Tag Archives: Kids

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:

    • Children’s museum with dinosaur exhibit
    • Natural history museum
    • Nature center with fossils

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

Welcome to Camp Au Pair in America!

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.

Here are the themes you can look forward to:

  • Art Experiences
  • Backyard Safari
  • Bugs & Butterflies
  • Cars and Trucks
  • Dinosaurs
  • Explore the World
  • Nature Explorations
  • Outer Space
  • Pirate Adventures
  • Princesses & Knights
  • Science (STEM)
  • Under the Sea

Check out Summer Fun & Summer Holidays pin boards for even more ideas.

If you get some great pictures doing these activities with your host kids, please send those to your counselor. We love to share your accomplishments and inspire other au pairs!

Let’s make this an amazing summer!

 

Social Distancing: Free Virtual Escape Rooms

Libraries may be closed due to COVID-19, but many librarians are coming up with creative ideas to keep people entertained and promote literacy. One of those creative ideas is free virtual escape rooms. With a variety of themes, some may be fun to do on your own, others as activities with the kids.

Sydney Krawiec, Youth Services Librarian at Peters Township Public Library in McMurray, PA created this Hogwarts Virtual Escape Room. She shared this tutorial on how to create your own virtual escape room, which seemed to spark the creativity of many other librarians.

Some amazing librarians all over the country have been busy creating virtual escape rooms with a variety of themes.

Special thanks to the Humboldt County Library in Winnemucca, Nevada for gathering info on many of these escape rooms. Follow them on Facebook for their storytimes and weekly Facebook Live Science Time on Fridays.

Image: Canva.com

Social Distancing: 5 Online Adventures for Kids

Reading, playing, and doing art projects are always great ways to entertain children and keep them physically active and learning. It’s a good idea to limit screen time. But, in this time of social distancing, technology can play an important role in allowing kids to see and connect with the world outside of their homes. Many online resources are popping up to create those opportunities.

Here are five to get you started:

And if kids have questions about the coronavirus, Live Science has created an ultimate kids’ guide to the new coronavirus that has lots of information and is appropriate for school-aged kids.

Make Your Own Play Dough

Play dough is the perfect modeling material for children. Their small hands can pat, poke, pinch, roll and knead it into many shapes. Keep it in an airtight container to use another day, or let it air dry into favorite shapes.

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Measure 2 cups of flour, one cup of salt and 4 teaspoons of cream of tartar into a bowl. Add 1/4 cup of oil to one cup of water in a separate bowl then add the mixture to the dry ingredients. For colored play dough, squeeze 10-20 drops of food coloring into the water before you add it to the mixture. Cook the dough at low heat in a wide pan, stirring constantly until it becomes rubbery. Remove the dough from the heat and knead it for a few minutes. When it cools the kids can play too!

Photo: Kevin Jarrett (Flickr)

How to Manage Longer Days with Children – When School is out and Camp isn’t On!

Summer -  Ryan HydeHere are some ideas to keep your kids busy this summer!

Top Ten – How to Manage Longer Days with Children – When School is out and Camp isn’t On!
Au pairs should always check with their host parents to seek approval for any childcare activities.

10. Start A Summer Scrapbook!
Include drawings, pictures, and journal entries of activities from the summer. It will be special because children and their au pair created it together. This could be a hard version, a computer generated one, a movie of daily clips set to music…..they could even make 2 copies – one for her and one for them to keep!

9. Have a picnic!
Spread the planning and preparation across a few days to get them excited!
First, decide on a location, and have a few choices from which the children can pick. For example, their backyard, a town park or near a pond. Include a rain plan – will they choose an alternate in door solution or go on another date? Create ballots and let them vote!
Make the picnic ‘basket’ —- use a plain box and let the children decorate it! Then, decide on a menu — look up recipes and shop for the ingredients together….prepare anything that can be done ahead of time — and then when it is “the day,” finish the picnic packing and go!

8. Switch It UP
Have dinner for breakfast and breakfast for dinner! Plan the menu and prepare together!
Who doesn’t like pancakes for dinner???? (If their host parents don’t, then ignore this one!)

7. Have a Pajama Day!
Plan an indoor PJ day. Choose books to read, cookies to make, a movie to watch, indoor tent with blankets and go! Think of it as a snow day (on a rainy day) in the summer!

6. Six websites with nifty ideas!

Create your own holiday www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson018.shtml
Start a collection www.ehow.com/how_10563_start-collection.html
Scavenger Hunt http://www.lovetheoutdoors.com/camping/kids/scavengerhunt.htm
Build a sandcastle www.sandcastlecentral.com/toolpages/
Plant a garden www.geocities.com/mastergardener2k/
Make a bubble solution www.bubblemania.com/faq/solution.html

5. Park it!

Make a list of area parks. After each visit, have the children critique it….what was good, what did they like about it….what didn’t they like? Create a chart with applicable headings including a rating system. At the end of their comparison, their chart will show them where they like to go for what activities, etc. This is a great hand down tool as well for subsequent au pairs or the parents themselves!

