Creating an Interactive Flipbook About Abraham Lincoln

lincoln birthplace

Recently our family took a day trip to a nearby historical site in our area–the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln. Museums and historical sites are definitely a great place to learn about history, art, and culture, but they’re not always kid-friendly and probably not the first place you think of taking your kids on an adventure day.

lincoln birthplace

A few years ago, the thought of taking my crew through a museum was terrifying. Especially when we could barely make it through the grocery store without a major meltdown (or three!).

lincoln birthplace

But the kids are getting older, and parenting has stretched my comfort zone beyond what I could have imagined.

While my introverted side still begs to stick to books or videos, I want learning to come alive for my kids in ways only hands-on experiences can give them. And so regular “adventure days” are a priority for us, and over the years we’ve learned a few things to help our family field trips go smoother.

lincoln birthplace

About that dreaded obligatory walk-through-the-gift-shop-before-you-can-exit.

We handle it by letting the kids browse for a few minutes with a pre-set expectation that they can buy something if they’ve brought their own money. On the occasion I decide to purchase a “souvenir,” I usually get a children’s book(s) related to the trip. It’s fun to jot a little note in the cover of the book as a later reminder of the adventure day.

best gift shop souvenir

After the trip we read the book, and then shelve it. My favorite is when the kids bring it back out with excited “remember when we visited. . . .” conversations. (And that there are no knick knacks to dust!)

lincoln books

On this particular trip to Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace, we came home with a few read alouds–one of our favorites being the historical fiction Abe Lincoln at Last, from the Magic Treehouse series.

Have you introduced your kids to the Magic Treehouse series? Jack and Annie’s adventures have been a go-to for our family, and my early-chapter book readers have devoured the predictability of the simple text and adventurous story lines, all while being introduced to historical events, science, and literature. The non-fiction “fact tracker” companion series also make awesome fact guides for beginning research projects or expanding further knowledge.

After visiting and reading about “Honest Abe” we applied our newly-acquired knowledge by creating an interactive flipbook writing project.

lincoln flipbook

Here’s how to create this interactive flip book:

Supplies

  • FREE Abraham Lincoln flip book printable
  • scissors
  • stapler
  • glue stick
  • colored pencils/crayons/markers

lincoln flipbook

Assembly Steps

1. Begin by printing the pages, then cut apart along dotted lines, and layer the pages in order.

2. Line up each page on the left side and staple together. The pages are meant to be staggered, with the top being the shortest, and the bottom the longest.

lincoln flipbook

3. Color the illustrations.

lincoln flipbook

4. Paste the pictures throughout to illustrate the biography flipbook, if desired.

lincoln flipbook

5.  Write about Abraham Lincoln’s life, obstacles, speeches, presidency, and more.

lincoln flipbook

If this printable flip book is something your kids would enjoy, enter your information to receive the subscriber exclusive download link and be added to Keeping Life Creative’s teaching inspiration list, where from time to time you’ll receive creative teaching ideas, product updates, more free printables (!), and other high quality content.

What are some ways you’ve taught history to your kids?

Using Clip Art to Create Personalized Stationary

Whether in the classroom or with my kids at home, one thing I’m always reaching for is a notepad to write down ideas, or send a quick note to a parent or student. And it’s always more fun if the notes are written on something cute and personalized.

Here’s a fun way to dig into your clip art stash and expand the use by creating your own personalized stationary.

Using Clip Art to Create Personalized Stationary

Preparation

1. Choose images from your clip art stash, or download something new for your custom design. (May I suggest?)

2. Decide where you’ll print your stationary so you can determine what size to create your document, as well as the trim size and margin setting. Will you be using your home printer or a print shop? You won’t want to go to all the work of creating, only to have some of your design cut off during the printing process.

In this tutorial example, I’m printing through Vistaprint. I’ve used them many times before for inexpensive custom printed products, and appreciate that they provide upload specs and downloadable template guides so I can easily design my product within the safety margin. (Another bonus! Purchasing through this Vistaprint link will give you a $10 off coupon code.)

Using Clip Art to Create Personalized Stationary

Design

3. Once you determine the document size and safety margin, design your stationary using the borders and clip art of your choice. For a more custom look, try layering clip art pieces to create new designs.

Using Clip Art to Create Personalized Stationary

Don’t forget to add your name, classroom information, a quote, or anything else to personalize your design.

Using Clip Art to Create Personalized Stationary

Using Clip Art to Create Personalized Stationary

Using Clip Art to Create Personalized Stationary

In this example, I purposely went over the “safety margin” with my clip art images so the crayon border would “bleed” all the way to the edge of the paper when printed.

Using Clip Art to Create Personalized Stationary

Finishing Up

4. Once your design is completed, turn off or delete the safety guide so it doesn’t print on your final product.

Using Clip Art to Create Personalized Stationary

5. Save your design in the format of your choice. It will depend on the graphics program you’re creating in, but my go-to formats for a flattened document are JPEG or PDF. If you plan to print somewhere besides your home printer, check to see what file formats you’re able to upload.

6. Upload the completed file to the printer of your choice.

Using Clip Art to Create Personalized Stationary

7. Once printed, send a note on your newly created custom stationary!

Using Clip Art to Create Personalized Stationary

All these custom stationary samples were created using FREE School Supplies Clip Art. If you’d to like to download this set, enter your information below to receive links for the subscriber exclusive clip art and join Keeping Life Creative’s Clip Art list. From time to time, you can expect to receive clip art tips, project ideas, updates, more clip art freebies (!) and other high quality content.

