Kids Newsletter January 2018

Civilizations around the world have been celebrating the start of each New Year for at least four millennia. Today, most New Year's festivities begin on Dec. 31 (New Year's Eve), the last day of the Gregorian calendar, and continue into the early hours of Jan. 1 (New Year's Day). Common traditions include attending parties, eating special New Year's foods, making resolutions for the New Year and watching fireworks displays. In the United States, the most iconic New Year's tradition is the dropping of a giant ball in New York City's Times Square at the stroke of midnight. Millions of people around the world watch the event, which has taken place almost every year since 1907.

Let's Read

"The Night Before New Year's" by Natasha Wing

It's the night before New Year's, and the whole family is determined to stay up until midnight! Everyone's stocked up on sparkly streamers and festive party hats, but after a night filled with card games and too many cupcakes, the little ones are getting sleepy. Can they make it until the clock strikes 12?

"Happy New Year Around the World" by Sylvia Walker

Celebrations from 20 countries are presented in this informative and colorful tale for young readers to demonstrate the diverse ways people kick-off the New Year around the world.

Did You Know?

  • Over time, the New Year's Eve Ball has ballooned from a 700-pound iron-and-wood orb to a brightly patterned sphere 12-feet in diameter and weighing in at nearly 12,000 pounds.
  • "Auld Lang Syne," written by Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1788, is traditionally sung at midnight on New Year's Day. The words auld lang syne mean "times gone by."
  • Until 2006, the space shuttle never flew on New Year's Eve or Day because its computers couldn't handle a year rollover.
  • When religion was suppressed in Soviet Russia, Santa/St. Nick was replaced with Grandfather Frost, called the "Spirit of Winter," who brought gifts on New Year's and placed them under the "New Year tree."
  • In Korea and some other Asian countries, when you are born you are considered one year old, and everyone's age increases one year on New Year's. So if you were born on Dec. 29, on New Year's Day you would be considered 2 years old.
  • Citizens of Thailand celebrate their traditional New Year's Day, called Songkran, during April with a state-sponsored, multiple-day water fight.
  • Instead of lowering a giant ball of lights on New Year's Eve, some towns across the south lower a possum. It's known as "The Possum Drop."
  • There is a 1000-year-long song in the making known as "Longplayer." The song began on Jan. 1, 2000, and will continue until Dec. 31, 2999, where it will come back to the starting point of the song and begin again. The song can be heard at
  • The Reykjavik (capital of Iceland) fireworks display on New Year's Eve is one of the largest in the world, and most fireworks sales fund rescue operations in the country.
  • Since New Year's Eve 2008, the city of Mobile, Alabama, raises a 12-foot tall lighted mechanical Moon Pie to celebrate the coming of the New Year.

Let's Be Healthy

  • Stay in touch - Feel like friends or family have fallen by the wayside? It's good for your health to reconnect with them. Research suggests people with strong social ties live longer than those without.
  • Cut your stress - A little pressure now and again won't kill us; in fact, short bouts of stress give us an energy boost. But, if stress is chronic, it can increase your risk of - or worsen - insomnia, depression, obesity, heart disease and more.
  • Volunteer - People tend to think their own bliss relies on bettering themselves, but happiness also increases when they help others. And, guess what? Happiness is good for your health. A 2010 study found that people with positive emotions were about 20 percent less likely than their gloomier peers to have a heart attack or develop heart disease. Other research suggests that positive emotions can make people more resilient and resourceful.
  • Get more sleep - You probably already know that a good night's rest can do wonders for your mood and appearance. But, sleep is more beneficial to your health than you might realize. A lack of sleep has been linked to a greater risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. And, sleep is crucial for strengthening memories (a process called consolidation).
  • Drink water - No matter where you are, water should always be the first thing you reach for when you're thirsty. Water truly is essential.

Let's Have Fun

  • Have a movie marathon - Have each member of the family select their favorite movie to watch in a daylong marathon. Don't forget the popcorn.
  • Build a fort - Take some pillows and blankets, and make your own fort in the living room. See who can make the best fort, and have a cozy slumber party one night.
  • Warm up around a winter campfire - If your city allows it, work with an adult to set up a backyard fire pit and have a winter campfire, complete with s'mores and scary stories. The sound of the fire crackling is worth it in itself.
  • Go on a winter hike - Go on a winter hike in a park or the woods. Collect items you find, and glue them to sturdy paper to make a beautiful nature collage. Or, take some beautiful snowy pictures. See which animal tracks you can spot around the forest.
  • Do a good deed - Devote an entire day to doing good deeds. Help out at your local food bank, volunteer to walk dogs at your local animal shelter, or shovel an elderly neighbor's driveway.

