A Brand New World

Travel back in time with this activity!


Create A 3-D Halloween Scene

3-D Halloween Scene by Fran W.

A 3-D scene, or a diorama, is a creative way to express an idea, thought, experience, or tell a story. They can be made very simply or very complicated and detailed. They can also be interactive, stationary, or somewhere in between! It’s all up to you.

To make a 3-D Halloween scene, you will need:
Your container…
This may include: A shoe box, a recycled box, a 1 gallon milk/water jug, milk/juice carton, cereal box, a jar, an old foam pumpkin, etc.

Craft supplies…
Glue, construction paper, acrylic or non-toxic paint, paint brushes, chenille stems, stickers, scissor, tissue paper, toothpicks, thread or string, pom-poms, air-dry clay, cotton balls, and anything you have on hand.

Add extras…
Action figures, small plastic or clay animals, outdoor items such as sticks, rocks, shells, feathers, acorns, etc., lights, spider webs, etc.

What will your scene be about?
Since this activity is meant to have a Halloween theme, think about what you would like to depict within your scene. Will your scene include a creepy old house with a bare tree and bats and ghosts flying around? Will you tell the story of a person walking through the woods? Will it be about a trip to the pumpkin patch? Maybe your story will show what you plan to do on Halloween night!


  • Paint the background: Is it day or night? Where does the scene take place? Park, woods, a graveyard, a pumpkin patch, etc. 
  • Paint or cover the bottom: Leaves, grass, dirt, sand, gravel, gravestones, pumpkins, etc. 
  • Make your own figures: Use chenille stems, toothpicks, wire, etc.
  • Use Halloween themed stickers, clipart, or pictures from a magazine/flyer.
  • Use string or thread to hang things down from the top.
  • Make pumpkins out of pom-poms.
  • Make gravestones from recycled cereal/cracker boxes.

Need some inspiration?

Storm The CastleHalloween Tatebanko Project
Click on either of these links. One will take you to the website, ‘Storm The Castle’ and the other to the project.

Enchanted Learning: Dioramas
There are a few examples of dioramas on this page.

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Spark of the Day: Make an Easter Egg with a Surprise Inside

Easter Eggs with a Hidden Surprise Inside by Fran W

To make the Easter egg with a surprise inside, you will need…

An oval, an outline of a chick, rabbit, or duck (available below), craft supplies including scissors, construction paper, a brad, glue, stickers, feathers and any other craft supplies you think you may need.

What to do…

What’s inside our Easter Eggs by Fran W

Cut an oval out of construction paper, and make a chick, rabbit, or duck out of basic shapes, or use the template provided below by printing it on cardstock paper, cutting it out, and using it as a pattern to trace around.

Cut the egg in half so that it resembles a crack.

Make a way for your egg to open so that it reveals what’s hidden inside it. 

Rear View of Egg

One way is to cut a piece of paper 1 inch long and 1/2 inch wide to connect the top and bottom of the egg together on the back. The one side will need to be glued or taped into place, and the other will act as the hinge so that it can open and close freely. Trim the paper so that it can’t to be seen from the front.  

Suggestions for decorating the front of your egg…

Let the front of your egg tell a story about what’s hidden inside!

Once you’ve chosen what animal you want to put inside your egg, think about where it may be hanging out and use construction paper, stickers, or draw a hint on the outside.

A duck may be hanging out in a pond, lake, marsh, river, etc.. 

A rabbit may be hiding in a garden, a field full of flowers, a burrow, a grassy meadow, the forest, etc..

A chick may be in a field, on a farm, in a basket.

You may decide to decorate the outside of your egg any way you want with your Easter animal hidden inside or design a scene with your animal on the outside of your egg.

Another option is to make a bunch of flowers and have them popping out of the egg with some butterflies and bees around it. 

Have fun being creative!

Template for Medium Egg by Fran W

Spark of the Day: Santa’s Reindeer

Hand and foot reindeer with lights by Fran W.

