The Incredible Years® Blog

Leave a comment

Gardstunet Barnehage School in Norway uses Puppets to Engage Children

At the Gardstunet Barnehage School in Norway, Incredible Years implementation is incorporated into children’s daily activities. This includes a teacher whose full time duty is to “be” the Molly puppet used in IY! Molly accompanies the students throughout the day and encourages the different concepts taught in Incredible Years (such as problem solving, coping strategies, social skills, and being gentle). We previously wrote about this school when Dr. Webster-Stratton went for a visit earlier this year.

Here are two videos from a day in the life at the Gardstunet Barnehage school. Watch as Molly helps the children feed horses and play on a swing set. (The videos are in Norwegian, but even if you don’t understand the language, it still clearly shows the children are interacting with Molly and how the teacher facilitates their positive interactions!)

Leave a comment

Promoting Healthy Activity in Kids ~ Incredible Adventures of Wally: Sports Edition (Part 3)


Wally completes his tour of Seattle sports with a visit to the Mariners, where he hits a home run and helps win the game! Wally has enjoyed learning more about all of these sports teams and the hard work that goes into each sport. He also has realized how much he has enjoyed being part of a team and being active.

Even though Wally has to retire from professional sports, he still plans to spend lots of time outside this summer with his friends, playing and teaching them all the things he learned in football, soccer, and baseball!

He hopes the other kids will join and see how fun it is to play together outside, release energy, be creative, and spend time socializing with each other.

Until next time!


~The Incredible Years


Leave a comment

Promoting Healthy Activity in Kids ~ Incredible Adventures of Wally: Sports Edition (Part 2)


In our previous post, Wally helped us see how fun it can be to get outside, enjoy some sports, and play with friends and family! Well, Wally decided to take a break from Football after he lost his ball in the tree, and try his hand (or should we say “foot”??) at soccer instead! Besides, he didn’t like wearing a football helmet and his mother insisted he must if he were to play this game.


Wally didn’t like wearing the heavy football helmet, but Carolyn insisted he must.


To prove her point, Carolyn put the helmet on also – to show Wally it’s not so bad. Then she realized Wally was right – it WAS really heavy! These two will have to stick to “non contact” sports, we think!

Does it seem like Wally is flip flopping a bit? Should he give up on football so easily? Should he be bouncing around to different sports, or stick to one and become really proficient at it? Maybe that sounds like a silly question, but it’s one that many parents have asked themselves. Where is the line between promoting your child’s perseverance, commitment, and ability to follow the rules, and letting him make his own decision to give up because it is hard work or he doesn’t like the rules?

Being child-directed, or child-led, is a really important way of letting your child explore his likes and dislikes. This allows your child to develop his or her own individuality and discover what activities are truly enjoyable. Of course, it’s good to promote perseverance – if something is difficult, that doesn’t mean it can’t also be fun. Striking the balance between encouraging your child to be persistent while still allowing them the freedom to explore options and do something else is key!

Through exploration and play, children will learn which activities are right for them. It might be a team sport such as soccer, football, golf, swimming, softball, rugby or basketball, or a more individual sport such as running, walking, gymnastics, learning to yoyo or joining the circus! (It happens!) The take away point should always be focused on physical and mental health and, particularly for children, having fun and spending time together as a family and with friends.

Leave a comment

Promoting Healthy Activity in Kids ~ Incredible Adventures of Wally: Sports Edition (Part 1)


Wally, like many young children, loves to play outdoors. In this series about promoting healthy activity in kids, we’ll follow Wally as he tries out for different sports, and also consider the benefits of exercise and outdoor play for children.

You may remember when Wally and the whole puppet gang decided to start exercising back in October (if not, refresh your memory by clicking here!).  We shared an article that showed how the Incredible Years programs had been linked to healthier outcomes and lower rates of obesity. You can read that article here. 

In Part 1 of this series, let’s consider some of the benefits of exercise, sports, and outdoor play for children. With summer on it’s way, this is a great time for families to start planning play time outside all together! Spending time playing together outside fosters family bonding and helps children see how physical activity can be fun. Especially for younger children, try not to impose rules but instead allow them to be child-directed and explore different sports and games.

You can bring a variety of options to the park and try out some different games like tag, kicking the ball around, or playing catch.  This sort of play promotes hand-eye coordination and motor skills, and it can also be a wonderful way to foster your child’s imagination and creativity, allowing him/her to explore new things. Another benefit is helping children see how exercise can come in many different forms and be enjoyable. It promotes a healthy, active lifestyle, and gives children a way to release energy!

