Thursday, April 14, 2022

Something To Think About This Easter

 

Have you ever wondered where the Easter bunny came from?

Back in the 1700s, Germans emigrated to America and settled in Pennsylvania. They started telling their neighbors the story of a special bunny that came each spring to lay beautiful colored eggs.

Children began building nests to collect the eggs. They also set out carrots in case the Easter Bunny got tired hopping from nest to nest.

Eventually, the eggs turned to chocolate, the nests became baskets, and people started giving gifts to each other.

How did Bunnies and Eggs Get Associated with Easter?

Spring is when flowers burst forth with color and chase away the brown, barren landscape of winter.

Animals like deer, raccoons, skunks, otter, birds, and yes – bunnies – have babies in the spring.

Eggs are a symbol of new life.  Colored eggs point to the festive colors of spring.

Spring is a new start, a new beginning. Why not celebrate that? 

A Question to Ponder

What if everything you did wrong was forgiven and forgotten?

How would you feel?

What would you do?

How would you live?

Forgiveness is a relief when someone grants it. It’s like having your slate wiped clean and your bad behavior removed from your permanent record.

Ask your students these questions. Maybe they have someone they can forgive. Or maybe they can apologize to someone they’ve offended.

It might be a new beginning for one (or more) of their relationships! What better way to remember Easter?

Give Someone a Basket

Who doesn’t love a gift?

Help your students show someone they care with an Easter basket filled with gifts. It can be as simple as filling a few eggs with candy. Maybe they can make a card to put inside. Whatever they do, it will be beautiful – and appreciated.

Bonus points if you give baskets to people who might not get one otherwise.

Thank you for reading. At Pure Fun, we’re committed to helping you help your preschool students thrive all year long. Happy Easter to you and yours!




Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Celebrate National Children's Picture Book Day April 2nd

Fun facts and a list of books to get you started


Did you know that if you read to your preschooler five times a day, they’ll hear close to 1.5 million words by the time they’re five years old?

Ohio State University says so.

Here’s what they’ll gain from all those reading sessions:

·    To value books and stories
·    A stronger imagination
·    Greater curiosity
·    More ability to focus and concentrate
·    Social and communication skills

Source: https://raisingchildren.net.au

Who would have thought stories could make children stronger in so many ways?

How National Children’s Picture Book Day Got Started

Jenna Lepman, a German journalist and author, founded Switzerland’s International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) in 1953. They came together to encourage children to fall in love with the written word.

In 1967, the rest of the world got involved in the celebration.

Each year IBBY chooses one country to host. That country chooses a theme and hires an illustrator to create a poster. They also have reading, writing, and drawing competitions – with some pretty cool prizes!

Why did they choose April 2nd? It’s Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday. Chances are you’ve read one or more of his stories or seen one adapted into a movie! Here are a few:

·         The Little Mermaid
·         The Ugly Duckling
·         Thumbelina
·         The Emperor’s New Clothes
·         The Princess and the Pea
·         The Snow Queen (Disney’s Frozen)

A Brief History of Children’s Picture Books

Jan Komensky published the first picture book for children under 6, Visible World in Pictures, in 1658.

John Newberry published the first Children’s Picture Storybook in 1744, titled A Little Pretty Pocket-Book.

By the 1830s, children’s picture books were selling like crazy. One of the classics from this era is Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

In 1922 the American Library Association awarded the first Newberry Medal to The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem van Loon.

Is Writing a Children’s Picture Book Easy?

The best children’s picture books come with more than engaging stories and captivating artwork. They have timeless life lessons embedded in them as well.

If you’ve ever wondered whether writing a children’s book is easy, here are a few things the author must do:

·        Choose the book’s genre
·         Research to make the story work
·         Develop and choose the characters
·         Build the setting for the story
·         Decide how the artwork will look, and choose an artist
·         Edit the book down to the absolute essentials

Margaret Wise Brown, author of Goodnight Moon, said, “I finish the rough draft in 20 minutes and then I spend two years polishing.” Some say she polished as many as 23 books at a time!

