Indoor Activities — “Friend Collage” and “Indoor Basketball”

Bored indoors? Say no more! These Diary of a 5th Grade Outlaw free indoor activities for kids can activate imaginations anywhere. Using everyday household items, make your own fun that can be shared with friends far away or family right at home. On one side of this free printable activity sheet, find instructions on how to create a cut-and-paste Friend Collage. All you need is a pair of scissors, glue, a few old magazines, and a friend or two in mind. Cut out words and pictures that you feel represent your pals best, then take a picture to share with your own band of Merry Misfits!

Rain or shine, Robin and L.J. are always ready to shoot some hoops. The other side of this free printable activity sheet has simple instructions on how to create a mini basketball court so you can practice your shot… even when inside! Just grab a ping pong ball and a plastic cup to jumpstart a fun game of Indoor Basketball!


Soul Riders: Jorvik Calling – Discussion Guide

Saddle up for a great conversation with these discussion questions about Soul Riders: Jorvik Calling, the first novel based on the adventure game Star Stable. Tween readers will gallop through the thrilling plot of this book, following four very different friends who share one thing in common: a mysterious and powerful bond with their horses. Don’t rein in the excitement after finishing the book, though. With this free downloadable discussion guide, gather a group and keep the momentum of the story going with a closer look at the plot, characters, and themes.

Lisa, Linda, Alex, and Ann all bring something unique to their magical friend group––while each of their powers make them strong, when they work together they’re unstoppable! When ancient evil forces make themselves known in Jorvik, it’s never been more important for the horse-loving friends to unite. Under the guidance of mystical druids, the girls must band together to save the world and ride into the sunset. After finishing the fantastical first novel, use this free downloadable discussion guide to spark conversation in groups both small and large. Either way, they’re sure to ignite a critical discussion focused on friendship, the struggles of growing up, and the importance of teamwork.

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How to Draw a Mermaid – Printable Guide

This drawing with simple shapes activity is the perfect antidote for a rainy day. Lulu Mayo’s How to Draw a Mermaid and Other Cute Creatures takes doodlers step-by-step through the creation of adorable characters. Perfect for any age, the easy-to-follow instructions will ignite curiosity and creativity in every budding artist.

You can personalize these quirky creatures to your heart’s content––doing each drawing with simple shapes makes it easy. Whether you want to draw a super-sneaky ninja-sloth, bring a cat-cus to life, or create a hula-hooping avocado, being an artist has never been so accessible (and so cute)! See for yourself just how fun these doodles are by downloading the free How to Draw a Mermaid activity here.

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Peanuts and NASA

Grade Levels: K-2, 3-5
Curriculum Connections: STEM, Space Science, Engineering, Language Arts

From Peanuts Worldwide, in partnership with NASA: “This year marks the 50th anniversary of Apollo 10, the NASA mission that made Charlie Brown and Snoopy part of the U.S. space program when their names were used as call signs for the command and lunar landing modules. Now NASA and the Peanuts gang are teaming up again to help students explore the history of space flight and the amazing technologies NASA will use to land astronauts on Mars. With separate activity sets for grades K-2 and 3-5, this program is sure to boost your students’ STEM skills as they imagine themselves part of the Peanuts space corps!”

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Breaking Cat News – Paper Doll Puppet Guide: Tabitha, Figaro, Burt, and Tillie

Let your middle-graders take center stage and put on their very own paper doll puppet show. Using our free paper doll template, inspired by more cute and lovable Breaking Cat News characters, you can encourage creative expression while also building students’ love of reading. In this delightful comic series, three house cats take on the most relevant and hilarious news happening at home, and now, with this all-new guide, you can create your own paper dolls for Puck, Elvis, and Lupin’s other feline friends: Tabitha, Figaro, Burt, and Tillie!

Once students have read Take It Away, Tommy!, they can use this free paper doll template to help them put on a puppet show. The instructions are easy to follow and understand, so budding puppeteers can have their cast created in no time. Encourage middle-graders not only to create the paper dolls, but also to write their own scripts for the show. They’ll have fun writing them, and you’ll have fun seeing what they come up with. They can even use the Breaking Cat News books as inspiration! After the dolls are done and the stage is set, sit back and enjoy the show.


Outdoor/Indoor Activities

Snug Harbor Stories follows Wallace the Brave and his outdoorsy expeditions in the East Coast beach town he calls home. With this collection of 3 free printable science activities, middle-grade students will be encouraged to get outside and explore the world around them. Start the journey indoors–have your students design their own field books to collect tales and tokens from nature. Then head outdoors to turn some of those tokens into an icy winter mobile to accessorize their snow forts. Middle-graders even have the chance to grow their own avocado plants with these free downloadable activities, instilling a sense of responsibility and a fuller understanding of the natural world.

While flipping through the pages of Snug Harbor Stories, young readers will go along with each and every adventure Wallace the Brave sets out on. Explore streets lined with ice cream shops, poke around beaches dotted with rocky tide pools, and watch his little brother, Sterling, try to eat yet another bug. After wrapping up their Snug Harbor adventures and completing these 3 free printable science activities, ask your students to think critically about their interactions with nature and what they learned from growing and creating their own materials. Whether students choose to create their own field book, grow avocado plants, or build a winter mobile using treasures they collect on field explorations, each activity will instill a love of nature and encourage a scientific state of mind.


