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:
Kid Museum is a hands-on learning space for kids in Bethesda
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.
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.
If your kids are a little older, check out 10 Crazy Facts About Sea Turtles (below).
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.
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.
Remember to bring along drinks, especially water. Try to get children to drink water every 20 minutes, when they are outside in hot weather.
Pay attention to surfaces that can be hot against children’s skin, such as metal slides and other playground equipment in the sun.
Safety around water is particularly important. A child can drown in just a few inches of water. Whenever you are near water you must never leave a child alone – if the phone rings, take them with you or let it ring! Always stay within arm’s reach when the children are in or near water.
Young babies should be kept out of direct sunlight. Keep the baby in the shade or under a tree, umbrella or stroller canopy.
Dress babies in lightweight clothing and use brimmed hats.
Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside, even if it appears overcast (cloudy).
Try to keep children out of the sun in the middle of the day when the sun is strongest.
Learn what poison ivy looks like and keep children out of it. A good rule to teach the children is “leaves of three, let it be.”
Use insect repellent spray to keep away mosquitos and ticks. Ask your host parents before applying.
Check for ticks when you bring children in from playing outside, especially if you’ve been in tall grass or the woods.
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.
CONTEST FOR AU PAIRS – The first au pair to message Lisa or me with your favorite planet will receive a Starbucks gift card.
When the kids are out of school on summer break there are soooo many possibilities. But, if you don’t make plans, you will often end up in the house with bored kids getting into trouble and arguing with their siblings. Make plans!
Having lots of ideas ready can minimize those problems.
Looking for fun activity ideas to get the summer started off right with your host kids?
The Au Pair in America Summer Fun Pinboard is a great place to start. Together, create a Summer Bucket List. Talk with the kids about things they would like to see and do. Even toddlers and preschoolers can contribute to the conversation. Run these plans by your host parents and clear things like how much you may spend and when is best to do some of these activities.
Check back here next week for information on Camp Au Pair in America: a weekly blog series with themed weeks for the entire summer break.
Dehydration means that the body lacks the necessary amount of fluid. Infants and small children are more likely to become dehydrated than older children or adults, because they can lose relatively more fluid quickly.
Here are some steps to take to make sure children remain hydrated in the summer months:
Encourage your child to drink plenty of water. On hot days, children should drink significantly more water than usual, as they are losing more due to the heat.
Do not wait until your child is thirsty to give him water. By the time they feel thirsty, they are already becoming dehydrated.
If your child is resistant to drinking enough water, have other liquids on hand for your child to drink throughout the day.
Be alert to changes in behavior. A child may act confused or more irritable when they are becoming dehydrated/overheated. Get them into cooler temperatures and drinking more fluids.
Dress your child in lightweight clothing in the summer months, particularly if she’ll be playing outdoors in warm weather. You may also consider clothes that are well ventilated as they do not trap heat close to the body.
When there are heat and/or air quality advisories because the weather is dangerously hot, you should avoid taking the children outdoors. Check with your host parents for further guidance on this topic.
Remember to follow these tips for yourself too, so you stay well hydrated.
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 is a video showing a Monarch Butterfly metamorphosis time-lapse.
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. Here is one from showing life inside a beehive, to get you started.
Books – Stop by your local library and look for books on bugs and butterflies.