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Halloween

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Halloween

It is thought that Halloween is even older than Christianity, with evidence of Halloween celebrations dating back more than 2,000 years! It started as an event called Samhain (which can be loosely translated as ‘the end of summer’). Samhain acknowledged the end of the Autumnal harvest and it was believed that it marked the day when the veil between the living and the dead was at its thinnest. At the time, communities would burn bonfires to ward off spirits and dress in costumes to ‘trick’ ghosts. Trick Or Treating also has a long history, spanning back to the Medieval Ages when it would be called ‘guising’ in Scotland and Ireland. It is thought that Irish immigrants brought the traditions of Halloween to America during the late 19th Century, where it became increasingly popular – especially in the 1930s. The tradition of jack-o-lanterns comes from the old Irish folklore of Stingy Jack. It is said that Stingy Jack made a deal with The Devil, meaning that he could not enter either Heaven or Hell and so was doomed to wander the earth for eternity with just a lantern. In the UK and US, Halloween is the second largest commercial holiday with a consumer spend of $9 billion in the US alone.

Learn more about the spooky season with these activities!

Activity Ideas:

  • Get together to enjoy this scary story from our partner Nell Phoenix – here 
  • Make your own cute Halloween decorations with these crafty activities – coming soon!
  • Challenge yourself with our Halloween Horror Quiz – coming soon!
  • Have a go at our spooky word search – coming soon!

The “Rumble In The Jungle” Boxing Match (1978)

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The “Rumble In The Jungle” Boxing Match (1978)

The “rumble in the jungle” refers to the 1974 boxing match between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali held at the May Studio in The Democratic Republic Of Congo. It is estimated that just over one billion people watched the fight on television, making it the most viewed live television broadcast at the time. The fight brought in just over $100 million in revenue (which, adjusted for inflater, would be around $500 million now). Before the match Ali was the underdog with 4-1 odds against him; however, on the night he won, knocking out the, until then, undefeated Foreman in the eighth round. The match was originally supposed to happen on September 25th, but it was delayed over a month as Foreman had injured himself in a practice sparring match. Ali had previously surrendered his heavyweight champion title in 1967 as he had refused to join the US Army because of his pacifist beliefs. The legendary boxing promoter Don King was responsible for promoting the event. Both Ali and Foreman had won gold medals for the US in the Olympics and the match was the first time that Ali revealed his ‘rope-a-dope’ technique, which involves taking surface punches from an opponent whilst leaning on the rope in the hopes that the opponent will wear themselves out. It was a winning strategy and much replicated!

Learn more about the world of boxing and sports with these activities!

Activity Ideas:

  • Print out and enjoy our boxing activity book – here 
  • Get active with our seating boxing exercise plan – here
  • Learn more about the classic boxing film Rocky with these film flashcards – here
  • Test your knowledge with our Commonwealth Games Quiz – here
  • Challenge yourself with our Boxing Quiz – coming soon!

International Internet Day

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International Internet Day

It is estimated that 4.5 billion people use the internet annually, with 57.5% of the population regularly accessing the world wide web. Google is the most used internet page in the world and on average, regular internet users spend 6 hours and 42 minutes a day online. The domain frame www became publically available in 1991, improving access to the web exponentially around the world. The first ever internet connection (defined as a connection between two separate computers) was established on 29th October 1969, just two months after Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the moon! On this day, Charley Kline sent the first ever electronic note to his colleague Bill Duvall at Stanford University; the message simply said the word ‘login’. The Association Of Internet Users first suggested International Internet Day in 2005 to celebrate all the ways that the net has improved our lives, increased international communication and provided access to knowledge. In 1996, AOL introduced the first flat-rate monthly internet subscription and by 1999, the service had 17 million users. Facebook, the largest social media site on the internet, was first introduced to the public in 2004, changing the face of the web forever.

Learn more about the world wide web with these activities!

Activity Ideas:

  • Challenge yourself with this Oomph! technology word search – coming soon!
  • Test your typing skills with this touch typing activity – coming soon!
  • Learn more about the internet and challenge your knowledge with our Internet Quiz – coming soon!
  • Start up your own blog with this activity – coming soon!

Animation Day

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Animation Day

International Animation Day was first established in 2002 by the International Animated Film Association as a way to celebrate the hugely talented artists that contribute to the animation industry; one of the oldest and most celebrated film genres in history. The 28th of October was selected to commemorate the premiere of Charles-Émile Reynaud’s Théâtre Optique in 1892. Théâtre Optique was a moving picture system that enabled audiences to see live animation for the first time, predating the Lumiere brother’s short commercials, which are often cited as the birth of cinema. This means that the first moving images many people saw were animated! The French animator Emile Cohl created the first animation as we know it today in 1908 when he released the fully animated Fantasmagorie. The word animation comes from an indirect translation of the French word for ‘soul’ which means that to animate characters means to imbue them with a soul. Walt Disney ushered in a new era of animation with the creation of Mickey Mouse, the lovable face of his company. Disney first approached Louis B. Mayer, the head of Metro Goldwyn Mayer, with his designs for Mickey, but Mayer turned down the character saying that most women liked animation and women were afraid of mice. Mickey Mouse debuted in Steamboat Willie in 1928 and was an instant fan favourite. The first feature-length animated film was Disney’s Snow White, which took three years and $1.5 million dollars to produce. Today, technology has advanced to the point that CGI and animation can blend together seamlessly.

