Today is a great opportunity to say something positive about the people you come into contact with ~ tell a stranger you like his tie, or her nail polish color. Make sure you are sincere and smile.
Summer is over, and in many places the air is turning colder. As the weather changes be sure to take advantage of what the fall season has to offer. Even if you don’t live in a place that sees a lot colorful leaves, there are fun family-friendly ways to get outdoors this fall:
• Go apple picking. Sure, most of us can get apples year-round from the grocery store, but there’s nothing quite like orchard fresh apples, picked straight from the tree during harvest season. That crunchy, tangy, sweet apple flavor is at its peak during this time of year. Many commercial orchards will let you pick your own. It’s not only fun, it’s also a great way to show kids where their food comes from. Get extras for canning applesauce, or making pies. When you’re done, warm up with a delicious mulled cider.
• Go on a nature hike. Bring along a field guide to identify different kinds of trees. Look for wildlife collecting food for winter. Explain to kids how animals are starting to fatten up and grow thick, protective winter coats. Watch for migrating birds.
• Collect fall leaves. Press them into books or preserve them in glycerin. Paste them onto handmade paper to create greeting cards, or glue them between two pieces of wax paper to make an attractive sun catcher. Go lightly on the glue, or substitute crayon shavings to add color; use a warm iron to melt the shavings and hold the paper together.
• Take a hayride. Many farms offer hayrides during the fall. This is a great way to kick back and enjoy nature with smaller kids who may not be up for a long walk.
• Visit the pumpkin patch. Don’t buy your Halloween pumpkin from the grocery store. Go straight to the source. Kids will love wandering around the patch to pick out the perfect pumpkin. Choose a couple of big ones for jack-o-lanterns, and grab a few smaller ones for painting or general household decorations. Smaller pumpkins make great additions to fall centerpieces. Roast the seeds in your oven with a sprinkling of tasty spices, and grab a few to make pumpkin pies.
• Visit a corn maze. Many farms earn extra income for the winter by turning their cornfields into large mazes. Test your directional sense, and get some fresh air in the process. Corn mazes are fun or all ages.
• Stuff a scarecrow. Dig out an old shirt and overalls, and stuff it with leaves until firm. Add a pumpkin head (from your trip to the pumpkin patch) and you’ve got a great fall decoration.
• Fly a kite. The gusty, brisk air makes autumn a great time for flying kites. Buy one from the store, or make your own from two long sticks, strong paper, and string.
• Have a bonfire. Invite some friends over for a backyard bonfire. The chill in the air makes fall the perfect time to sit together by the warmth of a blazing fire with a nice warm mug of cocoa or cider. Be sure to get any necessary permits from your town first.
• Make a leaf pile and jump in!
TRANSITIONING TO A NEW AU PAIR
As your au pair’s departure date approaches, her departure will affect you and her, as well as the children. There may be many different reactions to the au pair’s departure. You may see (or experience) tears, hostility or withdrawal. Remember that although it is important to talk about feelings, it may be difficult for young children to express feelings of loss, disappointment or betrayal. Therefore, children may act out their feelings instead (this can also be useful and appropriate). Any member of the household may feel angry, abandoned, sad or depressed. One common response to these feelings is to start to distance oneself. This helps some people to say good-bye, but may be confusing to other parties involved.
Here are some things to think about which might help everyone in your household prepare for your au pair’s departure:
- Young children perceive time differently than adults. Therefore, your preparation for the departure should not begin too far in advance.
- As the departure date nears, please start to talk with your children about her departure. When possible, it is helpful to link the departure date to some other event (when school is over, soon after vacation, etc.).
- It would also be desirable for your au pair herself to mention to the children that she will be leaving. Encourage her to do so.
- If you have not already discussed world geography with your child, this would be a good time to do so. Point out on a globe where you live and where your au pair is going. Discuss the distance and the travel time involved. Be clear that the au pair is going home to her family.
- Discuss the possibility of staying in touch with letters, e-mail, or even pictures if your child does not write. Be sure you have the au pair’s address, and make plans to write.
- It is often helpful (and fun) to create a small photo album for your children to look at. After your au pair leaves this can hold important memories for them.
- If you are having another au pair arrive, discuss the arrival plans with your child. Be sensitive to the possibility that your current au pair might feel badly about being “replaced” in your children’s hearts.
- Make sure there is an opportunity to say good-bye. Make it clear when it will be the last time your children will be seeing the au pair.
- If a change in routine is anticipated, try to put it in place before the new au pair arrives if possible.
- A departing au pair might want to leave a welcoming note to the next au pair along with any useful tips or information that she knows would be helpful. This could help her to feel valued by you.
