.  The tiny doors can be placed around the school to see what kind of buzz they might initiate.

What do you think? Could you use tiny doors in your curriculum? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Just highlight the title of this post, scroll down to the bottom and add your comment.

I hope you’ll stop by again real soon.


Crayon Themed Christmas Gifts



If you are anything like me, you are always looking for quick and easy gift ideas.  I find books to be a GREAT gift. And it just so happens that there are presently numerous crayon themed picture books to choose from. I like these particular books because each one has an underlying message about friendship or acceptance. I would recommend Drew Dawalt’s clever series of crayon books entitled The Day Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home. I also mentioned in my last blog post the crazy story,  Frankencrayon by Michael Hall. Hall has also written Red, A Crayon Story . You can find a read aloud of his book here. Another fun one is How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow by Monica Sweeny. You can view a read aloud video of this book here. I’m Not Just a Scribble  by Diane Alber is not about crayons, but about something you can do with them. This book even comes with stickers so your children can make their own scribbles. She also has great scribble activities on her blog page and Instagram page. (Holiday ornaments and a template so your child can make a 2019 calendar. More gift ideas!!!!!) Too bad The Crayon Man, The True Story of the Invention of the Crayola Crayon by Natascha Biebow isn’t out yet. It looks like it will be a good one. You can preorder it now and it will come out in March. So, you can simply purchase one of the books mentioned above, a nice new box of crayons and a sketch pad. Place all the items in a basket or tote, add a ribbon and, voila, the PERFECT gift!

Need a quick gift that you can make from things you have around the house? Let’s talk about the crayons themselves. Do you have a box or jar of old broken crayons in some closet or drawer? The kids don’t want to use them anymore because they’re not new looking anymore. Well, do I have a solution for you. Make recycled crayons! Trust me, you don’t want the old crayons to end up in a landfill. Did you know they never decompose and simply melt into a waxy sludge in landfills? (If you don’t wish to go through the trouble of making your own recycled crayons, please consider investigating where you can recycle them locally.) All you will need to produce your new crayons are old crayons, an old muffin tin or silicon mold, some oil and an oven. Find a how to video here. Here are a few extra pointers:

*First, cull through your crayons and make sure they are a safe brand found in this article. Unfortunately, some crayons produced in China were found to contain asbestos, so check yours out before you go any further.  * Your students or children can help take  the paper off the crayons and break them up. You may need to cut them in smaller pieces with a knife. *Brush metal muffin tins with oil before filling them. *This could be a GREAT sorting activity for preschoolers, putting all the same color crayon in a single cup. But, I think it is great fun to put different colored crayons into the cups. This way you can make rainbow crayons. (A specialty box of rainbow crayons called Chunk-O Crayons costs around $10.00. Yours will be virtually free.)  *To be on the safe side, bake the crayons while the children are not around and in a well ventilated room. *Allow the new crayons to cool completely before trying to remove from the mold. Placing the mold in the freezer may make the crayons easier to remove.  *Place several of your masterpieces in a pretty bag, add a ribbon and give as gifts to friends and neighbors.

Happy Crayoning!

I hope you’ll stop by again real soon!