Chances are you have to work tonight, so after the kids go to bed, sit down and watch Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve and think about how to make 2014 better. Before they go to bed, you and the children can choose simple “New Year Resolutions.” Or create a keepsake of the year that is ending by making a time capsule or a scrapbook of memories. Include what are cool, slang words, popular activities, clothes, games, names of popular songs or games, and a picture of the hottest toy. If you are making a time capsule, put a date on it and decide when they will open it – in a year, 5 or even 10. Don’t forget to include a photo of you and the children! Tomorrow, the first day of the New Year, is a federal holiday.
December 30- Bicarbonate of Soda Day – Bicarbonate of soda, also known as baking powder, has many household uses including cooking, cleaning and medical uses. But it can also be used for a very simple and fun science experiment suitable for ages 7 and older.
Check out this video on how to make a Baking Soda Volcano. The kid on the video is doing a great job explaining everything. He has many other fun science experiments for kids.
Baking Soda Volcano:
Create quite a fizzle by mixing baking soda/sodium bicarbonate with vinegar.
You need the following:
Baking Soda, Vinegar, a plastic container such as a milk jug, paper towels to clean up.
How to do the experiment: Place some of the baking soda in the container; pour in some vinegar and ….Watch what happens.
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.
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!
Animals handle cold winter weather in a variety of ways. Some travel to a warmer climate. Others grow thicker fur coats so they can stay warm and active during the winter. Many animals hibernate during the coldest weather – they spend the warmer months eating and storing as much body fat as they can and then live off this extra weight as they sleep.
Au pairs *** do not *** hibernate this winter!!! Call a new au pair or someone you haven’t met yet and go get a hot chocolate.
Puppets are a wonderful way to enjoy art and drama and to develop language skills. They can be used with all ages of children. The youngest children can watch you perform and talk to the puppet. Starting at about age 3 the children can help make the puppets and put on simple ‘shows.’ You can make a puppet from almost anything…socks, paper bags, Popsicle sticks, magazines…use your imagination.
Gingerbread is an important part of many cultures’ holiday celebrations. The story of the Gingerbread Boy has been retold in many versions. Below is a recipe for Gingerbread Cookies. If you aren’t a baker, head to your local retailer and you can get a kit to make a Gingerbread house, it will include everything you need-just add your imagination!
Preheat oven to 350F
In a large bowl, sift together
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
In a smaller bowl beat
¾ cups brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup of molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
Stir the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture. Cover and refrigerate for one hour. Roll out on a lightly floured surface and cut out cookies. Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes. Place on a rack to cool. Decorate.
To celebrate the holidays each au pair brought a dish that reminded them of home. Food always helps bring people together and often helps with homesickness too. After sharing some wonderful dish we all played a really fun game: everyone had to hold a plate on their head and draw specific items blindly (a tree, a fireplace next to the tree, stockings on the fireplace, ornaments, gifts, etc). See a picture of the 3 winners.