Learning is Fun

5 DIY Projects to Keep Your Kids Entertained

With summer vacation just around the corner, the kids will be at home–and inevitably, you’ll hear them say “I’m bored”. You’ll need some ideas to keep them happy and entertained, even on hot or rainy days. Many kids will readily get up and go outdoors if they get to make something; below are some easy and affordable projects for kids of all ages, to be done rain or shine.

DIY Lava Lamp

Flava

For this project you’ll need:

Empty water or soda bottles
Vegetable oil
Food colouring
Alka-Seltzer

Fill the bottles a little over half-full of oil, filling the remaining space with water. Leave roughly 1″ at the top. Add ten drops of any color food coloring. Break each Alka-Seltzer tablet into four pieces, and drop them into the bottles one at a time. Wait for each piece to stop bubbling before dropping the next one in, or the solution will become cloudy.

Soda Bottle Fireflies

You’ll need:

Green soda bottles, cleaned and with labels removed
Glow sticks in various colors
Pipe cleaners (for legs and antennae)
Beads or googly eyes
Cardboard or construction paper for wings
Scissors
Glue
Black paint or marker pen
Tape

This craft is ideal for dusk and after-dark play. Transform a green soda bottle into a firefly with a simple glow stick (they’re readily available at discount and dollar stores). Simply decorate the bottles with eyes and wings (don’t forget to supervise children when cutting out the wings), pop the glowstick inside the bottle, do it up and place around the house or garden. You can save the ‘fireflies’ year after year, simply adding a fresh glow stick with each use.

DIY Sidewalk Paint

If we’d had this when we were kids, our parents would have had a VERY colorful driveway indeed! This paint is very easy and fun to make. Mix up a paste of food coloring, cornstarch and water, and use an empty egg carton or old muffin tin as a palette. That’s it!

Decorating the Doors

This easy idea can be adapted to any holiday or time of year. Wrap your door in colorful paper, being sure to cut a hole for the doorknob and/or lock. Add stickers, use poster paint or markers, or tie a ribbon around the door to make it look like a big gift that you can’t wait to ‘open’! Alternatively, cover the door in white paper and let the kids use it as a ‘whiteboard’ – make sure that the paper is thick enough to avoid staining the door and that no sharp pens, such as biros, are used to avoid any scratches.

Homemade Edible Finger Paint

This idea is great for kids of every age; with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry, you can make edible finger paint. Finger_PaintingYou’ll need:

Sugar
Flour
Food coloring
Salt
Plastic cups (or baby food jars)

Image URL: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/39/Finger_Painting.jpg

Add two tablespoons of sugar to an empty saucepan. Mix in 1/3 cup of flour and stir in two cups of water, whisking until the mixture is smooth. Turn the stove on low and stir constantly until the mixture has thickened. Divide the mixture evenly among the plastic cups or baby food jars. Add in a couple of drops of food coloring (use slightly more for darker colors). Stir until completely blended, and allow to fully cool before use.

This post was written by the team at UK Oak Doors, proud retailers of internal oak doors.

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Learning is Fun, Theme of the Week

Theme of the Week – Pirates

The Golden Age of Pirates was from 1560 to 1730 and many of the most famous pirates were based in the Caribbean.  The most notorious pirates lived around 1700 and include: Blackbeard (considered the most feared pirate), Calico Jack Rackham (who created the classic Jolly Roger flag with scull and crossbones), Henry Morgan and Bartholomew Roberts (both very successful pirates).

Fun Pirate Facts:

1. They Rarely Buried Treasure

2. Their Careers Didn’t Last Long

3. They Had Rules and Regulations

4. They Didn’t Walk the Plank

5. A Good Pirate Ship had Good Officers

6. The Pirates Didn’t Limit Themselves to the Caribbean

7. There Were Women Pirates

8. Piracy was better than the Alternatives

9. They came from all Social Classes

10. Not all Pirates were Criminals

Learn more about each of these facts at About.com.

Check out these and other books about Pirates at your local library.

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Pirate Crafts:

Pirate’s Hat

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Pirate Flag.

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Paper Plate Pirate

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Paper Plate Parrot

splate-parrot

Sunset Pirate Ship

SunsetPirates4RS6k[1]

Pirate Masks

pirate-masks

Newspaper Pirate Hat

NewspaperPirateHat16RS6k[1]

Pirate’s Hook

pirate-hook-craft

Easy Catapult 

EasyCatapult13RS6k[1]

Pirate Activities:

How to Talk Like a Pirate

Sandpit Treasure Hunt

Online Pirate Quiz

Pirate Maze

Pirate Song

Pirate Poem

Pirate Snacks:

Pirate Ship Cheese and Apples

Peter-Pan-2-780x676

Treasure Map Quesadilla 

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Pirate Sandwich

piratebento[1]

Jolly Roger Sandwich

PirateLunchW[1]

Additional Lesson Plans:

Teachers.net

WorldHistory.org

YahooVoices.com

Au Pair International puts together weekly learning crafts and activities called Theme of the Week to help au pairs and host parents with ideas about educational and fun activities to do with their kids.  Want to learn more about au pairs?  Check out au pair profiles on our website.

