Oct 27

Black and White Paper Dolls (and PiBoIdMo 2012)

by Hannah Holt »


  • I received a request for black-and-white copies of the paper dolls. This should make classroom copies easier.

Click each name for a pdf copy of the Scientist Paper Dolls, Firefighter Paper Dolls, Builder Paper Dolls. In case you missed it, here are the full color versions of these dolls.

  • Tara Lazar is hosting PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) in November. It’s a great way to jump-start inspiration and meet other kid-lit writers. Come join the fun!

I can’t believe November starts this Thursday. I swear time gets faster every year. Didn’t Einstein write a paper about that?

Happy Halloween!

Sep 26

Paper Dolls for my Daughters

by Hannah Holt »


A few years ago, I was out collecting data for a mall redevelopment in Salt Lake City and had my headphones tuned into NPR. As I worked I heard part of Larry Summers’ infamous lecture on diversifying science and engineering.

At the time Mr. Summers was president of Harvard, and in his lecture he postulated that there aren’t as many women in science and engineering because of “issues of intrinsic aptitude” (or lack thereof). I found his remarks puzzling but finished my data collection and headed back to the office.

I’m an engineer, writer, and woman. I’m not an academic. However, I can tell you why there aren’t more women in science and engineering, and it has nothing to do with intrinsic aptitude.

It’s because being different is hard. It’s much easier falling in line with expectations.

When I told my darling grandmother I was majoring in engineering, she scolded me, “What?! So you can wear coveralls and crawl around in attics all day?”

At university, there were the occasional anonymous creepy notes. Once while working in the computer lab at 2 am, someone inside the lab hijacked my computer screen and started sending me updates about my personal appearance. I bought a bike, so I wouldn’t have to walk home alone in the dark.

Now I found engineering, the profession, to be mostly welcoming towards women. However, stupid people seem to gravitate towards minorities. On my second day of school, a tall boy walked up to me and said, “I don’t know why they let women into school here. It takes more spots away from men, who will be the bread winners after all.”

I believe in the power of words. Even false ideas said over and over again start sounding like truth. So we must give our daughters different words to live by.

Here are three stories to help them change the tune.


For a pdf copy of the engineering paper dolls click here.

For a pdf copy of the firefighter paper dolls click here.

For a pdf copy of the scientist paper dolls click here.

I made the dolls interchangeable. So if you want Barbara to be a firefighter or Leela to be a scientist, you can mix and match.

When I pitched the idea for this paper doll series on my Facebook Page, I received a tremendous response. I loved the range of suggestions for other non-traditional paper dolls. In the coming months, I plan to make more. In the mean time, if you have a career suggestion for my collection, please tell me in the comment section.

Sep 19

Five Projects with Fall Leaves

by Hannah Holt »


Let your imagination take flight.

The leaves started falling this week. I’ve been collecting them almost as fast as they hit the ground. Here’s what we’ve been up to.

1. Leaf pressing. Just like flower petal pressing. Set them up in a cheap frame from from the local thrift store and… ta da!

2. Crayon rubbing. Always a classic fall craft.

3. Magazine cut outs. I took a few pictures from magazines (see the butterfly above and the dinosaurs below) and used them as a template to cut shapes from the fall leaves. Note: this works best if the leaves are still supple.

4. I made a leaf collage activity page for the kids. You can download my pdf template by clicking here.

5. We had a leaf scavenger hunt. You can make up your own or use the one I created.


Aug 22

Food, Shape, and Color

by Hannah Holt »


The next two weeks will be crazy for me. School is starting; I’m running in a 200 mile relay race; And I’m working on two (or three or four) exciting longer term projects.

So I’m taking a break from the blog front.

In the mean time, here’s a little food for thought.

Click here for a printable pdf of the image.


  1. Show kids the food chart. Ask them to think of other red colored foods. (Repeat with orange, yellow, green…)
  2. Use foods as a way to introduce 3-D shapes (an orange could be a sphere, carrot for cone, chocolate bar for rectangular prism…). It’s a lesson and a snack!
  3. Have children fill out the USDA food pyramid coloring page for kids.
  4. Read Spicy Alphabet, and name all the different colors.

More resources about food, shape, and color.

  1. Hubbard’s Cupboard has a free printable booklet about shapes and colors.
  2. Edupics.com has a wide assortment of fruits and veggies coloring pages.
  3. This blog posts pictures of school lunches from around the world.

I’ll be back in a couple of weeks. Enjoy the rest of summer.

May 17

Spot The Difference

by Hannah Holt »


This visual exercise helps kids ages 4-7 learn about same and different.

For a similar activity using touch instead of sight, click here.

Essential Vocabulary:

Same, Different, Both

Helpful Vocabulary:

  • Comparative adjectives (smaller, bigger, lighter, darker)
  • Colors (red, blue, yellow…)
  • Shapes (square, rectangle, circle, star…)
  • Counting (1-10)

The Game:

Below you will find 10 pictures. Each picture has two objects. In some ways the objects are the same, and in other ways they are different. Name at least one similarity and one difference for each pictured pair.

Extension Activity:

Have older children name more than one similarity and difference.

The Pictures

And here’s a letter sized printable jpeg of all the pictures (left click once, then right click to save the full sized file).