Tag Archives: winter

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!

Photo: Kevin Jarrett (Flickr)

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

    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

    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

    First day of winter

    Winter - Michael HodgeToday is the First day of winter

    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.

    Photo: Michael Hodge

    Avoiding Homesickness this Holiday Season

    Homesickness can be a problem during the holidays, even if it hasn’t been at any other time of the year. Au pairs often miss their friends and family, familiar places and their own traditions and customs. The holiday activities in the United States seem, and may actually be, different just at a time when an au pair would welcome something familiar. 

    It is common for au pairs’ emotions to be close to the surface during the holidays. Her highs are higher, her lows are lower. The enormity of what she has done–actually living in another country (which is an amazing thing when you think about it!)–hits her and throws her into a self-protective mode.

    Host parents can help her through this unfamiliar territory by talking to her about what your specific family activities will be (gifts, meals, visitors, religious services, in-home traditions, or none of these, as the case may be.) In the spirit of cultural exchange, ask her if she has any favorite holiday traditions or foods that you might be able to incorporate into your family’s celebration of the season. Let her know what you will be doing, when you will be doing it, and what she can expect. Talk to her about what has to be accomplished and get her involved and interested. Don’t expect her to just “know” what needs to be done. Give her some clear, agreed upon assignments. Make her feel a part of things. And, let her know her contribution is needed and appreciated.

    Photo: Sheila Sund (Flickr)

    ABC’s of Winter Fun

    A is for Art – try drawing, painting or gluing
    B is for Baking – bake a dessert together for dinner
    C is for Clay – Use non-hardening clay or play dough to shape and mold
    D is for Dance – put on a lively tape
    E is for Exercise – be sure to get some everyday
    F is for Friends – invite some over
    G is for Greenhouse – find a local greenhouse to visit to enjoy the sights and smells
    H is for House – make a playhouse from a large appliance box
    I is for Ice skating – take the children to a local rink
    J is for Jigsaw puzzle – be sure to pick one that isn’t too difficult
    K is for Kitchen science – try a safe experiment
    L is for Library – borrow some new books
    M is for Movie – make one with a video camera, or watch one
    N is for Necklace – make one out of cereal or macaroni
    O is for Origami – learn to make simple paper creations
    P is for Puppets – socks make easy and fun puppets – put on a show!
    Q is for Quiet Time – everyone needs some of this
    R is for Reading aloud – choose a good book and a comfortable place to sit
    S is for Seeds and Suet – put out food for the birds and watch them eat
    T is for Tent – make one from old blankets and chairs
    U is for Unplugged – do a day with no TV
    V is for Variety – try something new everyday
    W is for Walk – take one in any weather (be sure to dress appropriately)
    X is for Xylophone – make your own with glasses, water and a metal spoon
    Y is for Year – make a calendar or scrapbook to remember the year
    Z is for Zoo – visit the animals