True Undersea Mysteries

Epic! Originals dives into the mystery genre in the middle-grade maritime series, Undersea Mystery Club Book. Students team up with mermaid Violet and her best friend, Wally the narwhal, to solve mysteries around the city of Aquamarina. With each new case, they learn valuable lessons about their oceanic surroundings and the importance of never giving up. Hang these downloadable fact sheets around your classroom to excite students’ curiosity about other underseas mysteries. Buoyed by an exciting plot, the free printable science fact sheets make the perfect educational tool for everyone’s inner marine biologist. Try making fun quizzes or competitions out of the facts if you really want the information to stick!

Middle-grade readers join Violet and Wally to hunt for playground pieces that have disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Luckily, these two are not the types to let a mystery go unsolved. This dynamic duo is determined to uncover the truth about the missing pieces and solve the problem at the playground. To that end, they won’t stop until they save the day for all the sea creatures who want a chance to play. Violet and Wally’s tenacity will undoubtedly inspire students. Each and every chapter of the quest will engross them. Once the team solves the mysteries of the plot, present your student-sleuths with even more fun facts about ocean science and ecosystems in these easy-to-read free printable science fact sheets. Pair them with this Epic! Originals hit to transform the everyday classroom into a deep diving expedition for more knowledge.


Piper MacLane’s Secret Slime Recipe

Epic! Originals presents the story of Piper Maclane and her malleable pal in My Pet Slime. Middle-grade students can create slime pets of their own simply by following this free printable slime recipe (with the help of their teachers or parents, of course). Slime is the must-make craft of the moment, and Piper’s recipe is the best of the best. Although this slime may not come to life like Piper’s did, making it will definitely bring your middle-grade students’ scientific curiosity to life. Don’t stop there, though. Encourage creative thinking by getting students to customize their slime with glitter, colors, and whatever else they can get their hands on. They’ll have the time of their lives creating and naming slime pets to match Piper’s.

Piper wishes she could have a pet to bring for Show and Tell like all the other kids in her class, but she’s allergic to every animal imaginable! Allergies or not, this is a girl who doesn’t give up that easily. Instead of a furry, sneeze-inducing pet, Piper decides to make her own pet out of slime. When it miraculously comes to life, Piper realizes just how fun, challenging, and messy it can be to care for a pet––especially a slimy one. This free printable slime recipe is a fun, unique way to teach students more about science. But that’s not all! This activity also presents a great opportunity to teach responsibility when paired with the Epic! Originals book. After all, middle-grade readers will easily relate to the desire to have a pet of their own. After making this slime, have your middle-graders name their slimy companions and care for them like pets all day. Follow this free printable recipe for the perfect educational hybrid of science experiment and responsibility exercise.


“Be An Outlaw” Coloring Page

From Epic! Originals comes Diary of a 5th Grade Outlaw. There’s only one rule to being an outlaw: Creating your own path. On the other side of this printable coloring sheet, create your own diary cover with a self-portrait and unique design for every child to show off their personality. Then tape the sheet to a blank notebook and start writing your own adventures, whether as a comic, illustrated story, diary, or something entirely new. This free activity makes for a perfect afternoon of storytelling, whether at home or in the classroom.

While reading Diary of a 5th Grade Outlaw, middle-grade students will be inspired by main character Robin Loxley’s daring quest to right the wrongs of Nottingham Elementary in a tell-all tale inspired by the legends of Robin Hood. After completing this free, printable coloring sheet, prompt your students to write a story in a comic/illustrated novel hybrid format, just like the beloved Epic! Original. While Robin faces many tests, both curricular and interpersonal, she never gives up on her mission to restore justice to the playground and reunite with her best friend, Mary Ann. Following Robin’s journey to justice will impart readers with valuable lessons about resolving conflict and staying true to oneself.

Big Nate Comics

Make Comics with Big Nate

Middle-grade readers everywhere love the shenanigans and wisecracks of the bestselling Big Nate series. Now they can create comics of their own, just like Nate! In this free printable make-your-own-comic activity, Nate and his squad of sixth-grade pranksters break down comic-creation into easy steps. They open up a world of artistic possibility for fans of the beloved strip. Students can create their own four-panel stories in Lincoln Pierce’s signature style, coming up with their own characters and dialogue along the way. As they work, encourage middle-graders to focus critically on their personal writing and drawing processes. You may be inspiring a future cartoonist!

With this activity, students will be encouraged to think about comics as an art form. Doing so will help them learn how to use this time-honored medium to express their own stories. If aspiring artists have trouble thinking of new ideas, there’s plenty of inspiration to draw from the chaotic fun of Nate’s daily routine. He’s always battling against overzealous teachers, protesting unfair wedgies, and trying to set the all-time record for detentions in a single school year. Implementing this Big Nate activity in the classroom or at home is easy.

First, download the free printable make-your-own-comic template. Then, guide your students through imagining, drawing, and writing their own version of a Big Nate cartoon strip. Show them as many examples of Big Nate comics as you want to get their brains in gear. Creating a comic strip is a great exercise on its own, but pairing it with any of the classic Big Nate stories takes engagement and enjoyment to the next level.


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