Field Trips can be a great way for kids to learn and have new experiences. Get permission from your host parents before any outings and be sure to take all social distancing precautions. Some museums are requiring advanced tickets or have reduced hours due to the pandemic.
Paint Your Own Pottery Studio
Clay and Ceramics Studio
Online Art Fun – Here is a great website with lots of art activities including ones for older kids.
Webcams – You can do a google search for art websites with webcams. Here are a few to get you started:
Crafts, recipes, activities, and games related to all kinds of bugs, insects, butterflies, and spiders can be found here on the Camp Au Pair – Bugs & Butterfliespinboard.
Outdoors – Kids today do not spend enough time outdoors. Take the kids in the backyard or another nature area (approved by your host parents) and do some activities related to this theme:
Allow them to search for bugs and butterflies.
Observe lightning bugs (also known as fireflies) in the evening. Here is a map showing what people call these little guys in different parts of the country.
After it rains, look for earthworms. Not bugs or butterflies, but very interesting creatures you can find in your own backyard.
NOTE: If you are outdoors with the children, be sure to check for ticks when you come back inside. Here is a blog post explaining the health risk ticks can pose and how to find and remove them safely.
Videos – You can find many great videos of butterflies and insects on YouTube. Check out these videos for kids about bees and ants. All about Insects covers lots of tiny creatures who crawl and fly. Here are a few videos to get you started.
Movies – A Bugs Life, The Bee Movie, Maya the Bee, and The Ant Bully all fit this theme.
Webcams – You can do a Google search for websites with webcams that allow you to observe bugs.
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.
All of these dreams can come true over the next few weeks at one of the many area county and state fairs.
What is a Fair?
Usually held in late summer or early fall, county and state fairs often include agricultural exhibits or competitors, carnival amusement rides, and games, displays of industrial products, automobile racing, and entertainment such as musical concerts (adapted from Wikipedia).
Maryland and Virginia Fairs
Montgomery County Agricultural Fair (Images: Catherine McEaddy)
Interested in checking out an agricultural fair on urban turf? Then don’t miss the 10th Annual DC State Fair on September 8th. That’s right- DC has a state fair! It may be small in comparison to Maryland or Virginia’s state fairs, but the DC State Fair definitely has the best t-shirts. Plus as a DC resident, you can enter one of the contests!
Port Discovery in Baltimore has a fun gas station exhibit where kids can pretend they are driving a car and filling it up at the gas station.
Look for construction areas where the kids can observe big machines in action. Kids should observe from the car or a safe area.
Keep an eye out for the trash truck and let them watch the truck in action.
Playseum in Bethesda has fun interactive activities for kids to try.
Go to a drive-through car wash or let the kids make their own car wash at home.
Touch a Truck is a free, family-friendly event taking place at the Bowie Baysox stadium on August 3.
Videos – Amazing Big Trucks is a kid-friendly video showing big trucks in action. Look for fun videos on YouTube about cars and trucks.
Movies – Cars, Turbo, The Love Bug, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Bob the Builder Mega Machines movies all fit this theme. Common Sense Media’s list of Best Car Movies for Kids and Teens has more suggestions. (Always check with your host parents first, as some of these movies are rated PG or PG-13.)
Books – Common Sense Media’s list of books about Cars, Trucks, and Trains has lots of great suggestions, including Let’s Go for a Drive! An Elephant and Piggie Book, Bulldozer’s Big Day, and Go, Dog, Go! Stop by your local library for these and other books about cars and trucks.