Tag Archives: Activities

TOP TEN ACTIVITIES FOR FALL

304381858_b394a4d708

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!

Photo: Lecates

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

 

St. Patrick’s Day Shenanigans

St. Patrick’s Day is March 17.St Patricks day

click here to access APIA St. Patrick's Day Shenanigans board on Pinterest

St. Patrick’s day is coming up already.  Check out APIA’s St. Patrick’s Day Shenanigans’ board on Pinterest for lots of great ideas to celebrate!

March 17th – Saint Patrick’s Day

Image result for St patrick's

The Charitable Irish Society of Boston organized the first observance of Saint Patrick’s Day in the United States in 1737.  The tradition of celebrating this day continued to grow with the influx of Irish immigrants to the United States.

St Patrick’s Day, on March 17, remembers one of Ireland’s patron saints, St Patrick. It largely celebrates Irish-American culture in the United States but many non – Irish descendants enjoy the celebrations too . Celebrations include Irish themed parties, drinks and food. Many people get into the spirit by dressing in green clothing and eating green colored food. Irish clubs and pubs often hold parties.

St Patrick’s Day is not a federal holiday in the United States. Schools, businesses and organizations are open as usual. Public transport systems run on their regular schedules. The parades may be on or around March 17, so it is a good idea to check local sources for the exact location, date and time.  Many parades are held throughout the country to celebrate the holiday. New York City  has become the largest Saint Patrick’s Day parade in the world, outside Ireland. Thousands  participate in the parade, including bands, firefighters, military and police groups, county associations, emigrant societies, and social and cultural clubs and was watched by close to 2 million spectators lining the streets. The parade marches up 5th Avenue in Manhattan and is always led by the U.S. 69th Infantry Regiment. New York politicians – or those running for office – are always found prominently marching in the parade.

The most common St Patrick’s Day symbol is the shamrock. The shamrock is the leaf of the clover plant and a symbol of the Holy Trinity

https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQdqnKq33gFm3ZzaMcfQOEu0pPYdnnPpkMXu5VxcyNHiok-PYK7WjbmhOSR

If you would like to take part in this American cultural experience check out the nearest parade to you, here  http://www.st-patricks-day.com/st_patricks_day_parades_home/

For fun ideas to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day including arts and crafts for children check out our Au Pair in America Pinterest page https://www.pinterest.com/aupairinamerica/st-patrick-s-day-shenanigans/

Winter Sports And Sports Insurance

From Christine Connally, Community Counselor with Au Pair in America (MD)

Is it risky to do winter sports without the sports insurance?

Yes. If you have to pay your own hospital bills for a broken bone, you might be shocked at how much that would cost. Christine checked this website for some cost estimates.

ice-skate-224x300Here are a couple examples:

  • Without medical coverage, to treat a broken arm or leg (that does not require surgery) it could cost up to $2,500.
  • Without medical coverage, to treat a broken arm or leg (requiring surgery) it could cost $16,000 or more.
  • We wanted to make sure everyone understands how the medical coverage works for sports related injuries. There is a list of “high-risk sports/activities” that are not covered with the basic or upgrade medical insurance plans. Those activities are only covered with the Sports Insurance Package (also known as Option A.)

    The Sports Insurance Package was available pre-departure and may also be purchased at any time during your year. It takes effect within 48 hours of your enrollment and it is good for 12 months. The cost will be the same ($75) whether you have a month left or your whole year ahead of you. We recommend you pay for it early on, if you didn’t already purchase it. You never know when an opportunity might present itself and you don’t want to miss out on an adventure. You also don’t want to take a risk on getting injured and being responsible for the bill on your own.

    Below is a partial list of sports that are only covered with the sports insurance package:
    Football, Rugby, Scuba diving, Ski-doo,  Wakeboarding, Skydiving, Parachuting, Rock climbing, Zip line, Skate boarding, Rollerblading, Roller skating, Ice Skating, Skiing, Snowboarding, Snowmobiles & Snowshoeing.  View the full list on page 3 of the insurance brochure HERE (2013 arrival au pairs) & HERE for (2014 arrival au pairs)
    Note: Injuries sustained while partaking in these sports are covered with purchase of the Sports Insurance ONLY.

