Welcome to The Fridge Art Museum! Explore my blogand website of course, but the below kid art exhibits are probably the coolest part. The exhibits celebrate kids’ distinct art style and imagination. Specifically, showing “fridge art” that’s tacked and taped on refrigerators, walls, doors, and elsewhere. But other creative efforts are showcased too (like stories).
The “Kid art exhibit” link displays many childrens’ drawings. For prolific artists, click on the links below to view their slide show and blog post profiling them.
If you want to submit art, click here. Enough blabbing, hope you enjoy wandering the museum and this website!
Not so long ago an art teacher and dietitian had their first child, a boy named Randy. Although not of royal lineage, during Randy’s early years he and his sister did make royal messes.
For all but his diaper years, Randy’s family dwelled along the Mississippi River.
Here, he caught countless fish, canoed, and did cannonballs from a Tarzan swing—sometimes while a lonely lioness’s roars echoed along the riverbanks (from Smuda’s Zoo).
When not swimming or fishing, he read Ranger Rick, National Geographic World (for kids), and Encyclopedia Brown.
Dug snow caves.
Painted his bedroom walls with posters of wildlife, Uncle Sam, and Star Wars.
Waged epic wars with plastic soldiers ordered from comic books.
Then one day in seventh grade, a teacher fairy appeared. She said, “Theater and speech, try you might.”
Another teacher fairy introduced him to The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and role-playing games like Traveller and Dungeons and Dragons.
His thespian activities continued through high school, as did role-playing games and comic books. But when the local comic store closed, his dismay caused the store’s owner, a bearded fairy, to suggest, “Open your own comic book store, you should.”
Randy did, for one summer. Then, during his junior and senior years, he continued to peddle superhero comics from his school locker.
Upon graduating from high school, Randy went on a quest—to find gold to pay for college. To earn this treasure (perhaps bewitched by his toy soldiers and Uncle Sam poster), he joined Army R.O.T.C.
Enchanted by his boyhood’s wildlife posters, he also sought gold in the legendary park named Yellowstone. While he labored there, the park’s fiery summer of 1988 made the air taste like smoke and ash.
Winters came, summers went. Years later, amidst National Guard duty and corporate endeavors, fairies returned. They teased as only fairies can, “A new quest, time for. Craft stories, you must.” Hence, Randy began writing.
But his writing apprenticeship progressed too slow. And so, he forsook his business and military careers. He swore allegiance to the starving artist gods. Gods that demanded sacrifices of ramen and rusty cars. Yet he persevered as a full-time creative writing student, then writer.
During these quests, blizzards raged, mosquitoes drank his blood, and he thrice backpacked overseas.
He also had thrilling adventures with youth as a summer camp counselor, kid book club assistant, and speech judge and coach.
These days, Randy lives a nomadic lifestyle as a year-round house and pet sitter. As he migrates around “The Land of 10,000 Lakes” and elsewhere, he’s fond of picturesque views.
When he’s not photographing, perusing books, or penning tales, one might find him hiking, cultivating flora, or spying on fauna with trail cameras.
All these experiences and more, plus chocolate rituals, fuel his stories. Tales that range from flash fiction to novels to screenwriting to children’s books. As a storyteller, sages taught him that quests and stories never really end—they just pause at a clever moment. Like now…
Fun & Games
Looking for something to do?
MAKE SOME ART. You can never go wrong drawing, doodling, or making art of some kind. Everyone can doodle, so click here to learn how to make doodle patterns.
SEE ME IN ACTION. Click here to watch me read my silly flash-fiction fantasy story, “Now Hiring!”
PLAY TAG. Click here for fun variations of tag games.
HAVE A TOY BATTLE. Divide up 100 points (or less, or more) among each side of toys. Each toy’s points are both how many life points it has, and how much damage it causes. Roll a die to see which side starts. Then, each side takes turns moving and attacking with all their toys. Attacks roll two six-sided dice. If the dice total 10, 11, or 12, a target takes damage. When a toy’s life points are zero or less, the toy is removed. Play until one side’s toys are gone. Keep rules simple when you first play. Perhaps use a ruler or string to measure movement of toys on their turn, and ranged attacks might also require a straight line of sight (so, if toys hide behind something they can’t be attacked unless attacking or defending toys move close, or get a different angle). Try battles with imaginary creatures made with Legos! If you like action figures, a fun movie is Small Soldiers.
BUILD SOMETHING. Try making a bird feeder or bird house (with an adult’s help). Make sure bird houses have predator guards to protect baby birds. You might even put a wireless camera inside the house to watch the babies (without disturbing them)! A book I recommend is Woodworking for Wildlife.
TAKE PHOTOS. Practice taking photos of wildlife, pets, or anything that interests you! Click here for tips on how to take better photos, or click here for a helpful video. Or, experiment with a trail camera to spy on wildlife when you’re not around.
PLANT A GARDEN. Libraries have lots of gardening books, and sometimes even free seeds from a seed bank! One of many good books is The Best-ever Step-by-step Kid’s First Gardening by Jenny Hendy.
