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Preschool Busy Bag: Button Graph

Preschool Busy Bag Button Graph Activity from Walking by the Way

A new preschool busy bag?

But, Ami, you don't have any preschoolers.

Yes. And yes.

I will never remember the tale of this preschool busy bag beyond the basics:

The bag was made. Simon played. And that was five years ago. Apparently, the poor photos have been sitting in my images folder for a long, long time just waiting to make an appearance on the blog. Today is their day.


Roylco Bright Buttons for Preschool Busy Bag


1. Sort through your buttons and choose five colors. I was able to find five colors that had four matching shapes (square, flower, circle, heart).

2. Color the small rectangles at the top of page to represent the colored buttons you have chosen. I chose red, orange, blue, yellow, and pink. 

3. Show your child how to put the correct color buttons in the right columns. If that version is too simple, place all the buttons in the first column for your student. Show her how to complete the graph by matching the shape (on the left) with the color (at the top). If she is ready for this game, you may want to trace the shapes on the left column so the activity can be done independently. 

4. Grab a Ziploc and bag it! Store it until the next time.

Preschool Busy Bag Button Graph from Walking by the Way

Looking for more ideas? You can find all of my Preschool Activity Bag ideas here on the blog, and you can also check out my Pinterest Board.

Preschool Busy Bag Activity Board on Pinterest copy

Nine Picture Books to Inspire Writers

Disclaimer: I chose to receive these nine books from Candlewick Press, and I was compensated for the time I invested in this post. All opinons belong to me (and my children) and are truthful.

Nine Candlewick Press Picture Books to Inspire Writers from Walking by the Way

I don't use formal writing curriculum or require my students to compose stories and essays in their elementary years.

But I do look for ways to motivate my students to write.

The best tools in my tool box are picture books. 

These nine books from Candlewick Press possess a certain inspiring quality–influencing my kids to want to write. 

These nine books also provide opportuntites to teach my children writing concepts. 

Write Parts of a Story with Help! We Need a Title!

 Help! We Need a Title! (Candlewick Press) Writing Activity from Walking by the Way

Help! We Need a Title! by Herve Tullet is a silly book that will produce smiles and provide an easy way to teach your child the basic parts of a story.

After we read the book, I asked Simon what things are necessary for a story. I emphasized six parts: author, title, characters, setting, conflict, and resolution. I created a story brainstorming activity to use with Simon; he gobbled it up. When he was finished, he started asking me when he could write his story!

Note: I designed the page so that your student can type on it, if you want. I have one who loves to type, so I try to include this option when I can.

Download the Help! I'm Writing a Story! Writing Activity

Foster Creative Thinking with Journey by Aaron Becker

Writing Activity inspired by the books The Journey and The Quest by Aaron Becker

Journey and Quest are both magically illustrated stories told without any words. Simon and I both decided we love, love these books–so much that they belong in the favorite category.

Can you be inspired to write by a book that doesn't have any words? You absolutely can. After his first time through the book, Simon inquired, "Why was the bird in the cage?" Since that moment Simon has been plotting the answer to his own question, and he intends to write about it. Inspired.

The activity I created for these books, though, doesn't require any handwriting, but the activity does nurture creative thinking which is an important skill for writing. 

Download the Questions to Spark Imagination

Design a Circus Poster with Sidewalk Circus 

Read Sidewalk Circus (Candlewick Press) and Design a Circus Poster

Paul Fleishman and Kevin Hawkes teamed together to produce Sidewalk Circus, a fun story in which the people of the town, living their everyday lives, are viewed as circus performers.

Read through this book with your student and enjoy the fantastic festival presented to you. Look again and discuss the details in the art. Tons of text doesn't exist in this story, but the circus posters sprinkled throughout give us clues to the parallels between the circus and the town. 

Ask your student if she would like to design a circus poster. The download will provide you with more instructions and information about how to facilitate the process. 

Download Design a Circus Poster Writing Activity

Write Dialogue with I Want My Hat Back

Writing Activity for I Want My Hat Back (Candlewick Press)

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen tells the story of a bear who has lost his hat but intends to find it. The tale includes heaps of simple dialogue between the animal characters. Simon and I used this story as a springboard for writing our own animal dialogue with a simple game I made, Dialogue Dice. 

You can find the instructions and necessary printables in the download.

Download the Dialogue Dice Game File

Create an Imaginary Land with The Land of Neverbelieve

The Land of Neverbelieve (Candlewick Press) Writing Activity (Create an Imaginary Island) from Walking by the Way

The moment this book, The Land of Neverbelieve, landed in my hands, I knew exactly who would want to read it. Elijah has been typing his fingers off for a few months–working on his own big story in which there are interesting, unique creatures. I am under oath not to say more, but he did enjoy The Land of Neverbelieve.

