When kids are out of school for the summer, it doesn’t take long for them to become bored and sometimes that leads to sibling squabbles and mischief. Even though they don’t realize it, they are usually missing routine and predictability in their daily schedule. One solution is to make fun plans to keep them busy!
Each week this summer we will share a different Camp Au Pair theme. These weekly themes are designed to give you ideas to keep your host kids occupied and engaged all summer long. They will also be learning. (But shhhh, don’t tell them that part.) Check back each Friday, for the next week’s theme. This gives you a chance to make plans and gather materials for the next week. For each theme there will be crafts, games, snacks and activities. You can just use these ideas or add your own and customize the themes to fit the ages and interests of your host children.
Here are the themes you can look forward to:
- Art Experiences
- Backyard Safari
- Bugs & Butterflies
- Cars and Trucks
- Explore the World
- Nature Explorations
- Outer Space
- Pirate Adventures
- Princesses & Knights
- Science (STEM)
- Under the Sea
Check out Summer Fun & Summer Holidays pin boards for even more ideas.
If you get some great pictures doing these activities with your host kids, please send those to your counselor. We love to share your accomplishments and inspire other au pairs!
Let’s make this an amazing summer!
Just because a child is old enough to occupy themselves, doesn’t mean that they should be expected to do so the majority of the time. Host families have a certain expectation of activity and involvement for their children. Get the kids engaged and active. You can be more fun than the TV or a video game.
But, my kids don’t want to do anything but watch TV or play video games.
Instead of saying, “Would you like to (fill in the blank with any activity)? The answer will often be, “No.”
Try this, “Now we are going to (fill in the blank with any activity.) or “Would you rather do _____ or ______?” Make sure both the choices are good options.
Your chances of co-operation are greatly increased. Even kids who are reluctant to try new things will usually get in the spirit of things and have fun, if you pick a good activity.
I don’t know what to do with school age kids.
Look for ideas online. Google “activities school age kids” or “activities tweens”. Below is a list of some ideas to get you started.
- Making things (check craft stores like Michael’s for kits and models that are age appropriate)
- Going fun places (pottery painting, jewelry making, farms, museums, mini-golf, go-karts)
- Sports (soccer, tennis, swimming, bicycling, roller skating, ice skating)
- Let them teach you to do something they enjoy. Kids this age love being the expert.
- Get outdoors and visit local parks. You can even make a project of reviewing all the local parks (what kind of equipment they have, is there shade, water fountain?) They can write this up and keep, so they remember which ones they want to go to again and which ones to skip in the future.
- Let them help you search and plan some activities.
- Check on the APIA Pinterest page and here on our cluster blog for ideas.
- If you have a GPS, try taking them geocaching. Here is a website with all the details.
Note: Always get permission from your host parents before taking the kids places.
Host parents often ask for suggestions on how best to handle common expenses that occur as au pairs are caring for the children.
There are different ways to handle the little day to day expenses that come up. Things like when an au pair takes the kids out for ice cream or picks up a gallon of milk. Some families keep a cookie jar fund, a little cash that they set aside weekly or monthly for these types of expenses. Others give their au pair a prepaid debit card for this purpose. Below are some suggestions for avoiding problems with expenses.
- It’s important to be clear about how long this money should last and what types of expenses are approved.
- Let the au pair know whether or not you expect receipts.
- Only spend the money on approved expenses.
- If it is something you are not sure about, ask first.
- Put your receipts in the cookie jar in place of the money to avoid any confusion.
Gas and Fare Cards
Host families are responsible for the au pair’s transportation costs: to and from classes, cluster meetings and when driving the kids.
It is a good idea to figure out how much gas an au pair will use for these trips and either put gas in the car or give a gas allowance. If your au pair is riding to classes or cluster meetings with another au pair, you should offer to share the cost of gas.
Au pairs are responsible for their own transportation at all other times. You should replace the amount of gas used for personal use.
Photo: Andrea Travillian
The days are starting to grow longer and warmer. Children are able to spend more time outdoors. When you can, go out and help them discover the wonders of spring.
- Put some string or yarn outside. Watch to see if it gets carried away to become part of a bird’s nest. If you see a nest don’t touch it because it will scare the mother bird away, but you might be able to see young birds after they are hatched.
- Watch for sprouts of early bulbs and look for buds on trees and bushes that are starting to swell. Cut small branches and put them in a vase of water in the house. Watch as the flowers or leaves start to unfold.
- If you live near a pond look for frogs’ eggs. You can bring some home by putting pond water and a small clump of frog eggs in a container. Take some weeds from the pond too. About a week after they hatch feed them fish food. When their back legs have grown put them back in the pond. It would also be fun to go ponding with a long handled net. Sweep the net through the water and then empty your “catch” into a pan with some pond water in it. Examine what you’ve caught with a magnifying glass. Always put whatever you have caught back into the pond.
- Take advantage of the spring breezes and blow bubbles, fly a kite or make a homemade pin- wheel. Draw an X on a square piece of paper from corner to corner. Cut halfway along each line and fold alternate corners into the center. Overlap the points and connect it to a stick with a pin. A bead behind the head of the pin may help it to spin better.
- Collect early spring flowers and press them between sheets of newspaper weighted down with heavy books for a week or two. Once they are dry, arrange them on paper and glue them down – make greeting cards, book marks, or a picture.
- Soak a dried bean in water overnight then place it in a jar with a damp paper towel or cotton balls. Put the bean next to the glass so you can watch it change. After a few days it will start to grow roots, and then leaves. If you wish, you can plant it in soil in a flowerpot so that it will grow longer.