Tag Archives: Child Care

Focus on Play: New Ideas for Some Classic Toys

It is good to offer kids a balance of independent play time and play where you are actively engaging with them. You can make toys they may be bored with, feel new and exciting, by suggesting different ways to play with them. Try some of the ideas below as a starting point.

Play Food/Dishes

  • Teach your host children how to say the names of some of the food and dishes in your language.
  • Using English and/or your language play games where you are ordering food like in a restaurant. Take turns with who will be the waiter and who is the customer.
  • Come up with silly food combinations.  For example: Who wants pickles on their slice of cake?
  • Play a guessing game where the children have to figure out what food you are talking about.  For example: I grow under the ground in the dirt.  People eat me fried, mashed and baked.  What am I? (a potato)
  • Play a game with setting the table using your language to ask for the different items (plate, spoon, etc.)
  • Ask the children to divide the foods up into the different food groups (vegetables, meat, dairy, etc.)

Lego Blocks and Other Building Toys

  • Divide up all of the blocks between the people playing, by taking turns for each person to select block by block.
  • Suggest specific things to build (robots, houses, mountains etc.) and build together.
  • Challenge everyone to use all of their blocks.
  • Sort the blocks by color or shape and make patterns with them (red, blue, red, blue or square, triangle, rectangle.)  You can create a pattern and ask the child to fill in what comes next to continue the pattern.
  • Make the tallest block tower you can and let them knock it down (over and over again, if like most kids, they like destroying things.)

Mr. Potato Head

  • Teach your host children the names of the different parts in your language and play a game asking them to put on the body parts by name.
  • Play Hide and Seek with Mr. Potato Head. Have the children cover their eyes and count, while you hide Mr. Potato Head, then they go looking for him. Switch things up by letting them hide Mr. Potato Head and then you are the one to locate him.
  • Play the same game above, but using Simon Says.  Simon Says is a game where the leader gives commands by saying “Simon says” first. For example, “Simon says, put on the nose.”  The players are only to follow the commands when the leader says “Simon says.”  If the leader doesn’t say “Simon says” first and just says, “put on the nose,”  and the player follows the command, they are out of the game.  Repeat the game multiple times, so all kids get a turn to be the leader at least once.

Photos:  Lisa Maxwell (top) & Tom Smalls (bottom)

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Create Your Own "Summer Bucket List"

The term “bucket list” was popularized in the 2007 Jack Nicholson/Morgan Freeman movie. The idea is to make a list of things you want to do before you “kick the bucket” (which is an idiom referring to death.) Even though that sounds kind of morbid, the idea has taken off as something much more positive and people create bucket lists to log the things they want to do at some point in their life.

With that said, a Summer Bucket list is a list of things to do before this summer ends.

Click here to print your own summer bucket list

Click here to print your own summer bucket list

Get lots of ideas to put on your list on our APIA Summer Fun Pinterest Board.

Health & Safety – What 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 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 (their skin and scalp) for ticks.

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 may help you 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.

Time Capsule Fair Has Been Canceled

Due to the severe weather from Hurricane Irene that is anticipated on Saturday, the event will be be canceled.

If you created a time capsule to take part, please contact me (contact info. below) to arrange to receive your goody bag.

time capsule

In honor of the 25th Anniversary of Au Pair in America, we are sponsoring a time capsule fair. Families are invited to create a family time capsule and participate. Guests are also welcome to come see the time capsules on display, vote for their favorite and participate in the other family activities.

This will be a Fun Family Event featuring…

  • Time Capsule Fair
  • Story Times
  • Back to School Organization Tips for Parents
  • Temporary Tattoos
  • Coloring & Crafts
  • Door Prize Drawings

A Time Capsule is a container that includes items and information that share what it was like to live in a particular period of time. After the time capsule fair, you can seal up your capsule and mark it “Not to be opened until 2036.” It could be buried or just tucked away in your attic. It will be a lot of fun looking back at the items 25 years from now!

