Wednesday, January 19, 2011

National Popcorn Day with kids!

by Louisiana Children Discovery Center
National popcorn day 2011 is on January 19th – try and celebrate this day, in your own special way by sharing and having popcorn.  We have a few fun ideas to share with you.

National Popcorn Day is celebrated at the end of January, although its exact date is a matter of debate. Various sources report it as January 19; others claim it takes place on whatever day the Super Bowl falls on. The Popcorn Board is often asked about the origins of this day; unfortunately, we do not know how or when this celebration began. Some other individual or organization (with obvious good taste) began this tradition.
The connection to the Super Bowl seems natural enough. It’s a highly regarded annual sporting competition pitting the top two national football teams against each other. Millions of viewers from around the globe hunker down with bowls of their favorite snack—popcorn—in heated anticipation of who will win the battle.
Here are some things you can do to celebrate National popcorn day.

Popcorn coloring pages (download from www.popcorn.org)
Read facts about popcorn at www.popcorn.org and write about the history of popcorn 

Popcorn Day Activities

Stringing popcorn (these could be hung outside for birds to eat)
Need: sewing needles, string, popcorn

Popcorn air hockey—can you “volley” the kernel back and forth 20 times without letting it fall?
Need: flat surface (table), straw (to blow), coffee stirrers (as paddles) or hands (as paddles)

Popcorn basketball: can you flick a piece of popcorn into the basket?
Need: popcorn, baskets (i.e. muffin tins, small cups), backboards (wall, cardboard)

Popcorn word search (puzzle maker)
Popcorn, pop, kernel, explode, heat, moisture, grain, snack, crunchy, butter, oil, salt, fiber, bag, hull
Write a popcorn Haiku (5, 7, 5 syllable pattern poem)
Oil, kernels, heat, time
Many loud explosions heard
Pop, crunch, snack time. Yum!

How many words can you make from this phrase?
"Fresh hot popcorn”, “Popcorn tastes good”, “I like popcorn”, “Hot buttered popcorn”

POPCORN RELAY RACE All it takes are two big bowls of popcorn and some small cups per team. Have kids run and get a cupful of popcorn and transfer it to the bowl across the room. The first team finished wins. Because of potential popcorn mess, this would be good played outside! The critters can eat what isn't’ swept up! (Play in gym if you’re brave!)

• Split youth into two teams.
Give each team a cup of popcorn.
Have each player take turns walking with the cup of popcorn on their heads, across the room, around a chair and back to their team.
Play for a specified amount of time such as 2 minutes or more. The team that has the most popcorn left in their cup wins!

STICKY POPCORN GAMEThe children begin by "popping " around the gym as pieces of sticky popcorn, searching for other pieces of popcorn.
When two pieces of popcorn meet, they stick together.
Once stuck together, they continue to pop around together, sticking to even more pieces, until they end up in a big popcorn ball.

Give each player a straw and have them  select a popped kernel of popcorn.
Each player blows the popcorn with the straw to the end of a table.
First one to reach the end is the winner!


POPCORN GUESSING GAME (Use flavor recipes listed below in 'Snack Section'  Recipes)
Prepare several different flavors of popcorn.
Blindfold players and feed them the popcorn; have them guess the flavor.

1. Label plastic buckets OR containers with numbers such as 1, 5, and 10.
2. Place the buckets in a vertical line or triangle in progression from small numbers to large.
3. Players stand on a designated line and toss popcorn into the containers.
4. Add up their scores according to how much popcorn they got in each bucket.

*This can also be played in teams.


PLAY BINGO USING POPCORN AS MARKERS! Be sure to have extra to munch!!!

POPCORN-A DRAMA GAME All players find themselves a spot and squat down. The facilitator talks the group through the exercise.
“Everyone is a piece of corn, the floor is a big pan, and we’re going to make popcorn. --- We slowly start heating the pan”… As the pan gets hotter, the corn starts to `pop`.  A player `pops` by jumping up, clapping hands above their head, and saying `pop`. Make sure the `popping` starts gradually, `popping` is a group thing, and in the end, `popping` should stop.
Variation: Forget to take the pan off the fireplace, and have the popcorn start burning.