Check back next week – Wally will continue making the rounds of Seattle sports teams, trying to choose which one is right for him!

~The Incredible Years Team


Leave a comment

Be our Valentine!


Happy Valentine’s Day, from Wally, Dina, Felicity, and the Incredible Years staff!


Watch our fun Valentine’s Day Video, below, or by clicking here!

Also, we sent out a newsletter earlier this week that included a fun Valentine Activity you can do with a group of children, along with some helpful tips for parents and teachers to foster children’s understanding of emotions. You can read the newsletter by clicking here!


~The Incredible Years Team

Leave a comment

Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year from the Incredible Years Team!

We are excited to announce a new member to our staff, Sue Zhang. Sue began working for us a couple of months ago, packing out orders and entering data, while she attends graduate school. Sue was born in YinChuan, China and moved to Beijing during her kindergarten years. Soon after that her family moved to Germany where they lived for 6 years before moving to London, Canada and finally to the United States. Her diverse multicultural experiences inspired her to pursue  graduate studies in Industrial Organization psychology. Her passion is to study culturally sensitive hiring processes and help companies implement better onboarding processes. She has started her master’s program at Seattle Pacific University and we are delighted to have her working with us  at Incredible Years and sharing her insights and expertise with us. This week she and Fu (meaning Luck, 富) have been helping us understand how to celebrate the Chinese New Year.


Sue and Fu teach us more about Chinese Year

Sue has been helping us learn more about Chinese New Year and the various customs associated with this special holiday.  This morning, Sue and Fu caught up to learn more about Chinese New Year, and Fu was very excited to receive a traditional red envelope!

Fu: I’m so happy to be able to teach people about Chinese New Year. It’s hard to contain my excitement! Traditionally, Chinese New Year (also known as the “Spring Festival”) is a time to spend with family and make way for good luck. The celebrations include decorating with red paper cuts, lighting firecrackers, and giving money in red paper envelopes to children.

It is common for people to wear red clothing and decorate with the color red – the color symbolizes fire, and based on legend can drive away bad luck and the Nian monster.

Typical celebratory foods include egg rolls, Nian Gao (New Year Cake – a glutinous rice cake), pork dumplings, shrimp pot stickers, and more! Each of the dishes has a simple meaning behind them, often playing on the pronunciation of the Chinese characters.

Celebrations last for 15 days and on the final day there is a lantern festival. Lanterns might be painted with different symbols, such as birds, flowers, or animals. In many places, a dragon dance occurs during the lantern festival. The dragon is normally fashioned out of silk, paper and bamboo, and is held up by young men who guide the dragon through the streets.


This year marks the year of the Horse.  The Chinese Zodiac comes from a 12-year cycle – each year corresponds to a different animal sign. Those born in horse years are said to have qualities such as cheerfulness, wit, and energy.


Fu: I’m excited to celebrate Chinese New Year with Wally, Molly, and Dina, to teach them more about our traditions! I think Dina would make a good dragon – don’t you?


Fu thinks Dina would make a pretty good dragon – we agree!

We hope that those of you who plan to celebrate this holiday enjoy the festivities – it sure sounds like fun! Even if you are not participating in all of the celebrations, we hope you have enjoyed learning more about this special tradition and perhaps feel encouraged to delve deeper and learn even more about the Chinese New Year!


Happy New Year from Sue, Fu, and the rest of the Incredible Years Team!

Leave a comment

Dina Dinosaur’s Exercise Blog Series (#3)

It’s been a little while since we checked in with Dina and Wally about how their fitness routine is going! You may remember last time, Dina had to take a break so she became Wally’s fitness instructor. By the end of the work out, they decided it was time to get the rest of their friends in on the action!

Exercising with friends is a great motivator and a fun way to spend time with friends. In case you missed it last time, we shared an article showing how early intervention promoting effective parenting led to meaningful differences in obesity in preadolescence – check it out here!


Felicity: Hey Dina! I want to be on the exercise team too. I can be just as strong as you and Wally!  I’m testing out the stationery bike first – this is fun!


Molly: I want to join too! I ride my out door bike for good exercise. One of Dina’s rules is to wear a helmet and be safe. I can’t fly like Dina, but I’m pretty awesome on my bike!


Wally: Okay – I’ve been at this for 10 minutes already today – Have I lost any weight yet?


Dina: Wally, it doesn’t happen with just one day of exercising! You have to keep at it, one day at a time, to get results. Stay calm – you are getting stronger!

Wally: Look at us – we are a team working together! We are going to be strong enough to help lots of others learn how to be friendly, solve problems, stay healthy, and follow rules!


Dina: Wally, you look a bit worn out! That’s okay – it takes work. We can do it!