Download a Complete Time Capsule Activity Plan HERE

Time Capsule Fair Rules:

  • Register HERE online (preferred) or the day of the event.
  • You may use any container and include whatever items you choose.
  • You may work together as a family to create one family time capsule or each child may create and enter their own.
  • Each entry will have a 2’ x 2 1/2’ table space to display their time capsule and it’s contents.
  • Backboards are allowed, but not required.
  • Each family who enters the time capsule will receive a gift bag.
  • Time capsules should be checked in and set-up between 1:00 and 2:00 PM to be included.
  • Judging will take place at 2:30 PM.
  • Award presentations and prize drawings will be held at 2:45 PM.
  • If you want to take your time capsule home, it needs to be picked up by 3:30 PM.

For more information, please call Christine Connally at 301-860-1314 or email at cicaupair @ gmail.com (without the spaces.)

Outer Space Activity Fun

Here is another fun website with ideas to go along with this week’s Outer Space theme.

Get Crafty: Space Mobile

Make your own star mobile!

Space Mobile CraftWhat you need:
  • – Yellow construction paper
  • – String or yarn
  • – 2 plastic straws
  • – Hole puncher
  • – Scissors
  • – Pencil
  • – Eraser
  • – Stapler

Steps:

1. Draw 6-8 stars on the yellow construction paper. Each one should be a different shape or size.
2. When you’re finished, ask a parent to help you cut out the shapes. Cut around the outside of the lines and then use an eraser to remove the pencil marks.
3. Parent Alert: Using the hole puncher, pierce a hole at the top of each star.
4. Cut a piece of string for each of the stars and tie it around the hole. Tip: Vary the length of the string to help your mobile come to life.
5. Parent Alert: Pick up two straws and make the shape of the letter “X” with them. Staple the straws together where the two meet.
6. Cut and tie a long piece of string to where the staple is and then tie the rest of the strings to one of the four limbs of the X.
7. Hang your mobile by the long string in the middle and in your room from the ceiling or in a favorite corner somewhere around the house. Now, you can look at the stars anytime you want!

Craft from Funschool.com

Also: Printable Space Word Jumble & Shuttle Shuffle

EduCare in America – An APIA Exclusive!

Our cluster is one of the select number of communities offering EduCare in America. Au Pair in America is the only agency offering the EduCare program.

Sarah from Germany 19 years old 658 hours of child care experience

Sarah from Germany ~ 19 years old

What is EduCare in America? – This cost-effective program is the choice for families with full-time school-age children who require care primarily during the early morning and after school hours, with some weekend and evening hours. 30 hours of child care for approximately $271 per family, per week.

EduCare Summer 2011* Arrival Dates
July 5       July 25       August 1       August 15

We still have a large pool of EduCare applicants looking for placement this summer.

  • View a sampling of Educare companion profiles HERE.
  • Want to view full applications, apply HERE.
  • Want to find out more? Email me at cicaupair @ aol.com.

*There is also one winter EduCare arrival date for 2011 – December 5.

Greetings From Around the World

The Au Pair in America 25th Anniversary Cultural Fair was held at the Spanish Ballroom at Glen Echo Park on April 9, 2011. At the cultural fair, I recorded clips of au pairs sharing greetings in their native languages. Here is that video.

My apologies to the ladies from Colombia, whom somehow I missed recording. Colombia was there and represented very well by Carolina & Alexandra from our cluster as well as several other au pairs.

Snow Day Boredom Busters

I know the kids have been home for many snow days this winter.  Believe me I know, since I have 4 kids of my own at home.  The key to keeping things manageable and fun is planning ahead and being proactive.  Don’t wait until the kids are fighting and getting into trouble to find things for them to do. Get them engaged in activities to prevent the boredom and arguing that can happen when everyone is in the house for too long.

I'm bored

I am putting together some blog posts with activity ideas in the following categories:

  1. New Ideas for the Same Old Toys
  2. Indoor Physical Activities
  3. Activities for Older kids
  4. Cooking Activities