READ A STORY. Tell librarians what kind of stories you enjoy and they can help you find cool magazines and books. Remember though, books are like your favorite food—just because you love peanut-butter & banana sandwiches doesn’t mean others will…
WRITE A STORY. Writing stories is hard work, but fun. If you’re a young writer getting started, check out Writing Radar by Jack Gantos. This book has tips about coming up with ideas, and developing stories. Other writing books teens and adults may find helpful are:
→Save the Cat by Blake Snyder (helps with basic story structure and story loglines)
→The Power of Point of View by Alicia Rasley (helps develop your story’s narrator)
→Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds by Michael Hauge (Chapters 1 & 2 help with story pitches)
→Wonderbook by Jeff VanderMeer (for inspiration and tips on writing sci-fi and fantasy stories)
→The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass (helps make scenes and dialogue more exciting, and disguise exposition)
→A Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler (helps understand three act structure)
“The Last Ice Eel” The lone boy at a space colony conspires to slay a dangerous extraterrestrial species thought to have been exterminated. Short story. Genre: Sci-fi Adventure (selected as part of Spontaneous Combustion Volume Two, a 24 hour writing contest).
“Now Hiring!” A town crier desperately tries to recruit young children as knights and squires for the kingdom’s incompetent king. Short story. Genre: Fantasy/Comedy (selected for Word Brew V, watch video of me reading it here).
“Hotdish Hell” A small-town chef conspires to win a corrupt hotdish contest in order to land his own cable TV show. Short story. Genre: Dark Comedy (selected as part of Spontaneous Combustion Volume One, a 24 hour writing contest).
“The Pakistan Conspiracy” Two young siblings run a tech-support business, but are unprepared for a paranoid client hacked by an espionage agency. Short screenplay. Genre: Comedy (contest winner and part of a web series in development).
“Happy Ending” An essay that contemplates the impossible task of writing a factual, happy Israel-Palestine story. The result is a story about two children, sworn enemies, who come up with a creative solution to this tragic conflict. Short story. Genre: Meta-fiction/Satire (selected for Mizna’s Volume 10).
Tunnel Tours A series about underground places and animals. Novelty books. Genre: Creative Non-Fiction.
“The S-Files” As dusk fades, a girl and boy investigate strange tracks, sounds, and smells. Much like the girl’s favorite TV show, THE X-FILES, the duo debates vague evidence. Is the creature dangerous wildlife, something like Sasquatch, or a prank? Middle-grade short story submission for SCBWI’s THE HAUNTED STATES OF AMERICA contest. Genre: Horror/Comedy.
The Beagle Brigade When Cindee discovers a litter of abandoned beagles, she gets her neighborhood to adopt them all. But the puppies start howling, then disappearing. When Cindee’s gang discovers why, she vows to save their pets, even if it tears her family and neighborhood apart. Middle grade novel. Genre: Mystery/Adventure.
Tomb of the Thick Fur Woods During Minnesota’s 1866 gold rush, parallel stories of an Ojibwe boy and an orphaned Scandinavian boy converge. They battle blizzards, starvation, and supernatural forces. As the two fight to survive, yet another ominous threat grows. Prospectors are pouring into Ojibwe territory, and war may soon engulf the entire region. Middle grade novel. Genre: Supernatural Historical Fiction.
Big Buck Ballyhoo A bumbling farmer raises a rare trophy buck, but when the deer escapes he faces bankruptcy unless he catches the deer before greedy mayhem engulfs his tiny community. Feature screenplay. Genre: Comedy (contest finalist).
“Sibling Squabble” Sibling rivalry escalates as a brother and sister wager their precious toys on a model train and Hot Wheels race. Short screenplay. Genre: Comedy (contest finalist).
“Bunker Bedlam” Deep underground, America’s surviving leaders try to save humanity from a robot revolution. Short screenplay. Genre: Sci-fi Comedy (contest finalist).
“Harmony” When a boy gets his first BB gun, he unwittingly kills his new neighbor’s pet squirrel. Short screenplay. Genre: Drama (contest finalist).
“Tommy’s Tea Time” Tommy’s pyromania forces his family to move. But in their new neighborhood, a young girl may be his nemesis. Short screenplay. Genre: Dark Comedy (contest semi-finalist).
“Green Planet” Teenagers clash over artistic differences while struggling to make a no-budget magitech webseries. Short screenplay. Genre: Comedy (contest finalist).
Nature’s transformations make fun time-lapse videos. This fall, I began two such video projects that I’m now sharing. The first turned autumn’s colors into a hyperlapse video that moves along Itasca State Park’s scenic Wilderness Drive. My 33 minute trip below is condensed to 2 minutes of painted forest rushing by. The second project may …
A few weeks ago, I attended my first CONvergence convention. There, I joined thousands of science-fiction and fantasy fans to ponder this year’s theme, “Your reality may vary.” Indeed, nowadays it seems perception and reality can vary widely. Perhaps John Lennon summed up this dilemma best, “The more I see, the less I know for …
Sorry Australia, caves are the real “Land Down Under.” The past few years, I’ve been researching caves for a kidlit book project. I’ve went to national caves like Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, Oregon Caves National Monument, and Wind Cave National Park. The visitor centers at each, as well as the park …