Feel Good Awards for Friends and FamilyI have been waiting and waiting to launch this post introducing you to a new fantastic company I am working with called Animal Jam by National Geographic Kids.  In their own words, “Animal Jam is a safe and exciting online playground for kids who love animals and the outdoors.”  In my words, Animal Jam is an awesome site for kids that love animals, playing games and doing awesome art, science and technology!  I got introduced to Animal Jam back in January at Alt Summit.  I semi stalked their sponsored dinner because I knew we’d be a great fit.  We both love learning and creating with kids and inspiring kids to think outside the box about the world around them.  This is the first in a series of posts I’ll be doing to introduce you to this great platform for kids.  I was totally inspired by all the medals Animal Jam has received, like The National Parents Publication Award, The Mom’s Choice Award, and  The Reader’s Choice Award.  It got me thinking about why we give and receive awards and the feelings that earning medals bring about.  Animal Jam received their awards for overall awesomeness when it comes to kids and animals.  I decided to make some medals of my own and bring some awesomeness into the lives of the people around me.  It totally worked too!  Here’s what we did.

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Feel Good Awards for Friends and FamilyFirst, make some awards.  I made these medals from sculpey, sharpiesribbons and pony beads.  They are pretty  simple to make.  First, make a ball about the size of a quarter from white sculpey and flatten with your thumb into a pancake.  I used a star stamper to imprint a star on mine.  I got this one at Lakeshore.  You can skip this part and just go straight to sharpies if you want.  Make a small hole with a pointy object like a toothpick or skewer towards the edge of the pancake.  Bake the sculpey following the directions on the label.  Get out your favorite sharpie colors or paint markers and decorate your award.  You can put initials on yours or a heart or a great design.  Anything goes.  Slip a ribbon through the hole.  You may have to cut the ribbon on a diagonal to fit it through the hole.  Take a pony bead and slip it over both ribbon strands so that it creates a necklace shape and the medal can lay flat.  Tie a knot on the end with the ribbon.

Feel Good Awards for Friends and FamilyI got a little fancy with mine and painted the stars with glitter paint.  You could easily use a metallic sharpie or paint pen for this as well.  Let the medals dry completely before giving awarding them to anybody.

Feel Good Awards for Friends and FamilyThink about the people in your life.  I bet when you think about it, there are a lot of great friends and family that you would like to give a medal to.

Feel Good Awards for Friends and FamilyI was delighted to see the response to these medals when I began to share them with some kids.  They were immediately intrigued and excited to wear them.  It was interesting to hear their responses to who they would give a medal to and why.  Surprisingly, a lot of the kids said themselves, with good reason too.  I heard comments like “I would give one to my teacher for being so nice and one to myself for having great ideas” or “I deserve an award for being a good friend and being creative.”  A lot of kids wanted to award their parents, which I was happy to hear and some wanted to give their siblings awards for being the best baseball player or for cheering them on at important events.  There was a really great vibe of positivity and kindness that the medals brought out in everyone.

Make your own medal from SculpeyMake your own medal from SculpeyFeel Good Awards for Friends and FamilyMake your own medal from SculpeyThanks so much to Animal Jam for inspiring awesome feelings and helping these kids take a moment to think about the great things about themselves and others.  I’m going to give out my own medals too.  One to my husband Ev, for being so loving and accepting and for being my best friend.  One to Gigi for being such a confident and unique person.  And one to my little d, for bringing so much joy into everyday of her life.  Who do you want to give a medal to?

Feel Good Awards for Friends and FamilyFeel Good Awards for Friends and FamilyThis post is sponsored by Animal Jam.  You’ll be hearing a lot more about them in the weeks to come.  In the meantime, check out Animal Jam Academy and read about some of the awesomeness they have been up to.  So excited to be working with this great company!