4. Taste Test Day!
Buy several brands of vanilla – and try one bite of each and see what they like best! Or do flavors – let the children choose! Different versions….yogurt tasting, cheese/crackers, salsas or red vs. green grapes!

3. Make a Diorama!

Have children re-create a scene from their favorite book, zoo or outing. http://www.ehow.com/how_12761_make-diorama.html

2. Have a home book club!

Everyone read the same book – and compare your thoughts on it.
Here are some ideas: http://www.scholastic.com/ups/campaigns/src-2015

1. AP Day!

Once a week — have a Day dedicated to the au pair’s country! Eat some foods from her country…and have her share typical summer activities she did growing up. She can read the children a book in her native language as well as teach them how to sing and count! As the children get the hang of it – they can make a list of things they would like her to teach or tell them. Au pairs could even team up to share ‘days’ from their countries with each other’s children!

Photo: Flickr Ryan Hyde

10 Tips for Summer Safety

  1. Remember to bring along drinks, especially water. Try to get children to drink water every 20 minutes, when they are outside in hot weather.
  2. Pay attention to surfaces that can be hot against children’s skin, such as metal slides and other playground equipment in the sun.
  3. 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.
  4. Young babies should be kept out of direct sunlight. Keep the baby in the shade or under a tree, umbrella or stroller canopy.
  5. Dress babies in lightweight clothing and use brimmed hats.
  6. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside, even if it appears overcast (cloudy).
  7. Try to keep children out of the sun in the middle of the day when the sun is strongest.
  8. 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.”
  9. Use insect repellent spray to keep away mosquitos and ticks. Ask your host parents before applying.
  10. Check for ticks when you bring children in from playing outside, especially if you’ve been in tall grass or the woods.

Photo: Scott97006 (Flickr)

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Butterfly Bunch for Mother’s Day

 

Make a memorable Butterfly Bunch for Mother’s Day this year.  Mount these amazing butterflies on mom’s bathroom mirror on Mother’s Day for a great start to her day.  

Just wing it! No one will believe this wall art is made from toilet-paper tubes from Family Fun!

Tube Crafts Colorful Butterfly Bunch on Wall

Biz Jones

What You’ll Need:

Toilet- and/or paper-towel tubes
Gesso (optional, for brighter color)
Craft paint
Hot-glue gun or adhesive dots
Poster putty

Directions:

1. If desired, prime tubes inside and out with gesso; let dry. Then paint; let dry completely

2. Flatten the tubes and use scissors to cut them into slices. For a large butterfly, you’ll need five ⅝-inch-wide slices. For a small butterfly, you’ll need two ½-inch-wide slices and one ¼-inch-wide slice (eyeball it).

3. To construct the small butterfly: Fold two ½-inchwide slices in half; unfold. Add a dot of hot glue (an adult’s job) to the inside center of each and refold to make a set of wings. Glue the two sets of wings to the sides of the ¼-inch-wide “body.”

4. To construct a large butterfly: Add a dot of glue to the inside center of one of the ⅝-inch slices and squish it together to make a “body.” Add a dot of glue to the flat side and press on another slice for a wing, as shown. Repeat for other three wings.

5. To assemble into artwork: Arrange the butterflies on the floor first; use poster putty to attach them to the wall.

10 Ways to Incorporate Positive Childcare

Here are 10 tips to incorporate Positive Childcare into your day.  These tips are written by:  C. McCrory.

1. Boredom at Bay

When a child begins to get bored, their little bodies wander, and often into trouble or mischief. It is important to make sure you keep the children busy with different things to do if they cannot occupy themselves alone, or until they are able to entertain themselves. Keeping a list of quick and easy activities or games is a good idea to avoid rushing to find something to occupy little ones. If they are busy with the right activities, you’ll avoid potential misbehaviour and mess.

2. Endless Encouraging

Positivity leads to smiles, not sadness. Children look up to adults around them for approval and examples, which is why encouraging them is so important. When children do something right, well or good, make sure you awknoledge that right away. Your positive comments and encouragement will make them want to repeat that behaviour and act in a way which is pleasing to you. You will also be building their self-esteem and confidence, leading to stronger little individuals.

3. Reward not Reverse

When children take positive and appropriate actions, rewards them where needed. In contrast, do not use a reward as an encouragement to do something. The reward should be a positive surprise, not an incentive to do something. This is in fact bribing, and it is not constructive. In addition, the reward is best to be non-material, such as an shared activity, not a ‘thing’ like a toy.  You want positive actions to become first nature, without them expecting anything in consequence.

