Kid Activities
1000's of Ideas for Childcare Professionals & Teachers!

Popcorn Theme: Page 1

September 20, 2010 06:12 by Barbara Shelby

Popcorn is great all year long! A wonderful theme for parties, National Popcorn Month (October), Popcorn Day (January 19),  Camp Days,  Afterschool programs, the End of the School year, and Autumn ---Also---Fun ideas to add to a Movie, Hollywood or Circus or Carnival theme!

 

GAMES

POPCORN RELAY RACE All it takes are two big bowls of popcorn and some small cups per team. Have kids run and get a cupful of popcorn and transfer it to the bowl across the room. The first team finished wins. Because of potential popcorn mess, this would be good played outside! The critters can eat what isn't’ swept up! (Play in gym if you’re brave!)

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POPCORN ON THE HEAD RELAY
• Split youth into two teams.
Give each team a cup of popcorn.
Have each player take turns walking with the cup of popcorn on their heads, across the room, around a chair and back to their team.
Play for a specified amount of time such as 2 minutes or more. The team that has the most popcorn left in their cup wins!

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STICKY POPCORN GAME
The children begin by "popping " around the gym as pieces of sticky popcorn, searching for other pieces of popcorn.
When two pieces of popcorn meet, they stick together.
Once stuck together, they continue to pop around together, sticking to even more pieces, until they end up in a big popcorn ball.

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POPCORN RACE
Give each player a straw and have them  select a popped kernel of popcorn.
Each player blows the popcorn with the straw to the end of a table.
First one to reach the end is the winner!

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POPCORN GUESSING GAME (Use flavor recipes listed below in 'Snack Section'  Recipes)

Prepare several different flavors of popcorn.
Blindfold players and feed them the popcorn; have them guess the flavor.

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PLAY POPCORN TOSS
1. Label plastic buckets OR containers with numbers such as 1, 5, and 10.
2. Place the buckets in a vertical line or triangle in progression from small numbers to large.
3. Players stand on a designated line and toss popcorn into the containers.
4. Add up their scores according to how much popcorn they got in each bucket.

*This can also be played in teams.

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PLAY BINGO USING POPCORN AS MARKERS! Be sure to have extra to munch!!!

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POPCORN-A DRAMA GAME All players find themselves a spot and squat down. The facilitator talks the group through the exercise.

“Everyone is a piece of corn, the floor is a big pan, and we’re going to make popcorn. --- We slowly start heating the pan”… As the pan gets hotter, the corn starts to `pop`.  A player `pops` by jumping up, clapping hands above their head, and saying `pop`. Make sure the `popping` starts gradually, `popping` is a group thing, and in the end, `popping` should stop.

  • Variation: Forget to take the pan off the fireplace, and have the popcorn start burning.

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POPCORN VOLCANO ERUPTION
1.
  Spread out a large clean sheet or large sheet of roll-paper on the floor; have the kids sit outside the edge.
2.  Set a popcorn maker in the center, and prepare popcorn according to directions. Do NOT put the lid on the popcorn maker!
3.  Watch the "volcano" erupt and shoot "hot lava" all over the sheet.
4.  Make sure that everyone stays away from the popper while it's on, so the kids don't get sprayed with hot oil or kernels.

If you are using an air popper (without the lid)--also have children stand back (it gets hot) -- watch the popcorn fly out. Pick up popcorn and enjoy!

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GUESS THE AMOUNT OF KERNELS

You can use popped corn or popcorn kernels. Just count the corn as you put it in the jar so you will know the correct answer. (Have children  write their name and estimate on a slip of paper.) The player who guesses closest to the correct answer wins the jar!

Guess how many popcorn are in the jar.

IDEA: If using kernels, tie a recipe to the jar for making/microwaving regular popcorn or caramel in a bag!

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POPPING POPCORN

(Use balloons and call them POPCORN !)

 

POP!
Pop yellow and white balloons instead of popcorn.
Use 9-inch balloons, fill a room, and instruct players to pop as many as they can.
You may wish to give younger children a straw or something simple to pop balloons with.
Older kids can stomp or sit on balloons to pop them.
The proof is in how many balloon remnants they collect. The one who pops the most-- wins.
Have a camera handy for this fun popcorn party game!

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POPCORN POPPED
Materials: Several white and yellow balloons (popcorn) and string 
• Each player is given two balloons to be inflated and tied around each ankle with a piece of string.
• Object of game is to burst the other players' popcorn balloons with their feet—no hands allowed.
• Winner is the last person with a popcorn balloon or balloons. Game can be played with or without boundaries.

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POPCORN PARACHUTE GAMES

POPCORN #1

Start with all players holding the chute stretched out. Throw as many soft balls as you have d onto the chute-the  more the better!
Holding the chute tightly, have children bounce the popcorn (balls)
as quickly as they can off of the chute.
Variation: Play this game in two teams. One side of children try to
bounce the balls off the chute, while the other side works at keeping the balls on the chute!

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POPCORN #2
Place a number of beanbags or cotton balls on the chute. Shake the chute to make them rise like popcorn.

