Author Archives: Christine Connally

Camp Au Pair – Science (STEM)

This week’s Camp Au Pair theme is Science (STEM). This includes science, technology, engineering and math.

Crafts, recipes, activities, and games related to all things science, technology, engineering and math can be found here on the Camp Au Pair – Science (STEM) 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:

Virtual Field Trips

Videos – On YouTube you can find many great videos of with science experiments to do with kids.

The Magic School Bus is a cartoon series with episodes on lots of great science topics. You can find some episodes on YouTube and the full series on Paramount Plus.

Movies – The Lego Movie, Big Hero 6, Wall-E and Hidden Figures all fit the STEM theme.

Webcams – You can do a google search for science websites with webcams. Here is a collection of 22 science webcams from around the world.

Books – Stop by your local library and look for books on science, technology, engineering and math.

Image: sweetpaulmag.com

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:

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

Scavenger Hunt at National Harbor

It was a beautiful evening for a scavenger hunt!

These are the lovely au pairs who participated. This was our first in-person meeting since March 2020! For most of these au pairs it was there first in-person cluster meeting they ever attended. It was so great to finally meet people we have been communicating with online for all this time.

Here are the ladies on the winning team!

They were the first ones back and completed every item on the hunt!

Here is the scavenger hunt activity we did…

A scavenger hunt is a game where you are given a list of questions, things to look for and photographs to take. You will work together as a team to complete as many as you can in an hour.

Rules:

  • Photos need to be taken as a group selfie with all team members included.
  • Questions/photos may be completed in any order you choose.
  • Return to the starting point (outside of Del Sol store) by 7:15 pm to have your score calculated and find out who is the winning team.

Let the game begin!

  • Learn the names of all the au pairs on your team.
  • Find the first president of the United States and take a picture with him.
  • Find the U.S. president called “The Great Emancipator” and take a picture with him.
  • Find the mosaic mural called Maryland’s Bounty and take a picture in front of it.
  • Take a picture with the Capitol Wheel in the background,
  • Take a picture with a boat or picture of a boat.
  • Take a picture in front of the business with piano keys on their sign.
  • Take a picture trying to help the statue of a lady carrying her groceries.
  • Take a picture with a famous movie star from the 1960s.
  • Take a picture in front of a restaurant named for an American car.
  • Take a picture with the carousel.
  • Take a picture inside the heart statue.
  • Take a picture with “The Awakening”.
  • Take a picture of something you find beautiful.
  • Take a picture of something that looks delicious.
  • Group selfies with these famous people:

 

You probably won’t complete all of the questions/photos. That’s not a problem. Have fun and take great pictures.

 

Camp Au Pair – Under the Sea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In honor of Shark Week (see below), next week’s Camp Au Pair theme is Under the Sea.

Crafts, recipes, activities, and games related to creatures who live under the sea can all be found here on the Camp Au Pair – Under the Sea pinboard.

Webcams – You can do a google search for aquariums and zoos across the country (and the world) with webcams that allow you to observe sea creatures. Here is one to get you started.

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:

Television – The Discovery Channel has an annual Shark Week. This year it will be July 11-18, 2021. Much of the programming will be too scary for younger kids, but for nature-loving tweens and teens, it could be a great way to get them interested in sharks and other ocean animals. Check out 15 JAW-some Activities for Shark Week with lots of fun ideas for kids in grades 5 and up, but a few for younger kids too.

Online Games – NOAA has fun interactive games that help kids learn about sea turtle survival.

Videos – Look for fun videos on YouTube about sea creatures. There’s more to see than Baby Shark. Movies like Finding Nemo, Dolphin Tale, and the Little Mermaid also go well with this theme.

Books – Stop by your local library and look for books on sea creatures. The Rainbow Fish is a classic children’s book, your kids may already own. If not, you can find videos like this of it being read aloud.

Photo: mimisdollhouse.com

Camp Au Pair – Bugs & Butterflies

This week’s Camp Au Pair theme is Bugs & Butterflies.

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 & Butterflies pinboard.

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.

Books – Check your kids’ bookshelf for books on bugs and butterflies. 

Au Pair Contest:  Which name do you prefer: lightning bugs or fireflies? Message Christine or Lisa with your answer to win a prize. 

Image: minieco.co.uk

Celebrating 18 years as an APIA Community Counselor!

Eighteen years ago I started as a community counselor with Au Pair in America! I have met so many amazing au pairs, host families and colleagues in that time and had the opportunity to learn about the world and other cultures. About 7 years ago, Lisa Maxwell made the decision to join me in the au pair world and we make a dynamic duo!

U.S. Capital

This last year has been a challenging time for cultural exchange. Hopefully things will continue to improve and we will be able to keep on Bringing the World Together. 🌍❤️🌎❤️

Health & Safety – Where are Ticks?

