Tips for Selecting a Summer Day Camp

camp

Many of us still have snow on the ground, others are bracing for still another wintery blast, which makes it hard to think about selecting a summer day camp. But, if you have a child that needs to be in an out-of school program during the summer recess, now is the time to do research to find the camp that meets your child’s needs and interests and is within your budget.

The American Camp Association offers the following guides when considering 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.

  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: · Transportation · swimming lessons · food service · horseback riding · group pictures · T-shirts · extended care · field trips
  1. If camp transportation is offered, where is the closest pick-up location?
  2. Does the camp have an “express bus” which transports children quickly?
  3. If before- and after-camp extended care is offered, who is with the children and what activities take place?
  4. Is lunch served or do campers bring their own sack lunch? Are snacks and drinks provided?
  5. If the camp offers swimming, are there swimming lessons or is it simply recreational swimming?
  6. 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?
  7. Is an open house offered before camp starts where you can meet your child’s counselor and van/bus driver?
  8. Are parents allowed to drop by for visits or is there a special parent visitation day?

Most frequently asked camp questions by children who will be attending day camp and how you might want to answer them:

What will I do all day? You’ll get to do so much — things like swimming, tennis, basketball, arts and crafts, softball or baseball, cooking, ceramics, gymnastics, soccer, dancing, football… the list goes on and on. There are also special events and entertainment.

Who will help me have fun at camp? How do they know how to care for me?
Counselors are selected because they love working with kids. They are trained before camp begins to help you have a good time, make new friends, and enjoy a variety of activities. Their job is to help you have fun, be safe, and know your limits.

Do I get to choose what I want to do?
Some camps schedule the entire day so you have an opportunity to try all the different things at camp. At many camps, you’ll get to select one or even more activities every day. You can ask about how the day is planned for you.

Who will be my friends?
You will make a lot of new friends at camp. Camp counselors will help you make friends the very first day you arrive at camp. It’s nice to have winter friends and summer friends.

What’s so great about camp?
Camp is a special place where grownups help kids feel good about themselves. You get to make choices on your own, but you always feel safe. Camp is like a little community, where everyone’s opinion is heard, and kids work and play together. There’s just no other place like camp, because camp is built just for kids!

Why shouldn’t I just stay home and do what I want?
You might think it will be more fun to just stay home and do nothing, but believe us, camp is nonstop fun! There are such a variety of activities that you never get bored. And you always have friends; everyone’s always home at camp!

What would a day at camp be like?
Camp is filled with different kinds of activities. The fun begins as soon as the bus picks you up. You will spend the day doing activities you really like. Of course you’ll stop for lunch – maybe a barbecue or a picnic. Day campers will go home on their buses in the late afternoon, and look forward to returning to camp the next day.

What if I’m not good at sports?
Camp staff will encourage you, and you will succeed at your level. You are never measured at anyone else’s ability level. Camp is not all sports, but a combination of athletics, the arts and hobbies.

What if I have a problem?
There are lots of people at camp, besides your counselors, to help take care of you, depending on what you need. There is usually a nurse, so if you don’t feel well they have a place where you can rest until you feel better. You can count on the grownups that are at camp to help you with any problem you may have.

Once you have answered these questions, visit ACA’s Camp Database to find a camp just right for your child. Parents may call ACA National Headquarters 800-428-CAMP8camp800-428-CAMP  for further information about specific camps or for the ACA section in their region. American Camp Association website…http://www.acacamps.org/.

 

 

Free via Skype

Toys…Tips for Purchasing and Safety

With Christmas fast approaching and many of us still buying toys, I am sharing a message from a staff member of St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida.

toysMore than half of the three billion toys and games sold in the United States each year are purchased at Christmas time. And while the majority of toys are safe, thanks in part to stronger federal rules and higher standards from toy makers, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that in 2011 alone more than 193,200 U.S. children were treated in hospital emergency departments for toy-related injuries.

Toys have changed over the years and the assortment can be astounding, particularly to those who haven’t shopped for kids in a while,” said Bevin Maynard, a child advocate at St Joseph’s Children’s Hospital.”Child safety, however, never goes out of style. It is something parents and family members should always keep in mind when selecting gifts for youngsters.”

Maynard notes that appropriate selection and proper use of toys, combined with parental supervision, can greatly reduce the incidence and severity of toy-related injuries.

When selecting toys this holiday season, be sure to:

  • Choose toys suitable to the child’s age, interest and skill level. “Age labels are for safety reasons and not intended as developmental ratings,” said Maynard. “If a package indicates the toy isn’t suitable for children under 3, it doesn’t mean that your 2-year-old won’t be able to figure out how to play with the toy, but rather that the toy has small parts or sharp pieces that could injure a younger child.”
  • Skip toys with small magnetic pieces for any child under age 6 or under age 10 if they have younger siblings who could easily access the pieces.
  • Look for well-made toys.
  • Avoid toys that produce loud noises. High-volume games can permanently impair a child’s hearing, and loud sounds can frighten a younger child.
  • Avoid toys painted with lead paint. Exposure to lead can result in lead poisoning, causing serious damage to a child’s brain, kidneys and nervous system.
  • Avoid electrical toys with heating elements (batteries, electrical plugs) for children under the age of 8. These toys are a potential burn hazard.
  • Avoid toys with strings, straps or cords longer than 7 inches, which can wrap around a child’s neck and accidentally strangle him or her.
  • Immediately discard plastic wrappings on toys before they become dangerous play things for young children.

Maynard adds that riding toys should not be used near stairs, traffic or swimming pools, and that parents can use the cardboard tube from a roll of toilet paper to identify small toy parts that are potential choking hazards. “Small children should not play with anything that can fit into one of these cylinders.”