We hope you have enjoyed our fitness series! Maybe Dina and Wally will chime in again in a few months to let us know more about their progress. As always, feel free to share this post with your friends and colleagues, and of course any parents, children, or teachers in your groups! Don’t forget, we are always looking for guest bloggers to share their experiences with the Incredible Years® program! If you are interested, e-mail:

Have a good weekend!

~Dina, Wally, and The Incredible Years Team


Dina Dinosaur’s Exercise Blog Series (#2)

Hello friends!

Dina needed a little rest from her fitness regimen so she has enlisted her friend Wally to help her out this week!

Before we get started, let’s take a more serious moment to highlight a study (published in the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics) which relates to this fitness series. The study examined youth at high risk for obesity based on income, minority status, and child behavior problems. Results showed that early intervention promoting effective parenting led to meaningful differences in obesity in preadolescence. Read the article here!

Back to Dina and her friends…

Dina is very tired and sore from all of the exercising she did last week, so she has decided to take today off and instead play “personal trainer” for Wally.

Wally: Hey, Dina, I think I need some help! My mom read some research and she says if I want to be healthy, I should exercise and eat my fruits and vegetables. So I think to start, I will work on lifting some weights.


I’m not sure if I am doing this right. I think I’ll switch to the treadmill and work on my leg muscles!


Okay, now I think I have a problem. I don’t think I am big enough to do this! Yikes… CAN I do this?!


I am definitely not tall enough for the treadmill!


Dina is telling me to hang on and keep trying, because she needs an exercise buddy. I guess I’ll try another solution!


Finally I have found a machine that I think will work for me – rowing! I’m learning there are many different ways to exercise, and the important thing is finding what works for you and your body.


Whew. Rowing is work too! Even though I found something that works for me, Dina says it will still take work and persistence. I’ll do a few more, and next week I’ll invite all of our other friends to join too!


Thanks for tuning in!

~Dina, Wally, and the Incredible Years team

Leave a comment

Dina Dinosaur’s Exercise Blog Series (#1)


Hello Everyone!

We are excited to announce a new blog series! Dina Dinosaur and her friends are going to share with us about the importance of staying fit and active.

Dina has recently decided to begin a fitness routine. We know that keeping active promotes good health and is good for your body – but there’s one problem – Dina isn’t used to exercising! She is going to have to navigate some confusing equipment, and she’ll probably need a little help and motivation from her friends.

Follow below to see how Dina’s first foray into the world of fitness unfolds. You can also “comment” to share your own fitness tips and stories! (PS. If you are running IY groups, parents and kids might particularly enjoy this, we encourage you to share it with them!)

DAY #1


Dina: “I am thinking about an exercise program to help build stronger muscles. I need all of my strength to fly to many different countries! There is a lot of work that needs to be done to help people be friendly and solve problems all around the world – so this exercise routine is important! However, as I look at this exercise machine, I think it looks pretty difficult and a bit confusing. Where should I start? My arms? My wings? My tail???”

Okay, okay – I know. Just take it one step at a time! I’ll start with my arms first. Wow, this is hard… but it will be worth it if I can fly to more countries and talk to more and more children!
Whew, how many reps did they say I should do of these?!


I think I am starting to notice my muscles getting stronger! But they are also getting really sore! That’s okay – I am persisting, concentrating…thinking positive thoughts and staying calm! Just a few more and I’ll be done for the day. I hope I feel okay tomorrow!


Geesh! I need a rest – I’m exhausted! And it’s only Day One! Next time I will get my friends to help me out – Being active with your friends is a lot more fun than doing this all on your own. We can encourage each other and hold one another accountable. I’m thinking maybe there should be more than one dinosaur to get around the world to help people with their problem solving!!

Leave a comment

Meet Dina the Dinosaur and Dinatronic!

Hello Incredible friends!

We like to have some fun over here at the Incredible Years®. So when one of our puppet makers introduced the idea of this robotic Dinosaur Puppet, we were very excited (Dinosaur Puppet© Axtell Expressions, Inc.)!

Dina Dinosaur (as many of you know) is used in the Child Programs, she is the “Dinosaur School Principal” and an integral member of the Incredible Years® family! This robotic version of Dina, which has been deemed “Dinatronic” has quite the personality, and we thought you all might enjoy! 😉

Check out these two videos, below (and on our website in the Child Programs section). In the first video, Dinatronic talks about Teamwork and meets Dr. Webster-Stratton. In the second video, Dina and Dinatronic talk about their Rules for Survival!

(Dinosaur Puppet © Axtell Expressions, Inc.)