If you enjoyed THE ADOPTION of BORIS here are some activities you may want to try. They are arranged into four main categories: GENEALOGY (Family Trees), SCRAPBOOKING, JOURNALING & DINOSAURS. After you try an activity, please go to my CONTACT page and send me an email about your experiences. I would enjoy seeing a photo of your results!



A Simple Family Tree

GENEALOGY is the study of families and how people are related. People use genealogy to find out about relatives and their history. It is kind of like a detective search.

One way to show a picture of you and your family is by creating a family tree. Your family tree is a chart that shows you, your parents, and your grandparents, and so on. Your family tree can start with yourself. Make a simple chart and give it more details as you learn them.  Here's how to begin:

Get about ten sticky notes or small pieces of paper.
       Write your name on one note.
       Write your parent's names on two more notes.
       Make two more notes for your dad's parents.
       Make two more notes for your mom's parents.
       (If you got all of those, you should now have 7 sticky notes.)
       If you have any brothers or sisters, they each get a sticky.

Now you can arrange these names into your family tree.

Family Tree of Stickies

If you keep working on this, you can see how each row gets bigger. It branches up and out kind of like a tree and that's where it gets the name “Family Tree.”

Each layer or row in the tree stands for a different GENERATION. If you have any sisters and brothers, they will be in your generation. Any of your dad's or mom's sisters or brothers (those are your aunts and uncles) are in your parents' generation. And so forth.

You can make your tree as simple or as complicated as you wish. You can color code girls and boys. You can add birthdates and places, dates of marriage, and dates and places of death when that applies. Below is an example of a more detailed tree showing how you can add more family members.

Developed Family Tree

How do you find out this information?
       Start by asking your parents.
       Interview your grandparents.
       Look on the internet for ideas. (Google searches give lots of help.)

Have fun building your family tree. Keep it in a safe place, such as a scrapbook or a folder where you can add new information as you get it.  Collect and save any stories you hear from your relatives.


Amy's Scrapbook

In THE ADOPTION OF BORIS story, Christopher makes a scrapbook for Boris. Scrapbooking is such a popular activity today perhaps you would like to start a scrapbook about yourself. Decide what kind of a scrapbook you want. You can put separate pages together in a loose-leaf notebook, a blank book, or buy a special scrapbook ready to decorate.

MATERIALS: Blank paper, a notebook, or a new scrapbook; glue or tape, pens, paints, colored pencils, photographs, old magazines you can cut up, colored construction paper, paper punch. You can find tons of scrapbooking decorations and supplies at specialty stores. Or make your own. Collect photos of yourself from infancy to today. 

First decorate your book cover or make a front page.
       Write your name.
              Will you write your name with a marking pen?
              Will you cut your name's letters out of colorful paper?
              Will you buy special press-on letters?
              Get creative. Make your name as special as you are.
       Will you put your photo on the cover?
              Again, be creative. If you like to draw, make a picture of yourself.
       Maybe you want to decorate the cover page even more.
              Use your favorite color.
              Draw designs, glue cut out shapes, or attach stickers.

After you finish decorating the cover for your book you can begin planning more pages to add.

      One page might contain a picture of your family tree.

       If you were adopted, you might want to tell the story of your own adoption. Go to the library or use the internet to learn more about adoption. You might need to ask an adult for help with this project. Find out the names of some famous people who were adopted or who have adopted children, such as presidents, movie stars, athletes, etc.

       Make a favorites page.
              What is your favorite color? Use it on this page.
              What is your favorite food? Find a picture or make a drawing of it.
              What do you like to do, play, sing? Add more pictures.
              Think of other favorites you have: clothes, toys, books, TV shows, and so forth.
       Make a friends page.
              Add photos of your friends and tell stories about what you do together.
       Make a place page.
              You can add a picture of where you live.
              Or draw a floor plan of your house.
              Include a map of your town or area.
       Make a travel page.
              Have you traveled on a plane, train, bus, boat, car?
              Tell about your trips.
              Add photos or pictures from your travels.
       Make a family page.
              Your family tree could go here, too.
              Find out stories about your relatives and put them on this page.
              Add some photos of your family.
              You could even have a different page for each family member.
       Do you have a pet?
              If so, make a pet page with photos, drawings and stories.
       Your own life will give you more ideas for your personal scrapbook.
              Keep working on it as adventures happen.
              Don't forget to add a new photo of yourself each year.

