Tag Archives: kids

Welcome to Camp Au Pair in America!

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:

  • Nature Exploration
  • Art Experiences
  • Under the Sea
  • Science (STEM)
  • Bugs & Butterflies
  • Cars and Trucks
  • Backyard Safari
  • Dinosaurs
  • Explore the World
  • Outer Space
  • Pirate Adventures
  • Princesses & Knights

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 community counselor. We love to share your accomplishments and inspire other au pairs!

Let’s make this an amazing summer!

Snow Days are Here!

Looking for ideas to keep the kids busy on a snow day (when they are home from school for winter weather?)

Here is a simple snow day game plan…

  1. Play in the snow. Do you wanna build a snowman? Here’s a great how-to video.
  2. Come inside and warm up with hot chocolate (don’t forget the marshmallows.)
  3. Make your own play dough.
  4. Play board games or legos together.
  5. Try some Winter Science experiments.
  6. Look for more fun things to do on the APIA Pinterest Boards:
  7. Bake cookies together or make some other fun recipe.
  8. Play in the snow again.
  9. Warm up inside taking turns on the Make a Snowflake Website.
  10. Make a blanket fort.

Stay warm & have fun!

Photo: Yuli Salinas

Camp Au Pair – Dinosaurs

Next week’s Camp Au Pair theme is Dinosaurs.

Crafts, recipes, activities, and games related to dinosaurs can all be found here on the Camp Au Pair – Dinosaurs pinboard.

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.

Field Trip Ideas:

  • Children’s museum
  • Natural history museum
  • Parks with fossil hunting programs
  • Play spaces with dinosaur areas
  • Science centers

Virtual Field Trips:

Toys – Many kids have dinosaur toys already. See what your kids have and think of fun, new ways you can play with these toys with them. Imagine taking a plastic dinosaur and making footprints in play dough to form your own fossils.

Webcam – The Calvert Marine Museum in Maryland offers a webcam where you can watch paleontologists remove rock from around fossils.

Videos – Look for fun videos on YouTube about dinosaurs and fossils. Here are a few to get you started.

Movies – Here are some movies that fit the dinosaur theme.

  • Dinosaur
  • Dinosaur Island
  • Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
  • Land Before Time
  • Lego Jurassic World
  • The Good Dinosaur
  • Walking with Dinosaurs
  • We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story

For older kids:

  • Journey to the Center of the Earth
  • Jurassic Park (which is rated PG-13)

Books – Check your kids’ bookshelf for books on dinosaurs. You can also find many read aloud book videos on YouTube.

Photo: krojotak.com

Create a Spring Break Game Plan

“Game plan” means a strategy for how you are going to accomplish something.  In the case of keeping kids from getting bored and/or into trouble, the best way to prevent it is to keep them busy with safe, fun activities.

When there are days home from school, letting kids sit around watching TV or play video games is not the best use of their time.  Providing fun alternatives will make it much easier to pull them away from the screen.

You need to make a plan of what you will do with them each day and prepare for that. Planning is very important.  You don’t want to tell them you are going some place fun, only to arrive there and see they are not open that day or you needed to bring something and you don’t have it.

If your plan includes a craft or cooking project, make sure you have:

  • all the ingredients/supplies
  • recipe/directions

If your plan includes an outing to someplace fun, figure out:

  • How will you get there?
  • When you should leave?
  • How much it will cost?
  • What will you do for lunch?

Use some of these online resources to find activities and recipes:

Have a wonderful Spring Break!

Photos: vmiramontes (Flickr) & tasty.co

Card Games for Kids of All Ages

I have wonderful memories of playing cards as a young child.  I was captivated as a 4-year-old when I first learned to play Fish. The way my older cousin shuffled the deck seemed like magic.  And then there was the overwhelming anticipation followed by horror if I unknowingly selected the Old Maid from the person next to me.  I couldn’t get rid of her fast enough.  Whether you have preschoolers or teens at home, here are 6 simple card games that everybody loves .

OLD MAID

Prep a standard deck of cards by removing one queen card and shuffling the deck. Deal out all the cards to all the players until there are none left. Players remove the pairs in their hands. The dealer fans out his cards in his hands and offers his hand to the player on his left. That player selects one and adds it to her own hand. Any matches are removed. The process continues around and around the circle until everything is paired up except the queen. Whoever is left with it at the end of the game is the Old Maid!

GO FISH

The goal here is to get four of a kind. Deal out seven cards to each player. If you have seven or more players, use five cards a piece. Put the remaining cards in a deck in the center. Player 1 picks any other player to ask if he has the card she’s looking for – e.g., “Do you have any threes?” Hand over the cards if you’ve got them or tell the person to “Go Fish” for a card in the pile. As soon as you find four of a kind, put them face up on the table. Whoever runs out of cards first is the winner.

WAR

This game of luck can be totally addictive for kids. Divide the deck evenly among the two players. Each player turns over the top card on her deck at the same time. Whoever has the higher card takes both cards and puts them at the bottom of her stack. If the cards are the same, then it’s war! Each player counts out three cards (face down) and the next card is shown. Whoever has the higher card wins all the cards.