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ART AND CRAFTS

POPCORN ART
Put out a bag of popped popcorn along with construction paper and art supplies-challenge children to come up with some creative art using the popcorn!
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 POPCORN COLLAGE
Colored Glue (can also use paint or food coloring mixed with glue)
Paper
Popcorn
Provide  many different colors of glue; glue should be thick enough to hold the popcorn
Paint a picture with the glue 
Press popcorn onto the painted parts

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DECORATE POPCORN BAGS!

Materials:
Small Paper Bags
Crayons, paint, markers, stickers, etc.
Popcorn
Put out a variety of markers, paint, stickers, etc. Decorate the bag in fun designs. Write the word 'Popcorn' on it. When complete, fill with popcorn! Enjoy! 

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CORN ON COB COLLAGE

Need:
Yellow and green construction paper, Glue, Un-popped popcorn
1. Cut a "corn cob" and "husks" out of paper. Glue the "husks" around the "cob".
2. Spread the glue on the "cob" and cover it with un-popped popcorn

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PUFFY POPCORN FLOWERS
Materials: Popped Popcorn, Powder Tempera Paint (any colors), Green Construction Paper, Glue, Cardboard
1.  Put handfuls of popped popcorn in plastic bag and add powdered tempera paint to each one.
2.  Shake well to distribute paint all over the popcorn.
3.  Cut stems and leaves out of green construction paper and glue them to cardboard.
4.  Glue on the colored popcorn to make flowers.
(Seasonal flower art towards page bottom)

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A SCIENCE AND ART LESSON FOR KIDS


Idea and sample provided by Carol Felixson in Los Angeles Times--May 5, 2004

 

POPCORN FLOWERS

There are several species of popcorn flowers. They are members of what is commonly known as the fiddleneck family of plants. Once the flowers open and bloom, they look like popped corn...The flowers have white petals with yellow 'kernels' in the center.
As an extension of this art idea--have kids research "Popcorn flowers"!

Materials:
Cardstock paper or poster board
Popped Popcorn
Red tissue paper
Green tissue paper
White glue
Water
Art Brushes

1. Cut strips and other shapes of blue and green tissue paper (sky and  ground)
2. Mix water and white glue until it has the same consistency as paint.
3. Working on one small section at a time, paint the mixture onto poster board with a brush.
4. Place a piece of tissue paper on top of each glued area. 5. Next "paint" over the top of the tissue. Let it dry.
6. Brush on a second coat of the glue and water.
7. Last use full-strength glue to paste popcorn on top of the tissue paper.
8. Once everything dries, outline the flowers with a marker.

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POPCORN SHAKER #1--RAIN STICK
Materials:
Cardboard Paper towel cylinder
Popcorn kernels
Paint
Paint brushes
Glue
Scissors
Scraps of material
Rubber bands or tape

1.  Paint cardboard tube and let dry.
2.  Cut two circles out of scrap fabric, big enough to cover the open ends of the cardboard tube.
3.  Place one fabric circle over tube end and secure with a rubber band or tape.(Tape if child is under 5 and rubberband if over 5)
4.  Add popcorn kernels to tube (About a tablespoon full).
5.  Secure second fabric circle over open end of tube with rubber band or tape.
6.  Hold tube in the middle and shake or turn to make "rain noise".

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PLASTIC SHAKER  #2

  • Find a clean, empty plastic container with a screw-on lid, such as a peanut butter jar or a individual serving juice or milk bottle.
  • Put a spoonful of popcorn kernels in the container.
  • Put some glue around the edge of the container and screw the lid on tightly.
  • Allow the glue to dry before shaking.
  • Decorate with stickers or colorful masking tape.

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#3 SHAKER--USE PRINGLES CAN

Put popcorn kernels inside of a Pringles can. Secure the plastic lid of the can with tape. Paint or cover the can with construction paper and shake it!

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FOOD CRAFT AND SNACK IN ONE!
POPCORN SCULPTING

Serves 4 to 8

Ingredients
1/4 cup margarine, plus 1 tablespoon extra
1 bag mini-marshmallows
12 cups popped popcorn
3 packages gelatin (such as Jell-O, 4 serving size), different flavors and colors as desired
Choice of the following foods, such as sprouts, celery sticks, carrot slices, raisins, pretzel sticks, etc.

Materials
3 bowls
Oven mitts
Wax paper or serving plate
Large wooden spoon
Large microwave-safe bowl or saucepan

1.  Place the margarine and the marshmallows in the microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the two on high for 1 to 2 minutes until the marshmallows are puffed.
2.  Using oven mitts, remove the bowl of marshmallows from the microwave. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon.
3.  Divide the popcorn into three separate bowls.
4.  Pour equal amounts of the marshmallow mixture over popcorn.
5.  Sprinkle a different color of gelatin over each bowl of popcorn and marshmallow mixture. Quickly stir with the spoon until the gelatin and marshmallow mixture evenly covers the popcorn mixture and let cool.
6.  Rub some margarine on your hands. Take some of the popcorn mixture and mold into an interesting form. Add different colors of the popcorn mixture to make different parts of the sculpture.
7.  Place the sculpture on wax paper or a serving plate. Add any of the remaining foods to make an interesting presentation of the sculpture just before serving. 