A Gift is Not Complete Unless Proper Protective Gear is Included
Bicycles, skates, scooters and skateboards are popular gifts for the holidays, but if children lack the proper protective gear or skills, injury and death can occur. To keep kids safe whenever they “wheel” around, be sure to:

  • Include a helmet as part of a gift, which according to Safe Kids USA, can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent and the risk of brain injury as much as 88 percent.
  • Buy stickers or bike reflectors and use them on the front, sides and back of the bike to increase the child’s visibility to drivers.
  • Buy a bike horn or a bell as a stocking stuffer. This tool is essential for warning motorists and pedestrians of a bicyclist’s approach.
  • Don’t forget to buy elbow and knee pads as well as wrist guards for skates and skateboards.

Kids sometimes are reluctant to wear protective gear, insisting that they are good riders or complain that none of their friends wear them. But Maynard urges parents to resist that temptation, and notes “requiring children to wear a helmet every time, everywhere they go, is the best thing you can do to protect them.”

For more information on how to keep kids safe this holiday season, or anytime of the year, visit facebook.com/stjosephschildrens.

SOURCE St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital

 

30 Blogs for Preschool Activity Ideas

Paul Taylor, provider of the following guest post, is an ex-nanny. Passionate about thought leadership and writing, Paul regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting blogs/websites. She also provides value to nanny service by giving advice on site design as well as the features and functionality to provide more and more value to nannies and families across the U.S. and Canada. She can be available at taylor33.paul@gmail.com.

preschoolEager to learn and filled with curiosity, preschool children can present quite a challenge when it comes to keeping them entertained and out of trouble.

During this stage of their life, children are still learning about the world around them through play and structured activities, and having a variety of activities to keep them engaged and entertained is a must; through the virtual village that is the blogosphere, parents and childcare providers have access to a wealth of educational and entertaining activity ideas. The following 30 blogs prominently feature entries covering such subjects, making them a valuable resource for the adults charged with caring for preschoolers.

Indoor Play

Inclement weather and lack of access to safe and open outdoor play space can leave parents and caregivers scrambling for ways to keep housebound kids from going stir crazy. These activities are all structured around the idea of keeping kids engaged indoors, for times when outdoor play simply isn’t feasible.

Outdoor Play

Research conducted by the Seattle Children’s Research Institute and the University of Washington indicates that many preschool children have few opportunities to engage in supervised outdoor play, which can support creativity, prevent obesity by discouraging sedentary habits, and strengthen developing motor skills. The benefits of getting young children off the couch and into the great outdoors are numerous; here are five blogs with ideas for active and stimulating outdoor play.

Educational Play

Almost any play that a preschooler engages in provides them with hands-on, real-life learning experiences; however, there are some activities that help kids learn important concepts. Bloggers share their ideas for educational activities in the following five links.

Group Play

While keeping a group of preschoolers entertained and getting along can be a struggle, side-by-side and group play are essential for helping kids learn the socializing skills that they’ll carry with them as they get older. Parents and caregivers can keep tantrums and feuds to a minimum by encouraging structured activity during play dates, making the information included in the following five blog entries quite valuable.

Safe Play

During the preschool years, kids are learning safety skills on a large scale, like fire or water safety, and also the basics of safe play in general. Helping pint-sized daredevils learn to play it safe and passing along the basic rules of safety in general can be done through active play, as detailed in these five posts.

Preschool Prep

If your little one is on the verge of beginning a structured preschool program, it’s likely that quite a bit of your energy is dedicated to helping him prepare for this major milestone. From knowing what to expect to perfecting potty training, these five blog entries can help parents and caregivers get a child on the right track and ready for school.

There are a staggering number of blogs on the Internet with a focus on preschool activities and other relevant topics, so don’t stop here! Check the links section in a favorite blog’s sidebar for others that may be similar.

What’s New for the New Year?

newThis year, look for more new educational vocabulary building matching games as well as more math games and more games courtesy of our friend across the pond.

You will find the new educational games in the club house. The educational games will continue to be under games. The new games from greyolltwit software are also in the club house. Just click on the balloon that says… more games.

We are now producing a series of new,short animated videos entitled, ” What Do the “Can Do” Kids Say About…?

The video content focuses on getting children to think about what they would do about such every day issues as sharing, eating right, being kind, telling the truth, helping a friend,  behaving appropriately in the classroom, and in the playground, personal hygiene, table manners and party manners, taking care of a pet, respecting others.

We will post a new video each month beginning in early spring.

So, stay tuned for more new programs, games and blogs!

Best for Bones Physical Activities!

best for bonesBest for Bones Physical Activities is part of a bone health campaign for girls and their bones to “grow strong together and stay strong forever!”

The campaign is sponsored by girlshealth.gov. a  division of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Best for Bones stresses the need for young girls to be physically active to grow and maintain bone health.

To do this, girls need to be active, doing 60 minutes of physical activities each day.

The Best for Bones campaign recommends the following activities as being the best ways that girls can meet their daily requirements for physical activities: Badminton, Cheerleading, Figure skating, Hiking, Running, Soccer, Tae Kwan Do,Volleyball, Jumping Rope, Weightlifting, Snow Skiing, Yoga, Basketball, Dancing, Gymnastics, Tennis

According to the US Dept of Health, swimming is good for your heart and other muscles, it isn’t the best choice for building bones. Ever notice how you feel a lot lighter in a pool? Water cuts down on the pull of gravity, so your bones don’t really get a good workout.

Riding a bike is also not an activity that’s best for your bones. Just like water, the bike is actually doing the work for you. These activities are fun, though, and good for your health! Just make sure you mix in some best-for-bones activities too.