4. Listen and Protect

Be attentive to what children express to you, especially if they share something that is bad, negative, scary or worrisome to them. You want to react in a positive and supportive way so that the child continue to trust you and share with you. If you have a negative reaction, this will deter the child from coming to you in the future. A strong relationship of trust can be built with children and the importance of this in their live is significant and necessary.

5. Boulder Boundaries

Boundaries are essential to a child’s development and understanding. Setting limits serves the purpose of protecting a child, helping then understand rules and creating a sense of safety.  By nature, as little as they are, they will still challenge these boundaries, and it is essential that you maintain these and remain consistent in what you say. Over time, children will challenge what you say and do less and less as they better understand that you mean what you say.

6. Teaching By Example

Children may have little eyes and ears, but they still take it all in. They are constantly watching you and listening to what you say to them or others. As adults are examples to them, they will mimic certain behaviours they see you do, which is why it is so important that you behave in way you would want them to behave. Be as attentive to your own behaviour as you are to theirs.

7. Keep Calm and Carry On

Also part of “teaching by example,” you do not want to let your anger cause you to react in a way you do not want children to mimic or witness. If you are angry in a way that is affecting your thought process and behaviour, then take a step back and wait before reacting. Conversation can occur once you have regained your calm and discipline can take place once you mind is clear.

8. If at first you don’t succeed, then try, try again.

Looking after children is not easy, in fact many say it is one of the most challenging job in the world. It can, at times, be exhausting, draining, frustrating and overwhelming. The best you can do is to do the best that you can, don’t try to be perfect because no one is. Parenting and caring for children is a challenge, one that you should not be afraid to ask for help with. Whatever you do, don’t get overwhelmed, and take it one day at a time!

9. The Bright Side of Discipline

Discipline is an amazing thing that will build good, well behaved and understanding children. This is not the shouting, screaming, violent or threatening kind of discipline, this is the healthy, constructive, clear and reasoned discipline. They key is to be calm, clear and consistent(the 3 C’s of Discipline) to help children understand the reason why they are being punished, how they are being punished and that this means you care about them. Find a strategy that works for your household and carry it out when necessary, following the 3 C’s.

10. T.L.C – Tender love and care.

Some people have a natural tendency to shy away from emotions and closeness, but this is an essential element of childcare. Children need love, comfort, warmth and protection. Do not be afraid of showing this to them by playing with them, taking time for them, hugs, kind words and holding their hand. Be aware and attentive of their emotional needs and do your best to meet them.

Flu Alert – Tips to Stay Healthy this Flu Season

You can’t turn on the television news lately without hearing about the flu epidemic.  The seasonal flu seems to be a particularly strong virus this year.  Here’s some useful information from the Center for Disease Control about how you can protect yourself from the flu and how to treat yourself and your host children should you get sick.

It is NOT too late to get a Flu Vaccine.  Au Pair insurance does not cover immunizations, but there are lots of places to get flu shots for $30 or less. Check your local health department or stores with a pharmacy such as CVS, Target and Walgreens. If a host family is insisting that their au pair get a seasonal flu shot and she agrees to get it, the host family would be responsible for the expense.

An Ounce of Prevention
There are steps you can take in your daily life to help protect you from getting the flu.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.  Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people
  • Practice good health habits.  Get plenty of sleep and exercise, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat healthy food
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.  Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever reducing medicine.

Symptoms of the Flu
The flu and the common cold have similar symptoms.  It can be difficult to tell the difference between them.  Your healthcare provider can give you a test within the first few days of your illness to determine whether or not you have the flu.

In general, the flu is worse than the common cold.  Symptoms such as fever, body aches, tiredness, and cough are more common and intense with the flu.

Flu symptoms include:

  • A 100oF or higher fever or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever)
  • A cough and/or sore throat
  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Headaches and/or body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea (most common in children)

Treating the Flu
You can treat flu symptoms without medication by:

  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Drinking clear fluids like water, broth, sports drinks, or electrolyte beverages to prevent becoming dehydrated
  • Placing a cool, damp washcloth on your forehead, arms, and legs to reduce discomfort associated with a fever
  • Putting a humidifier in your room to make breathing easier
  • Gargling salt water (1:1 ratio warm water to salt) to soothe a sore throat
  • Covering up with a warm blanket to calm chills

Children are at higher risk for getting the flu because their immune systems are not fully developed.  If your host child gets sick, always ask your host parents before giving any medications to the children.  There are strict guidelines for dosages and they MUST be followed.  Never give aspirin to children or teenagers who have the flu.  Giving aspirin to children with the flu can cause a rare but serious illness called Reye’s Syndrome.  Read ingredient labels on over-the-counter medications carefully to ensure they do not contain aspirin.