Thursday, May 26, 2011

Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

I went into my first grader's classroom yesterday afternoon as a "Mystery Reader".  A mystery reader is just what is stated - the children didn't know who was going to be reading or what book would be read.  I kept it a secret even from my son. It was so fantastic seeing his face light up when he saw me in the classroom!

The book I chose was Have You Filled a Bucket Today?  by Carol McCloud, illustrated by David Messing, and I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone with young children.  It is an amazing book about how to find daily happiness and what kids can do to be happy and make others happy.

First I showed the kids a bucket (plastic summer pail) that I had drawn a smilie face on.  I asked why it was special.  The answers I received - because it had a face on it, because it was smiling. :)

Then I said I wanted to show them what was in it - I tipped it, pretending to "throw" what was in it onto them.  But the bucket was filled with NOTHING! (insert lots of laughs here from the kids)

I explained to the kids that the bucket wasn't filled now, but we were going to learn how to fill it by listening to the story, Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

The book starts out by saying everyone walks around carrying an invisible bucket.  The bucket holds your happiness.  When it's full, you are full of happiness.  When it's empty, you are lonely or sad.  You fill up other people's buckets when you show love, are kind, or do something to help them.  Your bucket also gets filled, because it makes you feel good when you do these things for others.  This is called being a bucket filler.

 There are also bucket dippers, the book goes on to say.  A bucket dipper is someone who "dips" into someone else's bucket, trying to take their happiness.  Bucket dippers are mean, make fun of others, and are bullies.  They think that by taking from everyone else's buckets, they can fill up their own bucket, but it never works.  Their bucket will always be empty. :(

After the story, I had the children discuss ways to fill up other's buckets.  They had a lot of terrific ideas.  Then I passed out a colorful shape of paper to each child and had them write or draw something nice for their teacher to put in the bucket.  We gave their teacher the filled bucket of the children's kindness.

Each child received their own bucket filled with happiness in the form of a cookie. :)

At the start of every day, ask yourself, "How can I fill a bucket today?"
And at the end of the day, ask yourself "Have I filled a bucket today?"

I hope your bucket is always filled with happiness!!



What a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

Tara @ Sweet T Cookies

Those are adorable! I'm sure your son's class were happy to see those:)

S Blumberg

I love this! I just ordered the book for my kids and will do activities you mentioned with them. Thank you for the great idea!


I love that Kara!! I might have to borrow your idea but have you make the cookies of course!

Lori Pasto

What an amazing story, Kara -- both the one you shared *and* the book!! You helped fill my bucket today! I can't wait to look for this book and get it -- it'll be a good one for gifts too! And -- lest we not forget the cookies . . . amazing! :)


LOVE LOVE THIS POST! In our house, we talk about filling our buckets all the time. We love that book! I am going to borrow your idea for my son's 1st grade class! New to your it!


Thank you, everyone! It was a lot of fun making the buckets and I really enjoyed getting to "teach" again. :) Welcome all who are new to my blog, especially Mom2Cuties! I don't blog every day, but I love sharing special cookie and baking stories - especially when it involves children, too!

I have to thank my sister, Therese, who discovered this wonderful book and shared it with us. :)

Carla Hagen

Love the cookies and what you did with the story in the classroom. I am going to order that book today.


Thanks, Carla! Your kids will love it - it really is a great book!


Love this post. This is my goal to encourage and build up others...I want to be a bucket filler :-) So glad I found your blog.


Thank you, Melissa! So kind of you to comment! :)


Thank you for your wonderful ideas!!! Myquestion is where did you find a cookie cutter to make buckets that match the book?


Thank you, Ms. Ellen. :) I do not have a bucket/pail cookie cutter so I improvised by using a large egg cutter, then cutting the sides at a slant and cutting the bottom flat. Hope this helps!