This book is perfect for anyone who enjoys fantasy; it transports the reader to a wondrous land where creatures are wild and wondrous. After your student reads the book, encourage her to create an imaginary place with both words and pictures. The download includes simple instructions and template pages. 

Download Create an Imaginary Place Writing Activity

Make a List for Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

Writing Activity for Sam & Dave Dig a Hole (Candlewick Press)

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett tells a story that meets and foils the reader's expectations–at the same time! I knew Simon would love this book because digging holes is one of his special pasttimes.

The writing activity for this book is simple: make a list. The download provides eight prompts to choose from. The student chooses one as a title and writes a list of ten things.

This was Simon's favorite activity. I am a wee bit concerned, though, at the reasons he digs holes. 

Nine Candlewick Press Books to Inspire Writers from Walking by the Way 

Your student may be inspired to do something more than write with this book.
I'm sorry if you find random holes all over your yard!

Download Make a List Writing Activity

Compose Fairy Tale Beginnings with Previously

Previously by Allan Ahlberg (Candlewick Press) Writing Activity from Walking by the Way

How many times have you heard the tale of Goldilocks or Cinderella? Have you ever pondered what happened to these characters before their star roles in classic fairy tales? Well, Allan Ahlberg has. His book, Previously, connects the lives of these characters and invents pasts for each of them. 

The writing activity for this book is to copy the author's idea–to create a past for a fairy tale character. You can find printable pages and instructions in the download file.

Download What Happened Previously? Writing Activity

Explore Conflict & Resolution with The Pencil

Learn conflict and resolution with the picture book, The Pencil by Allan Ahlberg (Candlewick Press)

Stories need conflict, and The Pencil by Allan Ahlberg wonderfully illustrates the push-pull of conflict and resolution. As I read the story to Simon, we discussed the problems and solutions (using the handy chart in the download). Then we played The Problem-Solution Game to practice two skills required of all writers: problem solving and creative thinking. 

Download The Problem-Solution Game

I love having these wonderful picture books that inspire my kids to write! I will be following Candlewick Press on Pinterest and Facebook in hopes of finding other books that will encourage my kids to think like writers and to be writers!

Giant List of Story Art Projects

The Giant List of Story Art Ideas: Art Projects Inspired by Children's Books (from Walking by the Way)

I scoured and searched and typed and linked and now I give. I give you the list–the GIANT lis–of 103 art projects connecting picture books and other children's literature to art projects. Read. Create. Repeat. 

Read Apple and create an Apple Collage

Read Are You Blue Dog's Friend? and paint a Blue Dog

Read Arlo Needs Glasses make Oil and Chalk Pastel Dogs 

Read Babuska Baba Yaga and design a Pattern Painted Babushka

Read Beautiful Oops and Paint on Torn Newspaper

Read Big Fat Hen and chalk pastel your own Big Fat Hen 

Read The Cat and the Bird and create a Klee Inspired Castle

Read The Cat and the Hat and create an Acrylic Painting 

Read Chameleons Are Cool and experiment with watercolor Painted Chamelons

Read Chengdu and draw a Panda Bear with chalk pastels

Read Chicken Little and make a Chicken Little Collage

Read Click, Clack, Moo: Cows Who Type and Draw & Paint a Cow

Read Color Dance and Mix Colors

Read A Color of His Own and watercolor Rainbow Chameleons

Read D'Aulaire's Book of Norse Myths and craft a Viking Ship Painted Paper Collage

Read Dig, Dogs, Dig and make Truck Shape Art

Read Do You Have a Hat? and create a draw & paint a Hatted Person 

The Giant List of Story Art Projects

Read The Dot and Design a Dot

Read The Dot and make a Paper & Paint Dot Collage

Read Elmer and create a Tissue Paper Elmer

Read Fatuma's New Cloth and make African Kanga Compostitions

Read Fish Eyes and craft a Paper Fish

Read The Frog Prince and craft a Mixed Media Frog Prince

Read Giraffes Can't Dance and create a Dancing Giraffe

Read The Goat in the Rug and complete a Weaving Project (helpful video)

