Activities2019-03-26T21:41:19+00:00

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How to Draw Nessie and a Turtle — Printable Guides

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 two free How to Draw guides here: a dapper Nessie and an adorable turtle.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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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Create Your Own Cartoon Strip with Phoebe and Her Unicorn

Phoebe and Her Unicorn is a beloved and bestselling series about finding friendship in the most unlikely places. Middle-grade readers will follow Phoebe, a somewhat awkward girl, as she forges a powerful bond with a vainglorious unicorn who shows her just how special she really is (after getting over the whole hit-in-the-face-with-a-rock thing, that is). This free printable create-a-comic activity template opens up a world of artistic possibility for middle-graders. They can create their own magical best friend and become the inventors of their own fantastical tale of friendship. As they work on this activity, encourage students to think critically about what makes their real-life friendships special.

Making friends has never been modeled so beautifully as it is in Dana Simpson’s magical series. After reading all about Phoebe and Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, readers can create their own magical BFFs in the very same illustrated comic style. Readers will join Phoebe and Marigold in discovering each other’s awesomeness, coming to appreciate their own as a result. Download this free printable create-a-comic activity and guide your students through imagining, drawing, and writing their own version of a Phoebe and Her Unicorn cartoon strip. This activity is a great creative exercise, but it also instills a deeper understanding of the importance of friendship, no matter what differences you may have.

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How to Draw Phoebe and Her Unicorn Characters

How to Draw Phoebe and Friends – Full Guide

Phoebe and Her Unicorn is the bestselling series from author and illustrator Dana Simpson. The adventures of awkward adolescent, Phoebe, and her mystical, unicorn BFF, Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, will endlessly entertain middle-grade readers. Though they have a few misadventures along the way, each zany situation brings the pair closer together. With this free printable drawing template, students have the chance to bring the book’s characters to life. But, that’s not all. This template also helps young fans recreate Dana’s cool comic style so they can dream up their very own gang of magical friends.

After Phoebe accidentally hits a unicorn in the face with a rock, an unlikely but powerful friendship begins. Middle-graders will join the dynamic duo as they meet more mythical pals and learn more about what makes the other special. Once students finish the book, have them follow the simple template to draw Phoebe and Marigold (and several other fun characters) in all their cartoon glory. Be sure to positively acknowledge each student’s innovation! When they’re done, give them time to share their drawings with the rest of the class. Writing and illustration are both fantastic creative outlets, and this free printable drawing template is also a great opportunity to showcase patience and perseverance to blossoming middle-grade artists. After mastering the characters in the book, encourage them to branch out creatively and come up with drawings and stories of their own using the free printable create-your-own-cartoon-strip activity also on AMP Kids.

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Breaking Cat News – Paper Doll Puppet Guide

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 the cute and lovable Breaking Cat News characters, you can encourage creative expression while also building students’ love of reading. Elvis, Lupin, and Puck, three adorable house cats, take on the most relevant and hilarious news in this delightful comic series. Even if every student doesn’t have cats, they’ll all get a kick out of news stories like The Vacuum Cleaner Is Back!, The Woman Is Cooking Bacon!, and The Ceiling Cats Are Everywhere Tonight!

Once the books have sunk their claws into students, you can introduce 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.

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Unicorn Theater Puppet Show Guide

Middle-grade readers will make fast friends with Phoebe and her unicorn-BFF, Marigold Heavenly Nostrils. The bestselling Phoebe and Her Unicorn series celebrations friendship in the most unlikely of places and pairings. As Phoebe and Marigold learn more about each other, it only deepens the magical bond of friendship between them. Now, with this free puppet show theater guide, you can bring the magic of Unicorn Theater to your classroom or library!

Using this guide (and whatever supplies you have available), you can create your own sock puppet show starring Marigold and her sister, Florence. Have students bring old socks from home––a quick lesson in recycling, anyone? Then, with your help, they can bring the fantastical protagonists to life. Encourage them to get artistic; see how they design their stages and assure them that creativity is key. Phoebe and Marigold definitely don’t hesitate to express themselves, and your students shouldn’t, either! Our free puppet show theater is the foundation of this activity, but letting middle-graders branch out is a surefire way to have fun.

But if they need more inspiration, don’t worry. We have an incredibly fun and entertaining example of our own. Show your students before you begin this craft, and then let their imaginations run wild!

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