Now that you see the work that can go into a children’s picture book, let’s look at ten of the most popular picture books of all time. 

Where the Wild Things Are



Mischievous Max feels misunderstood at school and home. So, he goes to the land of Wild Things, where majestic—and sometimes fierce—creatures roam. Soon they allow Max to become their leader. He promises them a kingdom where everyone will be happy. But as fun as this new life is, he realizes something is missing.

Get your copy here

Goodnight Moon


In a great green room, a little bunny is tucked in bed. He also says good night to everything familiar: three bears sitting in chairs, the clocks and the socks, and the mittens and the kittens. Goodnight room, goodnight moon. This book has helped children everywhere fall asleep peacefully since 1947.

Get your copy here

Green Eggs and Ham


"Do you like green eggs and ham," asks the main character Sam-I-am. He's very convinced green eggs and ham are something you can enjoy in many places with a variety of friends. Follow the rhyme as the list gets longer and longer.

Get your copy here.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs


How would you feel if food fell like rain? It might be marvelous! But then again, it might not. See what happens when people fill their plates and their stomachs with food from the heavens.

Get your copy here.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar


Follow a tiny green caterpillar as he eats his way through the book. Soon he transforms into something totally different.  Author and Artist Eric Carle wanted this book to be a literary cocoon for children getting ready for kindergarten. And it has - since 1969.

Get your copy here.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?


Help your child learn to associate color to different animals in this easy-to-read book from Bill Martin, Jr., and Eric Carle. Encourage them to read along and soon they'll read it to you!

Get your copy here

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom


Animated alphabet letters climb a coconut tree in this crazy story! The rollicking rhyme and bold, cheerful art will have your child wanting to read this book again and again.

Get your copy here

Corduroy


Corduroy sits on the department store shelf, wondering when someone will buy him. Then one day a girl named Lisa comes into the store. Will she be able to take him home?

Get your copy here

Are You My Mother?


A young bird hatches while his mother is away, looking for food. He goes looking for her, asking everyone and everything he meets, "Are you my mother?" How many will he ask before he finds her?

The Little Engine That Could


A small train filled with toys breaks down before it reaches the children. She asks several bigger trains to help, but they all say offer reasons why they can’t. What will she do? Can she make it over the mountain alone?

Get your copy here.

Look at our other books right here.

Fun fact: April is National Decorating Month. Why not brighten up your room with a new bookshelf? See our selection here

Friday, March 18, 2022

Spring Crafts - Painted Cherry Tree

The Winter season is finally coming to a close and the trees and flowers are beginning to bloom. Join us in welcoming Spring with this adorable Painted Cherry Tree craft. 



You will need: 

Construction Paper (Pink, Brown)
Scissors
Glue or Tape
Paint (Pink, White, Tan)
Markers
Aluminum Foil


Instructions:

1.Start by having your students trace their hand and forearm onto their construction paper with a washable marker. 

2. Have students practice their cutting skills by cutting the hand and forearm that they traced out. 


3. Using a different color construction paper as a base, glue or tape the cut out onto the center of the page. The fingers will be pointing towards the top of the page. This creates the base of our tree! 

4. Next, give students a piece of aluminum foil and have them crunch it up into a lose ball. This will act as your "paint brush" and add some texture to the paint. 


5. Dab the paint colors onto the fingertips of the hand to create leaf filled branches of a colorful tree!

6. Don't forget to have students write their names so they can be sure to take their art piece home. 


This art work was shared by one of own PureFUN! customers. We would love to see what you and your students have been creating in your classroom too! 



Friday, March 11, 2022

Book Review: Goodnight Moon

The book that has lulled kids to sleep since 1947

How do you convince an energetic child to go to bed every night?

You read them a story. Or you sing them a lullaby. Whatever you choose, you want them to relax and go to sleep.

Goodnight Moon helps children go to sleep without feeling alone or vulnerable. It has no conflict, no battles to fight, and no princess to rescue. There is nothing in this story that will give a child bad dreams.