Learn more about the wonderful world of animation with these activities!

Activity Ideas:

  • Get together to have a go at our carton catchphrase activity – here
  • Print out and enjoy our Artistic Activity Book – here
  • Draw some cute animated animals with our partner Liz Million – here
  • Learn more about the animation studio Hanna-Barbera with our special edition digest – coming soon!
  • Organise a fun film night with our animated film flashcards – coming soon!

National Navy Day (US)

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National Navy Day (US)

Navy Day was first celebrated in 1922, having been suggested by the Navy League of the United States. The 27th of October was chosen due to a document by the American Congress that officially approved the purchase of a fleet of ships to form a unified sea army in 1775. October 27th was also the birthday of one of the Navy’s biggest supporters, President Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt had been the Assistant Secretary Of The Navy before he ran for the presidency. Between the years 1922 and 1949, Navy Day was celebrated in grand style, with Navy boats being dispatched to seaports all over the country. Thousands of people would come out annually to see the ships and participate in fun street parties. The US Navy fleet is the biggest in the world with over 340,000 active personnel and the world’s largest Naval base: Naval Station Norfolk, in Norfolk, Virginia. It was in World War II that the Navy began actively using submarines after years of experimenting with the technology. As aeroplanes became more and more important to modern combat, many Naval ships were modified to include landing strips, making them an integral part of the US’s defence strategy. Recently, Navy Day has been incorporated into Armed Forces Day in order to celebrate the armed forces together as one unified team. However, Navy Day is still widely celebrated and honoured in the US.

Learn more about the Navy and the Armed Forces with these activities!

Activity Ideas:

  • Challenge yourself with this Deep Ocean Quiz – here
  • Print off and enjoy our Ocean Activity Book – here 
  • Learn more about naval services around the world with these fact sheets – coming soon!
  • Challenge yourself with this fun Military Quiz – coming soon!
  • Get crafty with this Ocean In An Egg Box craft – here

Football Association Forms In England (1863)

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Football Association Forms In England (1863)

Ebenezer Morley, a successful London solicitor, is generally credited as being the ‘father’ of modern football. Morley formed Barnes FC in 1862, causing excitement but also some strife as there was much argument about how the game should be played and how the club should be organised. Dismayed by the fighting, Morley wrote a letter to the popular 19th Century newspaper Bell’s Life suggesting that there be uniform rules to the game that could be shared between all clubs and put an end to any disputes. Morley argued that if it was possible for cricket then it should be possible for all sports, leading to the first-ever meeting to establish a football league at the Freemasons’ Tavern in Great Queen Street. The Football Association was established on a Monday evening in 1863 and managers, secretaries and players from clubs throughout the London boroughs joined together. One of the main disagreements was whether the practice of ‘hacking’ (kicking your opponent’s legs) would be banned, clubs like Blackheath FC wanted to keep the move whilst others felt that it made football less legitimate and more violent. At first, The Football Association was not celebrated, with the newspaper The Sportsman only announcing its arrival in a 29-word article. However, when Charles Alcock proposed a national tournament that would pit different teams against each other, the FA became extremely popular and powerful. The FA has continued its influence, today representing around 38,000 clubs and approving rules and regulations for all English teams.

Learn more about the ‘beautiful game’ with these activities!

Activity Ideas:

  • Get together for a game of Slipper Soccer Shootout – here
  • Print off and enjoy our Sports Activity Book – here 
  • Have a go at our fun football drills – here
  • Get moving with this football themes exercise session – coming soon!
  • Have a reminiscence session with this Football Reminiscence activity – coming soon!
  • Challenge yourself with our advanced sports word search – here 

Cliff Richard Gets Knighted By The Queen (1995)

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Cliff Richard Gets Knighted By The Queen (1995)

Cliff Richard (Harry Rodgers Webb) was born on the 14th of October 1940 in Lucknow, British India. His father managed a catering company that provided the food for Indian National Railway and his mother was a dormitory matron for an all-girls school. At the age of 16, Cliff’s father bought his son a guitar after noticing Cliff’s natural musical talent and the teen quickly joined the vocal harmony group The Quintones. Cliff Richard first shot to stardom when he entered the band The Drifter (which was later changed to The Shadows due to confusion between the band and the popular American group of the same name). The Shadows captured the hearts of teen girls throughout England with their clean-cut image and their summery, pop-infused ballads, with Cliff, in particular, getting the moniker of ‘the good boy of rock’. The Shadows gained success with hits like Apache and The Young Ones. Cliff became a star on the big screen with the release of the hit movie Summer Holiday in 1963. After a career spanning six decades, Cliff Richard has had 132 songs and albums reach the top 20 in the UK charts (more than any other artist in chart history), 14 number one singles and has scored 8 top twenty hits in the US. Richard’s first number one, Living Doll, beat out competition from such legends as Elvis Presley, The Everley Brothers and Buddy Holly! It is estimated that Cliff Richard has sold 250 million records worldwide and he is the only artist to have a number one record in 5 consecutive decades! He was the first rock star to be knighted by the Queen, for his contributions to music and the arts, in 1995.