As concerned parents, we often might want to protect our children from life’s bumps and bruises. However, learning to deal with loss is an important life lesson that can be understood by even young children. It is important to know that someone can care about you and still leave. With support from the family and the au pair, children can feel safe and secure while accepting the au pair’s departure. Children are often more resilient than we give them credit for, and they are also often a reflection of their parents’ feelings.
|Blarney Stone CraftIn this simple project, a smooth river rock is turned into a small, kissable Blarney Stone.In southwestern Ireland, there is a very famous stone, called the Blarney Stone. It is located high up in Blarney Castle. If you kiss the Blarney Stone, it is supposed to give you the gift of eloquence.|
|Make sure your rock is clean and dry. Paint the rock green.|
|After the paint is dry, decorate your rock using glitter, sequins, beads, plastic jewels, googly eyes, bits of yarn, or other interesting items.|
|When the paint and glue are dry, add details (like eyebrows, etc.) using markers.You now have your own small Blarney Stone to help you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.|
Today is National Peanut Butter Day. Who would have guessed you can make Peanut Butter Lover’s Day a Craft Day!
- Make bird feeders with peanut butter and pine cones.
- Pretend to be an elephant and make yourself some Elephant Ears and an Elephant Trunk.
- Make an Elephant Puppet and pretend he is eating peanuts.
- Make and play this Peanut Toss Game.
- Use chenille stems, paper scraps, and other misc supplies to make people and pets out of peanuts!
Other Things To Do:
- Find out more about where peanuts come from.
- Make home-made peanut butter.
- Talk about the color brown/tan.
- Try one of these Open-Faced Peanut Butter Sandwiches.
- Go on a peanut hunt (hide peanuts all around the room for someone to search for).
How to Say Goodbye
The English word “goodbye” is derived from the pharse “God be with you.” Parting words in other languages are similar. In Spanish, it’s adios (ah-dee-ohs), in French adieu (ah-dyur). Both words literally mean “to God”.
There are other ways to “goodbye”, however. English children shout “Cheerio” when parting and in Switzerland. Germany and Italy they say ciao (chow) which is the informal way of saying “goodbye” in Italian.
A wave of the hand accompanies most goodbyes, at least in the West. In Japan, people bow when they part, and Hindus press their hands together and say “Namaste”, just as they do when greeting one another.
In some households, in India, it’s considered a bad omen to say “goodbye”. Instead people say, “go and come back”. If you are the one leaving , you announce, “I’m going and I will be back.”
How many languages can you teach your host kids to say “goodbye”. Amaze your host parents at by having the kids say goodbye from around the world at the dinner table.
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!
Having a car accident is a very upsetting, stressful situation. Being prepared and knowing what to do can make things a little bit easier. Make sure you know which host parent to call in case of an accident.
Make sure you have all the necessary documents in your car glove box. Read this post on What to Keep in the Car Glove Box for a detailed list.
If you have an accident: (from Edmunds.com)
- Keep Safety First. Drivers involved in minor accidents with no serious injuries should move cars to the side of the road and out of the way of oncoming traffic. Leaving cars parked in the middle of the road or busy intersection can result in additional accidents and injuries. If a car cannot be moved, drivers and passengers should remain in the cars with seatbelts fastened for everyone’s safety until help arrives. Make sure to turn on hazard lights and set out cones, flares or warning triangles if possible.
- Exchange Information. After the accident, exchange the following information: name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, driver license number and license plate number for the driver and the owner of each vehicle. If the driver’s name is different from the name of the insured, establish what the relationship is and take down the name and address for each individual. Also make a written description of each car, including year, make, model and color — and the exact location of the collision and how it happened. Finally, be polite but don’t tell the other drivers or the police that the accident was your fault, even if you think it was.
- Photograph and Document the Accident. Use your camera to document the damage to all the vehicles. Keep in mind that you want your photos to show the overall context of the accident so that you can make your case to a claims adjuster. If there were witnesses, try to get their contact information; they may be able to help you if the other drivers dispute your version of what happened.
Important Reminder: You may always phone the police (911) to ask for help, if you feel unsafe because of how the other person is behaving. Your safety is the most important thing.
Image: cygnus921 (Flickr)
A teacher workday is a delightful opportunity for you and your child to enjoy the simple pleasures of personal time, to share activities together, to go deep with ideas and feelings. But as every teacher and parent knows, the trick is to find enough things for your child to do so she or he doesn’t get cabin fever.
