Buttercups® is designed for infants and toddlers who are ages 6 – 36 mos. All activities in the Buttercups® Curriculum Guide include suggestions for both older and younger children.
Fireflies® offers a blend of child-initiated and teacher-directed activities adaptable for children ages 3 – 5 years. Many activities in the Fireflies® Curriculum Guide include adaptations or alternatives for younger children and those with special needs.
Faith Lessons corresponds with our Fireflies® activity kits.
Jitterbugs® Summer Activity Kits are for children ages 6-10 and offered during June, July and August only.
Our Fireflies® program is flexible. We suggest that you look through the activity suggestions given for each day in the Curriculum Guide. Next, decide which of the ideas would work best for the children in your group (judging from their interests, ages, developmental level and skills, etc.). The length of time the program takes depends on which activities you choose to implement. If your environment is organized in centers, many of the activities can be introduced and then be available to the children all day (some even several days!). If your environment is not organized in centers, it will probably work best to implement the activities with small groups of children. Many factors affect the length of time our program takes! Introduce activities that you believe are appropriate for the children in your care. Monitor the children’s interest levels and offer new materials or a new activity when their interest begins to fade.
Buttercups® is also designed to be very flexible. Repetition is important for children in this age group, and their day is very much dictated by their sleeping and eating patterns. For these reasons, Buttercups® incorporates ideas to use during daily routines, such as diaper changes and meal times, plus many activity ideas to use with one or two children at a time. How long our program takes to implement each day is greatly determined by your daily schedule and each child’s daily routine.
FunShine Express® is on a four-year rotation basis. Some themes and projects may be repeated every fifth year. The content is always rewritten and reworked to include any new art materials and to keep the activities fresh and up to date with current early childhood standards. We change or adapt themes and activities that have not yielded positive customer feedback.
There is cutting involved for the provider. For Fireflies®, items to cut include, topic cards, photo puzzles, Spanish word cards, counting cards, and some learning center materials. For Buttercups®, providers need to cut the colors activity, puzzles page, and a few patterns.
Items the children may cut are related to the art projects. Our art materials are not pre-cut. We believe practice with scissors is important for children! Cutting is a fine motor skill that requires time and practice to develop. When designing the program, we are careful to ensure the cutting that the children will be doing is simple, without difficult corners or curves. This also allows the children to be creative. Each child’s project should look different!
We ask you to supply basic items, such as paint, glue, scissors, crayons, markers, old newspapers, etc. A “Materials List” is in the front of each Curriculum Guide to let you know what you need to gather to complete every activity that month. Click here for a sample of the Materials List.
A list of basic supplies to keep on hand can be found in the Program Overview of your kit.
There are 16 pages included in each monthly journal along with a name practicing page on the front cover and an activity page on the back cover. These journals were not designed with the intention of being given to a child to “do”, but instead to be done in a small group with a caregiver monitoring the activity. The directions will need to be explained to the children on each page so they know what to do. Those directions are included in your monthly curriculum guides.
As they become familiar with the journals, they will know what to do on some of the activity pages as well as the Number and Letter pages. It may be easier with younger children to open their journals for them to the page they will be working on. The older children may be able to read the page numbers at the bottom to find the page you are working on. You will need to explain to the children when you start working with them that they should only write on the pages you are working on and not work ahead in the book. This may be difficult for them at first, but if you keep reminding them they should eventually get used to it. There are a number of ways you can choose to use the journals.
It is our hope that after you’ve used the journals a few months and shown them to your parents, that you will like them and find them to be a good addition to our curriculum. We always welcome your feedback. If you have ideas or suggestions to share with us, please feel free to contact us by phone, email, or via facebook.
Practice Pages are meant to reinforce concepts the children have been learning throughout the week or month. They provide a more structured, cognitive practice and review of each month's basic skills (alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, cutting, sequencing, etc.). Providers can hand these out or utlize them at a pace that is comfortable and developmentally appropriate for the children in their group.
In addition to practice and review of daily skills, journals offer the opportunity for observation and open-ended reflection of what the children view in their environment. The journals are utilized as a tool for providers to help guide and challenge the children to look more closely at the world around them, and then put their thoughts down on paper.
Yes, you may order just one month of Fireflies® or one 2-month kit of Buttercups® at a time. There is no further obligation. If you decide you like it, you can continue to order just one month, or sign up for Automatic Shipping or a Prepayment Plan.