Santa is looking for a reindeer to help pull his sleigh on Christmas Eve! You can help by creating a reindeer for Santa’s famous Christmas Eve journey!  

To make the reindeer above, you will need:

Your hand, construction paper, a shoe, markers or crayons, scissors, glue, pom-pom, and googly eyes

Optional reindeer making items: Glitter, paper punches, stencils, bathroom tissue tube, paper bag, craft sticks, clothes pins, milk carton, paper plate, paper, paint and paint brushes, etc.

For more reindeer making ideas, please visit Artists Helping Children

How to make the reindeer in the picture above:

  • To make the face – Trace a shoe onto construction paper and cut it out.
  • To make antlers – Fold a piece of construction paper in half, trace your hand onto the construction paper with a marker, and cut them out. You should have two hand cut-outs once you are finished.
  • Glue the antlers behind the top of the head and add facial features such as eyes, nose (pom-pom), and a mouth.
  • Add extras such as eye lashes, eye brows, hair, a bow or a bow tie, ears, glasses, lights, and any other features you can think of.
Hand reindeer by Zach V.

Alternate reindeer: Cover a bathroom tissue paper tube with construction paper, trace and cut out your hands for the antlers, cut slits on either side of the tube, and slide the antlers in. The antlers may need to be trimmed a bit on the bottom to fit in the tube correctly. Glue the bottom of the hands together and use the rest of the tube for the reindeer’s face.


  • If your reindeer is a male or a female.
  • What its name is.
  • How old it is.

Now, think about the special qualities your reindeer will need in order to join Santa’s team for a Christmas Eve adventure!

  • Is your reindeer: Smart, funny, serious, friendly, silly, shy, quiet, happy, fast, slow, clever, strong, etc.
  • What is special about your reindeer? Does it glow somewhere, does it run fast, can it fly?

Santa is taking applications for his reindeer team!

When one of Santa’s reindeers want to take the year off, he will be looking through his applications and choosing the reindeer needed to step in!

Write, draw, or record a message telling Santa why your reindeer should be chosen to fill in for a member of his team.

Be sure to let Santa know if your reindeer:

  • Is a relative of Santa’s current team.
  • Likes elves.
  • Enjoys listening to jingle bells.
  • Can work nights and holidays.
  • Gets along well with other reindeer.

Don’t forget to tell Santa how and where your reindeer learned how to do the amazing things it can do!

Leave the information out for Santa to view on Christmas Eve, and one year he or she may be chosen to go on a wonderful adventure!

Learning more about reindeer.

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Note: Has this or another activity on Fran’s World of Discovery inspired you or someone else in a positive way, or have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link to back where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!

Spark of the Day: Symbols of Fall: Twist Balloons

Twist balloon pumpkin by Fran W.

We enjoy decorating our home for the fall holidays each year and this year we decided to incorporate twist balloons into our holiday because they can be turned into so many creative things!

We are planning to make…

Pumpkins, ghosts, spiders, cats, turkeys, a cornucopia, and anything else we can think of at the time and want to try.

We want to make sure everyone can participate in decorating the house, so we made a very simple pumpkin with the balloons. 

If you would like to make a simple twist balloon pumpkin, you will need…

A package of twist balloons and a hand held balloon pump

Optional: A small balloon to place inside the pumpkin, and a scissor

Tip: Twist balloons can be purchased in a party store.

What to do…

If you need some basic twisting lessons, you can view the following 1:36 minute video, ‘Kids Learn Balloon Twist’.

Set up…

– Stretch 2 twist balloons. Fill the balloon you plan to use for the body full of air (I used orange), leaving some room at the tip, and then tie the end off. The second balloon, acting as the stem (I used green), 
only needs a small amount of air. 
Optional: A small regular balloon can be filled and set side. 

Pumpkin body:

– Using the orange balloon, fold it in half 
evenly, find the center, and twist the middle a few times to keep it in place. You will have two sides.

