Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Are you Jane Goodall?

As an elementary teacher, mama of two boys, and an aspiring writer for children, I find myself doing a lot of crazy things in the name of entertaining children. In the past, I have dressed up like Thing 1 for Read Across America week, dressed up like the nun from Madeline for Storybook Character Week, turned my classroom into outer space and the grasslands of Africa for Academic Nights, kissed an actual pig for a cancer fundraiser, and have participated in some wild science experiments-just to name a few.

If your goal is to become a children's author one day, you have to get out there and interact with the kids. You have to know your market inside and out.

My advice-get out there and volunteer in the schools. Take your children or relatives' children out to do something only a kid would do. Do something that you used to do as a child. Watch cartoons. Get in touch with your inner child. Think of it as research.

I like pretend I'm Jane Goodal. I've befriended the local wildlife in an unusual jungle. They've accepted me in to their group; and they often let me participate in their daily activities. I've learned their likes and dislikes. I've begun to communicate with them in a rudimentary language-kidspeak.

In short, you don't have to be a teacher to write for kids. You don't even have to be parent. You do, however, have to know what kids like.

What will you do in an effort to start thinking like a kid?

Below is a recipe to make green slime. In the words of Nike, "Just do it!" Get in touch with your inner chid by doing something totally silly. You won't be sorry that you did.

Green Slime Recipe
box of cornstarch
enough water to make cornstarch a glue consistency
green food dye
1. take cornstarch and put in bowl
2. Experiment with water. Add some and stir. When you have a glue-like consistency, stop.
3. Add any color food dye, but green is best. It looks like snot.
4. Have fun!

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