These items are not sold separately.
No, the Faith Lessons can be purchased independently from an activity kit. The Bible Story corresponds with a monthly theme so it can easily supplement our kit or can be used independently. Click here to purchase a Faith Lesson.
Yes. However, you cannot make changes to your order on the website. If you have changes to your order, please call 1.800.340.8103 Monday through Friday 8 am - 5:30 pm CST.
As a result of customer feedback, Buttercups® themes are now more closely aligned with those of Fireflies®. This will make it easier for you to use Buttercups® (for 6-36 month olds) in conjunction with Fireflies® (for 3-5 year olds). Since Buttercups® is quarterly, it covers one theme from each monthly Fireflies® program. For example, the summer Buttercups® kit includes content related to one June, one July, and one August Fireflies® theme. In order to be age appropriate for infants and toddlers, the Buttercups® themes are simplified versions of the Fireflies® themes. Topics and concepts covered in Buttercups® are more concrete and less broad than Fireflies®.
A Prepayment is a prepaid arrangement to receive curriculum for three or more consecutive months. Prepay discounts of 10% to 15% apply to Fireflies®, and a 10% discount will apply to Buttercups® if 6 consecutive kits or more are prepaid. Curriculum kits will automatically be shipped each month approximately 3 weeks in advance of use. Prepay adjustments or cancellations may be made at any time. Click here for more details.
Credit or debit cards are required when signing up for Monthly Automatic Shipping. Checks or money orders will not be accepted as payment. Credit or debit cards are automatically charged on the 5th of each preceding month and shipped thereafter. For example, September Fireflies® kits are charged August 5th and will ship within approximately one week after your card is charged. Prepay discounts do not apply. Monthly Automatic Shipping adjustments or cancellations may be made at any time. Click here for more details.
Because each child develops at their own pace, all Buttercups® activities are written for three age ranges. The first part of each activity is written to be most appropriate for 12-24 month olds; suggestions for older and younger children follow. Review the three options and choose the one that is most appropriate for each child at their level of development (regardless of their age).
After polling our customers for the past two years, the consensus has been to have a kit for children ages 6 - 36 months every two months. Activities for this age group are meant to be incorporated into children’s natural play and daily routines. They are busy learning how to crawl, walk, and talk. They know what they need to learn and they need abundant opportunities to repeat the activities they enjoy. The environment must support children’s growth and development needs. A 2-month kit provides you with numerous play-based activities related to each learning domain and suggestions to make the most of daily routines. Try those that are most appropriate for the children in your group and repeat favorites often.
In order to continue offering you a high quality curriculum, we have to occasionally increase the price of our kits. We know that child care providers and preschools are on tight budgets, and that the economic crisis of the past few years has further increased financial pressure. We face financial challenges as well. Here are a few reasons we have to increase prices:
1. Our prices for the raw materials in your kit increase each year. For example, in the last year alone, paper prices have increased by about 10%, and our cost of shipping to you has increased by 10%. The raw materials (paper, bags, craft supplies, boxes, packing tape, etc) make up almost 30% of the cost you pay for your kit, so those increases have a big impact.
2. So, why can’t we find cheaper suppliers? Many of the items in your kit might be produced by only one supplier and we have decided that some of those items are important because they are unique, safe for children, or important to a particular activity. Safety especially is a concern. We make sure that craft materials and paper we use in the kits meet the children’s safety guidelines for lead and other compounds as set forth by the CPSIA Act of 2008. Many of those things are produced in the USA vs. overseas and might be a bit more expensive, but we are guaranteed they’re safe for your children.
3. The product we make for you is really labor intensive. The curriculum writing, planning, artwork, invoices, and kits are all generated by our staff. Most of the craft items are purchased in bulk and then cut, counted, and packaged by hand. We hire skilled staff to do these things and have an obligation to pay them reasonable wages and benefits.
4. Why can’t we work a little harder and get more done with fewer people? Well, we do!! Constant effort is placed into building efficiencies into our processes. In fact, almost 1/3 of our staff has gone through formal Lean Enterprise training, which means we refine and change procedures so we can get more done each day without hiring additional staff.
We are always careful about raising prices, and only do so after careful examination of costs. We believe that we offer a great value for your dollar when you consider the time you save and the educational benefits to the children you work with. Please contact us if you have any additional questions.