– Fold the two sides evenly in half again, find the center, and twist them together a few times to keep the fold in place. You should have 4 equal lengths of balloon.

– To form the body, bring all the sides together so that they form an oval, tie the loose ends to one another and tuck them into the folds to hide them. The tied end will act as the top of the pumpkin.

Pumpkin stem:

The stem can be attached one of two ways:

1. Twist the non-inflated part of the green balloon, closest to the filled side, around and through the top of the pumpkin body until tight, and tie it off.

2. Alternately, the long non-inflated part of the balloon can be twisted around and through the top a couple of times, brought down through the middle of the body, wrapped around the bottom of the pumpkin, and the extra length hidden in the folds, or tied off.

A small balloon can be place in the center of the pumpkin body if the middle is left open.

Tip: If the non-inflated part of the balloon stem is too long, tie it off and snip off the excess with a scissor.

Getting inspired…

When we need a little inspiration, a quick search on YouTube usually produces what we need. 

To make the following twist balloon Halloween decorations, you will need:

Twist and regular balloons, pump (optional but very helpful!), permanent marker, yarn or string for hanging, and scissors


This 4:15 minute video will show you how to make a pumpkin that is fuller than the one suggested above.


Ghost Bracelet

The video will show you how to make a cute ghost bracelet. You will need a water balloon for the head of this ghost and twist balloons for the body and connecting bracelet.

If you would like to see some of the other Halloween twist balloon videos that we found, please click here to access the YouTube playlist I made.
Thanksgiving Turkey

You will need twist balloons to make the turkey featured in the following YouTube videos:

Part 1: Turkey 9:56

Part 2: Turkey 7:46
I hope you enjoy twisting balloons into fall holiday shapes!

Spark of the Day: Roman Numerals

Roman Numerals by Fran W.

Roman numerals may not be used as often as they once were, but they are still used in a variety of ways and can offer up a fun challenge for the day!

The basic symbols and number values are:

I =  1
V = 5
X = 10
L = 50
C = 100
D = 500
M = 1000

Print out this handy Roman numerals chart to use as a quick reference.

Here are few sites and activities that will give you the opportunity to learn about, play with, and use Roman numerals:
Roman numerals can be used to do basic mathematics and this site will show you how to add, subtract, multiply and divide with them.

On this site you will find out how to convert Arabic numbers into Roman numerals, learn how to remember the symbols used for Roman numerals, and how to write Roman numerals greater than 4000.
Once you start using Roman numerals, you may be interested in learning more about their history and current use.

Roman Numeral Converter – New
Type in a number or Roman numeral to convert it one way or the other.

Suggested Uses…

Once you have spent some time learning how to use Roman numerals, it may be fun to use them in the following ways:

 To keep track of your score while playing games: cards, dice games, word games with points, etc.
– Write out math problems using Roman numerals.
– Write out the month, date, and year you, family members, and friends were born on.
– Write out your age and the age of family members and friends.
– Use Roman numerals when you number a list.
– Be aware of how Roman numerals are still used: Look for them on clocks and watches, in books, and on documents and television. Some books will write the copyright year or the chapter numbers in Roman numerals.
– Play a code game with Roman numerals! Here is how:

Roman Codes


Using lined paper, write the alphabet down one side of the page, then write a corresponding Roman numeral next to that letter. For example:  A – I, B – II, C – III, D – IV, E – V etc.


Write a word or a message using Roman numerals rather than letters, then give it to someone to solve. Offer a key code to help break the code.


If you would like to do more with Roman numerals, try these online activities out!

Convert Arabic numbers to Roman numerals up to 3000 and vice versa

How well do you know Roman numerals? Play to find out!

Enjoy your spark of the day!

Connect with Fran’s World of Discovery!

Note: Has this or another activity on Fran’s World of Discovery inspired you or someone else in a positive way, or have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!