What makes this book unique? 

20 years before Goodnight Moon, children’s books were set in fantasy worlds. When Brown was a student at the Bank Street School, she began authoring stories for the “here and now.” Children naturally invest their worlds with meaning. Goodnight Moon guides children through a house like theirs and offers a ritual they can follow, no matter what their world looks like.

Brown was a successful writer long before Goodnight Moon. She was the children’s book editor at an important New York City publishing house. While there, she had a huge influence over children's literature, writing dozens of books—some under pen names so she did not overwhelm the market. This established here and now storytelling as a popular children's book genre.

Goodnight Moon’s rhythmic language came from Brown’s study of children’s semantics. She found children are more interested in how a message sounds than what it says. Over 70 years later, parents still lull their children to sleep with the gentle rhythms of Goodnight Moon.


Fun Goodnight Moon Activities for Preschoolers


A Few of My Favorite Toys

The bunny said goodnight to a roomful of things. What do your students have in their rooms? Make a list on the board. Then have them count how many items are on the list. For some sorting fun, have them say which items are alike and which are different.

Build Your Own Window 

Get some green poster board for the wall. Glue a piece of blue construction paper to it for the window. Take an empty tin can (like one that canned vegetables come in) and use it to draw a circle on white construction paper. Then you’ll have a moon to cut out and glue to the blue sky.

Now you can add whatever you want to the window scene:

· Pictures of household items or toys they can glue on

· A construction paper fireplace

· A piece of paper where students list the things they say goodnight to

Write your own Goodnight Moon Story

If your preschooler was the main character in Goodnight Moon, what would their book look like? Help them put together their own. You can create one from construction paper, glue, and cutouts of items they would have in their story. Use the text from Goodnight Moon as a guide. Make it as long or short as you want. Then staple the pages together and you have a book!

Grab a copy of Goodnight Moon if you don’t have one. We’d love to hear what your kids say goodnight to!

Monday, January 17, 2022

Celebrate Global Belly Laugh Day!

 

The laugh heard round the world


What was the funniest thing you ever saw or heard?

Chances are you laughed so hard you couldn’t do anything else. It’s the kind of laugh that paralyzes you, and all you can do is surrender to the moment.

No doubt life is stressful at times. It can be hard to laugh when you feel the weight of the world on your chest. But what if you could laugh on purpose? What if all your tension could disappear so you feel lighter than a feather—even for a moment?

Back in 2006, Elaine Helle noticed that people weren’t laughing enough. Being a Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher, she knew the benefits. So, on January 24 at 1:24 PM, she called people to take a moment and laugh as hard as they could.

Since then, it has become a global celebration!

"You don't stop laughing because you grow older. You grow older because you stop laughing."  - Maurice Chevalier


Laughing is Good for You

Laughing may seem like a silly waste of time. But is it? Those who laugh regularly enjoy these health benefits:

·         Laughter is a natural pain killer. It produces endorphins, the "happy" brain chemical. Endorphins relieve stress, reduce anxiety, ease chronic pain, and make you feel good all over.

·         Laughter strengthens your heart. Like a cardio workout, laughing increases your heart rate.

·         Laughter protects you from disease. A Harvard study found that the more you laugh, the less likely you are to have a chronic medical condition.

·         Laughter tones your midsection. A belly laugh flexes your abdominal muscles by rapidly contracting and relaxing them. So, if you can't make it to the gym, listen to your favorite comedian instead.

·         Laughter boosts immunity. It does this by activating your T-cells (immune system cells) so you can fight off germs and infections.

·         Laughter lowers your blood pressure, according to the University of Maryland School of Medicine. It also reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke.

·         Laughter relieves stress. A good belly laugh reduces your cortisol levels (stress hormones).

·         Laughter helps people suffering from depression. A 2011 Oxford University study found that laughter significantly eased the physical and mental pain of depression, regardless of severity (momentary or chronic).

Want to laugh now? I’ll bet you do!

