An illustration of a bird, an molecule, and a magnify glass


An illustration of a pencil, a paint brush, a paint tube, and a succulent
Fun things to do at home, including science and art activities --and the books they connect with

Activity Guides!

They’re here! At long last (and just in time for school), the activity guides for Like Magic and Paper Chains are ready! Who they’re for: Teachers, librarians, kids, parents, families, book groups, babysitters, ANYBODY who wants to dive in! What you’ll find inside: Art lessons, yummy recipes, challenging riddles, mini science projects, fun crafts, discussion questions, poetry, and recommendations for more […]

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Gone Fishing a Novel

Backyard Book Club: Gone Fishing by Tamera Will Wissinger

We had such a great time reading and celebrating Gone Fishing by Tamera Will Wissinger! This book is such a fun, fast read and a great way to introduce kids to all types of poetry. As usual, we started out with a brief book talk and discussed favorite parts and characters. (There were a lot!) Then […]

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Fortunately the Milk Book Cover

Backyard Book Club: Fortunately, the Milk Overview

For a fun, fast book club pick, it would be hard to beat Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman. Even our littlest members were able to finish this one, and there was plenty for the big kids to enjoy too. (Click here for the book spotlight with online resources and other ideas. As usual, we started with […]

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Colorful Milk Science

Our Backyard Book Club pick this month was Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman, so naturally, we needed to do a milk science activity. This is a classic, colorful, and very cool “trick” that appeals to lots of ages. But of course, it’s even cooler if you know the science behind it. Materials: milk, dish soap, cotton […]

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Inspired by: Fortunately The Milk

James and the Giant Peach Book Cover

Backyard Book Club: James and the Giant Peach Overview

The Backyard Book Club is back in action! For this month’s meeting, the kids read James and the Giant Peach, thanks to a request by one of our members. (Click here for the book spotlight with online resources and other ideas.) We started with a quick talk about what the kids loved best in the book, then went straight […]

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rainbow Science
Physics, Optics

Rainbow Science

In this month’s book, James and his friends shatter a rainbow by flying right through it! (Not to mention all the other fantastical weather-related things that happen in the story.) Is it really possible to shatter a rainbow, or even reach one? Rainbows are made from light reflected off tiny droplets of water in the air. […]

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Girl looking at bugs

Bug Hunt!

This month’s book, James and the Giant Peach, was filled with fun bug characters. But were they all insects? Nope. Insects are a type of arthropod, and all of the bugs in the book were arthropods. So what’s the difference? Arthropods have segmented bodies, jointed apendages (legs), and exoskeletons (a hard shell). And so do insects, […]

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Ivy and Bean book cover

Backyard Book Club: Ivy + Bean Overview

For this month’s meeting, the kids read Ivy and Bean Break the Fossil Record. (Click here for the book spotlight with online resources and other ideas.) After weeks of waiting, it was time to meet in person! We did our fossil-making activity first so the plaster could dry before the kids had to go home.  Then it was time for the Excavation […]

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Excavation Supplies

Backyard Book Club: Excavation Trivia Challenge

When the Backyard Book Club read Ivy + Bean Break the Fossil Record, we decided to follow in Ivy and Bean’s footsteps and do a little digging of our own. Before the rest of the kids arrived, our trusty assistants buried these items in the sandbox (some of them protectively sealed in plastic bags): Ivy Beans […]

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Completed Fossils

Backyard Book Club: Making Fossils

Our Backyard Book Club read Ivy + Bean Break the Fossil Record by Annie Barrows. So what could we do but make fossils at our meeting? The kids loved this activity and were so excited to take their fossils home. To make fossils of your own, you’ll need these materials: aluminum foil modeling clay Plaster of Paris […]

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