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Stuffies Help Children With Emotional Development

Cuddle Up Challenge

Stuffie Emotional Support Partners
connect bridges between children’s hearts and minds?

Think about your own comfort item as a child. Was it a blankie or a stuffie or both?

by Jodee Kulp

Emotional Development of a child provides confidence and strength as an adult. Healthy positive relationships without trauma allow children to develop compassion, empathy, and an understanding of right and wrong. They learn to trust.

Stuffies are filled with what Furry the Penguin calls “Stuffun-La-Muffins.”

Stuffies provide unbiased consistency by simply being available as a silent emotional support partner.

Emotional Support Partners are important in the development of children and actually help build skills in emotions, language, social skills and belief in the impossible.

Here are 4 ways a beloved Stuffie helps a child develop emotionally.


  1. Stuffie touch is powerful and cuddling with a soft Stuffies give children the touch of a friend. Children cuddle into the warmth and softness. Healthy soft touch provides a sense of peace.
  2. Stuffies are calming. Stuffies can help children calm and soothe when life is hard. Stuffies can help distract from a painful experience or give a child courage to face a procedure. They can also become the training wheels to love a pet or as Furry did to connect with other children.
  3. Stuffies help self-soothe. Stuffies help a child self-soothe without the help of mom or dad or grandparents. Stuffies are a source of stress relief. Stuffies give emotional well being when life can be scary, strange or just new.
  4. Stuffied encourage development of empathy and compassion. Stuffies are loveable and children connect to them.


  1. Stuffies whisper nice things to children and help them work out unsolved problems by speaking the problem aloud plus children whisper nice things back to Stuffies. They practice positive and loving speech.
  2. Stuffies listen. Stuffies know how to remain quiet when a child is talking and not step on their thoughts or words. You can tell a story to a stuffie and they pay attention to every word.
  3. Stuffies are available. Stuffies never ignore a child when a child needs comfort. Stuffies do not take time to watch a sports show, talk on the phone, play video games or look at their cell phones. Unless Stuffies are pretending they are usually not busy with laundry, or work, or cleaning.
  4. Stuffies understand what you are saying. Stuffies know and understand the language of each special child.


  1. Stuffies understand acceptance. Stuffies help children test emotions. Sometimes we are kissed, pulled, and dropped. Stuffies are positive and they help increase the positive.
  2. Stuffies practice life skills. Stuffies are fed and put to bed. Stuffies play doctor and dentist, they ride buses, and trains, and go to school. They help build the responsibility of caring for another thing, remembering to pick it up and keeping track of a Stuffie so you do not lose your friend. Stuffies usually need care and attention daily especially in the early morning and going to bed times.
  3. Stuffies go places. Stuffies become the transitional object that allows a child to feel safe and connected in new or more challenging environments (doctors, hospitals, visiting others). Stuffies feed imaginations and are great at pretending.
  4. Stuffies are friends. Stuffies are friends that love you just for being you in all your good behavior and behavior others may not understand. Stuffies are often a child’s first playmate or the playmate available when friends return home.


  1. Stuffies provide possibilities. We can’t tell you why or how, but when a Stuffie becomes REAL to a child it increases – confidence, courage, and creativity.
  2. Stuffies create goal setting. Children learn to plan new events with stuffies. They can practice their events and then be more confident when working toward the goal. Stuffies encourage children to try new things.
  3. Stuffies reach inside. Somehow a Stuffie reaches the kindness of the heart of a child and from that kindness of Stuffun-la-Muffins – the child’s lovely heart emotions for nurturing another also grow.
  4. Stuffies are conversation starters. Stuffies help children say things they may be afraid to say alone and in Furry the Penguin’s case, started a whole Kindergarten talking with a a little boy who did not have words in school.


Visit Furry The Penguin Shoppe
Click photo to purchase.

Furry The Penguin
is a Member of the Aurora
Sweet and Softer Collection.

9.5″ PERKY PENGUIN –“Mac named him, FURRY”
Silky soft and sweet to the touch!