    How to register for the Sports Insurance
    Download the form HERE and follow the instructions. It takes a few days for your coverage to begin. If you think you will be doing any of these sports, you should get it now

    Presidents Day

    Presidents Day

    So What is Presidents Day Anyway?

    Presidents’ Day is an American holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February. Originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington, it is still officially called “Washington’s Birthday” by the federal government. Traditionally celebrated on February 22—Washington’s actual day of birth—the holiday became popularly known as Presidents’ Day after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers. While several states still have individual holidays honoring the birthdays of Washington, Abraham Lincoln and other figures, Presidents’ Day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents past and present.

    To see a listing of all U.S. presidents go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents.  Click on each president to find out who they were and what they achieved during their presidency.  Most American school children have to learn their presidents,  this is a great site to go through with them and test their knowledge!

    Handling Expenses

    Host parents often ask for suggestions on how best to handle common expenses that occur as au pairs are caring for the children.

    Miscellaneous Expenses

    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.

    Host Families

    • 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.

    Au Pairs

    • 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

    Winter Fun

    Check out the APIA Winter Fun Pinboard on Pinterest for some fun ideas on these cold snowy days

    Snowman Slam {Game for Kids}

    Posted by Crystal Underwood
    http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2013/12/snowman-slam-game-for-kids.html

    snowman slam game

    This game is fun for the whole family, and you likely have most of the materials to make it already on hand.

    Snowman Slam Materials

    • White cups
    • Black & orange craft foam or construction paper
    • White socks
    • Glue
    • Scissors

    To make the snowmen: decorate six white cups using black and orange craft foam.  To make the snowballs: tightly ball up three white socks.  That’s it!

    This game is so easy to make, and kids have so much fun with it.  The idea is simple; toss the snowballs to knock down the snowmen

    snowman slam 3

    Such a simple concept and yet so much FUN!

    Snowman slam 6

    Snowman slam 88

    Spider Web Snacks

    Here is a fun Hal­loween treat of the sea­son. Who knew eat­ing spi­der webs could be so yummy?! These are easy, inex­pen­sive, and cute!

    Ingre­di­ents:

    – pret­zel sticks
    – white chocolate/bark candy coating
    – choco­late (baker’s, candy coat­ing, or chips would prob­a­bly all work)
    – raisins
    – bag­gie or pas­try bag
    – wax paper

    Direc­tions:

    Lay out your pret­zels on the wax paper in “star­burst” arrange­ments of 6 or 8 pret­zels (it’s a good idea to put it on a cookie sheet for trans­port stability).

    After melt­ing your white chocolate/bark coat­ing, place in a bag­gie and cut the cor­ner off (or use a pas­try bag).  Start pip­ing your choco­late in the mid­dle of the pret­zel arrange­ment, mak­ing sure to coat all the pretzels.
    Con­tinue pip­ing out­ward around the pret­zels, until you have a web.  Then, place two raisins in the mid­dle for the body of the spider.
    Melt your reg­u­lar choco­late and pipe over the raisins.  I found that the spi­ders turned out bet­ter when I piped the legs of the spi­der first and then did the body.  Place in the fridge for a few min­utes until the choco­late is hard.  Then, gen­tly peel back the wax paper.…and eat!
    By Sara @MomEndeavors

    Arts and Crafts for Fall, Halloween & Thanksgiving

    Please click here to view arts and crafts ideas for fall, Halloween, and Thanksgiving with kids

    Please click here to view arts and crafts ideas for fall, Halloween, and Thanksgiving with kids

    Some fun craft ideas for the season!

    APIA Fall, Halloween & Thanksgiving pinboard with lots of great activity ideas. Visit. http://www.pinterest.com/aupairinamerica/fall-halloween-thanksgiving/