CHARLOTTE, N.C. — One Charlotte teacher is working to bring families closer together through children's books and arts they can make at home.
From paper rolls and cardboard to beans and markers, Sheryl Smiley-Oliphant is using themes from different self-published authors' books to create unique and simple activities to do with your kids using old household items. She says her whole mission is just to get families creating together.
"As a teacher, I know you've got to get them young," Smiley-Oliphant said. "Once I started writing my books, I used to ask myself what's next? I got the book, they're published, they're out there, but how can I make it more personal to the community and help parents?"
Smiley-Oliphant, who is a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teacher and author, says she's always wanted to use her talents and crafts to entertain kids. So she took a character from her book, "My Daddy Doesn't Need a Cape," and made a craft from it.
She later started working with other self-published authors to create more activities and started a YouTube channel, reaching even more families.
"I saw this book about cardboard airplanes and I said, 'I want to make that,'" she said. "As soon as I put that video out there, the response was great and I was like, OK, this may be a thing."
Smiley-Oliphant says her goal is to get kids to put down their computers and other electronic devices and spend quality time with their families, reading, engaging and creating together.
"If you want to teach someone something, or change a community, you've got to start with the youth," she explained. "As a teacher, I can always tell the kids that spend time with their parents versus the kids that don't."
Interested parents can learn more about Smiley-Oliphant's activities by viewing her YouTube channel. She has over 150 videos on easy crafts to do from home, and her book is available to purchase here.