Learning is Fun, Theme of the Week

Theme of the Week – Jellyfish

Jellyfish are beautiful marine creatures that can be found in oceans all over the world, even near Antarctica.  They can be found at the surface of the water or down deep in the sea.  They are very simple organisms that have an umbrella-shaped top and tentacles that trail below.  Jellyfish use their tentacles like a net to find food.  Their tentacles also are a great defense mechanism since they carry venom that is shot into a predator, temporarily paralyzing it and allowing the jellyfish to escape.

Did you know…

… some jellyfish are bigger than a human and others are as small as a pinhead?
… people in some countries eat jellyfish?
… that jellyfish have been on Earth for millions of years, even before dinosaurs?
… jellyfish have no brain but some kinds have eyes?
… that jellyfish are mainly made up of water and protein?
… a group of jellyfish is called a smack? (http://www.jellywatch.org/blooms/facts)

Want to learn more about jellyfish?  Check out these websites:

http://twistedsifter.com/2009/06/10-amazing-facts-about-jellyfish/

http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/animals/creaturefeature/jellyfish/

http://www.jellyfishfacts.net/

Jellyfish Activities:

Make your own jellyfish lights.

make-your-own-jellyfish-lights

Check out this amazing jellyfish in a bottle.

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Create a fun jellyfish umbrella.

l in jellyfish

These are beautiful ribbon jellyfish.

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These jellyfish are easy for kids of any age.

jazzy-jellyfish-craft-photo-260x260-cl-a

Pretend with this no-sew jellyfish costume.

jellyfish-costume

Make glow-in-the-dark jellyfish.

jellyfish 8

Jellyfish Song and Video:

The Jellyfish Song

Jellyfish Poem:

The Lost Jellyfish

Jellyfish Snacks:

Jello Jellyfish

jello jellyfish

Hot Dogs Jellyfish

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Jellyfish Sandwiches

JELLYFISH-SANDWICH

Jellyfish Lesson Plans:

Westfield

Bright Hub Education

Suite 101

Books about Jellyfish:  Go visit your local library to find these and other books about jellyfish.

book4 book1 book2 book3

 

 

 

Theme of the Week:  Au Pair International developed the Theme of the Week to give au pairs different ideas of things to do with the kids they take care of.  If you are interested in learning more about the Au Pair Program, contact Au Pair International.

Amazing Au Pairs, Candidates, Learning is Fun

May 9th is Europe Day

What is Europe Day?

“Europe Day (9 May) celebrates peace and unity in Europe. The date marks the anniversary of the historical ‘Schuman declaration‘. At a speech in Paris in 1950, the French foreign minister, Robert Schuman, set out his idea for a new form of political cooperation in Europe, which would make war between Europe’s nations unthinkable.

His vision was to create a European institution that would pool and manage coal and steel production. A treaty creating such a body was signed just under a year later. Schuman’s proposal is considered to be the beginning of what is now the European Union.” Source Europa.eu

The original founding nations were Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany.  Now the EU has 27 members: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Teach kids more about Europe day and the European Union:

Play an online matching game with all the flags of the EU.

Learn more about the European Union with this fun quiz.

Collect Euros in the fun online game.

In honor of Europe Day we are highlighting some of our Au Pairs from the countries that make up the EU.

Andreja from Slovenia

AndrejaCrnic3After a successful first year with a family of four children, Andreja is looking forward to spending more time in the USA. She is confident driving on US roads and has a 7 year driving record in Slovenia. Before becoming an au pair, She has excellent English, is knowledgeable in First Aid, CPR, and Water Safety. She also holds a degree as a swimming instructor.

 

 

Soraya from Spain:

SorayaOrtega3Soraya is 26 years of age with 5300 childcare hours.  She has 3100 hours from caring for children under the age of 2.  Soraya gained her childcare abilities from babysitting several children over the years.  In addition, she has experience teaching dance to children after school.  Soraya is an excellent swimmer and certified in CPR and First Aid.  Check out her video.

Interested in a Spanish au pair?  See the others we have available.

 

Carolin from Germany:

CarolinHCarolin has 2000 hours of childcare experience and has been driving for a period of 3.5 years.  She gained her childcare knowledge from working in a daycare center caring for children ages 2-6. Carolin has experience with children that have minor physical and learning disabilities and is currently studying to become a nursery nurse.  She describes herself to be a responsible, warm and creative caregiver.