POPCORN VOLCANO ERUPTION 1.  Spread out a large clean sheet or large sheet of roll-paper on the floor; have the kids sit outside the edge. 2.  Set a popcorn maker in the center, and prepare popcorn according to directions. Do NOT put the lid on the popcorn maker!
3.  Watch the "volcano" erupt and shoot "hot lava" all over the sheet.
4.  Make sure that everyone stays away from the popper while it's on, so the kids don't get sprayed with hot oil or kernels.

If you are using an air popper (without the lid)--also have children stand back (it gets hot) -- watch the popcorn fly out. Pick up popcorn and enjoy!

You can use popped corn or popcorn kernels. Just count the corn as you put it in the jar so you will know the correct answer. (Have children  write their name and estimate on a slip of paper.) The player who guesses closest to the correct answer wins the jar!
Guess how many popcorn are in the jar.

IDEA: If using kernels, tie a recipe to the jar for making/microwaving regular popcorn or caramel in a bag!

(Use balloons and call them POPCORN !)

Pop yellow and white balloons instead of popcorn.
Use 9-inch balloons, fill a room, and instruct players to pop as many as they can.
You may wish to give younger children a straw or something simple to pop balloons with.
Older kids can stomp or sit on balloons to pop them.
The proof is in how many balloon remnants they collect. The one who pops the most-- wins.
Have a camera handy for this fun popcorn party game!

POPCORN POPPED Materials: Several white and yellow balloons (popcorn) and string 
• Each player is given two balloons to be inflated and tied around each ankle with a piece of string.
• Object of game is to burst the other players' popcorn balloons with their feet—no hands allowed.
• Winner is the last person with a popcorn balloon or balloons. Game can be played with or without boundaries.

Start with all players holding the chute stretched out. Throw as many soft balls as you have d onto the chute-the  more the better!
Holding the chute tightly, have children bounce the popcorn (balls)
as quickly as they can off of the chute.
Variation: Play this game in two teams. One side of children try to
bounce the balls off the chute, while the other side works at keeping the balls on the chute!

POPCORN #2 Place a number of beanbags or cotton balls on the chute. Shake the chute to make them rise like popcorn.

POPCORN ART Put out a bag of popped popcorn along with construction paper and art supplies-challenge children to come up with some creative art using the popcorn!

 POPCORN COLLAGEColored Glue (can also use paint or food coloring mixed with glue)
Provide  many different colors of glue; glue should be thick enough to hold the popcorn
Paint a picture with the glue 
Press popcorn onto the painted parts

Small Paper Bags
Crayons, paint, markers, stickers, etc.
Put out a variety of markers, paint, stickers, etc. Decorate the bag in fun designs. Write the word 'Popcorn' on it. When complete, fill with popcorn! Enjoy!


Yellow and green construction paper, Glue, Un-popped popcorn
1. Cut a "corn cob" and "husks" out of paper. Glue the "husks" around the "cob".
2. Spread the glue on the "cob" and cover it with un-popped popcorn

PUFFY POPCORN FLOWERS Materials: Popped Popcorn, Powder Tempera Paint (any colors), Green Construction Paper, Glue, Cardboard
1.  Put handfuls of popped popcorn in plastic bag and add powdered tempera paint to each one.
2.  Shake well to distribute paint all over the popcorn.
3.  Cut stems and leaves out of green construction paper and glue them to cardboard.
4.  Glue on the colored popcorn to make flowers.
(Seasonal flower art towards page bottom)


Idea and sample provided by Carol Felixson in Los Angeles Times--May 5, 2004

There are several species of popcorn flowers. They are members of what is commonly known as the fiddleneck family of plants. Once the flowers open and bloom, they look like popped corn...The flowers have white petals with yellow 'kernels' in the center.
As an extension of this art idea--have kids research "Popcorn flowers"!

Cardstock paper or poster board
Popped Popcorn
Red tissue paper
Green tissue paper
White glue
Art Brushes

1. Cut strips and other shapes of blue and green tissue paper (sky and  ground)
2. Mix water and white glue until it has the same consistency as paint.
3. Working on one small section at a time, paint the mixture onto poster board with a brush.
4. Place a piece of tissue paper on top of each glued area. 5. Next "paint" over the top of the tissue. Let it dry.
6. Brush on a second coat of the glue and water.
7. Last use full-strength glue to paste popcorn on top of the tissue paper.
8. Once everything dries, outline the flowers with a marker.