When the weather is nice, we spend more time outdoors with the children. Playing in the back yard, at the playground or walking on nature trails are great ways to get fresh air and exercise.

kids in woods

What are ticks? – Ticks are small mites that attach themselves to the skin and suck blood. Click HERE to see examples of ticks.

Where are ticks commonly found? – Ticks are normally found in areas with trees, bushes or tall grass. This includes back yards, parks, nature areas, and most places you would be spending time with the children outdoors in the nice weather.

What needs to be done? – When you return home from areas where ticks might live, carefully check the children and yourself (clothing, skin, and scalp) for ticks. If you find a tick on one of your host children, notify your host parents immediately.

Most ticks do not carry diseases, and most tick bites do not cause serious health problems. But it is important to remove a tick as soon as you find it. Removing the tick completely and cleaning the area with soap and water or antiseptic spray, may help avoid diseases such as Lyme Disease that the tick may pass on during feeding, or a skin infection where it bit you.

Click HERE for Instructions on Removing a tick from WebMD.com.

How do you reduce the risk of tick bites?  – Use a repellent with DEET on the skin. Repellents containing 20% or more DEET can protect up to several hours. Always follow product instructions. Adults should apply this product to their children, avoiding the hands, eyes, and mouth. When you come back in from outside, it’s best to wash the repellent off of skin with soap and water. For detailed information about using DEET on children, see recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Camp Au Pair – Outer Space

Next week’s Camp Au Pair theme is Outer Space.

Crafts, recipes, activities, and games related to outer space can all be found here on the Camp Au Pair – Outer Space pinboard. Here is a fun one that combines a science lesson, art, and snack time.

https://www.opticscentral.com.au/moon-phases-explained-with-oreos

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:

Webcams – You can do a google search for websites with webcams that allow you to observe space. Here is one from the International Space Station to get you started.

Online Games – NASA has a gallery of free space games for kids.

Videos – Look for fun videos on YouTube about outer space. Solar System 101 and 25 Space Secrets Astronauts Want You to Know are good for school-aged kids. The Planet Song is for toddlers and preschoolers. WALL-E, Zathura, Monsters vs. Aliens & Star Wars are all great family movies that fit with this theme. For older kids, movies like Hidden Figures and the Martian too, both are rated PG-13.

Books – Stop by your local library and look for books on outer space.  Me & My Place in Space, Mousetronaut, There was an Old Astronaut who Swallowed the Moon, and Mae Among the Stars are a few fun ones to get you started. Story Time from Space is a YouTube channel with real astronauts reading children’s books aloud.

Photo: alittlepinchofperfect.com

Camp Au Pair – Cars & Trucks

Next week’s Camp Au Pair theme is Cars & Trucks.

Crafts, recipes, activities, and games related to all kinds of vehicles can all be found here on the Camp Au Pair – Cars & Trucks pinboard.

Field Trips can be a great way for kids to learn and have new experiences. IF your host parents are okay with you taking the kids to any outdoor, socially distanced activities, here are a few places to go, that fit this theme:

  • Go Kart Raceway in Crofton has double karts where an adult can drive a child (age 2 & up). To drive their own kart, kids must be age 8 and 54 inches or taller.
  • 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.
  • Go to a drive-through car wash or let the kids make their own car wash at home.

VideosMighty MachinesAmazing Big Trucks are kid-friendly video channels showing machinery and big trucks in action. Look for fun videos on YouTube about cars and trucks.

Movies – Cars, Cars 2 & 3, Turbo, Bumble Bee, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang & Bob the Builder Mega Machines movies all fit this theme.

Books – Check your kids’ bookshelf for books on cars & trucks. You can also find many read aloud book videos on YouTube. Little Blue Truck, Trash Trucks, Cool Cars and Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus are a few fun ones to get you started.

Image: funlearningforkids.com

Water Safety Tips for Children

When hot summer weather hits, the pool and beach are popular places to cool off. Here are some tips for host parents and au pairs to keep everyone safe when supervising children around water.

Water Safety Tips

  • Never leave a child unattended near water.
  • Drowning is silent; keep your eyes on the children at all times.
  • If in the pool with a young child, never be more than an arm’s length away.
  • Make sure the fence around the pool is closed properly.
  • If you have an above-ground pool, remove the ladder when not in use.
  • Swim at the beach or lake only when a lifeguard is on duty.
  • Children over 4 years old should learn how to swim.
  • Designate a specific person to watch the children.
  • If boating, always wear a Coast-Guard approved life jacket.
  • Keep a phone close by in case there is an emergency.
  • If you leave the area for any reason, the kids go with you.
  • Consider taking a water safety course.

Here is a video with info on how to spot when someone is in trouble in the water.

Photo: Au Pair in America