The Importance of Play

by Kelley Jilek

Baby newborn in the shirt closeup on white background.When children play, they develop their knowledge of themselves and others, learn to make sense of the world around them, and learn to communicate with peers and adults. As children grow and develop, play changes, but the importance of it remains. There are a number of ways that educators and other adults can support play for various ages of young learners. But first, you need to understand how it evolves.

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Homemade Beach Sand

Homemade-Beach-Sandby Katie Brazerol

Not everyone is lucky enough to live near a beach, but you can bring the feel of beach sand to your backyard! This activity is featured in our August Fireflies® Island Getaway theme on page 35.


Note: Sand play can get very messy. We highly recommend you take this activity outdoors for easier cleanup. This sand may stick to the children’s hands, so have a water hose and towel handy for washing afterwards.

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New Curriculum Features for 2016-2017

FunShine Express is always looking for ways to Simplify Your Day. With that goal in mind, we launched our Three Guarantees:

  • Save you one hour per day in prep time
  • Alignment to your state standards
  • Provide you with support and training

You can read more about these guarantees here. Another way we strive to Simplify Your Day, is by making changes and improvements to the components included in our curriculum kits! Check out what is new with our Fireflies® preschool program starting September 2016:

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10 Great Ways to Enjoy the Library

by Judy Mullican

Have you visited your local library lately? While long ago libraries could sometimes be rather stuffy, most modern libraries are bright, cheerful places that offer an amazing array of services and activities. Here are ten great ways to enjoy your library this summer.

  1. Take a Tour: Call ahead and arrange a tour of the library. Invite as many family members as possible to come along. Not only will the extra supervision help you, but the families may be excited to learn about all the library has to offer. For example, libraries typically offer computer access and may also offer help with taxes, writing resumes, investigating genealogies, and much more.
  2. Story Time in the School LibraryChildren’s Programs: Most libraries offer story times year round and also have exciting summer programs for kids of all ages. Your local librarian can steer you to the best ones for your child or group. (If you are taking a group, it’s helpful to let the librarians know ahead of time to help with their planning.) Continue reading

Fizzy Color Cubes

Fizzy-Color-Cubesby Katie Brazerol

In our Fireflies® July Curriculum Guide (p. 27), we create special colored ice cubes that fizz outside on the concrete as part of our Fun in the Sun theme! Here are step-by-step directions for the activity, including pictures and expanded questions to discuss with the children. This activity requires freeze time, so plan to provide other activities while waiting.

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Hurray for Flag Day!

flagpole in fieldby Judy Mullican

Every year on June 14 we celebrate National Flag Day to commemorate the day when the Stars and Stripes was adopted as the official flag of the United States in 1777. Celebrate this event with your children by offering some of these fun activities!

Find Flags: Walk around the neighborhood and see how many flags you can find. You may see flags at schools, the post office, businesses, or displayed in yards. Take pictures of all the flags you find and create a display in your room.

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