Questions to Consider in Selecting a Day Camp

Questions to Consider in Selecting a Day Camp

Day camps offer experiences that are unique from resident camps. Because of this, there are specific points to consider when choosing a day camp.

· transportation     · overnights     · swimming lessons     · food service     · horseback riding     · group pictures     · T-shirts     · extended care     · field trips

  1. Does the American Camp Association accredit the camp? ACA has specific standards applicable only for day camps.
  2. What training does the staff receive on safety, supervision, counseling, problem solving and other issues unique to working with young children?
  3. Is the price all-inclusive or are there extra charges for:
  4. If transportation is offered, where is the closest pick-up location?
  5. Does the camp have an “express bus” which transports children quickly?
  6. If before- and after-camp extended care is offered, who is with the children and what activities take place?
  7. Is lunch served or do campers bring their own sack lunch? Are snacks and drinks provided?
  8. If the camp offers swimming, are there swimming lessons or is it simply recreational swimming?
  9. Are campers in a group with a counselor all day? Or, are campers free to go from one activity to another with appropriate supervision? In this case, whom would you talk to if you had a question or concern about your child?
  10. Is an open house offered before camp starts where you can meet your child’s counselor and van/bus driver?
  11. Are parents allowed to drop by for visits or is there a special parent visitation day?

Top 5 Photography Activities to do with your Kid

In today’s world where children are tech savvy and are adept at typing before they can write, even toddlers find it pretty easy to use a camera. Photography is one of the best ways to bond and connect with your child.

In addition to that, your kid will have an advantage of becoming famous as people love to have their photographs clicked. We have compiled a list of Top 5 photography activities that you can do with your kid, and they can do with other kids. These exercises along with being fun are also great tools and opportunities to learn and interact with others.

Here is our list:

  1. Create a photo story: Kids have a fantastic sense of imagination. When it comes to story time, kids love to hear them. Use this as an opportunity to improve their sense of creativity and sequential thinking skills. Kids can spin great yarns. You can channel this into using photos to tell stories. You can team up with your kids and click ten random images. Then you can arrange the pictures in various sequences. Then let them enact or write a story such that each picture is connected to the other sequentially.

Once you have got their creative minds into story writing mode, you can keep improving and improvise on the story. You can also give them photos of the family and get them to write a story about what had happened and when.

You can also start a Family Journal. This will help you bond well with your child, and it will be an absolute treasure for your child when they grow up. You can add photographs taken on special occasions by your kid, of the whole family. You can use an opportunity of relatives coming over or festivities like Christmas and New Year to have your kid take photographs for the family journal. You can also encourage your kids to take family photos and use them on Festival cards which you can send to friends and family.

  1. Learn Numbers, Colors and other elementary things: A visual medium like photography is a great way to teach children. No one likes to be sat down and explained, but tell them that it’s a game and they will readily play it. You can do the same with photography. You can teach them shades and nuances and subtle differences in color. Every time your kid clicks a snap, you can check it along with them and then ask which the colors in the photograph are.

This way they will learn to identify colors and shades, and the best thing is that they will remember it. You can also do the same with counting the number of photographs taken or the number of items in each photo. You can also teach them easy stuff like reading alphabets captured in the picture or even basic maths.

The best way a kid can learn is when it doesn’t seem like learning and seems more like a game they are playing. In addition to them learning new things and improving their photography skills, you also get to spend quality time with them.

  1. Teach them to use photo editing software: In today’s world, editing and improving on things are the norm. With technology giving you editing software for free both on your Mac or PC and on your smart phone, your kid can have a fantastic time learning how to create and edit great photos. There are many sites like Canva and Pic Monkey which are excellent and are free. Instagram and Snapchat too give you entertaining editing features for kids. You can use these tools to work with your kid in editing photographs and improving their editing skills.
  2. Teach your Kid to identify interesting objects to photograph: One of the most important things that your kid needs to learn while they are learning photography is how to click photographs of items of their interest. Each person has a different set of things they like. While some children may get scared of spiders, others may love to click the intricate web made by the spider and its balance on the web. Similarly, some kids may love to click photographs of nature, others may like to click pictures of architecture, and yet others may love to click pictures of people. Understand what your kid wants to take photographs of and then teach them the basics of photography for that type of photography.
  3. Photo Competitions: Another great activity that you and your spouse can do with your kid or kids is organizing a Photo Scavenger Hunt. You can make teams and then as a group embark on an adventure to take a photograph of as many things as you possibly can, beginning with a particular letter. For example, how many individual things can you find that start with ‘P’ ?.