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SCIENCE, NATURE, MATH

 COMPARE STAGES OF POPCORN!
Purchase popcorn still on the ear at a specialty store.
Place this in the science center (table) along with un-popped popcorn, corn on the cob and popped popcorn. Have children observe the differences!  

You can make popcorn of this type in the micro-wave! Place one ear in one of the special microwave bags that come with the corn. Set  microwave oven for 2-3 minutes, and you've got popcorn right off the cob! 

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DANCING POPCORN -- Fill a clear cup  3/4 full with vinegar.  Add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. Drop in a few kernels of un-popped popcorn.  Watch as the kernels rise and fall.
Variations: Try substituting club soda for the vinegar and baking soda. You can also try using other objects like buttons or pebbles
.

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POPCORN GARLANDS FOR BIRDS!
If you leave popcorn out for a few days, it will get stale and hold
together better when strung. String popcorn with thread and needle. You can also add berries, dried fruits, nuts, and seeds, between the popcorn. Hang the popcorn garlands on tree branches outside for the birds.

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GROWING POPCORN IN A BAGGIE #1 
Instructions: Take a plastic zip-loc baggie, put cotton balls in it and saturate cotton balls with water. Put popcorn kernels into the bag; seal it and tape to a window. Add water as needed and watch the plants grow. Transfer to potting soil later. (It doesn't take much to get a popcorn kernel going! My grandson had a kernel lying on its side on the sink--in just a drop of water. In a couple days it was sprouting a small leaf and stem! Barb)

#2 SPROUTING POPCORN KERNEL

Place dirt in a small zip lock bag. Add water and a few kernels of popcorn. Seal the bag and hang in sunny window. The popcorn kernels will begin to sprout in about a week.

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MAKE A POPCORN BIRD FEEDER
Materials:
Pre-made popcorn
String
Pinecones
1. Securely tie string around the base of the pinecone.
2. Stuff premade popcorn in the crevices of  pinecone; stuff firmly so it doesn't fall out.
3. When the pinecone is filled--hang it outside...

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POPCORN SNACKS AND RECIPES

For loads of Popcorn Recipes, Snacks and Tips click here...

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POPCORN PARTY DECORATIONS 

 •String  popcorn and wrap it along railing, across curtains, from hanging lights, windows, etc.
 
Use a color scheme of yellow and white and  red...

Decorate with...yellow and red balloons; white and red streamers;  hang yellow and red curling ribbon from lots of places around the room. Use red and white striped aprons, tablecloths, napkins, cups. etc.

Rent a popcorn popper! It'll be the hit of the party; you can find them at most party supply stores.

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POPCORN TRIVIA
DID YOU KNOW ...

 

• If popcorn kernels dry out, they can be freshened by adding 1 or 2 tablespoons of water to the jar and shaking it.

• Corn was first grown about 7000 years ago in the highlands of central  Mexico, and by the first century B.C. was a staple crop of all the agricultural peoples in the Americas. One of the first uses of corn kernels was for popping.

• Archeologists found some popped corn in a bat cave in New Mexico that was 5,600 years old.

• Some Native American tribes popped corn right on the cob, by spearing the corn cob with a stick and holding it near the fire. The kernels would pop and stay attached to the cob.

• The colonists served popped corn for breakfast with cream poured on it.

• Americans consume 1.12 billion pounds of popcorn a year. (About 17 billion quarts of popped popcorn each year.) The average American eat over 65 quarts of popcorn per person a year.
 
• If popcorn is salted before the kernels are popped it become tough.

• When black popcorn is popped it become white.

Popcorn was actually the first food to be microwaved deliberately. In 1946 Dr. Percy Spencer of the Raytheon Corporation was experimenting with a magnetron (a new type of vacuum tube) when he noticed that the chocolate candy bar in his pocket had melted. He was curious, so he placed some popcorn kernels next to the magnetron and turned it on - the popcorn popped. After experimenting with various other food items (including an egg that exploded!), he and Ratheon realized they were on to something and continued on to develop the first microwave oven.

Click here for Page 2 of Popcorn Theme...

For loads of Popcorn Recipes, Snacks and Tips click here...

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Popcorn Theme: Page 2

September 19, 2010 06:07 by Barbara Shelby

POPCORN SEASONAL IDEAS...MUSIC & MOVEMENT...BOOK LIST AT PAGE BOTTOM!

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SEASONAL IDEAS...

   

SPRINGTIME CHERRY BLOSSOMS

Put POPPED popcorn and pink powdered tempera paint in a baggie and shake. They makes great cherry blossoms for an  art project! They look real...as in this cherry tree sample!

 

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 DOGWOOD FLOWERS
Have children draw a tree shape with branches. Glue on popped corn as the dogwood flowers. A pretty spring art project!

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 HALLOWEEN HANDS/FINGERS

  • Fill a clear plastic food handler's glove by placing one or two pieces of candy corn or raspberry shaped candy in the tip of each finger.
  • Fill the remainder of the glove with popcorn or cereal.
  • Tie with yarn or raffia.