"Laugher is the sun that drives winter from the human face." - Victor Hugo


How to Participate in Global Belly Laugh Day

Here’s what to do, courtesy of https://www.bellylaughday.com.

On January 24 at 1:24 PM (local time) smile, throw your arms in the air, and laugh out loud.

That’s it! Pretty simple, right?

If you need help laughing, find a funny meme or photo online. Make a funny face in front of your friends. Tell a story about something silly you did.

Make a video of your class laughing. If you want to post it online, add the hashtag #bellylaughday. We’d love to see your videos and hear your stories!

Have a good belly laugh whenever you feel down and need a quick lift. It’ll do your body, mind, and soul good!

"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." E.E. Cummings

 

Monday, November 15, 2021

21 Amazing Facts About Thanksgiving to Share with Your Family and Friends

Thanksgiving is the second most popular holiday in the United States, according to a Harris poll (2015). People drive 50 miles or more to see family, eat too much, and watch lots of football. Millions also watch the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

What do you and your family do?

If you need something to talk about, these Thanksgiving facts will spark conversation.

Thanksgiving Turkey Trivia

  • The Butterball Turkey hotline takes over 100,000 questions about cooking the holiday feast each year.
  • Americans eat over 44 million turkeys (averaging 16 pounds apiece) on Thanksgiving. If you put all that meat on a scale, it would weigh 704 million pounds.
  • TV dinners got their start after Swanson overbought 260 tons of turkey. A sales rep named Gerry Thomas suggested they package the turkey with peas, dressing, gravy, and sweet potatoes in tin trays like the airlines used. 10 million trays sold the first year and TV dinners won a permanent spot at the grocery store.
  • Ben Franklin wanted the turkey to be America’s national mascot.  In a letter to his daughter, he wrote “the Turkey is in Comparison (to the bald eagle) a much more respectable Bird.”
  • Studies show it’s not the tryptophan in turkey that makes you sleepy.  It’s the 4500 calories of food you ate on Thanksgiving.
  • 8 in 10 people say they prefer Thanksgiving leftovers.

These Turkey Accents will brighten up your classroom for Thanksgiving.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Trivia

  • The first Macy’s Thanksgiving parade was in 1924.  It was so popular they got a TV contract with NBC a few years after.
  • The first balloon character was Felix the Cat.  They hadn’t planned to deflate it, so it drifted up and popped shortly after the parade ended.
  • The first parade featured animals from the Central Park Zoo, puppets on floats, and no        balloons.
  • 3.5 million people go to New York City to watch, some arriving as early as 6:30 AM to grab a good spot. Over 50 million watch the parade on TV. 
  • Macy’s parade is the largest float parade in the world. 
  • Sonic the Hedgehog is the first video game character to get a balloon in the parade.
  • Peanuts character Snoopy has the most balloons, with 8 featured in the parade since 1968.

Decorate your bulletin board with this Fall Winter Snoopy Pose Bb Set


Holiday Football Facts

  • The first football game played on Thanksgiving was in 1876.  Yale took on Princeton.
  • The Detroit Lions have played every Thanksgiving since 1934.  The only exception was when the players were called to fight in World War 2.
  • The Dallas Cowboys have played all but 2 Thanksgivings since 1966.
  • The Jacksonville Jaguars have never played on Thanksgiving Day.

Need a football to toss with family and friends on Thanksgiving?  We’ve got some:
Coated Foam Ball Football (softer for the kids)  Football Official Size

How Thanksgiving Became a National Holiday

  • George Washington declared a National Day of Thanks on November 26, 1789. He wanted Americans to thank God for protecting them and helping them achieve independence.
  • Thomas Jefferson didn’t want Thanksgiving to be a national holiday. He felt it would violate the First Amendment separation of church and state. 
  • Sarah Josepha Hale lobbied to make Thanksgiving a holiday for decades. Finally, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln granted her wish. She was also known for writing the childhood favorite Mary Had a Little Lamb.
  • The first U.S. President to officially pardon a turkey was John F. Kennedy.

Welcome guests with this Thanksgiving Allinone Door D├ęcor Kit.  