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Be A Friend – Acceptance and Inclusion

School is starting and we are filling backpacks and getting into a routine of starting our day with our children.

School has already started for some.  Right now it is a good time to have a discussion with our kids about how to be a friend. It is especially important in having discussions about how to be a friend to children with special needs.

We need to teach ACCEPTANCE of what it means to be a good friend.
If we start teaching FRIENDSHIP maybe, just maybe we can stop bullying.

For kids with disabilities, school is scary and often very lonely.  Your child and your lessons can make a difference for those children and help them start the school year on the right foot or wheel whatever the mode of transportation.  In every classroom in our country or the world, there are children who have differences, visible and invisible disabilities, or with social struggles.  We all have Differing Abilities as we are all Unique. We all have strengths and purpose to bring to our classrooms, schools and the world.


Teaching about Friendship with those who have Differing Abilities

Acceptance, Understanding, Inclusion, and Caring.

AAcceptance that we all have differences. Everybody Matters
CCare about including Everyone.
CCompassion to reach out for someone who is sitting alone or struggles with having a friend. Be Understanding.
EEmpower your Friend.  Speak up for your friend if someone is teasing or not including someone.
PPatience and Kindness.
TTalk to your friend about what they like and talk clearly and ask them questions. Teach by being a good example.
AAbility find your friends ability and find out the interests you share in common and just play. Ask questions if you are wondering.
NNotice what a friend does well and where they have a challenge, then find ways to help your friend.  See a need, fill a need.
CCreate a friendship with someone who needs a friend and invite them to your birthday party or to do an activity outside of school.
E Everyone needs a friend! Help your friend to be included with Everyone. Invite others to play or do an activity at lunch or the playground. No one should ever be sitting alone.

“Furry The Little Penguins That Could” 

When we teach our kids to CARE,


we are all EMPOWERED.


We will have better schools, caring communities and a KINDER WORLD.

These are important skills our children will have for life.

And maybe, just maybe EVERYONE will have a FRIEND.



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23 Preschool Words Account for 96% of English Language

That’s right 23 Preschool Words!
A study of children in a childcare setting functioning at age-appropriate developmental levels showed that the following 23 words accounted for 96% of the language used over a three day period.

23 Preschool Words in descending columns of the frequency of use:

yes/yeaisgoonoutall done
Furry The Little Penguins That Could Curriculum
Email – [email protected] to get our complete FREE CURRICULUM

Shared Reading with non-verbal
emergent readers.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is an increasingly prevalent option for individuals with delays or disorders in their expressive communication abilities. For school-aged children, the use of research-based language selection and well-designed AAC systems are integral to academic success.

To read more on this complex and unique study download The Dynamic Learning Maps Core Vocabulary Overview developed by the DLM Professional Development Team at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Note: These core boards should never replace a well constructed currently available device/system.


The final 36 core words have been researched by the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies and reflect words that are most commonly used in a classroom setting. In addition, Furry adds words that allow class participation for all children. Furry – The Little Penguins That Could Curriculum uses the 36 ACC Project Core cards as indicators, you are free to use any of the many varieties of cards. A full range of ACC free downloads are available at:

For example, Chapter One in Furry The Little Penguins That Could Curriculum begins with learning the DLM Core Vocabulary word “I’ and for fun Furry added “penguin”. Children learn best by playing together and we have designed this curriculum so almost any child can participate in shared reading.

Furry The Little Penguins That Could
curriculum utilizes the work of the
Center for Literacy and Disabilities Studies.

The DLM Core Vocabulary Project was initiated to determine the vocabulary that is necessary for students with significant cognitive disabilities to engage, learn, and demonstrate knowledge in an academic environment. Instead of identifying every possible word, the goal was to identify and prioritize the smallest set of required words.

The first 40 words in the DLM Core Vocabulary:

5memakeget look
10open turnstopover

The first set of 40 words was designed to create groupings of words that could help students with both communication and language growth. The words are organized in groups of 4 that lend themselves to expression and modeling of language usage.