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WINTER

 POPCORN SNOWMEN

 Ingredients: 2 ½ quarts popped corn
¼ Cup butter
1 pkg. 10 oz. Marshmallows
1 teaspoon Vanilla

  • Pop popcorn and set aside.
  • In a saucepan over low heat melt butter and marshmallows. Stirring constantly until smooth. Stir in vanilla.
  • Pour over popped pop corn and mix until well coated.
  • With buttered hands form into snowball shapes.
  • Make one large ball for the bottom, one medium ball and a smaller ball for the head.
  • Decorate with pretzel sticks, candy, raisins, or nuts for the eyes, nose, mouth and buttons.

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OUTDOOOR CREATURE POPCORN WREATH

Cardboard wreaths
Peanut butter
Birdseed
Popcorn

Cut wreath shapes out of cardboard. Give each child a wreath and a plastic knife to spread peanut butter over the wreath shape. Put birdseed over the peanut butter covered wreath. Use spots of peanut butter to "glue" pieces of popcorn onto the wreath in a bow shape. Hang the wreaths outside where they will be seen---good for birds and other outdoor creatures... 

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Go Natural for the Holidays! 
STRING TOGETHER PLAIN POPCORN and fresh cranberries into long, colorful swags
to hang on the tree, along the mantelpiece, or in the windows. (This is a great activity for the kids!) AFTER THE HOLIDAYS you can hang the strings outside for the birds to enjoy. Make these as a program activity. You can decorate your rooms before kids take them home!

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 POPCORN WREATHS

Ingredients:
1/2 cups popped popcorn
2 cups marshmallows
2 Tbsp. milk
5 Tbsp. Lime flavored jello
1 cup red and green fruit flavored candies
 
1. Put popcorn in large bowl.
2. Melt marshmallows over low heat; stir constantly.
3. Add milk and jello; stir till jello is dissolved.
4. Take off of stove; stir in the candy.
5. Pour over popcorn; stir to coat evenly
6. Lightly grease your hands. Shape about 4 heaping Tablespoons popcorn mix into wreath shapes
7. Lay on waxed paper to cool down completely. Make wreathes out of the rest of the mix.
8. Store in an airtight container 
Photo from Artists Helping Children

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MUSIC AND MOVEMENT

To make MUSIC POPCORN KERNEL SHAKERS--see Popcorn Art & Craft Section on Page 1

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POP, POP, POP MY CORN (Tune: Row, Row, Row Your Boat)
    Pop, pop, pop, my corn,
    Pop it big and white.
    Popping, popping, popping, popping
    Until it is just right.

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POP, POP, POPCORN! (Add dramatic play movement to words)
    Pop, Pop, Pop! Put the corn into the pot.
    Pop, Pop, Pop! Shake and shake it til it's hot.
    Pop, Pop, Pop! Lift the lid and what have you got?
    Pop, Pop, Pop! POPCORN!

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POPCORN IN A POT (Tune: I'm a Little Teapot)
    I'm a little popcorn in a pot
    Heat me up and watch me pop.
    When I get all puffed up, then I'm done.
    Popping corn is lots of fun.

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POPCORN BOOK LIST ... Pop up a big bowl of popcorn to enjoy while reading these fun books about popcorn...especially for kids!

 

The Biggest Popcorn Party Ever in Center County
By Jane Hoober Peifer, Marilyn Peifer Nolte (Illustrator)
Publisher: Herald Press (PA) (June 1987)
Previously reluctant to share their popcorn crop with friends, a barn fire pops Henry and Martha's stored kernels and they decide to have the grandest party ever.


Corn Is Maize (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)
By Aliki (Author, Illustrator)
Publisher: Collins (January 10, 1986)
Aliki tells the story of corn: How Native American farmers thousands of years ago found and nourished a wild grass plant and made it an important part of their lives. They learned the best ways to grow and store and use its fat yellow kernels. And then they shared this knowledge with the new settlers of America.

The Popcorn Book

Publisher: Holiday House (May 1984)
An entertaining variety of fun and scientific facts about popcorn.

By Tommie DePaola

 

 If You Take a Mouse to the Movies
By Laura Joffe Numeroff, Felicia Bond (Illustrator)
Publisher: Laura Geringer (2000)
If you take a mouse to the movies, he'll ask you for some popcorn. When you give him the popcorn, he'll want to string it all together. Then he'll want to hang it on a Christmas tree. You'll have to buy him one...


Popcorn
By Frank Asch
Publisher: CQ Products (November 1, 2007)
Join Sam the bear at his costume party, but don't forget to bring the popcorn!


Popcorn!
By Elaine Landau, Brian Lies (Illustrator)
Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing (February 2003)
A compilation of historical facts, legends, trivia, and recipes, featuring the popular snack food.


Popcorn
(Green Light Readers. All Levels)
By Alex Moran, Betsy Everitt (Illustrator)
Publisher: Green Light Readers (August 1, 2003)
A simple rhyme and vibrant illustrations show what can happen when a group of children and their animal friends put too many kernels in the pot.


Popcorn at the Palace
By Emily Arnold McCully
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books; 1st edition (September 15, 1997)
When young Maisie Ferris and her father take the long trip to England to try and sell popcorn to the English, they are a great success. But will her newfound fame get Maisie an audience with Queen Victoria, the person she'd most like to meet?