Read The Great Wave and Paint a Wave

Read Green and paint a variety of Green Leaves

Read The Grouchy Ladybug and craft a Ladybug Mixed Media Collage

Read Harold and the Purple Crayon and design Purple Yarn Art

Read Harold and the Purple Crayon and Sketch Illustrations

Read Hickory Dickory Dock and papercraft a George Nelson Style Clock

Read Hooray for Fish and create a Fish Oil Pastel

Read Hot Air and paint colorful Hot Air Balloons

Read A House for Hermit Crab and draw & paint a Hermit Crab

Read How Loud Is a Lion and draw and paint your own Loud Lion

Read How Many Snails? and create a Snail Painting

Read I Ain't Gonna Paint No More and create Paint Splattered Portraits

Read In the Small, Small Pond and make a Mixed Media Pond

Read If I Ran the Zoo and design a Tizzled Topped Tufted Mazurka

Read If You Give a Cat a Cupcake and make a Cupcake Collage

Read I'll Follow the Moon and sculpt clay Sea Turtles

The Giant List of Story Art Projects

Read I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean and paint Giant Squids

Read Ish and create Crumpled Paper Art

Read Ish and draw & paint a Page of Ish Ideas

Read Jack and the Beanstalk and craft a Mixed Media Artwork

Read Jeremy Draws a Monster and make Organic Shape Monsters

The Giant List of Story Art Projects

Read The Kissing Hand and draw and paint Racoons

Read The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush and paint Sunset Scenes

Read Lentil and draw Shadows and Facial Expressions

Read Lines that Wiggle and marker a page of bright Wiggly Lines

Read Little Blue and Little Yellow and Color Mix Playdoh

Read The Little Engine That Could and draw a Chalk Pastel Train

Read Little Green and make an Abstract Crayon Artwork

Read Little Red Riding Hood and oil pastel The Path to Grandma's House

Read Lots of Dots and Paint with Dots

Read Madeline and Draw with Chalk Pastels

Read Matthew's Dream and use markers to draw The Shapes and Colors of Joy

Read Max's Words and draw Art Words

Read Mister Seahorse and create a Mixed Media Seashorse Scene

Read Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli and design a Monsters Multimedia Project    

Read Monsters Love School and have fun with Pick and Draw Monsters

Giant List of Story Art Ideas for Connecting Literature and Art

Read any Monster book The Emberleys and craft Paper Collage Monsters

Read Mouse Paint and create Three Torn Mice

Read Mouse Paint and sculpt a Mouse on a Paint Palette

Read My Blue Boat and draw a Chalk Pastel Scene

Read My Many Colored Days and crayon a Watercolor Resist Project

Read Old Bear and create a Bear Collage

Read One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish and paint a Bright Fish

Read Once Upon a Northern Night and create a Winter Tree Scene

Read A Pair of Socks and craft a pair of Symmetry Socks

Read Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes and draw & paint Pete the Cat

Read Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes and draw Pete the Cat in Chalk Pastel

Read Pete's a Pizza and make Paper Pizza Art

Read Pezzettino and design a Square Creature

Read Planting a Rainbow and create Bright Painted Paper Flowers

Read The Princess and the Pea and watercolor the Sleeping Princess

Story Art: Connecting Art and Literature

Read The Rainbow Book and create Kandinsky Circles

Read The Rainbow Fish and draw, glue, and glitter a Rainbow Fish

Read A Rainbow of My Own and create a Rainbow Puzzle Collage

Read Raptors, Fossils, Fins, and Fangs and draw your own Prehistoric Creature

Read Red Sings from Treetops and Draw with Chalk Pastels

Read Scarecrow and draw & paint a Scarecrow

Read Ship Shapes and create a City Waterfront Collage

Read Skippyjon Jones and make your own Skippyjon Jones

Read Sky Color and make a Falling Through the Sky Artwork

Read Snowballs and design a Bird and Birch Tree Collage

Read The Snowy Day and make your own Snowy Day Illustration

Read Stellaluna and Draw a Bat

Read Swimmy and create a Fish Print Fish

Read Sylvie and design a Patterned Flamingo

Read Tar Beach and create Citiscapes

Read There's a Wocket in my Pocket and create an Imaginary Creature

Read Time of Wonder and draw & paint Simple Sailboats

Read Too Much Glue and make Gluey Masterpieces

Read A Tree is Nice and sketch Trees

Read Trucks and create an amazing Truck Collage

Read The Very Hungry Caterpillar and watercolor a Hungry Caterpillar

Read The Very Hungry Caterpillar and craft Clay Caterpillars on Watercolor Leaves

Read The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Draw with Chalk Pastels

Read Where the Wild Things Are and do some Wild Thing Printmaking

Read Where the Wild Things Are and paint a Watercolor Monster

Read Where the Wild Things Are and paint some Wild Things

Read The Z Was Zapped and crayon a Watercolor Resist Alphabet

The Giant List of Story Art Project Ideas

As I find more art projects for picture books,
I will pin them to my Story Art Pinterest Board.

Follow Homeschool Share's board Story Art on Pinterest.

Check out other Five Day Series on the iHomeschool Network Hopscotch

iHomeschool Network Summer Hopscotch 2015