Thanksgiving Activities for Preschoolers

Turkey Dinner Collage

All you need is some glue, scissors, food clip art you can print out, and paper plates. Have the children cut out their favorite foods and glue them on the plates. (Thanks to PreKinders for this idea.)

Thankful Cards

One piece of construction paper should do. Have them write what they’re thankful for. Encourage them to add a picture they draw or paste on. Studies show that grateful people are happier, get better grades, and don’t get sick as often as ungrateful people.

Thanksgiving Countdown

Make a paper chain with enough links to count down the days until Thanksgiving. Each day a student tears off one link and everyone counts what’s left. (Thanks to Preschool Plan-it for this one.)

We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration. If you’d like to share your Thanksgiving traditions with us, we’d love to hear about them!





Wednesday, November 10, 2021

3 Ways to Celebrate World Kindness Day in Your Classroom

 

Want to know how you can change the world?  Famous actor Morgan Freeman says you do it with “one random act of kindness at a time.”

We hear a lot of people talk about “random” acts of kindness.  What does that mean?  The Oxford Dictionary says anything random is “done without method or conscious decision.”  Perhaps a better word to describe these acts of kindness is “unexpected.” To recipients these acts seem random.  But for those practicing kindness, their acts are planned and intentional.

If you want something to happen, you must be conscious about it and make plans.  That’s why celebrating World Kindness Day is a great way to build the kindness habit. 

How Did World Kindness Day Get Started?

On November 13, 1997, a group of humanitarians came together and decided it was time for a change.  They marked their decision with a “Declaration of Kindness.”  Their purpose became “spreading joy, happiness, and peace by being considerate, compassionate and empathetic towards people and living beings.” 

If you wrote your own Declaration of Kindness, what would you put in it?  How would you spread joy, happiness, and peace to the people around you? 

Your students have lots of ideas on how to be kind to each other.  Make a list and write your own class declaration.  Print it out and hang it on the wall.  Take one act each week and focus on practicing it.  Praise students when you catch them being kind. Have them share their stories of what happened when they were kind to someone else.  Talk about how every act of kindness is an investment in a better future for everyone. 

We’d love to see your declaration and hear your stories!

Play the Compliment Game

A compliment is defined by Oxford as “a polite expression of praise or admiration.”  Abraham Lincoln said everyone likes compliments.  Comedy writer Robert Orben said compliments are “verbal sunshine.” Mark Twain said he could “live for two months on a good compliment.” 

A single compliment can affect the rest of someone’s life.

Since compliments are so powerful, children should learn to master them. 

You can play the compliment game in a variety of ways.  Here are a few ground rules:

·         Everyone must compliment someone else.

·         No one should be left out.

·         The compliment should be sincere.

One way to play is to pass a ball.  When someone catches the ball, they must compliment someone.  When they’re done, they pass the ball to someone else.  Play continues until all students are complimented.

You can also hand out blank cards and assign each student another person to compliment.  Write some sample sentences on the board that they can copy if they wish.  Once the cards are filled out, have the writers deliver them.

Here are some balls for your Compliment Game from Champion Sports.

These framed index cards provide the perfect place to write a short, sincere compliment.

Play Empathy Charades

It’s easier to give sincere compliments when you know people well. 

In this game, have each student come to the front of the class and pick a card.  Written on these cards will be feeling words.  The student then acts out the feeling nonverbally until someone guesses the emotion.

The point of this is to help students understand what others are feeling by reading their faces and behavior.  When you can relate, you can connect.


Donate Toys to Kids Who Need Them

Many kids have more toys than they can play with.  If your students have some they’ve outgrown or don’t play with anymore, another child can give that toy a new life.

Set up a box in your classroom to collect gently used toys.  If possible, take a field trip so your students can see the kids’ faces as they receive the toys.  

Want to donate some new toys to kids who need them?  Check out our selection from Melissa and Doug.

