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Story Time: Spoonbill Swamp


Story Time: Spoonbill Swamp has crafts, printables, and other activities to enhance the beautiful picture book

I kind of hope I’m introducing this lovely book to you.  Of course, it would be better if all of us knew all the books because yeah yeah, but this one has been special to the Brison family for a long time and I want the chance to share it with new readers.  Spoonbill Swamp by Brenda Z. Guiberson is one of those brilliant nonfiction stories… you know, the ones that don’t personify the animals but tell a story about their Real Lives.  And the illustrations by Megan Lloyd?  Oh. Yeah.  They are nothing short of fantabulously gorgeous.

I’ve come up with some really cool stuff to do to go with this book, mostly inspired by Lloyd’s breathtaking sunrises and sunsets in the book, but also taken from the story itself.  Let me give you a sample of these illustrations.  They make me feel peaceful.  We don’t have much by way of swamps here in Indiana, so this is the kind of book that fuels my imagination and makes me want to take a road trip.  Just look at the pictures in this book!

Yeah.  That’s the stuff.

Story Time: Spoonbill Swamp has crafts, printables, and other activities to enhance the beautiful picture book

Spoonbill Swamp Activities


This book talks about several creatures of the swamp.  The roseate spoonbill, the alligator, the zebra butterfly, the pelican, the great blue heron (a personal fave), the minnows and shrimp in the water, and even a raccoon.  It mentions mangroves, duckweed, marsh grass, cattails and water lilies.  It provides a ton of opportunities to do some research and write a report.  I happen to have, in my subscriber freebies, both a plant and an animal study to get them started.  They’re just short notebooking pages, but they should help your littles figure out the kinds of things they want to learn about their topic before they begin writing.  I have to tell you, I love me a good research paper.  It was my favorite part of college, and perhaps the reason I enjoy writing my own curriculum so much.

plant study animal study


Let’s learn about the roseate spoonbill.  Much of what this amazing bird gets up to in real life is in the book, but this free unit study will help your littles put the story into context.

This Learn About Roseate Spoonbills Free Printable is available in Story Time: Spoonbill Swamp

Rainbow Paper

This is so. cool.

20160411_095355What you need:

rainbow paper supplies



What you do:

  • Cover the bottom of your pan with water, just enough to be able to cover the paper
  • Submerge the paper in the water



  • Place a drop of fingernail polish in the water over the paper
  • If the film doesn’t spread out well, use your finger to position it on the paper


  • Lift the paper from the water, being careful to keep the film atop it

Rainbow Paper is a fun science project to try for Story Time: Spoonbill Swamp

  • Lay it on wax paper to dry

I know, right?!


This book can only be crafted with watercolors.  Just look back at those illustrations and you will know it’s true.

Watercolor Swamp Sunset


Pick a picture from the book, break out your watercolors and watercolor paper and copy it as best you can.  For the sake of my art-challenged Littles, we left the bird out of our watercolor (I think they would have spontaneously combusted if I made them try to paint a bird).  Have your littles do their best to copy the effect of the picture in their own painting.  The Littles’ watercolors turned out beautifully, even though they looked slightly murderous by the time we were done.

spoonbill watercolors


The spoonbill eats a lot crustaceans, including shrimp, so it would be fun to get a little taste of what that means.  Just don’t regurgitate it for your Littles.  They might arm themselves and come after you.  But it would be kind of funny.

Baked Coconut Shrimp

coconut shrimpWhat you need:

  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups coconut flakes
  • 3 egg whites

What you do:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a cookie sheet lightly with oil or cooking spray
  • Wash shrimp and pat dry
  • Beat egg whites in a medium bowl until foamy
  • Mix cornstarch, salt, and cayenne in a medium bowl
  • Pour coconut flakes into a separate bowl
  • Dredge one shrimp at a time in the cornstarch mixture, then dip it in the egg white.  End by rolling it in the coconut, coating the shrimp well
  • Place each shrimp on the cookie sheet as you go
  • Bake 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the shrimp is no longer transparent, but is bright pink on the outside and the coconut is browned

Yummy and healthy and totally relevant?  Oh. Yeah.

Have fun with this one.  There is so much to learn from this beauty.  Run to the library or to Amazon and get a copy of Spoonbill Swamp. And happy reading!

Love wins,



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KT Brison

KT Brison is a former children’s librarian and educator who gave all that up for the most important job in her life—homeschooling her boys.Though she loves the outdoors and rambling around her farm, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. Any book. As long as it has words.
KT Brison
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About KT Brison

KT Brison is a former children’s librarian and educator who gave all that up for the most important job in her life—homeschooling her boys. Though she loves the outdoors and rambling around her farm, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. Any book. As long as it has words.
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  1. This book looks amazing, and your ideas to go with it…. just wow! Thanks for sharing this post at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com this week!
    Tina at Mommynificent recently posted…Booknificent Thursday Link Up Party #144My Profile

  2. Great homeschooling ideas – thanks for sharing with Pin worthy Wednesday
    Amberjane recently posted…Pin Worthy WednesdayMy Profile

  3. Sounds like a lovely book and I love your watercolour paintings.
    Thanks for sharing with #LetKidsBeKids
    Let kids be kids recently posted…Why I let my children play with toolsMy Profile

  4. Looks like a lovely book. Great activity ideas too! Thanks for sharing with #LMMLinkup!
    Beth @ Pages and Margins recently posted…Diverse Children’s Books Link-up: Verse NovelsMy Profile

  5. I just found your blog via the Learn & Play Link up – love it!

  6. Very interesting post. I found you on The Homeschool Linkup Party.
    I love to watercolour.

  7. Just ordered the book through our library! Thank you for all these wonderful ideas.
    Mother of 3 recently posted…Squeezing in Schoolwork When I’m Unable to TeachMy Profile

    • ktbrison@gmail.com

      You just melted my heart, telling me you ordered the book through the library. You sure know how to make a lit mama smile!

  8. A fantastic fun book and so many great activity to do alongside it! Love the watercoloured paintings! #LetKidsBeKids
    Baby Isabella recently posted…Moscow State CircusMy Profile

  9. Wow. This looks like a fun book. I love the soft illustrations.

  10. Oh, I’m dying to get my hands on this book! I love all your activities with it. I’m in Texas, and we recently took a day trip to a bird sanctuary where we saw roseate spoonbills and great egrets nesting. My kids were really into it, and I need to write about it. Thanks so much for joining #Everything Kids this week.
    Heather recently posted…Everything Kids #12My Profile

    • ktbrison@gmail.com

      We just saw them at the local zoo here in Indiana. Not nearly as cool as a bird sanctuary, but still awesome to see them in person. 🙂

  11. Wow, that’s an amazing craft-rainbow paper! I will try it asap with my daughter. I love that it requires so few supplies and so little time. That is my kind of activity, lol! Thanks for joining the Family Joy Linky Party!

  12. What a wonderful sounding book! My son is still too young for it, but I love the unit you have put together to bring it alive. Seeing unit studies like this gives me ideas for when we hit the elementary years.
    Amy M recently posted…A Blast From the Past – Love Comes SoftlyMy Profile

    • ktbrison@gmail.com

      So glad to be of help, Amy! I do a new Story Time every Monday–check back, because I often do books for preschoolers, too. 🙂

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