Popcorn Plants
By Kathleen V. Kudlinski, Jerome Wexler (Illustrator)
Publisher: Lerner Publications (July 1998)
Describes the life cycle of the popcorn plant from the time the farmer plants the seed until the kernel explodes.


Popped Culture: A Social History of Popcorn in America
By Andrew F. Smith
Publisher: Smithsonian Institution (January 1, 2001)
The history, legends and cookery of popcorn in America.


The Popcorn Dragon
By Jane Thayer, Lisa McCue (Illustrator)
Publisher: HarperCollins (August 22, 1989)
Dexter is a young dragon who loses his friends by showing off, but eventually wins them back by sharing his new found ability to pop popcorn straight from the husks.


The Popcorn Shop
(Hello Reader!-Level 3)
By Alice Low, Patricia Hammel (Illustrator)
Publisher: Scholastic (January 1994)
A popcorn machine goes haywire in this rhyming, easy-to-read Level 3 book for beginning readers.


The Popcorn Tree
By Carolyn Mamchur, Laurie McGaw (Illustrator)
Publisher: Fitzhenry and Whiteside; 1 edition (November 1, 1997)
As Mickey and Gary strung popcorn, their mother told them about olden days and the decorations from her childhood.


Science Fun With Peanuts and Popcorn
By Rose Wyler
Publisher: Little Simon (July 1986)
Experiments for home or the classroom with seeds and plants, showing what is inside seeds, how roots form, and how plants grow.


What Makes Popcorn Pop?
By Dave Woodside
Publisher: Atheneum; 1st edition (October 1980)
Traces the history of popcorn describing how to grow and prepare it, its varied uses, myths surrounding it, and what makes it pop.
Source:
The Popcorn Board

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This is page 2--back to  Popcorn Theme Page 1-Ideas good all year!

All kinds of Popcorn Goodie Recipes here...

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Popcorn Recipes, Snacks, Tips

September 18, 2010 14:51 by Barbara Shelby

Click here if looking for 'Popcorn Theme' Page

FYI: *Popcorn can be a choking hazard in young children--usually under 5--so take care when considering popcorn as a snack...(See note at the bottom of the page)

EASY CARAMEL CORN #1-Made in paper bag in micro-wave
3 quarts popped corn
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 stick of butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1. Put popcorn in a heavy paper bag.
2. Melt butter in a saucepan and mix together sugar, syrup, and salt.
3. Add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and stir well.
4. Pour into paper bag and stir with a wooden spoon. Put bag in microwave and cook on high for 1 1/2 minutes. Take out and shake well.
5. Cook for another 1 1/2 minutes. Shake bag again and pour into a large container.
6. Serve in paper baggies that kids can decorate.

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CARAMEL CORN #2
This recipe is very inexpensive and easy to make.
Ingredients:
One stick (equals 1/2 cup) butter or margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 Tbs. Light Karo syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking soda
Popped popcorn

  • Put one stick of butter or margarine in a medium saucepan; add one cup packed brown sugar (light or dark it doesn’t matter). Add 3 TBS. Karo Syrup.
  • Heat all ingredients over med until you start to see it bubble. Turn the heat to low and let it cook for 5 minutes (Do not stir during the five minutes)
  • Remove from heat and quickly add 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp baking soda.
  • Stir and quickly pour over a large mixing bowl full of popped corn. Mix it all up to get it evenly coated. Enjoy! 

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POPCORN 'SNACK MIX'
This snack mix relies on lightly sweetened popcorn to give it just the right flavor. Some prefer "Mallow Magic" popcorn from Jolly time. The "Caramel" flavor variety from Act II is also yummy-Or just use your favorite kettle corn.
To make this mix you'll need:
Popped "Mallow Magic" popcorn that is cooled--
Raisins
Dried sweetened cranberries
Small twist pretzels (hard type)
Multi-colored goldfish crackers

  • For a good sized group take 3 bags of popcorn, plus 1 bag of goldfish, 2 cups of pretzels, plus 1/2 cup each of raisins and dried cranberries. However you can make it -- in whatever proportion you like.
  • For a special treat, you can even add  some M&Ms.
  • Note: the "Mallow Magic" comes with packets of gooey icing to put over the top; it's not necessary. And of course it adds extra calories and sugar.

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POPCORN CAKE
Ingredients
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 quarts popped popcorn (16 cups - plain, unsalted, and unbuttered)
2 cups M&M candies
1 cup cocktail peanuts (lightly salted)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 pound marshmallows (mini or regular)
Cooking Directions
Grease a large tube or bundt cake pan with 2 teaspoons of the oil. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix the popped corn with the M & Ms and the peanuts.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter, oil, and marshmallows over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. When melted, pour over the popcorn mixture, and stir to combine. Pour into the prepared cake pan, pressing down to fit. Cover with aluminum foil to keep moist.

Let sit for 3 to 4 hours, or until firm and set.

To serve, invert the cake pan onto a large plate or platter. Shake gently to release.

Serve at room temperature.

Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, (his mother's recipe-from childhood) originally appearing in Emeril's "There's a Chef in My Family," HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 2004, courtesy Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc.