Try out the FREE Communication Training Series Webinars

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Getting Started

  • Read Furry – The Little Penguins That Could to yourself so you:
  • Know the story and characters. Think about the students you have in your classroom.
  • Can this story help children enjoy reading?
  • Will this book help your students value each other’s differences?
  • Will the lessons learned in this book empower the children to develop friendships and acceptance that encourage inclusion?

How do I get started with The Furry Curriculum?

Start by surveying your students

We hope that Furry will make a difference to enhance the love of reading and increase inclusion, friendships, and acceptance in your school and community. We ask that you join us to create an evidence-based curriculum for all students.

The Elementary Reading Attitude Survey can be administered to an entire classroom in about 10 minutes.

The survey consists of 20 questions using the cartoon character Garfield to provide a quick indication of students’ attitudes toward reading.

We recommend administering this assessment before beginning the Furry curriculum and then administering after completing the Furry curriculum.

The Elementary Reading Attitude Survey can be found at

Note: The Professor Garfield Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational collaboration between Paws, Inc., the global headquarters for Garfield the Cat, and Ball State University, a nationally recognized leader in teacher training and digital education.

Let’s get started.

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Stuffed Animal Sleep Overs Encourage Reading

Homeschool learning ideas

Did you know Stuffies can help children learn to read?

Stuffies do not care about difficulty sounding out words or missing a word or getting frustrated. They are designed to listen quietly.

One way parents have discovered to help children learning to read is take a stuffie to the library and leave it for a sleepover.  The stuffie job is exploring the library to look and read and listen to books specially picked for the child. Pictures are taken of the Stuffie reading favorite books so when

Children take their toys to a library for the night and drop them off before going home.

The animals then ‘search’ for books they want to read in the children’s absence – staff and volunteers take staged photos of the animals exploring the library and reading together.

The next day, the children collect their stuffed animals and the photos of what they did during the night.

They’re also given the books their animals ‘chose’ to read.


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You Can Be S.M.A.R.T. at Home


S.M.A.R.T. is a developmental approach to teaching that takes advantage of current brain research. Its developmental approach is a critical and foundational part of learning readiness! Students who have developed mature readiness skills through S.M.A.R.T. have shown an increased attention span, ability to focus, and improved reading scores.

S.M.A.R.T. (Stimulating Maturity through Accelerated Readiness Training) integrates fun and challenging physical activities into the classroom that are designed to prepare the brain for reading and learning in a way that traditional instruction does not. Compatible with any existing curriculum, the multi-sensory activities stimulate the brain and increase its capacity to learn.

Simple Preschool Readiness Games
To Play Together With Very Young Child

Put the Rabbit in the Hole Game:

Tell the child to put the rabbit into the hole and he/she will do the necessary repetitions happily (up to ten reps, with longer and longer spaces between the targets. The path to the target will be wobbly at first but the job of starting and finishing a line is basic and fun.

V   V   V       V         V

O   O   O       O         O

Put the Apples on the Tree Game:

Draw a simple tree and have the child put apples on it. The apples will be varied squiggles for a time, but eventually round out and become more circular.

Dr. Lyelle Palmer, co-developer of the S.M.A.R.T. program shares, “The responsibility for success lies with the teacher/trainer in knowing both the content and the students and also have appropriate measures for regular feedback to all and appropriate action in response to that feedback. One of my goals is for all students to master the content to the level I have in mind.”

The S.M.A.R.T. Program integrates movement stimulation for kinesthetic, tactile, visual, and auditory stimulation to produce unprecedented results. Young children must move and some moves are better than others. Dr. Palmer shares his Reading Readiness charts with us.

Thousands of teachers have been trained in school teams (including the physical education teacher) for brain stimulation in the classroom, gymnasium/floor, and playground. A huge part of the program is movement activities that produce high levels of agility and coordination, strength, endurance, and flexibility.