Spark of the Day: Eggshell Art

Eggshell Flowers by Fran W

Save your eggshells, they are great for arts and crafts!

To make eggshell art, you will need:

Eggshells from boiled or raw eggs – remove the inside membrane of raw eggshells
Watercolor paints or food coloring
Paint brush
Construction paper
Pencil or crayons
Paper towel
Aluminum foil
Flat baking sheet
Tweezers (optional)

Preparing the eggshells for use: 

Painted eggshells by Fran W

Method # 1

If you are using clean, raw eggshell halves, cover your work area with newspaper and use watercolor paint or food dye to color the inside and outside of each half with a paint brush. Place each painted half on a flat baking sheet that has been covered with aluminum foil, and place in a 250 degree oven for about 2 – 3 minutes to dry them. When they cool down, crush the shells up and place like-colors into plastic zip-top bags or in small containers with a lid for easy storage.

Note: To make sorting easier, consider painting each eggshell with only one color at a time, or color the inside one color, and the outside another.

Method #2

Dry out colored or white eggshells from hard boiled eggs on paper towels or newspaper, then separate them into colorful piles, or place like-colored eggshells into containers or zip-top bags. 

Tip: White eggshells can be colored with food coloring. To do this, put a 1/2 tsp of vinegar into a cup along with a little water, and a few drops of food coloring, and mix with a craft stick. Add the eggshells and mix again. In 30 minutes, remove eggshells from the cup, and place them on a paper towel or newspaper to dry for a few hours or overnight.

What to do:

Colored eggshells:

Draw something on construction paper with a pencil or crayon, paint glue within the lines of your drawing and fill in the area with the desired colored eggshells. Use a toothpick or tweezers to place the eggshells where you want them. When you are finished placing your shells, allow your creation to dry flat, then hang it up or frame it.

White eggshells

Draw something on construction paper with pencil or crayon, paint glue within your lines and place egg shells onto your paper. When the g
lue dries, paint over the egg shells.

Other suggestions….

– Use coloring pages instead of drawing a picture and mount it on construction paper.

– Make a colorful eggshell collage rather than a drawing.

– Make textured cards with the eggshells.

– Make small eggshell creations on paper and glue a magnet behind it.

– Glue your eggshells onto recycled yogurt or sour cream containers  and use them as planters. When you are finished with your egg shells, sprinkle them around the top of the soil of your new planter.

Tip: Eggshells give nutrients back to the soil! Compost or place leftover shells, that you are not planning to use for another project, around your favorite plant or tree outside!

Artists Helping Children: Egg Shell Crafts for Kids
You will find a variety of eggshell related projects on this page

Spark of the Day: Halloween Scavenger Hunt and Memory Maker

Cauldron by Fran W.

Have you decided what you are going to do this Halloween? Do you know where you are going, who you are going with and what you are going to do?

Maybe you are going to a party or going trick or treating, perhaps you are going to walk around the neighborhood and give out candy to trick or treaters!
Whatever you have decided to do, why not make the day a little more interesting by go on a Halloween scavenger hunt? This activity can be done as a family or as an individual.
To get things started you will need:

Paper, pencil, and a camera
What to do:
Before you go out, draw or write a list of the things you are going to look for throughout the day, and take a camera with you so you can take pictures, or video footage of the things on your list. When you get home, create a special memory out of the things you saw and did.
If you need some help getting started, here are some of the items our family is going to look for:

  • Cat
  • Ghost
  • Vampire
  • Ninja
  • Movie character
  • Cartoon character
  • A costume you think looks great, weird, cute, etc. (this may require more than one picture each!)
  • All the candy you get
  • Your trick or treat container
  • Yourself
  • Your family members
  • People you went trick or treating with
We plan to take pictures of or look for the following decorations too:

