Tag Archives: summer

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

Health and 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.

What are ticks? – Ticks are small mites that attach themselves to skin and suck blood. Click HERE to see examples of ticks.kid grass Misko

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.

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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Preventing Dehydration in Hot Weather

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.

Photo: Darwin Bell (Flickr)

Happy Labor Day!

Labor DayHere 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/

Star Bangled Bike Decorations.

Many neighborhoods and/or city have parades with kids participating on their decorated bikes to celebrate the 4th of July.  If there is not a parade near your home, organize your own parade on your street.

Want a bike that’ll stop traffic? First, splatter-paint some stars and add them to your bars — handlebars, that is — and to a safety-flag pole. Spiff up your wheels with straws and garlands, then hit the road! (Our decked-out bike should be ridden at a parade pace, not at high speeds.)

Materials
  • STREAMER CASCADES:
  • Scissors
  • Metallic curling ribbon
  • Craft glue
  • Splatter Stars
  • Tape
  • Safety-flag pole
  • BELL JINGLERS:
  • Bells
  • Pipe cleaners
  • SPOKE DECORATIONS:
  • Star garlands
  • Scissors
  • Straws

Instructions

  1. A Star-spangled Ride: Streamer Cascades STREAMER CASCADES: Cut and curl ten 2- to 3-foot lengths of metallic curling ribbon. Stack the ribbons and knot them at one end. Using craft glue, sandwich the free ends of several ribbons between splatter-painted stars. Tape the cascade to the top of a safety-flag pole (remove the flag first), then secure the pole to the bike. Tape more curled ribbon to the handlebar ends.
  2. A Star-spangled Ride: Bell Jingles BELL JINGLERS: Slide three to five bells onto a pipe cleaner and fit it to your child’s handlebars, wrist, or ankle.
  3. A Star-spangled Ride: Spoke Decorations SPOKE DECORATIONS: Weave star garlands into one wheel’s spokes and secure the ends, being sure to stay clear of brakes and gears. With scissors, snip along the length of some straws, then snap them into place on the other wheel. To make noise as you ride, cut some straws to half the spokes’ length. They’ll clack as they slide on the turning wheel.

Happy Independence Day!

July 4thKnown as the Fourth of July and Independence Day, July 4th has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution (1775-83). In June 1776, representatives of the 13 colonies then fighting in the revolutionary struggle weighed a resolution that would declare their independence from Great Britain. On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later its delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 until the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with typical festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.

HAVE A HAPPY 4th of JULY!!

Gardening and Learning about Insects

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Gardening

One way to spend time outside with the children (any age from two up) is to work in the garden. A garden is more than just plants. It’s also a home for birds, bees, butterflies, earthworms and other creatures that help the garden grow.

Children love to care for other living things, and plants are an easy choice that can give a great sense of accomplishment. Check with your host parents about where you can garden. Ideally, your little garden will have at least six hours of sun a day.

For outdoor gardening you will need to buy some seeds. If your garden has less than six hours of sun, choose seeds that can grow in “partial” sun. Select flower seeds that germinate quickly. The back of the seed packet will tell you how long before the plants sprout. Marigolds and morning glories are easy to grow and will come up quickly. Buying vegetable seeds will allow children to eat and share what they grow. Radishes are the fastest growing vegetable – from seed to salad in just three weeks. Green beans, tomatoes, summer squash and cucumbers are other good choices, but they do take longer. Be sure to plant extra seeds because not every one will germinate. This is an important lesson for children – mistakes are natural and an inevitable part of life. If you are starting late and want to make sure you will have a vegetable harvest, you can also buy small plants at a local plant nursery.

Before you plant the seeds, use a shovel, trowel or spade to loosen the soil. Remove weeds, stones and grass from the area. If the soil is very hard (like clay) or very sandy, it would be a good idea to add peat moss or compost to the soil. You will also need a hose or a watering can so that the children can water the earth when it doesn’t rain. If the plants look droopy or the soil feels dry, it is time to water. It is very important to water even before the plants sprout. It is best to water early in the morning or in the late afternoon.

Gardening includes other simple science lessons, all concepts that children can understand. Plants lean or turn towards light. Plants use water, but some of it evaporates into the air. What happens to the water that has evaporated? Without water plants will dry up and die. Plants come from other parts of the world, and sometimes their form gives clues to their origin. Can you find seeds that are native to your country?

When you go out into the garden, take care of the plants, pulling up weeds gently and also any sprouted seeds that are growing too close to another plant. But also look around and look closely at the ground to find birds and bugs that are a part of gardening. You can discuss how living things rely on plants to live, and how the plants need their animal friends. Birds spread seeds; earthworms loosen the dirt for the roots of the plants. What do bees do?

Look for books about gardening in the library. Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss is a wonderful book for very young children. Take photographs of your gardening project. It will be surprising and satisfying to look at the starting photos at the end of the harvest. And don’t forget to put on sunscreen before you do your gardening!


Lady BugLady Bug

Learning about insects

Talking to children about insects is a fun activity in the summer when there are so many around!

Some easy facts for you to know:

  • There are more kinds of insects than any other kind of animal.
  • They live all over the world, even in ice and snow.
  • They never have more than 3 pairs of legs. If it has more, it’s not an insect!
  • All insects come from eggs.

Outside Activity: To learn more about insects, go on a hunt outside. Collect the insects you find in a jar and then examine them with a magnifying glass.

Recipe: Make a snack of “ants on a log.” Spread peanut butter on a stick of celery and then add raisins on the top.

Read: Children up to age seven will enjoy “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle. Look for it in the library.

Inside activities:

  • Make a caterpillar from a cardboard egg carton cut in half lengthwise. Turn each section upside down to paint with water-based paint. Use pipe cleaners to make the antennae. Draw or glue eyes and a mouth.
  • Make a butterfly by putting small pieces of colored tissue paper in a clear sandwich bag. Seal the bag. Squeeze the bag in half with the sealed edge at the top. Twist a tie around the middle and adjust the end of the twist tie to make antennae.

Pool Safety

Parents and families can build on their current safety systems at pools and spas by adopting additional water safety steps. Adding as many proven water safety steps as possible is the best way to assure a safe and fun experience, because you can never know which one might save a child’s life—until it does.
  • Never leave a child unattended in a pool or spa and always watch your child when he or she is in or near water
  • Teach children basic water safety tips
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments
  • Have a telephone close by when you or your family is using a pool or spa
  • If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first
  • Share safety instructions with family, friends and neighbors
  • Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim
  • Learn to perform CPR on children and adults, and update those skills regularly
  • Understand the basics of life-saving so that you can assist in a pool emergency.

If you own a pool or spa:

  • Install a four-foot or taller fence around the pool and spa and use self-closing and self-latching gates; ask your neighbors to do the same at their pools.
  • Install and use a lockable safety cover on your spa.
  • If your house serves as a fourth side of a fence around a pool, install door alarms and always use them. For additional protection, install window guards on windows facing pools or spas.
  • Install pool and gate alarms to alert you when children go near the water
  • Ensure any pool and spa you use has compliant drain covers, and ask your pool service provider if you do not know
  • Maintain pool and spa covers in good working order
  • Consider using a surface wave or underwater alarm