Valuable Wisdom from Dr. Lyelle Palmer:

S.M.A.R.T. research has found more efficient ways to teach common knowledge for emergent readers. Young children are vulnerable to confusion in the testing/guessing environment when confronted with difficult/advanced choices. We want students to concentrate on the content rather than the process. We want to process to become automatic and unmediated. These distinctions are important for speed and accuracy. Our letters and words are tools that we use for construction.

The Right/Left Choice:
The S.M.A.R.T program does not teach left and right because teaching both together can confuse some children for life. S.M.A.R.T. only teaches right and when individuals know “right” direction. The person then automatically know anything that is not the “right” direction is “left”.

The Upper/Lower Case Choice:
Early letters are all upper case where confusion is minimal. Separate each letter and teach individually on different days and do not compare them during teaching. This rule applies to all pupils. Kids learn to read easier in capital letters. Lower case letters are presented in late K or first grade. Once young children master the Uppercase letters, the lower case is presented. Only seven or eight letters are different from the upper case forms (Bb, Dd, Ee, Gg, Hh, Qq, Rr).

The b d p q Choice:
Once all Uppercase letters are solid, B D P Q are introduced as individuals in contrasting presentations such as B b O o. S.M.A.R.T. never teaches lowercase b d p q in the same lessons. In fact, the program uses great care to not show them together. The letters b d p q follow the same principle as the “right” principle. S.M.A.R.T. strives to prevent the possibility of confusion by not adding in extra work. This creates the automatic mastery without the need for thinking about differences (automatic means not thinking about differences).

Use ballpoint pens not pencils with erasers: What?
Use ball point pens (crayons, markers, paint) in order to prevent corrections. Students can put a bracket around an error to show that they know the error, but proceed with the correction. A GREAT deal of time in classrooms is wasted by some children who spend all of their time erasing and the production is never satisfying. Knowing an error and trying again is an additional life skill.

S.M.A.R.T. uses lined paper.
The purpose of lined paper is to give the pupil structure as to where letters begin and end. Without lines anything goes and the child is unprepared for early academics.

Children will develop eye-hand coordination
beginning at ages 2 1/2 – 3 when we make it fun
to draw vertical lines beginning at the top mark
(dot or circle) and draw the line downwar

S.M.A.R.T. works to spare children arm/hand/finger fatigue from undue pressure and better control.
S.M.A.R.T. teachers may use paint instead of crayons, markers or pens. They may place a sponge beneath the paper so that pressure punctures the paper to help the child work to lessen the pressure. Taping papers/templates to the wall or easel forces the child to use the entire arm and develop control without pressing down so hard. Pencil grippers also help. Upper case letters for younger children provide longer strokes and create a base of coordination for later use with lower case letters.

S.M.A.R.T. Tracing is not practice,
it is instruction with instant feedback.

Tracing lines and outlines on wall posters is also necessary. Play “Drivers Ed” found on page 70 of Get to the CORE of Readiness.

So what is S.M.A.R.T.?

Simulating – Brains learn by seeing, hearing and touching things many, many, many times.
Maturity – Brain stimulation through the S.M.A.R.T. Pre-K program aims to mature sensory pathways of vision, auditory and tactile/kinesthetic.
Acceleration – To help messages travel in our brain with efficiency and speed.
Readiness – Creating foundation skills so the Brain Stem can perform automatic functions and the Cortex can perform higher functioning work.
Trains – The body and brain to be ready to learn

Compared to norms, half of the students in the Stimulating Maturity through Accelerated Readiness Training (S.M.A.R.T.) program achieve at the 75 percentile on formal and informal tests, and 25% are in the top 10 percentile.

Remember lines before circles!


Furry and the Stuffies are on board with the Minnesota Learning Resource Center and the S.M.A.R.T. Program. A 2011 study found that children who received S.M.A.R.T. programming maintained their reading gains through second grade, while more than half of the control students were failing again in reading by second grade.

We highly recommend you purchase S.M.A.R.T. Pre-K Program Guides CORE and MORE. Or attend the ACTG Teachers Classes!

Learn more?