  • A spooky scene
  • Skeleton
  • Pumpkin
  • Skull
  • Frankenstein
  • Tombstone or graveyard
  • Haunted house
  • Colored lights
  • Spider
  • Ghost
  • A great looking yard scene
  • Something unusual (this may require more than one picture too!)
Once you have all of your pictures:
Make a memory out of them by using electronic or physical photos
Computer users can:

  • Create a slid show or a movie with music and narration
  • Design digital scrapbook pages
  • Make a digital journal entry
  • Write a blog post about the day on a personal blog
  • Create a digital book with captions
If you print or get photos made, make:

  • Scrapbook pages
  • Journal entries
  • Your own illustrate Halloween book
  • A slide show
  • A picture collage
To make your own illustrated Halloween book, you will need:
Construction paper in orange, black, red and yellow, scissors, yarn or ribbon, hole punch, glue stick, your pictures, markers, crayons or colored pencils, pencil and/or pen
Optional items: Lined paper, decorative scissors, Halloween stickers, graphics, and/or stamps, and double stick tape, glue dots or photo tabs
How to make the book:

  • Decide how big to make your book. Use a full page of construction paper for a large book or make a small book by folding construction paper in half, or in quarters, and cut the page along the creases. 

  • Pop 3 or more holes on the side of each page – make sure all the holes line up.

  • Choose the pictures you are going to use for your book. If you only want or need certain parts of a picture, cut it down to suit your needs. You can also cut your pictures into shapes.
  • Decide how you want each page to look. Will you want to decorate each page with markers, crayons, stamps, graphics, and/or stickers? Will you need to do that right away or when the pictures are in? 
  • Design your pages: How will you put your pictures on the page? Will you group your pictures on a page or use only one picture per page? You may also choose to put lined paper on half of the page so you can write your story or explain what’s happening in the picture. Don’t glue or tape anything down until you are sure you like the way it looks! 
  • When you like the pages the way they are, glue or tape everything down. For the neatest look use, a glue stick (acid-free if possible), glue dots, photo tabs, or double stick tape to do this.
  • Make and design a front and back cover for your book. Cut your pages, put holes in them – make sure they line up with the other pages – and title your book. Think about doing something with the back cover too.
  • Put your book together. Once you like what you have done, and all the pages have dried, put your book together in the right order, making sure the holes line up, and sew the yarn/ribbon through the holes or tie off each hole with a bow.

Be as creative as you can be!
Tip: Be sure to date your book!

Spark of the Day: Create A Spooky Sound Sentence or Story

Image by digitalart
Free Digital Photos

Begin by thinking of as many spooky sounds as you can. If you need help, here are some suggestions:

A ghost moaning, bat screeching, wolf or coyote howling, door creaking, howling wind, hissing cat, screeching owl, squeaking mouse, creaking tree, scream, weird laugh, thunder, groan, roar, tree scraping the window, door slamming, leaves swirling in the breeze, crow cawing, a rodent scurrying, owl hooting, water dripping, rain falling, and anything else you can think of!

Create your sentence or story…..

– Think of a sentence or a story that has sound-words in it.
– Write, draw, or record it so that you can remember it for later.

Here’s one example of a spooky sentence:

One dark windy night, an owl swooped down and caught a mouse.

Sound-Words add description…

Sound-words add descriptive detail to a sentence or story. This allows the reader or listener to become more involved in what is being said, and it makes what you are saying much more interesting!


Suddenly, something ran across the road as a clap of thunder broke the eerie silence of the night. I slammed on my brakes and skid to a screeching halt. My heart pounded hard in my chest, ‘What was that?’, I thought. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. When my heart rate slowed, I opened my eyes, and there it was staring back at me with glowing amber eyes!

How to add sound effects to your sentence or story…..

Professional sound effect artists make sounds by using everyday objects and noises and so can you!

Here are a few of the things you can use to make sound effects:

Kitchen utensils, doors, leaves, gravel, sand, chairs, your hands, mouth, rubber band, bowls, cups, garbage can, scissors, ruler, plastic, fan, fruits and veggies, balloons, and anything else you can think of!