Cardboard Paper towel cylinder
Popcorn kernels
Paint brushes
Scraps of material
Rubber bands or tape

1.  Paint cardboard tube and let dry.
2.  Cut two circles out of scrap fabric, big enough to cover the open ends of the cardboard tube.
3.  Place one fabric circle over tube end and secure with a rubber band or tape.(Tape if child is under 5 and rubberband if over 5)
4.  Add popcorn kernels to tube (About a tablespoon full).
5.  Secure second fabric circle over open end of tube with rubber band or tape.
6.  Hold tube in the middle and shake or turn to make "rain noise".

  • Find a clean, empty plastic container with a screw-on lid, such as a peanut butter jar or a individual serving juice or milk bottle.
  • Put a spoonful of popcorn kernels in the container.
  • Put some glue around the edge of the container and screw the lid on tightly.
  • Allow the glue to dry before shaking.
  • Decorate with stickers or colorful masking tape.

Put popcorn kernels inside of a Pringles can. Secure the plastic lid of the can with tape. Paint or cover the can with construction paper and shake it!

Serves 4 to 8

1/4 cup margarine, plus 1 tablespoon extra
1 bag mini-marshmallows
12 cups popped popcorn
3 packages gelatin (such as Jell-O, 4 serving size), different flavors and colors as desired
Choice of the following foods, such as sprouts, celery sticks, carrot slices, raisins, pretzel sticks, etc.

3 bowls
Oven mitts
Wax paper or serving plate
Large wooden spoon
Large microwave-safe bowl or saucepan

1.  Place the margarine and the marshmallows in the microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the two on high for 1 to 2 minutes until the marshmallows are puffed.
2.  Using oven mitts, remove the bowl of marshmallows from the microwave. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon.
3.  Divide the popcorn into three separate bowls.
4.  Pour equal amounts of the marshmallow mixture over popcorn.
5.  Sprinkle a different color of gelatin over each bowl of popcorn and marshmallow mixture. Quickly stir with the spoon until the gelatin and marshmallow mixture evenly covers the popcorn mixture and let cool.
6.  Rub some margarine on your hands. Take some of the popcorn mixture and mold into an interesting form. Add different colors of the popcorn mixture to make different parts of the sculpture.
7.  Place the sculpture on wax paper or a serving plate. Add any of the remaining foods to make an interesting presentation of the sculpture just before serving. 

 COMPARE STAGES OF POPCORN!Purchase popcorn still on the ear at a specialty store.
Place this in the science center (table) along with un-popped popcorn, corn on the cob and popped popcorn. Have children observe the differences!  

You can make popcorn of this type in the micro-wave! Place one ear in one of the special microwave bags that come with the corn. Set  microwave oven for 2-3 minutes, and you've got popcorn right off the cob! 
DANCING POPCORN -- Fill a clear cup  3/4 full with vinegar.  Add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. Drop in a few kernels of un-popped popcorn.  Watch as the kernels rise and fall.
Variations: Try substituting club soda for the vinegar and baking soda. You can also try using other objects like buttons or pebbles

POPCORN GARLANDS FOR BIRDS!If you leave popcorn out for a few days, it will get stale and hold together better when strung. String popcorn with thread and needle. You can also add berries, dried fruits, nuts, and seeds, between the popcorn. Hang the popcorn garlands on tree branches outside for the birds.

Instructions: Take a plastic zip-loc baggie, put cotton balls in it and saturate cotton balls with water. Put popcorn kernels into the bag; seal it and tape to a window. Add water as needed and watch the plants grow. Transfer to potting soil later. (It doesn't take much to get a popcorn kernel going! My grandson had a kernel lying on its side on the sink--in just a drop of water. In a couple days it was sprouting a small leaf and stem! Barb)

Place dirt in a small zip lock bag. Add water and a few kernels of popcorn. Seal the bag and hang in sunny window. The popcorn kernels will begin to sprout in about a week.

Pre-made popcorn
1. Securely tie string around the base of the pinecone.
2. Stuff premade popcorn in the crevices of  pinecone; stuff firmly so it doesn't fall out.
3. When the pinecone is filled--hang it outside...

For loads of Popcorn Recipes, Snacks and Tips click here...

Popcorn Books:

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