How Kindness Makes You Better

Science tells us that kindness creates:

·         Stronger relationships

·         More satisfaction with life

·         Healthy self-esteem

Each act of kindness is an investment in a better life for you, your community, and the world.   What will you do today to make a better tomorrow for the people around you?

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

National Popcorn Poppin' Month

Celebrate National Popcorn Poppin’ Month This October!


Americans love popcorn!  Recent reports say we eat 17 billion quarts every year.  If you popped all that, you could fill the Empire State Building 18 times, says Lexi Jacobs, author of The History of Popcorn.

Here are a few fun facts about America’s favorite snack:

  •  If you heat popcorn in an open cooker, kernels can fly as far as 3 feet when they burst!
  •  Popcorn has more protein per serving than eggs, roast beef, and cereal grains.
  • You’ll need 1600 popcorn kernels to fill a 1 cup measuring container.
  •  In Colonial America, popcorn was eaten for breakfast with milk, sugar, and cream – a lot like cereal today.

National Popcorn Poppin’ Month was started in 1999 by Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman.  Why October?  Because this is when popcorn is harvested in the Midwest, where most of America’s popcorn is grown.

How did popcorn get into movie theaters?

Before the Depression, young entrepreneurs started selling popcorn and cracker jacks as they walked up and down theater aisles.  Theater owners were hesitant to buy the equipment needed to serve popcorn, so they hired vendors to cook and sell it outside.  

In 1938, Glen Dickson decided to take a chance.  He bought popcorn poppers and installed them inside all his theaters.  It was expensive, but he made his money back quickly.  Sales of popcorn soared!  Now it’s hard to imagine going to a theater without smelling popcorn.



Class Activities with Popcorn

Make some great memories for your students with these fun activities.

The Milk and Popcorn Mixer

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you mixed milk and popcorn?  Let’s find out!

Start with two plastic cups or glasses.  Fill one with milk and the other with popcorn (already popped).  Have your students start dropping popcorn into the milk, one piece after another.

Then watch what happens. 

The milk will swallow the popcorn and never rise above the rim. Pretty cool, huh?

Homemade Popcorn Shakers

Unleash the musician in your young students!

You’ll need:

  • Toilet paper roll cores
  • Cardboard circles that fit each end of the cores
  •  Popcorn
  •  Paints
  •  Glitter
  •  Colorful markers
  •  Glue or sticky tape

Take the toilet paper core and seal one side.  Insert the popcorn and seal the other side.  Let the kids decorate the shaker however they like.  Then get ready to make some music!

If you want the shakers to be really loud, use unpopped popcorn.

Popcorn Relay Race

You may want to do this one outside.  It can get messy!

Set a bowl of popcorn and an empty bowl at both ends of the relay track.  Give students a cup they’ll use to transport popcorn from the full bowl to the empty one at the other end of the track.  The first team to complete the transfer wins!



Add Some Decorations to Your Celebration

You don’t have to decorate your room with real popcorn to celebrate.  We’ve got you covered!

Classic Accents Popcorn Variety Pack

Popcorn Accents

Classic Accents Popcorn Mini

Serve some popcorn with these Classic Accents Popcorn Boxes.

Award prizes with these Showtime Popcorn Stinky Stickers.

 

We hope you have fun celebrating National Popcorn Poppin’ Month.  We’d love to hear how it goes for you!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

St. Patrick's Day Punch


 

 St. Patrick's Day Green Watermelon Punch


While you are planning your St. Patrick's Day crafts, don't forget the refreshments! Everybody loves a little pop and fizz to their drink. Add some shamrock sparkle to your St. Patrick's Day party with our Green Watermelon Punch.

What You Need: 
1/2 gallon reconstituted green watermelon juice 
1 liter sprite
5 scoops of green sorbet ( or yellow for "pot o' gold")

1. Mix green watermelon juice and sprite in a large punch bowl with ice. 
2. Add 5 scoops of your preferred sorbet. 
3. Top with sliced lemons and limes, for added flavor.
4. Serve with green cups, straws, napkins, and/or spoons.

Complete your party theme with these top o' the line classroom decorations