Let's Get Creative

Resolutions Magnet

  • Craft foam (white and a bright color)
  • Permanent marker
  • Glitter glue
  • Glue
  • Magnetic strip
  • Draw around your hand on the bright foam.
  • Cut a small rectangle out of white foam. It needs to be small enough to fit on the palm.
  • Write a resolution on the rectangle, and glue it to the palm of the foam hand.
  • Fold over the thumb of the hand, and glue it down so it is "holding" the resolution.
  • On the fingers of the hand write the year with glitter glue.
  • On the back of the hand glue the magnetic strip. Now display.

Let's Go Exploring

The Rink at Lawrence Plaza

Young boy ice skating

Lawrence Plaza is a 7,000 square foot multi-use facility located just north of the Bentonville City Square in Bentonville, Arkansas. The facility is home to a splash park in the summer and an ice rink in the winter. Open until Jan. 15, The Rink at Lawrence Plaza is a great place to enjoy some family fun this winter.

Let's Cook

Rainbow Jell-O

striped jello
  • Three 3-ounce packages cherry gelatin
  • Three 1/4-ounce packages unflavored gelatin, divided
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1 1/4 cups white grape juice
  • Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan (have mom or dad do this). Add cherry gelatin and 1 packet of unflavored gelatin; stir until dissolved.
  • Remove from stove. For pink: Transfer 2/3 cup red gelatin mixture to a bowl, and whisk in yogurt. For white: Pour grape juice into a bowl. Sprinkle on remaining unflavored gelatin, and let stand 5 minutes. Microwave on high about 1 minute, until gelatin has dissolved.
  • To assemble, pour 2/3 cup of red mixture into an 8-inch square baking pan. Refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes. Top with half of pink and white mixtures, refrigerating for 15 minutes after each addition. Repeat process with remaining gelatin, ending with red. Refrigerate until completely set, about 2 hours or overnight.
  • Dip bottom of the pain in hot water to loosen. Invert onto a cutting board and slice into 1 1/2 inch cubes.

What's New

PBS KIDS Weekday Schedule Is Changing

The new year brings in new shows and new fun! Visit the program schedule on to see when your favorite shows will be airing.

AETN PBS KIDS Writers Contest to Launch

It's almost time for the 2018 AETN PBS KIDS Writers Contest! Students in grades K-3 are encouraged to write and illlustrate an original story - fact or fiction, prose or poetry. Every entrant will receive a certificate. Get your creative ideas flowing, and visit for all the details. Stories must be received by Friday, April 6.

"Odd Squad: World Turned Odd" one-hour movie event

When Odd Squad agents accidentally change the past, they undo every case Odd Squad has ever solved! As oddness reaches new heights - from freaky creatures to crazy hairstyles - it will take a big team of agents to embark on a mission across time to set things right again. Watch Monday, Jan. 15, at 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. or anytime with PBS KIDS video at The one-hour "Odd Squad" movie will include a special 11-minute preview of "Pinkalicious & Peterrific" in advance of the new series premiere on Feb. 19.

"Pinkalicious & Peterrific"

"Pinkalicious & Peterrific," a new PBS KIDS animated series, will premiere Monday, Feb. 19. "Pinkalicious & Peterrific" will encourage children to explore the arts and spark creativity. "Pinkalicious & Peterrific" follows the adventures of Pinkalicious and her brother Peter. Pinkalicious imagines creative possibilities everywhere she looks. She is an artist at heart, and, like most creative people, she sees the world differently from others. She knows what she likes, and she is not afraid to express herself, though she sometimes needs help from her brother, Peter, and her neighborhood friends.

PBS KIDS 24/7 Channel Celebrates 1 Year

Our 24/7 AETN PBS KIDS channel is celebrating one year of providing non-stop, quality children's programming. AETN supports early learning in Arkansas by broadcasting PBS KIDS programming 24 hours a day, seven days a week on AETN PBS KIDS. The schedule of children's daytime programming will differ on AETN and AETN PBS KIDS, offering families a variety of options. In addition to watching on television, AETN PBS KIDS is available to live stream on various devices and with an interactive gaming feature at

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