       Visit scrapbook stores for ideas.
       Ask at the library for scrapbooking information.
       Search Google and the internet for ideas.

Do your scrapbooking with friends or family members and share ideas as you go.



Diary Book

Another way to keep track of your life is by keeping a diary or journal.

You can buy a special book, called a diary, with pages or sections of pages that are made for your daily entries. Or you can simply start out with blank pieces of paper and add more as needed. Another really fun way to keep a diary is with a blank book that you can buy in a stationery department or at an art store. These are nice if you like to draw or paste in little keepsakes as you get them.

If you set aside ten or fifteen minutes each day before bed or first thing in the morning you will get into the habit of writing in your diary and you will be more likely to keep it up. Try to write something each day, but it's okay if you miss.

What did you do today?
Where did you go?
Who were you with?
Did you have a special meal?
Any big adventures?
On a normal or dull day, think of something you want to talk about. Something you didn't do.
       What do you wonder about?
       What do you wish for?
       How do you like people to see you?
       What do you imagine someone your age on the other side of the world is wondering about?
Your diary is your personal book. You can choose to show parts or all of it to others - or not.

If you go on a trip, be sure to take your diary along with you. It's fun to tell about new places, your adventures, or draw sketches of things you see or paste in special postcards or photos.

After you have done a diary for a year, go back and read about yourself.
       How have you changed?
       What do you want to do now?
       Will you keep your diary for another year?


Brontosaurus Cookie


These cookies are fun to make with dinosaur cookie cutters.

You can buy dinosaur cookie cutters in kitchen stores or use Google to find them on the internet.

TOOLS YOU WILL NEED:  Mixing bowl, mixing spoon, measuring spoons, measuring cups, cookie cutters, rolling pin, parchment paper, cookie sheet, electric mixer (optional), cake decorating tools or several small plastic sandwich baggies.

2 sticks (1 cup) butter - room temperature
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour

(Use an electric mixer with help from an adult.)
Cream together butter and sugar.
Add vanilla and salt; mix well.
Add flour a little at a time, mixing thoroughly.
Dough should get rather thick.
Roll dough in a ball, flatten with your hand to a couple inches thick, and cool 10 minutes in fridge.
Place cooled dough on parchment paper or a floured surface.

Use a rolling pin and roll dough 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
(If the dough is too sticky, cool it longer.)
Use dinosaur cookie cutters to make fun shapes.
Cutting out Cookies
Place the cookie shapes on an ungreased cookie sheet (lined with parchment paper if you have it).
Bake at 350 degrees F for about 15 to 20 minutes.
The cookies are done when the edges are lightly golden.
Remove cookies from cookie sheet.
Cool on parchment paper or wire rack.

Baked Cookies

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar; sifted, if possible
4-6 small bowls and a set of 4 food colors

(Use an electric mixer with an adult's help.)
Cream together the butter and vanilla.
Slowly cream in the sugar, beating until very smooth.
Divide icing into 4 small bowls for coloring.

In one bowl add a drop of red color. Stir with a spoon.

Add one drop of green color to the second bowl. Stir with a clean spoon.

red icing Green Icing

(Notice in the photos above that a paler color can be made by adding more uncolored icing.)

Put a drop of blue in the third bowl, and a drop of yellow in bowl four.
Use a clean spoon for each color.
If you have two more bowls you can experiment with mixing colors.
Try mixing red and yellow, red and blue or blue and green. What colors do you get? If you mix red and green and blue you may get a muddy brown.

Red and Blue Mixed

Have fun and play!
Spread icing on the top of a cookie with a butter knife.
To make fancier lines and shapes use a cake decorating tool.
Or cut a teensy hole in the corner of a small plastic sandwich bag.
Put a teaspoon of colored icing in the bag near the corner.
Hold the bag with one hand and squeeze on the icing with the other hand, forcing it through the little hole you made. It should come out in a thin band.

Using a Bag to Squeeze Icing Designs
With a bit of practice you can outline your dinosaur. Make a dot of icing for an eye.

Stegasaurus Cookie

Just have fun. If they look strange, so what? They are dinosaurs!

Eat one . . . Yumm!

Cookies and Baking Tools

Finished Cookies, Icing Bowls and Other Equipment





Cutting out a T.rex

Cutting out a Brontosaurus

Making a Triceratops

Making a Stegasaurus




Making a Mobile

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