Learn more about this pop-culture icon with these activities!

Activity Ideas:

  • Add a Cliff Richard pop to your day with this Oomph! playlist – coming soon!
  • Challenge yourself with our 60s music quiz – here 
  • Organise a fun film night with these Cliff Richard film flashcards – coming soon!
  • Reminisce about your ‘summer holidays’ with the Oomph! travel special edition digest – here 

Snow Leopard Day

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Snow Leopard Day

Snow Leopards are exceptionally well suited to very cold environments, thanks to their very thick grey fur with long tails that they can wrap around their bodies for an extra layer of warmth (they can be seen using their tails as a scarf). They also have fur-covered paws that act as natural snow shoes and are exceptionally well placed to provide balance and protection from the snow. Snow Leopards are actually more closely related to tigers than leopards biologically and they actually use a high-pitched yowl rather than a roar to scare off any predators. These beautiful animals have extremely good endurance and have been known to cover the distance of a marathon in a single night as well as being extremely good long-distance jumpers, being able to scale nearly nine metres or around six times their body lengths. Snow Leopards have spectacular bright blue eyes and they are most active in the very early morning. It is estimated that there are only 4,500 – 7,000 Snow Leopards currently in the wild and their natural habitat is endangered due to rising temperatures globally. For the first 18 months of a Snow Leopard’s life, they are raised solely by their mothers.

Learn more about these spectacular animals with these fun activities!

Activity Ideas:

  • Challenge yourself with our cold weather animal quiz – coming soon!
  • Make perfect animal bookmarks with this craft – here 
  • Learn more about cold weather animals with our fun factsheet – coming soon!

Walt Disney World’s 100-millionth guest (1979)

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Walt Disney World's 100-millionth guest (1979)

After the success of Disneyland, Walt Disney envisioned a much larger park with none of the geographical constraints that he experienced while trying to build a theme park in the relatively limited space of Anaheim, California. After some exploring, The Walt Disney Company was able to purchase around 30,500 acres of (mostly) swamp land in the Orlando area, which is around the size of the whole of San Francisco. Whilst he was integral to many of the designs and planning of the new park, Walt, unfortunately, died before he was able to see the completed project and his brother Roy helped get the park to opening day. On its first day alone, nearly 10,000 people turned up to the new Magic Kingdom, eager to ride attractions like The Pirates Of The Caribbean, Space Mountain and It’s A Small World. In October 1971, the average ticket price for an adult was $3.50 and the star attraction of the main park, Cinderella’s Castle stands 189 feet! It is estimated that 40 million people visit the four parks within Walt Disney World (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom). The design of Main Street U.S.A. was loosely based on Walt Disney’s hometown of Marceline, Missouri with many unique nods to Walt’s childhood and Disney history.

Learn more about Walt Disney and Disney World with these activities!

Activity Ideas:

  • Challenge yourself with this difficult Disney Quiz – coming soon!
  • Print off and enjoy our Disney-themed activity book – here 
  • Explore the Disney parks with our activity – here
  • Have a go at this Disney-themed word search – here 

Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) born (1956)

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Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) born (1956)

Carrie Fisher was born to Hollywood royalty in 1956; her mother Debbie Reynolds was a leading lady in Classical Hollywood (perhaps most famously starring in Singing In The Rain) and her father Eddie Fisher, a teen pop sensation. Her parent’s extremely public divorce (Fisher had an affair with Elizabeth Taylor) thrust the family even further into the spotlight during Carrie’s childhood. In 1973, Carrie starred alongside her mother in the Broadway revival of Irene and two years later, she made her big screen debut in the popular satire Shampoo! Fisher’s big break came in 1977 when she was cast as the iconic Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise. The film was a huge sensation and Princess Leia would return in four more sequels but she would also star in popular comedies like The Blues Brothers, Hannah And Her Sisters and When Harry Met Sally. Carrie Fisher wrote several popular novels, perhaps the most well-known being Postcards From The Edge which loosely tells the true story of her dysfunctional relationship with her mother. Later in her life, Fisher published three memoirs (often charting her experiences with substance abuse) and launched a global one-woman show.

Celebrate Carrie Fisher with these activities!

Activity Ideas:

  • Organise a Carrie Fisher-themed film night with these film flashcards – coming soon!
  • Get crafty with this straw rocket activity – here 
  • Print off and enjoy the Oomph! Carrie Fisher Activity Book – here 
  • Print off and enjoy this space-themed activity book – here