Libraries may be closed due to COVID-19, but many librarians are coming up with creative ideas to keep people entertained and promote literacy. One of those creative ideas is free virtual escape rooms. With a variety of themes, some may be fun to do on your own, others as activities with the kids.
Sydney Krawiec, Youth Services Librarian at Peters Township Public Library in McMurray, PA created this Hogwarts Virtual Escape Room. She shared this tutorial on how to create your own virtual escape room, which seemed to spark the creativity of many other librarians.
Some amazing librarians all over the country have been busy creating virtual escape rooms with a variety of themes.
- Alice in Wonderland Digital Escape Room – Created by Erin Honeycutt, Children’s Librarian at Moultrie-Colquitt County Library System in Moultrie, Georgia
- Cinderella’s Escape – Created by Stefanie Reed, Youth Services Supervisor at Henika District Library in Wayland, Michigan
- Dog Man Digital Escape Room – Created by a humble School Library Media Coordinator
- Escape from Star Killer Base! (Star Wars) – Created by Richmond Hill Public Library
- Escape the Fairy Tale: Part 1 – Created by Marissa Lieberman, Children’s Librarian at the East Orange Public Library, New Jersey
- Golden Girls Escape Room – Created by Tomeka.
- Hogwarts Virtual Escape Room – Created by Sydney Krawiec, Youth Services Librarian at Peters Township Public Library in McMurray, Pennsylvania
- Marvel’s Avengers: Escape from the Hydra Base! – Created by Richmond Hill Public Library
- North Carolina Escape Room – Created by Shannon Grimes, Outreach Storyteller and Youth Service Assistant at the Davie County Public Library in Mocksville, North Carolina
- Pete the Cat and the Birthday Party Mystery – Created by the Abington Free Library in Abington, Pennsylvania
- Pikachu’s Rescue – Created by High River Library
- Sherlock Holmes Digital Escape Room – Created by Sherlock the Musical
- Space Explorer Training- Digital Escape Room – Created by Morgan Lockard, Adult/Teen Services Librarian at Campbell County Community Library
- Spy Apprentice Adventure – Created by Lauren Rura and Felicia Brock, Adult Service Librarians at Washington-Centerville Public Library in Centerville, Ohio
- The Minotaur’s Labyrinth Escape Room – Created by Karen Liu (Salt Lake County), Teen Librarian at The County Library’s Riverton Branch
Special thanks to the Humboldt County Library in Winnemucca, Nevada for gathering info on many of these escape rooms. Follow them on Facebook for their storytimes and weekly Facebook Live Science Time on Fridays.
Reading, playing, and doing art projects are always great ways to entertain children and keep them physically active and learning. It’s a good idea to limit screen time. But, in this time of social distancing, technology can play an important role in allowing kids to see and connect with the world outside of their homes. Many online resources are popping up to create those opportunities.
Here are five to get you started:
And if kids have questions about the coronavirus, Live Science has created an ultimate kids’ guide to the new coronavirus that has lots of information and is appropriate for school-aged kids.
Thanksgiving is a public holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November every year in the United States. It started as a harvest festival and has been celebrated nationally on and off since 1789. The most important part of Thanksgiving for American families is to spend family time together.
“My favorite holiday was Thanksgiving. Firstly, it was my first holiday with the whole family in America. Secondly, the whole family came together. All aunts and uncles and their kids came to grandma’s. We played football with all of them, including grandma and grandpa. It was the first time I played it and it was so much fun for all. We had a great dinner with all the typical things you can imagine … it was deeeelicious! It was so great to be with such a big family and I really enjoyed that day. I will remember it my whole life, I hope.” – Swantje from Germany
Here are a few tips to help you have a terrific Thanksgiving experience.
Please plan to include your au pair in your Thanksgiving celebration, if at all possible. If you are traveling or will not be able to invite your au pair to join you for Thanksgiving, give her plenty of notice and help her make alternate plans. You don’t want to leave your au pair alone over the holiday.
If you are invited to attend dinner, please let your family know within 5 days of the invitation, whether you are planning to attend, so they may make plans. If your host family is unable to include you in their Thanksgiving plans, please let me know if you have trouble making other plans, so I can assist.
Make sure to discuss time off during this holiday weekend. Many host families work the Friday after Thanksgiving so do not assume you have this day off or the entire weekend. Talk to your host family, BEFORE you make any plans.
Bonus Tip for the Kids
If you are looking for a fun recipe to make with your au pair, check out these turkey cookies. Find more fun activities and recipes on the Au Pair in America Fall Holidays pinboard.
Being knowledgeable in basic first aid and CPR is important for au pairs (and anyone else caring for children). Au Pair in America’s commitment to infant/child safety begins before au pairs arrive to the U.S., with pre-arrival training and continue throughout the au pair year.
#1 Training At Orientation
Our orientation includes seminars by American Red Cross instructors who provide hands-on demonstrations in infant/child CPR and safety. Printed materials are provided that reinforce the safety information and can be used to review from time to time.
#2 Enroll in a Red Cross Certification Class
After settling into their host community, all au pairs are encouraged to complete an Infant/Child CPR and First Aid certification program. Au Pair in America will pay for this training through the American Red Cross.
Classes are available through the Red Cross. Au Pair in America will pay for the cost of a class providing an au pair has at least six months left on her visa and is taking one of several approved childcare/child safety-related classes, such as Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED. Au pairs should check with their community counselor and host family before signing up. Au Pair in America will register the au pair directly.
To locate a class, visit www.redcross.org/takeaclass. For step-by-step instructions on how to locate a class and have Au Pair in America complete enrollment, click here.
#3 Stay Current on Safety Information
The Official American Red Cross First Aid app puts expert advice for everyday emergencies in your hand. Available for iPhone and Android devices, this app gives you instant access to the information you need to know to handle the most common first aid emergencies. With videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice, it’s never been easier to know first aid. Download the app for free from the American Red Cross website or in your app store.
Photos: Robin Leon
Back to school time is here. This can mean changes to the au pair schedule and possibly to the duties. It is very important to communicate these changes to avoid problems.
Here is a list of topics to consider discussing:
- Au pair’s work schedule
- The children’s school and activity schedules
- Where the children get dropped off and picked up and who will be doing this
- What to do if a child is staying home sick, late to school, does not get off the bus (if they are supposed to)
- Driving laws regarding stopping for school buses
- How to tell if school has been canceled or delayed for bad weather
- Add the au pair to your list of people allowed to pick up the kids from school and explain the process
- What to pack for lunch
- The routine after school (do they have free time before starting homework, what to give for a snack, any chores, where do they put their backpacks & lunchboxes)
- How to communicate about what’s going on at school. Your Kids in Care logbook from Au Pair in America can be a great two-way communication tool for keeping track of schedules, afterschool activities and day to day info that needs to be transferred between host parents and au pair.
- If your au pair will be the one going through the children’s backpack and helping with homework, consider designating an area for putting things that need to be read and/or signed by parents.
Here are some Printable Fill-in-the-Blank School Notes for parents. You can print these out and have them ready for times when the kids are absent, late, have an early dismissal or you need to give permission for something.
Check out Au Pair in America’s Pinterest School Tips and Ideas pinboard for things like organization ideas, back to school traditions, printable lunch box notes, and fun lunch recipes.
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.