Teachers have discovered that this time of year is perfect doing short activities that can quickly change the mood of the day. These mini-events also grab children’s attention and engage them in teachable moments. Studies have shown that the brain remembers the first and last part of a lesson better than the middle. That is why it is better to offer short episodes of learning where there are more beginnings and ends and fewer “middles”!
Here a few favorite mini-events teachers use to fight cabin fever in the classroom. You can try them at home too.
Music and movement games. Can’t play fair outside? Do it inside! Put on some of your favorite music and do a cooperative version of musical chairs. The object of the game is to get as many friends and family on the chairs as possible. Nobody is OUT! Each time one chair is removed, everyone has to work together to get each other on the chairs. More indoor games to try include: a kitchen utensil marching band, Simon Says, two-minute aerobics, yoga, and jumping rope without a rope.
Winter picnic. Is the wind blowing outside your door? You can still have a picnic. Collect the picnic basket, the beach towels, tablecloths, and folding chairs and spread them out in the living room! Involve your child in planning, preparing, and sharing the sandwiches and snacks for the event. Set everything up, put on some warm music, and invite the entire family. Don’t forget your sunglasses. The best part: no ants!
Art projects. Art is always a great calming activity for children. If you are willing to get a bit messy, you and your child can share some fun moments together. Make food-coloring ice cube paints to share on a roll of paper: Fill ice cube tray with different colors and place a Popsicle stick in each for handles. Freeze. Your child can rub the ice cube “brushes” on the paper and watch as the colors “paint” and mix together!
Or, for a change of pace, try this in reverse. Instead of freezing the paint, freeze the paper. Wet plain white drawing paper and place on a sheet of aluminum foil. Place in the freezer overnight. Have watercolors ready to paint on the paper as soon as you take it out of the freezer. It will melt fast and create some interesting designs.
Quiet reflection. We are such an active culture, and children’s lives are getting more and more crowded by after-school activities that require them to be on the go most of the time. Taking a moment to not do is almost unheard of. Yet, it is an essential part of creating peace both inside and out. Through quiet perception games, children can learn to calm their minds and bodies quickly and easily. Try this: Invite your child to sit in comfortably. Then say: “Without talking, I want you to look around the room and notice something that interests you. Look at it carefully and notice everything you can about it without touching it.” (Pause.) “Now pretend you can touch it. Think about how it would feel if you could touch it.” You can do just one object or invite your child to find something else to look at this way. This game is not only successful at home but is wonderful in a crowded waiting room or on line in the grocery store!
Here are some interesting fact about the upcoming Labor Day holiday that you may not know. Below are some tips on what you can do with your children to celebrate from cooking recipes to coloring pages. Use this time to engage is some cultural sharing with your families.
The Workman’s Holiday ~ Dedicated in honor of the worker, Labor Day is also known as the “workingman’s holiday”. The holiday is dedicated to all workers in the United States in respect and appreciation for the work they do in or outside of the home, union or non-union, big companies and small companies and au pairs too. As long as you work somewhere at something, this holiday is for you! It is a day to celebrate your contribution to American working life and the work you do.
The First Labor Day ~ The first Labor Day was celebrated in New York City on September 5, 1882 and was started by the Central Labor Union in New York City. In 1884, it was moved to the first Monday in September where it is celebrated today. Labor Day quickly became popular and one state after another voted it as a holiday. On June 28, 1894, the U.S. congress voted it a national holiday.
The End of Summer ~ Labor Day is also viewed as the official end of summer. While the Fall Equinox is still a couple of weeks away, kids go back to school and summer vacations are over. This day is celebrated with a long weekend off from work and union sponsored parades. Many people celebrate this weekend with one last picnic. It is also the date that many people close up the swimming pool, and put away the boats.
Was it McGuire or Maguire? Either Peter McGuire or Matthew Maguire is the Creator of Labor Day. Peter J. McGuire, was an active labor organizer. He was also general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor. He was believed to be the first to suggest a day be dedicated to American workers and their accomplishments. Matthew Maguire however, was secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York in 1882 and many believed that he proposed the holiday in 1882.
So What do Americans eat on Labor Day? Picnics and barbecues are popular ways to celebrate Labor Day. Old standards are hamburgers, corn dogs, coleslaw, potato salad corn on the cob, baked beans and sliced tomatoes. Finish up with sliced watermelon, apple or blueberry pie and freshly churned ice cream. Sound good?
Want to try a recipe?
Click here for Labor Day coloring pages: http://www.apples4theteacher.com/coloring-pages/labor-day/
Click here for Labor Day short stories for children: http://www.apples4theteacher.com/holidays/labor-day/short-stories/