Just because a child is old enough to occupy themselves, doesn’t mean that they should be expected to do so the majority of the time. Host families have a certain expectation of activity and involvement for their children. Get the kids engaged and active. You can be more fun than the TV or a video game.
But, my kids don’t want to do anything but watch TV or play video games.
Instead of saying, “Would you like to (fill in the blank with any activity)? The answer will often be, “No.”
Try this, “Now we are going to (fill in the blank with any activity.) or “Would you rather do _____ or ______?” Make sure both the choices are good options.
Your chances of co-operation are greatly increased. Even kids who are reluctant to try new things will usually get in the spirit of things and have fun, if you pick a good activity.
I don’t know what to do with school age kids.
Look for ideas online. Google “activities school age kids” or “activities tweens”. Below is a list of some ideas to get you started.
- Making things (check craft stores like Michael’s for kits and models that are age appropriate)
- Going fun places (pottery painting, jewelry making, farms, museums, mini-golf, go-karts)
- Sports (soccer, tennis, swimming, bicycling, roller skating, ice skating)
- Let them teach you to do something they enjoy. Kids this age love being the expert.
- Get outdoors and visit local parks. You can even make a project of reviewing all the local parks (what kind of equipment they have, is there shade, water fountain?) They can write this up and keep, so they remember which ones they want to go to again and which ones to skip in the future.
- Let them help you search and plan some activities.
- Check on the APIA Pinterest page and here on our cluster blog for ideas.
- If you have a GPS, try taking them geocaching. Here is a website with all the details.
Note: Always get permission from your host parents before taking the kids places.
Stationed on a walkway or porch, these homemade lanterns will extend a ghostly greeting and good-bye to all your holiday visitors.
- Clean plastic gallon milk jugs
- Black permanent marker
- Craft knife
- String of 50 clear low-wattage holiday lights
- Draw ghost eyes and mouths on the jugs. Tip: Leave the caps on while you do this, so the jugs don’t dent.
- Use the craft knife to cut a half-dollar-size hole in the back of each jug (a parent’s job).
- Arrange the ghosts near each other and string the lights between them, stuffing several bulbs into each of the jugs.
Make some caramel apples with your kids to get into the carnival vibe and enjoy some yummy treats.
All you need are apples, cubes of caramel, and milk!
- Remove the stem from each apple and press a craft stick into the top.
- Butter a baking sheet
- Place caramels and milk into a microwave bowl and microwave for 2 minutes.
- Roll each apple with caramel sauce and place on sheet to set.
PS – You can use treats like nuts, cookies, etc. to add some extra flavor! (Always check for allergies before serving)
Table your constant stream of morning reminders with this clever place mat, which allows kids to take responsibility for their own must-dos.
- Decorative paper
- Glue stick
- 18- by 12-inch sheet of poster board
- Clear Con-Tact paper (or have it laminated at a copy shop)
- Nontoxic dry-erase marker
- Adhesive-backed Velcro dot
- Cut three 6- by 12-inch rectangles from decorative paper. Use a glue stick to affix them side by side onto the poster board.
- Write a “Do at Home” checklist on the left rectangle and a “Take to School” checklist on the right one (leave a few blank spaces at the bottom of each list for write-in reminders).
- Have the place mat laminated at a copy shop or cover it with clear Con-Tact paper. Your child can use a nontoxic dry-erase marker to check off items or write additional reminders. Affix an adhesive-backed Velcro dot to keep the marker in a handy spot on the mat.
This week (March 1-5) many schools throughout the United States are celebrating the birthday of Dr. Seuss. To honor Dr. Seuss’ love of reading and his inspiration for kids and adults alike, March 3 is Read Across America Day. The National Education Association sponsors events to inspire reading in children throughout our schools and communities.
Dr. Seuss wrote many childrens books – Cat in the Hats, Green Eggs and Ham, Hop on Pop to name a few. In the cluster monthly Kids Activity Kit for March, there is a Dr.Seuss Reading Rewards Card for each host child. Punch out the colored dots for each book the children read. After 15 books, complete the Dr. Seuss Reading Certificate and reward the children with a Dr. Seuss pencil (included in the kit).
My son’s school developed a week of celebrations based on the themes of the Dr. Seuss books. This is a fun activity to do with your host kids at home. Dig out the Dr. Seuss books – you will be surprised how much fun the books are to read and the rhyming will help improve your english.
Monday – “Red and White Day” – wear red and white to show Seuss Pride.
Tuesday – “Cat in the Hat Day” – wear your favorite hat to school.
Wednesday – “Grinch Green Day” – wear green, but don’t be as grumpy as the Grinch
Thursday- “Fox in Socks Day” – Roll up your pant legs and show off your cool socks.
Friday – “Sneak Up on Reading Day” – Wear your favorite sneakers and participate in “Drop Everything and Read.”
Check out the Dr. Seuss website
for more ideas, printables and on line games to play with the kids. Enjoy!
Host parents often ask for suggestions on how best to handle common expenses that occur as au pairs are caring for the children.
There are different ways to handle the little day to day expenses that come up. Things like when an au pair takes the kids out for ice cream or picks up a gallon of milk. Some families keep a cookie jar fund, a little cash that they set aside weekly or monthly for these types of expenses. Others give their au pair a prepaid debit card for this purpose. Below are some suggestions for avoiding problems with expenses.
- It’s important to be clear about how long this money should last and what types of expenses are approved.
- Let the au pair know whether or not you expect receipts.
- Only spend the money on approved expenses.
- If it is something you are not sure about, ask first.
- Put your receipts in the cookie jar in place of the money to avoid any confusion.
Gas and Fare Cards
Host families are responsible for the au pair’s transportation costs: to and from classes, cluster meetings and when driving the kids.
It is a good idea to figure out how much gas an au pair will use for these trips and either put gas in the car or give a gas allowance. If your au pair is riding to classes or cluster meetings with another au pair, you should offer to share the cost of gas.
Au pairs are responsible for their own transportation at all other times. You should replace the amount of gas used for personal use.
Photo: Andrea Travillian
January – Dave & Busters Game Center
February – 76ers basketball game in Philly with host families and au pairs
March – Chinatown Brunch in Philly
April – Laser Tag
May – Bowling
June 5th Wed nighy – Phillies Baseball Game with host famiilies and au pairs
July – barbecue at Diana’s house
August – education information meeting
September – Hard Rock Cafe
October – Eastern State Penitentiary Historical Tour meeting
November – International Thanksgiving Dessert Party with host families and au pairs
December – Au Pair Christmas/ Holiday Party!