UNO /CRAZY EIGHTS

This game, played with UNO cards or a standard pack of playing cards, has one goofy twist: eights rule! Deal seven cards out to each person in a two-player game, or five cards for games with three or four players. The remaining cards go in a draw pile, and one card is turned over to start the play pile. The player to the dealer’s left must match the card’s number or suit from the face-up pile. A player who does not have a match may play an eight and change the suit to anything they wish. A player who has neither a match nor an eight must draw until he gets a card that can be played. The first to discard all their cards wins.

CONCENTRATION

Turn a standard deck of cards into a game of concentration. Shuffle the deck, laying the cards out in rows, and hunting for “matches” of the red kings, black threes, and so forth. For little ones, use just the two red suits for a more manageable set.

FOREHEAD POKER

This is a fun, super simple two-player game for the small fries. Place the deck between you and your child. Each of you grabs a card without peaking at it and places it on your forehead so that your opponent can see it, but you can’t. Have your little one guess if their own card is higher or lower than yours. If they’re right, they take the pair. If they’re wrong, it’s yours. Take turns and work your way through the deck. The person with the most cards at the end is the winner.

Educational Apps that will Excite Everyone

Looking for some new ways to take in the great outdoors?  Here are 3 free phone apps that will make a walk in the park no less than exciting. Merlin Bird Call will help you to identify every bird you hear or see. PictureThis – Plant Identifier does an awesome job at identifying each flower, tree or plant along the trail. And SkyView Lite teaches stargazing to everyone. Simply point your phone at the sky to identify stars, constellations, satellites, and more. All 3 are available on the app store.  Before long, your family will think you have super powers.

Make Your Own Ice Cream

Making your own ice cream is a fun summer activity to do with the kids. Here is a simple recipe. You can change it up by adding a little chocolate syrup, a few chocolate chips, or using a flavoring other than vanilla.

mixinbagIn a quart size zipper baggie, combine…
1 cup of whole milk or half and half
2 tablespoons of sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

In a gallon size zipper baggie…
Fill ½ way with ice cubes
Add 1/3 cup of rock salt (if you don’t have rock salt you can use table salt or kosher salt)

Seal the small baggie carefully and place the inside of the large bag. Seal the large bag and shake the bags until you can see the mixture thickening (about 5 minutes.) It will be cold to hold, so you may want to carefully pass it back and forth between yourself and a partner.  Remove the small baggie and wipe the top off (to remove salt water,) unzip and enjoy!

Valentine’s Day Activities

Valentine’s Day (February 14) is a time of love, friendship, giving, and caring. Americans use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to tell friends and family how much they care.  Children usually exchange cards at school.

Are you looking for Valentine’s day activity and craft ideas?

Look no further…  Au Pair in America has a Pinterest pinboard devoted to Valentine’s Day:

APIA Valentine’s Day Pinboard

Photo: Clever Cupcakes (Flickr)

Camp Au Pair – Summer Olympics

This week’s Camp Au Pair theme Summer Olympics. The 2021 Summer Olympics are taking place in Tokyo, Japan, July 23-Aug 8.

Crafts, recipes, activities, and games related to the Summer Olympics can be found here on the Camp Au Pair Summer Olympics pinboard.

Videos – On YouTube you can find many great videos of about the Olympics.

Books – Stop by your local library and look for books about the Olympics.

Some good ones include: Olympig!, G is for Gold Medal: An Olympic Alphabet, How to Train with a T-Rex and Win 8 Gold Medals, Wilma Unlimited, America’s Champion Swimmer: Gertrude Ederle, Way to Go Alex!, Touch the Sky, Pele: King of Soccer, A Picture Book of Jesse Owens & Babar’s Celestville Games.

You may also find some of these books read aloud on YouTube.

Fun Fact: The Olympic symbol consists of five interlaced rings of equal dimensions, used alone, in one or in five different colors, which are, from left to right, blue, yellow, black, green and red. The Olympic symbol (the Olympic rings) expresses the activity of the Olympic Movement and represents the union of the five continents and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games.

Image: Project Nursery

Camp Au Pair – Dinosaurs

This week’s Camp Au Pair theme is Dinosaurs.

Crafts, recipes, activities, and games related to dinosaurs can all be found here on the Camp Au Pair – Dinosaurs pinboard.

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.

Here are a few places to go that fit this theme:

    • Children’s museum with dinosaur exhibit
    • Natural history museum
    • Nature center with fossils

Toys – Many kids have dinosaur toys already. See what your kids have and think of fun, new ways you can play with these toys with them. Imagine taking a plastic dinosaur and making footprints in play dough to form your own fossils.

Webcam – This NPS Paleontology Lab offers a webcam where you can watch paleontologists remove rock from around fossils. The cam is normally working 9 am-5 pm PST, so 12-8 pm our time.

Videos – Look for fun videos on YouTube about dinosaurs and fossils. Here are a few to get you started.

Movies – The Good Dinosaur, Land Before Time, and Ice Age are all great family movies that fit with this theme. For older kids, consider movies like Journey to the Center of the Earth and Jurassic Park (which is rated PG-13).

Books – Check your kids’ bookshelf for books on dinosaurs.

Photo: krojotak.com