THE place to find out about Au Pair in America in the Chicago, IL area
Children are often “professional dawdlers,” – taking forever to complete simple tasks. Some jobs are more fun if you set a timer or play a favorite song and see how much you can get done before it’s over. ”Let’s see how many legos we can get in the box in 3 minutes!” (You’d be surprised!) Set a stop watch on your phone to see how fast they can get dressed. Once a task becomes fun, the power struggle is over and you eventually won’t need a timer.
Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June in many countries, but can be celebrated on other days around the world. The idea for Father’s Day came from Sonora Dodd in 1910 who wanted to honor her father, a Civil War veteran who raised six kids as a single parent. After hearing a Mother’s Day sermon at church, she told her pastor that father’s needed to be honored, too! To honor the father in your host family, work with the children to make a special picture or homemade gift.
Kids love animals! The Chicago area is full of wonderful places to see them. Brookfield Zoo (www.brookfieldzoo.org) in the Western Suburbs, Shedd Aquarium (www.sheddaquarium.org), and Lincoln Park Zoo (lpzoo.org) in the city are among the world class places you can visit. But you can’t do big trips with the kids every day, so younger children might enjoy setting up a pretend zoo with play animals and blocks. Older siblings can create a map of the zoo’s exhibits and “tickets” for host moms and dads to use while touring the zoo. And, of course, nothing is more fun than adding the soundtrack (animal sounds!). The library is full of animal books. For young ones read Dr. Seuss books like If I Ran the Zoo and older ones will enjoy checking out animal fact books or DVDs like National Geographic’s Blue Planet. Animal fun will go as far as your creativity can take you!
Groundhog Day is February 2nd.
Groundhog Day is held on Feb. 2, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania every year, and you might be wondering how a groundhog landed the job of predicting the weather. If you’re unfamiliar with the tradition, it goes like this: If the groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, sees his shadow, we’re stuck with six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow, we luck out with an early spring.
The tradition dates back to 1887, and though the origins are unclear, it is said to have originated from ancient Europe. It also has religious origins, as it shares similarities with Candelmas Day, which is also today. There is an old English saying, “If Candlemas be fair and bright,/ Come, Winter, have another flight.
Here are fun facts about Groundhog Day:
1. Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow the overwhelming majority of years
2. The National Climatic Data Center reportedly stated that Phil’s prediction’s have been correct 39 percent of the time. This number is in conflict with Phil’s followers, who claim he’s been correct every year.
3. Following the release of the movie Groundhog Day in 1993, starring Bill Murray, as many as 30,000 made the trip to visit the tiny hill in Punxsutawney where the ceremony takes place.
4. Groundhogs typically live only six to eight years
America’s beloved Bubble Wrap turns 50 today, proving that even ephemeral plastic bubbles can morph into a timeless invention. But consider that if the original inventors had their way, people would have used “Air Cap” as wallpaper — a concept that would have undoubtedly proved as fulfilling as the prototype model future homes of the 1950s.
Bubble Wrap represents perhaps the ultimate garage invention as the brainchild of New Jersey engineers Marc Chavannes and Al Fielding in 1960. Yet it only took off as fun air-filled shipping material after the wall decor idea died, and people soon discovered the joys of popping each air-filled bubble by hand, or en masse using their bodies or other implements.
Manufacturer Sealed Air Corp. has recognized the joy that its product brings by officially declaring this Monday Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day. Part of the celebration involves a limited one-day run of golden Bubble Wrap at the company’s Saddle River, N.J. facility, and the rest is presumably up to the end users. Do you store the golden Bubble Wrap for the grandkids, or do you indulge your inner child here and now?
It’s somewhat remarkable that a love of Bubble Wrap remains alive and well even in an age when the digital world’s allure may increasingly substitute for simpler worldly pleasures. Millions of Facebook users have declared themselves fans of Bubble Wrap, and Bandai has rolled out a virtual bubble-popping app for your iPhone or iPod.
So take some time today at work or at home to roll some Bubble Wrap between your fingers, find a satisfying air pocket, and squeeze. And don’t forget that kids love to pop those little bubbles too! Just don’t get caught in a traffic jam with a 7 year old popping bubble wrap in the back seat!
Au Pairs in the Chicago area are challenged to find fun and interesting things to do with children while indoors during the cold, winter months. Au pairs are encouraged to provide interactive child care and to have a new activity planned for the children in their care.
Muddy Hand Cookies
2/3 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 ½ cups flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa mix
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
Cream butter, sugar and vanilla together. Add eggs one at a time and mix well. Place all dry ingredients in a bowl, mix thoroughly and then add to butter mixture. Blend together thoroughly.
Chill dough in wax paper until firm; about 2 hours.
Roll dough to ¼” thick on floured surface.
Lay your hand on the dough and cut around to make your hand print.
Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 350F for 6-8 minutes!
ABC’s of Winter Fun
A is for Art – try drawing, painting or gluing
B is for Baking – bake a dessert together for dinner
C is for Clay – Use non-hardening clay or play dough to shape and mold
D is for Dance – put on a lively tape
E is for Exercise – be sure to get some everyday
F is for Friends – invite some over
G is for Greenhouse – find a local greenhouse to visit to enjoy the sights and smells
H is for House – make a playhouse from a large appliance box
I is for Ice skating – take the children to a local rink
J is for Jigsaw puzzle – be sure to pick one that isn’t too difficult
K is for Kitchen science – try a safe experiment
L is for Library – borrow some new books
M is for Movie – make one with a video camera, or watch one
N is for Necklace – make one out of cereal or macaroni
O is for Origami – learn to make simple paper creations
P is for Puppets – socks make easy and fun puppets – put on a show!
Q is for Quiet Time – everyone needs some of this
R is for Reading aloud – choose a good book and a comfortable place to sit
S is for Seeds and Suet – put out food for the birds and watch them eat
T is for Tent – make one from old blankets and chairs
U is for Unplugged – do a day with no TV
V is for Variety – try something new everyday
W is for Walk – take one in any weather (be sure to dress appropriately)
X is for Xylophone – make your own with glasses, water and a metal spoon
Y is for Year – make a calendar or scrapbook to remember the year
Z is for Zoo – visit the animals
Indoor “Drive-in” Movie
Help your child to decorate a box as a car so he can sit in it to watch a movie. Make movie tickets. Consider inviting a couple of other kids to join in.
Choose a new or old favorite movie for a special ‘cold afternoon treat’.
Serve appropriate snacks to eat during the movie.
Pizza is easy and fun to make. Buy ready made pizza dough (in the refrigerated or freezer section at the supermarket) or a ready-made crust (in the bread department), shredded mozzarella cheese and a jar of pizza sauce. Follow the directions on the crust package and you’ll have a kid fave ready to go! Add fruit and a vegetable and watch how fast lunch disappears!
Pumpkins rot quickly, so now is the time to carve one, just in time for Halloween.
If you weren’t able to visit one of our recommended Pumpkin Farms, its time to head to the grocery store to choose a pumpkin! Tip! Limit the size the children choose by telling them they have to carry their own.
Have fun and enjoy this unique day. For safety tips, costume ideas and recipes visit http://aupairinamerica.com/resources/calendars/#31