See our other German candidates.

 

Ieva from Latvia:

Slide 1Ieva is 23 years old with 5300 childcare hours, 1600 of which are from caring for children under the age of 2.  She gained her childcare experience from being a nanny, volunteering in daycare centers, and working as an au pair in Greece. Ieva is fluent in three languages and has excellent English.

 

 

Jessica from Italy:

Name:  Jessica Tiziani                              Age: 25Jessica is 25 years of age with 1600 hours of childcare experience from babysitting and being an au pair.  Jessica has very good English and has been driving for 5 years.  She describes herself to be a patient and responsible caregiver who is knowledgeable in First Aid.  Jessica is willing to care for children with both physical and learning disabilities.

 

Stephanie from the Netherlands:

StephanieMentink3Stephanie is a Professional Au Pair with over 8000 childcare hours, 4000 of which is from working with children under the age of 2.   Stephanie has excellent English and Swimming abilities and is knowledgeable in First Aid.  She loves to plan activities for children and get them excited to be involved!

Check out our other Dutch au pairs.

 

Lemonia from Greece:

LemoniaB1

Lemonia (Leni) gained her experience in childcare from working in a daycare center, babysitting, and caring for younger family members. She is 25 years old with very good English skills and a Master’s Degree in Biochemistry/Biotechnology.  Leni describes herself to be a patient and trustworthy multi-tasker.

Interested in Greek candidates?  Here are some others.

 

Julia from France:

JuliaFranceJulia has good English and speaks a total of 4 languages.  In addition, she is an excellent swimmer and has been driving for 2 years.  Her references describe her to be a patient and responsible caregiver that has many ideas to keep children occupied.  In addition, they say she has experience helping with homework and preparing meals for their children.

 

Rodica from Romania:

RodicaPaduraru1Rodica is 23 years of age and has been driving for a period of 5 years. Rodica has very good English and enjoys playing interactive games with the children she cares for.  She feels that the au pair program is a chance to combine two of her passions: travelling and childcare.

Check out our other Romanian candidates.

 

Jennifer from Sweden:

JenniferHiltunen1Jennifer has over 1000 hours of childcare experience from babysitting and interning in a primary school.  She describes herself to be a caring, sensitive, and creative caregiver that has a high capacity to manage stressful situations.  Jennifer is 23 years old with excellent English.

Fun Stuff

Mother’s Day Crafts

Mother’s Day is on Sunday and many Au Pairs like help their host kids make gifts for their moms.  Here are some great ideas for gifts for Mom.  The first two go along with our Theme of the Week about Rainbows.

Rainbow Roses

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Rainbow Stacked Hearts

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Buttony Spring Bouquet

flower-button

DYI Personalized Candles

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Family String Puppets

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Hand and Footprint Photo Card

mothers-day-handprint-footprint-card

Garden Stepping Stone

stepping-stone

Handprint Flower Apron

Handprint-Flower

Photo Flowers

bouquet-flowers

Photo-to-Wood Transfer

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Want to learn more about getting an Au Pair?  Check out Au Pair Internationals’s website.

Theme of the Week

Theme of the Week – Rainbows

“April showers bring May flowers…”

Spring is in the air and with that comes rain and hopefully rainbows.  Rainbows are caused when sunlight hits water droplets in the air.  The water droplets act like tiny prisms and reflect the light back into the sky.

Interesting facts:  Did you know that the sun must be behind you in order to see a rainbow? And every person sees their own personal rainbow since the angle which you are viewing it is unique and each person sees color a little differently.  Learn more interesting facts here.

Learn more about Rainbows at these sites The National Center for Atmospheric ResearchHow Stuff WorksWeather Wiz Kids,

Or take a trip to you local library and check out these and other titles:

imagesCALIBEO2loverainbow

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what makes

Continue reading “Theme of the Week – Rainbows”

Fun Stuff

Star Wars Day – Crafts and Activities

In conjunction with our Theme of the Week on the Solar System, we are celebrating Star Wars day on May 4th, as in “May the 4th be with you.”  Here are some fun crafts and snacks to make Star Wars Day a blast!

Star Wars Masks from Star Wars Blog

star wars masks

Pool Noodle Lightsabers from Kids Activities Blog

lightsaber-from-pool-noodles

Yoda Ears Headband from Nerd Craft Librarian

yoda ears

Tie Fighter Snack from Food.com

picDFPPez

Double-sided Lightsaber Hot Dogs from Just Jenn Recipes

double-sided-dogs

Yoda Apple from Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons

YodaAppleW

Pretzel Lightsabers from A Little Loveliness 

Star Wars Party 123

Au Pairs:  Send us your pictures celebrating Star Wars Day!