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RAINBOW POPCORN
I
ngredients
8 cups popped popcorn
1 cup peanuts (if no allergies)
1/4 cup butter or margarine
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar or granulated sugar
1 (3 1/2 ounce) package Jello gelatin, any flavor

Directions:
1.  Heat oven to 300°F Line a 15x10x1-inch pan with foil or parchment paper.
2.  Place popcorn and nuts in large bowl.
3.  Heat butter and syrup in small saucepan on low heat.
4.  Stir in sugar and gelatin.
5.  Bring to boil on medium heat.
6.  Reduce heat to low; gently simmer 5 minutes.
7.  Pour syrup immediately over popcorn, tossing to coat well.
8.  Spread popcorn in prepared pan, using two forks to spread evenly.
9.  Bake 10 minutes.
10. Cool.
11. Remove from pan and break into small pieces.

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 CARAMEL POPPED CORN, PRETZELS AND CANDY MIX  

16 c. popped popcorn
2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c. dark corn syrup
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 c. of M&M'S, raisins, chocolate mints
5 c. miniature pretzels
1 c. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. salted peanuts

1. Heat oven to 200 degrees. In large roasting pan combine popcorn and pretzels, set aside.

2. In 2 quart saucepan combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a full boil (12 to 14 minutes).

3. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until small amount of mixture dropped in ice forms a soft ball or candy thermometer reaches 238 degrees.

4. Remove from heat, stir in baking soda.
 
5. Pour over popcorn and pretzels, sprinkle peanuts over caramel mixture. Stir until all popcorn is coated.
 
6. Bake for 20 minutes, stir. Continue baking for 25 minutes. Remove from oven.
 
7. Stir in candy.

8. Immediately place caramel corn on waxed paper, cool.Break into pieces and store in tightly covered container.

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PARTY POPCORN

Ingredients:
1 package of vanilla almond bark 
Popcorn
Your choice of mini M&M's, chocolate chips, Peanut Butter chips and  peanuts.
 
Make as much popcorn as needed/desired.
Melt almond bark in microwave. Pour over popcorn.
Add more almond bark as needed. Mix in your choice (s) of the above ingredients.

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POPCORN SEASONING IDEAS
Using  popped popcorn...

•Regular buttered popcorn is always a favorite!

Sweet Cinnamon Popcorn-Shake popcorn with cinnamon sugar

Sprinkle parmesan or cheddar powdered cheese over buttered popcorn

Zesty Popcorn - Top popcorn with grated Parmesan, then spice it up with a dash of garlic salt--or add a little garlic salt and paprika for a fun flavor

Tex-Mex Popcorn- Add a pinch of chili powder or taco seasoning to melted butter, pour over popcorn and toss.

Pizza Popcorn- Mix a pinch of oregano, basil, and parsley in melted butter before tossing.

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CIRCUS SNACK MIX WITH POPCORN
Mix animal crackers, m&m's, raisins and popcorn. Add peanuts if there are no allergies. Yumm!

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POPPY (not Puppy) CHOW
(Just like Puppy Chow--but with popcorn instead of Chex Mix cereal)
 Ingredients:
2 quarts popped popcorn
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup confectioner's sugar

Place popcorn in a large bowl; set aside.
In a microwave safe bowl, combine butter, peanut butter and chocolate chips.
Microwave 2 minutes; stir until smooth.
Pour the chocolate mixture over the popcorn and stir until well coated.
Sprinkle Confectioner's sugar over popcorn and stir until coated.
Cool to room temperature before serving.
Store in airtight container, refrigerated, up to 24 hours.
Makes 2 quarts

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MILK CHOCOLATE POPCORN
12 cups popped popcorn
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2-1/2 cups (12oz can) salted peanuts
2 cups (11-1/2 oz bag) milk chocolate
1 cup corn syrup

In a large greased roasting pan, combine popcorn and nuts. In a separate large heavy saucepan, combine chocolate chips, corn syrup and butter. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils, stirring constantly. Pour over popcorn toss well to coat. Bake in a preheated 300 degree oven for 45 minutes stirring frequently. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Makes about 14 cups.

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POPCORN WITH CANDY BAR PIECES

Ingredients:
1 package (3.5 ounce size) microwave popcorn--or any pre-made popcorn
1 king-size bar chocolate-coated caramel-peanut nougat candy

Directions: Pop the popcorn according to the package directions. While the corn pops, cut the candy bar into 1/2-inch pieces. (Or put pieces on your pre-made popcorn)

Spread the popped corn onto a microwave-safe platter such as paper plates... Top with candy bar pieces.

Heat on full power in the microwave at 30 second intervals, or until candy is melted.

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POPCORN BALLS

CLASSIC MOLASSES POPCORN BALLS...a crisp-chewy caramel popcorn balls that taste similar to Cracker Jacks.

Ingredients:
1 C. granulated sugar (or brown sugar for riche flavor)
3/4 C. light corn syrup
1/4 C. molasses
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
8 quarts (1 gallon) popped popcorn, unpopped kernels removed

1. In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, molasses, butter, and salt.
2. Bring to a simmer, and cook over medium for about 3 1/2 minutes.
3. Pour mixture over popcorn.
4. Mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula.
5. With greased hands, form into popcorn balls.
6. Let cool on greased baking sheets or waxed paper.
If desired--add peanuts to popcorn mixture.
Makes about 40 popcorn balls. Great in Autumn and Halloween Time! 

