Fabulous Find Friday: Joy Jars

Today’s Fabulous Find is Joy Jars. Joy Jars were started by a young girl named Jessie while she was fighting her own battle with cancer. The jars are created to bring joy and hope to kids in the hospital. Each jar is filled with an assortment of toys and activities for each age group. We used these in my internship and the kids loved unpacking their jars. You’d be surprised how many things they fit into each jar!


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Fabulous Find Friday: Bare Books

An important part of helping kids cope with stressful situations is to allow them to express themselves. By giving them room to share and feel, we allow kids to process their emotions. Bare Books is a company that publishes blank books and puzzles to allow kids to use their imagination to create! The books can be used to help children tell their story, whatever story that is.



Crash Course: Dora the Explorer

And now a friend that I’m sure we all know and love, DORA! Here’s your crash course in Dora the Explorer! Dora is a bilingual character who goes on adventures with her friends through interactive TV episodes.

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Dora is Latina tomboy who goes on a different adventure each episode. She engages with the audience by asking questions and encouraging viewers to help her solve her adventures.

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Boots is one of Dora’s trusty companions throughout her adventures.  He’s a 5 year old monkey who is Dora’s best friend. He might make mistakes, but the smiley monkey bounces back quickly.

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Maps helps Dora figure out where to go on their adventures.

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Backpack is Dora’s most prepared friend. She is a magic satchel who has everything that Dora needs for her adventures.

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Tico is a Spanish speaking squirrel who lives in the woods and can operate any vehicle. He is known for being fun and brave at the same time.

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Benny is a 6 year old bull who lives on a farm with his grandmother. He speaks English and is a little accident prone.

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Isabella (Isa) is an iguana who loves to work in her garden. She is cool and calm and helps Boots and Dora out with information during their adventures.

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Swiper is the main antagonist in Dora the Explorer. He is quick and a master of disguise who often tries to swipe things from Dora. She’s known to warn him; “Swiper no swiping!”


Learn more about Dora by visiting her Wiki page, Dora the Explorer Wiki Page

Fabulous Find Fridays: When Someone Very Special Dies

Last month I share with you a great journal for children who are coping with a loved one’s serious illness. Sometimes those loved ones die which means the child needs a different kind of support. One of my favorite bereavement resources for school age children is When Someone Very Special Dies by Marge Heegaard. This book is also a journal that encourages children to reflect on their experience following a death. Through language and spaces to draw, children are accompanied in their grief journey.

Crash Course: SpongeBob SquarePants

If you don’t know about SpongeBob SquarePants, then what rock have you been living under? SpongeBob is a huge part of my childhood that I definitely get nostalgic about. Lucky for me, it’s still popular so it’s easy to chat with kids about life in Bikini Bottom and at the Krusty Krab.

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This yellow sponge is the star of the show, SpongeBob SquarePants. He is a fun, energetic and sometimes a little weird but always happy and excited.

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Patrick is SpongeBob’s best friend and neighbor. Although he isn’t always super smart, he loves enjoying life in Bikini Bottom with SpongeBob.

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Squidward doesn’t enjoy life in Bikini Bottom as much as our previous two characters. He is known for being SpongeBob’s sourpuss neighbor who is always cranky.

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Gary is SpongeBob’s pet squirrel. Although he doesn’t talk so we can understand, SponegBob communicates with Gary fairly well.

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Sandy Cheeks is a squirrel who is originally from land but she gets along great with SpongeBob and Partick. Known for her strong Texas accent, she is intelligent and levelheaded.

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Mr. Krabs is SpongeBob’s boss as the Krusty Krub. As a lover of money, his profit is most important to him. He treats his money as if it is royalty.

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Plankton is the “villian” in this show. He is Mr. Krabs’ business rival and constantly trying to steal the secret recipe for the Krabby Patty (the most popular burger).

To learn more about SpongeBob and life in Bikini Bottom, check out the SpongeBob SquarePants Wiki Page

Favorite Bereavement Resources

There are many resources that can be given to families when providing bereavement support. Below are a few of my favorite things;

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Bare Heart Buddy. I love these bears because they have a hidden pocket in them and come in pairs. This means that children can put notes in one for their loved one and leave it at the bedside or in the casket and then they can keep the other bear and put keepsakes in it.

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Color Wonder is great for making hand prints. By painting the patient’s hand with a clear gel, it will come up on the magic paper. Their loved one, the parent or sibling, can then add their hands to the picture. Because it’s a clear gel, it’s not as messy as paint it. Although I do want to share with you all one thing that we always remind families, make sure to make color copies! The paint does fade after time to if you copy it, it will last longer.

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Fire in My Heart, Ice in My Veins is a journal for teens. If you work with an adolescent population regularly, you know how hard it is to find resources to promote positive coping in teens. Books are either written for children or adults and teens are in this in-between phase where they need targeted support. This journal is specific for end of life situations and offers the reader many opportunities to write and draw their feelings. Because it’s aimed at teens, the wording isn’t so childish that teens feel babied by it but also not written so much for an adult that it loses the teens’ attention.


When Someone Very Special Dies: Children Can Learn to Cope with Grief. This is a journal for school-aged children about death. It focuses on how things change in life and opens a dialogue with children about what grief is.

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The Invisible String is a book for school-aged children that talks about loving someone although they aren’t there with you. Because it’s not specific for death, this book can be used for a variety of losses and separation. When used in bereavement settings, it can help lead discussion about how although our loved one isn’t here with us they still love us and we can still love them.

A Terrible Thing Happened is a book for young children about when something bad happens. It talks about the feelings that children might have, like an upset stomach, and how it is helpful to talk to someone about how you are feeling. The terrible thing is vague throughout the book so that this resource can be used for pretty much any bad thing that happens, but it helps children recognize that these feelings are normal and it’s okay to talk about them.

What are your favorite bereavement resources?

Fabulous Find Fridays: When Someone Has a Very Serious Illness

It’s hard to find books for kids about illness, even harder to find age appropriate journals. When Someone Has a Very Serious Illness by Marge Heegard is a great journal for school age kids to use when they are processing and working on coping with a loved one’s diagnosis. It gives enough direction that you don’t need to be a therapist or a Child Life Specialist to guide a child in their journey through this book, but the book can be a great partner for Child Life Specialists during their support sessions for children. The books pages are filled with open spaces where a child is encouraged to express their feelings and thoughts about a special someone’s serious illness.


Fabulous Find Friday: Angry Octopus

Today’s Fabulous Find Friday is Angry Octopus by Lori Lite. Angry Octopus is a guided imagery story that teaches children coping skills for when they are feeling really angry. As someone who isn’t very experienced with leading guided imagery, I like this book because all you have to do is read the story. I really enjoy reading out loud and this story was an easy way to lead children in relaxation techniques. The Octopus squeezes his muscles and relaxes them, takes deep breaths and becomes calmer throughout the story.

Fabulous Find Friday: Hopper the Cancer Crusher

Hopper the Cancer Crusher is another friend for our oncology patients. Hopper is a froggy friend with a mediport like many patients have. He comes in hospital pajamas and wears a bandanna. Similar to Chemo Duck, Hopper is another great tool for preparation for procedures and general support during a patient’s hospital stay. Visit his website to learn more; Hopper the Cancer Crusher


Fabulous Find Friday: Worry Eaters

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Today’s Fabulous Find is Worry Eaters! These fun little monsters can eat a child’s worries away. Their mouth unzips so that children can place their worries in a safe place and their friend will eat it up so they don’t have to worry about it anymore. Visit their site to learn more about these little super heros; http://sorgenfresser.com/en/howto/