Sunday, April 1, 2012

Laughter, Engagement, Novelty: April Fool's Day

There will be no article today due to an unexpected invasion of pixies that have over-taken the internet for the coming 24 hours. Please turn off all of your digital devices and go outside and play!


  • How often do you laugh per day?
  • How often do you 'orchestrate' laughter within your day? 
  • Are you an appreciator of jokes, riddles, and well played fun?
  • Do you create 'nonsense' in your lesson plan to celebrate fun?
  • Do the children in your world get to see you laughing?
  • How many articles on the benefits of laughter have you read?
  • Benefits of Laughter Slideshow
    Why Laughter Truly is the Best Medicine
    Health Benefits of Laughing: "Research indicates that Preschoolers laugh 400 times a day while adults only laugh 17 times per day."
    From Positive Parenting: Benefits of Laughter
    From our own Deborah McNelis: Play, Laughter and Outdoors!

    Start with a SMILE! Smile warm-up session: Head Start Program, NY.

     I have grown up professionally in Columbus Ohio and have had the great good fortune of regularly rubbing elbows and being mentored by the educational "Queen of Fun" Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld. Following in her 'fun' footsteps has been one of my greatest joys. [Does that make me the Princess of Fun? I've always wanted to be a princess!] Watching her interact with children from 18 months to 81 years is the best tutorial one could have professionally. She's a people person. She's a laughter person. She's a fun magnet!!

    It's been years ago that I heard Dr. Pam Schiller addressing a crowded ballroom of early childhood educators speaking on brain research, extolling the value of laughter and citing all of the many brain-benefits that come from laughing. Since hearing her research I have made it my quest to encourage laughter in my direct work with children and in my speaking to teachers, librarians and parents.

    I remember writing in my notes from Dr. Pam's presentation that Job #1 -- of adults interacting with children -- was to establish a sense of "TRUST" with children -- which she suggested could be developed through structure in the day, bringing a sense of familiarity with the schedule and routines. After that sense of trust is established she said that "NOVELTY" is what grabs the brain's attention. Laughter is what cements the learning. The younger the child the easier it is to ellicit laughter. How do we 'use' laughter to our educational advantage?


    I LUV these images borrowed from our contributing author Leeanne's blog, Kreative Resources.
    Here's her link to a series of articles on Dramatic Play.
    I am willing to bet that there was amazing laughter from these children + teachers alike!
    How can you not giggle just looking at these precious faces ready for serious fun?

    What does it cost to declare the day a 'dress-up' day and encourage staff and children alike to go 'goofy?"

    [Something about my arriving to a building has that effect on people. LOL.]

    Half way across the world our collaborating author Greg Harvey has his own costume.... I can hear the laughter all the way from Australia.

    Greg Harvey dresses up to incite laughter

    Take a look at this A.MA.ZING!!!!!!! librarian's collection of 'goodies.'
    I wanna LIVE in this library!!!

    Talk about making books engaging!
    Talk about novelty and literacy!!!!!
    Talk about inciting laughter in the midst of learning!!!!!

    There's no doubt in my mind that the right 'prop' at the right moment will engage your students, focus their attention, keep them guessing, ignite their imaginations and cement your lesson..... all at the same time!!

    Keep your eyes open for the unusual to add to your collection!

    Think of the simple ways to orchestrate a day of laughter:
    FUNNY FEET = Switched Socks + Silly Shoes

    Leprechaun Shenanigans courtesy of Little Illuminations
     Looking for all sorts of joy to spread during the St. Patrick's Day observation? 
    Hop on over to Little Illuminations and check out Ayn's celebrations! (Click here.)

    Create art projects that open the imagination to laughter and possibilities.

    When in doubt? Create a holiday!!!!

    PAJAMA DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

    From the crayons of a kindergarten philosopher.....
       I read this as, "Debbie you are fun.
                                      I love fun.
                                      I love you."

      Laughter is our friend.
      It is the gift the children share with us on a daily basis.
      Laughter is powerful.
      Laughter is fuel.
      Laughter heals.
      Laughter engages.
      Laughter cements learning.

      The trick is to learn to harness laughter.
      Learn to turn it on.
      Learn to sculpt it.
      Learn to direct it.

      Listen carefully to the children.
      They will teach you how.

      Debbie Clement, princess of fun, has been dressing up for a very long time.
      Join the fun over at her personal blog, 
      RainbowsWithinReach.... where there are ongoing reasons for celebration + joviality.  


      1. Thanks for using my images - we really do love to laugh in our classroom! I am always seeking ways to make the day light and fun! Great post!

        1. Leeanne your link was EXACTLY what I was searching for -- as a means to 'illustrate' what I was refering to.... thanks so much for your willingness to share the images thru this article! Wishing you a very laughter-filled spring ahead.


      2. What fun ... I can just imagine all the laughter and fun you, the children, and other adults must have at your workshops, Debbie! And I LOVE the photo of you as a little girl dressing up! :) I pinned your post to my April Fools' Day Pinterest board at


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