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CHOCOLATE POPCORN BALLS

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 stick butter
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 cups popcorn, popped

1. Prepare popcorn and set aside in a large bowl sprayed with cooking oil.
2. Combine sugar, corn syrup, butter, cocoa, and salt in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling.
3. Pour mixture over popcorn and stir well to coat thoroughly. Form into 3 inch balls and allow to cool.
4. Alternately: Heat mixture in a large pot and add the prepared popcorn to the pot, heating and stirring for a couple of minutes. Sometimes this method makes it easier to coat popcorn thoroughly.

Don't burn fingers; this mixture is hot! Butter  hands before forming balls. Allow to cool slightly if necessary.
Wrap finished popcorn balls in cellophane or plastic wrap. They can also be stored  in an airtight container.

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COLORFUL POPCORN BALLS

Ingredients:
2 c. light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 lg. box of any colored/flavored gelatin dessert
20 cups popped popcorn
1. Combine sugar and syrup and boil for 1 minute. Do not stir.
2. Add Jell-o and mix. Pour over popcorn and mix well.
3. Add sprinkles if desired.

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EASY POPCORN MARSHMALLOW BALLS
This easy popcorn ball recipe makes chewy, rich popcorn balls that are similar to Rice Krispies treats.  Makes about 30 medium sized popcorn balls.
Ingrdients:
1/2 C. butter
1 lb. bag of mini marshmallows
1/2 C. brown sugar, firmly packed
6 quarts (24 C.) air-popped popcorn (unpopped kernels removed)

1. In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.
2. Stir in brown sugar. Cook over low, stirring, until dissolved, about two minutes.
3. Add marshmallows. Melt into butter mixture, stirring constantly. Do not burn.
4. Pour marshmallow mixture over popcorn. Mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula.
5. With greased hands, form your popcorn marshmallow balls.
6. Let balls cool on greased cookie sheets or waxed paper.

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TIPS ON MAKING POPCORN BALLS...
1. If using add-ins, add them after you combine the popcorn and caramel-syrup recipe of your choice. Stir well, then form into balls.
 
2. It's easiest to form popcorn balls while mixture is hot-- get helpers to make the process move along quickly.

3. Keep a bowl of cold water handy to cool your hands if hot popcorn mixture starts to burn.

4. Taking out the unpopped kernels is key-- unless you want to break a tooth. An easy way to do this is to use your hands to scoop the popped popcorn into another container. All of the unpopped corns will fall to the bottom.

5. For colored popcorn balls, pour a few drops of food coloring into the caramel or marshmallow mixture before adding to popcorn. Make the color brighter than you need, as the pale-colored popcorn will dilute any coloring.

6. Resist the urge to over-pack your popcorn balls. Tightly packed popcorn balls are hard and not very tasty.

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POPCORN BALLS CAN BE DECORATED for any occasion: Halloween, Christmas, birthdays... you name it.
DECORATION IDEAS...

• Food coloring for colored popcorn balls
• Edible glitter
• Melted white, milk, or dark chocolate (drizzled)
• Melted peanut butter or butterscotch chips (drizzled)
• Candies, such as candy corns, jelly beans, red hots, etc.
• Black licorice for "spider legs"
• Gummy "body parts"
• Gummy worms
• Popcorn Ball Add-ins:
    Nuts (peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, etc.)
    Chocolate or white chocolate chips
    Peanut butter or butterscotch chips
    Toffee bits
    Melted peanut butter (add to caramel/marshmallow mixture)
    Sprinkles
    Cocoa powder or baking chocolate (add to caramel/marshmallow mixture)
    Mini or regular M&M's
    Graham cracker pieces
    Dried fruit
    Sweetened flaked coconut
    Alternative flavoring extracts: coconut, almond, rum, maple, peppermint, etc.

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...SCULPTING, SEASONAL, & HOLIDAY POPCORN IDEAS

AUTUMN PUMPKIN PIE POPCORN AND RAISIN MIX

1 bag low-fat microwave popcorn
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup California Raisins
1 (5-ounce) package glazed pecans
Butter-flavored non-stick cooking spray
 
1. Microwave popcorn according to package directions and empty into a large bowl. Remove all unpopped kernels.
2. Stir sugar and pumpkin pie spice together in a small bowl.
3. Spray popcorn liberally with cooking spray and toss to coat evenly. Add raisins and pecans.
4. Sprinkle with sugar and spice mixture and toss until popcorn is well coated.
Makes 12 (1-cup) servings.

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POPCORN PUMPKINS

1. Microwave and melt 1/4 c. margarine/butter and 10 1/2 oz. of mini marshmallows for 1-2 min.

2. Stir in a 4 serving size orange Jell-O; after it is combined, pour it over 3 qts of popped popcorn (12 cups)

3. Grease/butter hands and form the popcorn into pumpkin-shaped balls.

4. Complete pumpkin features with a green spearmint candy for the top stem and chocolate chips and M&Ms for the face. (Or just add a leaf for a plain pumpkin)

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  HALLOWEEN HANDS/FINGERS

Fill a clear plastic food handler's glove by placing one or two pieces of candy corn or raspberry shaped candy in the tip of each finger.