Here is an example of how these objects can be used:

Horse walking – clap clean coconut halves together
Howling wind – release air slowly from a zip-top bag
Fire crackling – crumple a piece of cellophane
Animal screeching – let air out of a balloon
Thunder – wiggle a metal cookie sheet
Swooping sound – whip a piece of rope through the air
Squeak – a toy that squeaks or a mouth noise
Scream – balloon with a hexnut inside

Our example above would look like this….

One dark windy night (wind howling), an owl (screeching sound) swooped down (swooping sound) and caught a mouse (squeak).

When you’re ready to retell it:

– Have someone in the background making the sounds on cue.
– Record sounds in sequence so that they go off when they are supposed to, while the story is being told.
– Pre-record your sentence or story complete with sounds and play it back for others to hear.

Note: If you decide to use a computer to create your story, there are websites that offer downloadable sound effects. You can also use a movie maker program to help you create your story.
Warning: Parental supervision is advised when downloading anything off the Internet.

Sound Effects Information:

Partners in Rhyme 
Downloadable sound effects; some are free, some are not.

Epic Sound
Offers an A-W list of sounds and how they are made.

Let’s Get Creative
Tips for making sound effects

More information about “Sound Effects” can be found on the Fran’s World Yahoo! Group, it’s free to join and open to everyone!

The image used was from: digitalart /

Spark of the Day: Pom – Pom Shooter

Pom-Pom Shooter by Fran W.

Here’s a great way to turn simple items into a fun activity!

Items Needed:

Toilet paper tube, 12″ balloon, packing or duct tape, scissor, pom-poms, a large container and recycled plastic water bottles or yogurt containers 
Optional items:  A measuring tape, paper, and pencil

What to do:
  • Cut off the top of a balloon, new or recycled
  • Put one end of the tube into the balloon – leave a few inches at the bottom for shooting.
  • Tape the balloon into place.  
  • Put a pom-pom into the open end of the tube and shoot it out by pulling back on the balloon.

The object of the activity is to try and get the pom-poms into a container or shoot them across the room and measure how far they go. My family has a great time with this activity!

Safety rules

Before we begin playing, we talk about the dangers of shooting people and pets and prohibit the shooting of sharp and/or hard objects; the shooter is meant to be a fun toy not a weapon.

Here are some of the things we like to do…
  • Shoot pom-poms across the room, into containers, and at various targets. My youngest child (age 2.5 at the time), quickly figured out how to use the shooter and played right along with us!
  • Using 5 pom-poms each, we shoot them into a large container one at a time, and keep track of each one that makes it in with tally marks (llll). After 3 tries for each player, we count our tally marks by 1’s, 5’s or some other agreed upon number.
  • Shoot light objects out of the device such as: ping-pong balls, aluminum foil balls, paper balls, etc.
  • Use a tape measure to see how far some of the items go and write down the results of each shot.
  • Stack recycled yogurt containers or water bottles and knocked them down with ping-pong balls.
  • Shoot more than one pom-pom at a time to see what happens.
  • Ask questions, predict what may happen, experiment, observe, compare results, find answers and track results.
Record Keeping & Benefits
  • If you need to keep track of what you do for educational purposes, you can take a picture of the device and write a caption under it or print out this page and make a list of the activities you did on the back of the page along with the educational value of each activity.
  • It may be fun to keep track of the distance of each shot on graph paper.
  • You can also date your score page and add it to a math and science folder.

Natural Benefits: This is a science-based experiment, physics in nature. If players ask, “what if” questions, try to predict what may happen, experiment, observe, compare results, find and track results, they are working on the scientific method.
When score keeping is added, it turns into a fun-based math activity.
This is also a fun way to repurpose!

Connect with Fran’s World of Discovery!

Note: Has this or another activity on Fran’s World of Discovery inspired you or someone else in a positive way? Have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!

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