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
London Olympics can be fun for au pairs and children!
Au Pair In America’s Pinterest site has a great set of ideas for au pair ‘day camps’ suitable for all ages. They are organized around various themes, such as “Under the Sea,” “Cars and Trucks,” and “Dinosaurs.” The most current one is “London Olympics,” which is a great way for families to use the cultural exchange aspect of the au pair program to see the Olympics in a whole new way. Go to http://pinterest.com/aupairinamerica to see all of the great ideas! You don’t need to be a member of Pinterest to use this link.