You can give a list of things to them that they can go and find. You can then compare which team has clicked the most and then declare the winner. You could also try a game such that the first person who can photograph something beginning with a particular vowel would win. In this way, you can envision and create many scenarios where you challenge the kids to think and identify objects along with clicking them.

Another great way of teaching them is to set up a challenge or if you have more than one kid, make it as a game. The game could be to stroll around the house and click photographs of various objects that are of a similar color, and they can compete with each other. Or they can click photographs of objects which start with a particular type of phonetic. Or they can search for objects that begin with the letters which are there in their name.

I hope you liked our article on the top photography activities you can do with your kids. Do mention in the comments below the ones you liked best and if you have any suggestions or have tried any other activity.

Bio:

Dan Barr is a photographer, a parent to two girls, and the founder of KidsCameraGuide.com, a blog that is all about teaching photography to kids and kids cameras. You can visit Dan at his website www.kidscameraguide.com or connect with him on Facebook or Pinterest.

Should Your Toddler or Preschooler Use an iPad?

Should Your Toddler or Preschooler Use an iPad?

And How Long Should They Be Allowed to Use It?

by Daniel Nations

To iPad or not to iPad, that is the question. At least for the digital age parent. Whether you are the parent of a newborn, a toddler, a preschooler or a school-aged child, the question of whether the child should use an iPad (and how much!) becomes ever more pressing, especially as similar-aged children huddle around tablets at restaurants, concerts, sporting events and almost any place where both children and adults gather together.

In fact, the few holdouts where you don’t see a mass of children focused on the digital world are those places that focus on the child: the playground or the swimming pool.

Is this good for our children? Should your child use an iPad? Or should you avoid it?

The answer: Yes. Sort of. Maybe. In moderation.

It seems everyone has an opinion on the iPad. We have people arguing that tablet use by toddlers is tantamount to child abuse and those who believe there are good educational uses for them.

Even the American Academy of Pediatrics is a little confused, having updated their longstanding policy that screen time should be avoided at all cost by those two and younger to a more nuanced approach that we live in a digital world and that the content itself should be judged rather than the device that holds the content. Which sounds nice, but isn’t quite a practical guideline.

Kids Need to Be Bored

Let’s start with something that isn’t quite obvious to everyone: it’s good for a kid to be bored.

This applies to the two-year-old, the six-year-old and the twelve-year-old. And one thing the iPad shouldn’t be is the end-all-be-all cure for boredom. There are much better ways to respond than handing the kid an iPad.

It is not about the cure. It is about the hunt for the cure. Kids need to stretch their creative muscles and engage their imagination.

They can do this by playing with dolls, drawing with crayons, building with play-do or Legos, or any one of hundreds of other non-digital activities. In this way they not only engage their creativity, they learn more about their own interests.

Kids Need to Interact With Other Kids

Imagine a world where every time a toddler argued with another child over a toy they were both given a tablet. When would they ever learn how to be frustrated, how to overcome conflict and how to share? These are some of the dangers pediatric psychologists fear when they warn against tablet use. It is not just a question of how much (or little) the child is learning from the tablet, it is also what they aren’t learning when they are using the tablet.

Children learn through play. And an important element of this is interaction. Children learn by interacting with the world, from learning to open a door by twisting a knob to learning how to deal with frustration when a headstrong playmate takes a favorite toy or refuses to play a favorite game.

The Displacement of Learning

One thing these two concepts have in common is how they displace key elements of learning and child growth. It isn’t so much that the use of the iPad is doing harm to the child — in fact, iPad use be good — it’s that time with the iPad can take away from other vital lessons the child must learn.

While children gathered around an iPad are being social in the sense that they are together, they aren’t being social in the sense of playing with one another. This is especially true when each child has their own device and are thus locked into their own virtual world. This time around the iPad takes away from time that could be spent playing outdoors, using their imagination to defend a make-believe castle or simply telling each other stories.

And this is just as true for the lone child as it is for the group of children. When a child is playing with an iPad, they aren’t feeling the tactile sensation of opening a book and touching the letters on the page.

They aren’t building a fort with sheets and chairs, and they aren’t baking an imaginary cake for their baby doll.

It is this displacement of learning that can become the true danger of the iPad when it is used too much

Learning With the iPad

The American Academy of Pediatrics’ revised recommendations on screen time come as new research reveals how apps can be just as effective as real-world lessons on learning to read in children as young as 24 months. Unfortunately, research in this field is still very limited and there isn’t much to go on for educational applications beyond reading.