Fill the remainder of the glove with popcorn or cereal.

Tie with yarn or raffia.

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HOLIDAY POPCORN WREATHS

Ingredients:
1/2 cups popped popcorn
2 cups marshmallows
2 Tbsp. milk
5 Tbsp. Lime flavored jello
1 cup red and green fruit flavored candies
 
1. Put popcorn in large bowl.
2. Melt marshmallows over low heat; stir constantly.
3. Add milk and jello; stir till jello is dissolved.
4. Take off of stove; stir in the candy.
5. Pour over popcorn; stir to coat evenly
6. Lightly grease your hands. Shape about 4 heaping Tablespoons popcorn mix into wreath shapes
7. Lay on waxed paper to cool down completely. Make wreathes out of the rest of the mix.
8. Store in an airtight container 
Photo from Artists Helping Children

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SNOWBALL POPCORN BALLS
For 10- 3" Balls you need: 8 cups popped corn-unsalted, 1/4 cup butter/margarine, 1 cup light brown sugar, 1/2 cup light corn syrup, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, 1-cup cold water, additional margarine for hands, optional candy thermometer
  • Remove all un-popped kernels from popped corn.
  • In large saucepan melt butter over medium heat.
  • Add the brown sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup water. Stir and bring to boil.
  • Boil until syrup reaches soft ball consistency (235 F) or until a tsp. of syrup dropped into a cup of cold water forms a pliable dough-like ball.
  • Pour the syrup over the popped corn and stir until well coated.
  • With buttered hands--shape the popcorn into balls"!  Source: The book 'Snacktivities!' by MaryAnn F. Kohl and Jean Potter,Robins Lane Press 2001.

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POPCORN BALLS on CANDY CANE HOOKS

Make popcorn balls and put the straight end of a miniature candy cane into each one.
Sprinkle colored sugar onto the balls before they harden.
Wrap in colorful cellophane.
The popcorn ball ornaments will have built-in peppermint tree hooks.
Note: These make great gifts!

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CHRISTMAS "RED AND GREEN" POPCORN

Make popcorn any way you'd like.
Once it's done popping, spread out on a cookie sheet. 
Drizzle red and green food coloring over the entire batch of popcorn.
Mix well until you have your desired Christmas colors.

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 POPCORN SNOWMEN

Ingredients: 2 ½ quarts popped corn
¼ Cup butter
1 pkg. 10 oz. Marshmallows
1 teaspoon Vanilla

  • Pop popcorn and set aside.
  • In a saucepan over low heat melt butter and marshmallows. Stirring constantly until smooth. Stir in vanilla.
  • Pour over popped pop corn and mix until well coated.
  • With buttered hands form into snowball shapes.
  • Make one large ball for the bottom, one medium ball and a smaller ball for the head.
  • Decorate with pretzel sticks, candy, raisins, or nuts for the eyes, nose, mouth and buttons.

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FOOD CRAFT AND SNACK IN ONE!
POPCORN SCULPTING

Ingredients
1/4 cup margarine, plus 1 tablespoon extra
1 bag mini-marshmallows
12 cups popped popcorn
3 packages gelatin (such as Jell-O, 4 serving size), different flavors and colors as desired
Choice of the following foods, such as sprouts, celery sticks, carrot slices, raisins, pretzel sticks, etc.

Materials
3 bowls
Oven mitts
Wax paper or serving plate
Large wooden spoon
Large microwave-safe bowl or saucepan

1.  Place the margarine and the marshmallows in the microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the two on high for 1 to 2 minutes until the marshmallows are puffed.
2.  Using oven mitts, remove the bowl of marshmallows from the microwave. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon.
3.  Divide the popcorn into three separate bowls.
4.  Pour equal amounts of the marshmallow mixture over popcorn.
5.  Sprinkle a different color of gelatin over each bowl of popcorn and marshmallow mixture. Quickly stir with the spoon until the gelatin and marshmallow mixture evenly covers the popcorn mixture and let cool.
6.  Rub some margarine on your hands
. Take some of the popcorn mixture and mold into an interesting form. Add different colors of the popcorn mixture to make different parts of the sculpture.
7.  Place the sculpture on wax paper or a serving plate. Add any of the remaining foods to make an interesting presentation of the sculpture just before serving. 

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*At what age should children be allowed to eat popcorn?
With its sharp edges and kernel flakes, popcorn is one of those foods that can even get caught in an adult's throat, causing gagging and choking. "I'd say 4 years is the youngest age when you should let a child eat popcorn," says Susan Moores, a registered dietitian in St. Paul, Minnesota, and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. When your child does start eating popcorn, take the bag or bowl away from him after the fluffy stuff is gone. The unpopped and half-popped kernels that fall to the bottom can get caught in your child's throat and block his airway.

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BE SURE TO VISIT THE  Popcorn Theme Page! Great fun for kids! Games, Art, Crafts, Music-Movement, Science and a Book List...

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