FREE School Supplies Clip Art set

How to Make Painted Paper

how to make painted papers

Several times  a week my girls are asking to paint. Sometimes I plan a fun project for them (“product-based art”), but most of the time I try to inspire their creativity by setting out the supplies and encouraging process-based art–art that doesn’t have rules or boundaries, just allows for experimentation and exploration with colors, materials, and technique.

Creating painted papers is a process-based project they love, and then later those painted papers are recycled and used as supplies in a product-based project, which I love! Two projects for the price of one.

painted paper project

Painted paper collages are used by several children’s book illustrators–Eric Carle being the most well known. Here’s how we created our painted papers:

Supplies

  • card stock or construction paper
  • washable tempera paint
  • paint brushes
  • “texture tools” (more on this below)

Preparing

paint

The paint. My kids really like to mix colors when they paint and I used to squirt different colors on a paper plate and let them mix away. But I noticed after a painting session we were throwing away a lot of unused paint (not to mention the colors began to get pretty muddy on the plate!).

mixing paint colors

So I picked up a few lidded containers from the dollar store and now we mix colors in the containers, and then just store the leftover for later. It saves money in the long run because you just need to buy the basic colors. It’s also a fun way to let them experiment with color mixing.

Painting

Hmmm. Technically this project may not be process-based art, because there is one guideline I give the kids: paint the paper all the way to the edges. And yes, the table will get messy. Cover the surface with a vinyl tablecloth, placemats or something wipeable for easier cleaning and just go with it. Creativity is messy and you’re about to give those creativity muscles a great workout!

Paint the paper a base color.

how to make painted papers

Embellishing

Use a second (or third, or fourth) color to embellish with swirls, stripes, dots, drips, etc.

how to make painted papers

how to make painted papers

Texturing

Scrape, dip, or swirl a “texture tool” on the wet paint to create variation.

how to make painted papers

You can buy tools specifically made for this, but if you spend a few minutes looking around you’ll probably find “tools” that will work just fine. Sponges, combs, forks, or just fingertips make great textures.

how to make painted papers

We keep these dollar store hair combs in our paint supplies as “texture tools.”

dollar store combs double as "texture tools"

Drying

A small batch of painted papers can be set on a counter to dry, or an empty dish drainer doubles its duty as a drying rack.

how to make painted papers

And then, while they’re drying, you’ll have this.

painting

Take a deep breathe, and get out the wet wipes, and repeat: “It’s okay. Creativity is messy, and I’ve just given those creativity muscles a great workout!”

And now, look forward to part two of the painted paper projects and creating gorgeous works of art!

(Search on Pinterest for painted paper project ideas, or stay tuned for more ideas here on the blog.)

Homeschooling with Pancake Art

Though my kids are young  elementary-age and most of their schooling is decided by me, I’ve begun incorporating a little more interest-led and life-skill based education into our homeschooling days. This year I asked my nine-year old to choose a subject he’d like to learn more about. He chose cooking.

pancakes1b

Since he’s our oldest child, as well as the pickiest eater of the five kids, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I guessed, with more food knowledge his palette would expand and he’d become more willing to try new foods that he helped prepare. Or, that he’d get further stuck in his favorites–but at least now he’d know how to make them.

Either way, it seemed like a great idea to turn dinnertime over once a week and let him have plenty of supervised experimentation in the kitchen. And happily, he’s taken this weeknight responsibility quite seriously–even (unprompted) checking out simple cookbooks from the library and making regular grocery list requests.

pancake art

Pancakes are one of his favorite foods to cook, and we’re sharing a fun way to combine pancakes, school, and art over at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. Come join the fun!

Creativity Takes Courage

Walking down the hall, I passed the bathroom where a scene caught the corner of my eye. An entire roll of toilet paper, unraveled and wadded on the tile floor.

toilet

Things like this frustrate me! I’m sure most moms can relate. It feels like I could spend the entire day cleaning and never make any headway because a tornado (or five) is raging in the room behind me.

Normally I may have hollered for the mess-making culprit to come clean up. But this time a little voice inside told me to slow down the investigation. And what I discovered a few minutes later, was humbling. That empty toilet paper roll, and my determined 5-year old.

toilet paper roll binoculars

She’s a decision-maker, an innovator. She sees something she wants to do, and then finds a way to make it happen. Her personality’s like a bull-dozer, always pushing forward, never pausing to ask questions (or permission).

And that’s exactly what happened when she decided she needed a cardboard tube. Rather than asking for help (I have a stash of empty cardboard rolls saved for “projects!”), she went about getting an empty tube in the way she knew how–by removing all the toilet paper.

Creativity Takes Courage

“Creativity Takes Courage” {via}

When I spied this graphic on Pinterest a few weeks ago, I was drawn to the content and bright colors. I’m not actually sure the original context of the quote, but today, it’s inspiring me to remember that letting our kids use their creativity can, in fact, take courage! Allowing those messes to happen. Letting go of the preconcieved idea of what the final product should look like. Abandoning the Pinterest-worthy photo opp, and just letting the kids CREATE.

And heck, maybe even jumping in with them, and creating ourselves.

Today, let’s all take a deep breath, and have a little more courage.

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