By way of comparison, the study referenced how television programs such as Sesame Street usually don’t provide educational benefits until the child hits 30 months. This is about the same time as the child learns to interact with the television by spouting out the answer to questions posed on the show. The iPad, it seems, can generate some of that interaction that is so important for learning at a younger age, which demonstrates its potential both as an educational tool and a good purchase for a parent.

 

Halloween Safety Tips

Childtime’s Tips for a Safe and Happy Halloween

Parents, here are some friendly reminders to help ensure your ghouls and goblins have a great Halloween this year.

  1. Stay Close to Mom and Dad – Young children should always have adult supervision when trick-or-treating. If you can’t go with them, see if another parent can take them. Kids should never go into a stranger’s house or even ring their doorbell unless a trusted adult is with them. Older kids should stay together as a group and check in or call home frequently.
  2. Stick to the Curfew – Follow your city or neighborhood’s curfew times and stick to subdivisions and areas with plenty of homes, so your kids can get in as much trick-or-treating as possible in a few hours’ time. Set a time when your older children need to return home. Make sure your kids know to call immediately if something happens or if they will be delayed.
  3. Where’s the Party? – Know the route your kids will be taking if you can’t go trick-or-treating with them. Make sure they know not to deviate from the route, so that you know where they will be. If they’re going to an event instead such as a school or community function, get all the details beforehand. If your child is going to a friend’s house, be sure to meet the parents first and get their phone number.
  4. It’s All About the Costume – Choose a costume for your child that will be safe. No sharp props that could cause injury. Try to keep hems a few inches off the ground to avoid the possibility of tripping. If there’s a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough to allow for peripheral vision. Use flashlights, glow sticks or reflective tape to make your children more visible. Be mindful of the weather and dress appropriately – use jackets, boots or thermals if needed.
  5. Not on an Empty Stomach – Have a nutritious and filling meal before trick-or-treating so your kids will be less likely to gorge on candy. Plan a “scary supper” with Halloween-themed food. Be sure to inspect all of their candy before allowing them to eat any of their treats. Decide together with your child how to manage not eating all the candy at once and getting a tummy ache. For instance, divide into portions by counting out a certain number of pieces for the week and put them into small baggies.

Happy trick-or-treating!

Easy and cute DIY Artwork Displays!

Every child is an artist, right? But displaying all those masterpieces can get a bit overwhelming. Here are some super cool / easy ideas for showcasing your little Monet. (We especially love the clipboards, chalkboards, cork boards and clips that let you switch out the artwork easily!) Check out our Pinterest board for all sorts of clever hacks and ideas.

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Finding Childcare Just Got Easier

Frankly, the idea of finding childcare for your kids can be daunting.  Daycare or nanny?  Pre-school or Montessori?  Faith-based or secular?  Where do you even start?

Now, there’s a new website that makes things much easier for parents.  Childcarebyme.com helps you narrow your search by geographical area.  Find a location that’s best for you whether you’re looking for before-school care, after-school care, or all day care, childcarebyme.com is the place to start.

 

What to Look For in your Child’s Daycare

According to a BabyCenter.com article, there are a few criteria that will help you narrow down your search for a daycare and will help you choose with confidence  once you’ve found a likely candidate.  According to the article, one of the most important things to seek out is a daycare with a positive reputation.  Also be sure to check that any facility you’re interested in has an up-to-date state license.  If not, move on!

Trained staff is another great benefit to look for in a daycare.  The teacher-student ratio should also be another key factor in your decision.

Other factors to consider are, of course, hours of operation.  This includes whether they are flexible or not with allowed pick-up and drop-off times.  Also be aware of the sick-child policies, curriculum, meals and snacks provided as well as type of food served.

Check out the full article here for lots of great tips and insights:  https://www.babycenter.com/0_signs-of-a-good-daycare-center_6065.bc?page=1

Summer Activity Ideas

Check Out Some Of Our Favorite Products

Really, there are too many baby/toddler products in the world.  😉  How can you possibly choose.  Well, you read reviews, you research, but mainly you just try ’em.  Check out our Facebook today for a few tried and true products we love to use.

Essential Oils for Kiddos…

Essential oils are awesome…if you do it right.  Some are fabulous and safe for kids; some are not recommended.  How do you know which is which?

Check out our latest Pinterest board for tips, recipes, dilution guidelines and safety info.  From salves to roller ball recipes, from diffuser blends to sprays, here is a ton of great info to get you started.