Fun Kid Stuff

Articles, ideas and news on how to have fun with kids in a daycare. Great information for parents, teachers, and owners to use to make daycare fun.


Some say that creativity can’t be taught or learned, but experts maintain that certain kinds of practices and behaviors can turn your brain into an engine for ideas. Focus on mastering these basics:


  • Connect. Look for associations and links between ideas, questions, problems, and solutions, whether they’re related or not.


  • Question. Ask questions that challenge conventional ways of thinking. The best usually start with “why?” or “why not?”


  • Observe. Pay close attention to everyday details. Look for the unusual in the commonplace. Find out what other people are doing to solve their own problems.


  • Network. Don’t surround yourself with the same group of people all the time. Make friends with experts in all different fields, and tap their brains for their unique expertise.


  • Experiment. Try new things. Take a risk. Don’t be afraid to fail, as long as you learn something useful from the experience.

Making mistakes is inevitable in young students during the learning process, but what matters is that those mistakes are picked up on.

It is not enough to point out the mistake but to also understand the reason they were made in the first place.

When a child undergoes a standardized test it is crucial to sit with them and go through their incorrect answers. It is also a good idea to get them to re-work problems that are missed on science and math tests and to get them to rewrite short answer questions and essays based on the feedback they receive from their teachers.

If they are reading, either for school or for pleasure, get them to tell you about the book. Find out if they really understand what they are reading. You might also want to encourage them to look up and find out the meaning of words that they may not have previously been familiar with that they encounter during their read.


Sea pigs are in reality a form of sea cucumber. They are echinoderms, marine animals that include the likes of starfish and sea urchins. Sea pigs are found in oceans all over the world and in some areas actually make up over ninety five percent of the weight of all the animals that can be found on the floor of the deep sea. Regardless of their number, the great majority of people are unlikely to ever set eyes on a sea pig as they live in the deepest and coldest parts of the ocean.

Sea pigs gained their name because of their pinkish, plump, oval-shaped bodies and their puffy legs. They are so small that they can actually fit inside the palm of a hand and are generally just four to six inches in length.

Scientists have been aware of the existence of sea pigs for over a century, having first been described in 1882 by the Swedish zoologist Hjalmar Theel. Sea pigs move about on the seafloor, having between five to seven pairs of tubular, enlarged feet that can actually be inflated and deflated in order to get around.


06-13-kids-camp-circleChildren start out full of creativity and imagination, and parents can help nurture it as they develop and grow. Play these games with your children to keep their minds active and alert:

  •  Costume play. Encourage games of dress-up. Keep old clothes, hats, and scarves around so your kids can put on a play or pretend to be grown-ups. This lets them try out different roles and express their ideas freely.
  • Art gallery. Dedicate a section of your home (not just the refrigerator door) to your kids’ art. Display their pictures and sculptures, rotating them from time to time. You can even hold a “gallery opening” for your relatives or your kids’ friends, serving cheese and juice, to reinforce children’s pride in their talents.
  • Story building. Collect some random objects around your house and ask your child to make up a story around them. Or gather a group of children, give them one item each, and have each one add a sentence to the story about the object he or she is holding. Switch items often to keep the game going.
  • Forts. It’s a time-honored game, but one that stimulates the senses: Have your kids build a fort using blankets, sheets, and pillows. They’ll learn to solve problems like keeping a roof up and designing doors for easy entrance and exit.
  • Scavenger hunt. Write up a list of simple household goods—some common, others relatively obscure. Have kids team up to hunt down every item. This encourages teamwork and analytical thinking (“Where would I find a typewriter ribbon?”).
If you’re a childcare provider, here are some tips to get ready for summertime play:1) Ask parents to bring cool clothing to keep on hand2) Keep the children out of the sun during the hottest time of the day. Good times to play outside in summer are from 9-11 a.m. and 3-6 p.m.3) Check all outside toys and play structures for loose or missing parts. Do regular cleanings of toys & play structures with eco-friendly cleaner, a scrubby sponge, & a spray hose.4) Walk your fence line and check for loose or missing boards or nails

5) Check trees with low large limbs for splits which could fall if pulled on

6) Fill water bottles ¾ full the night before and freeze. Have the children make a name label put to on their bottles. Place the bottles in a box or on a tray outside and encourage the kids to drink 2-4 bottles of water each day.

7) If having trouble getting the kids to drink water, add some lemon or orange slices or make kool-aid or juice ice cubes to add to drinking water

8) Serve fruit smoothies, milkshakes or POPSICLES!

9) Coat everyone well with Sunscreen (Have a signed authorization form prior to application)

10) Fire up the sprinkler (if allowed by your licensing agency)

11) Keep a small first aid kit outdoors

12) Encourage bathroom use before going outdoors to prevent children being unsupervised.

13) Create a separate list of outdoor rules i.e. No one leaves the yard, no climbing on the fence, no throwing except for balls, shoes off before reentering the house, etc. Go over the rules the first few days of outdoor play.

14) Do not apply bug repellent to the children unless authorized in writing and requested by parents.

15) If you have your home sprayed for pests, check to make sure that it is safe for children and pets and confirm what precautions you need to take when the children go outdoors after being sprayed.

16) Do not fertilize your plants or lawn during the week, do this on the weekend to allow time for the fertilizer to dissolve.

17) Encourage indoors toys to stay in and outdoor toys to stay out.

18) Offer fun yet messy activities such as sidewalk chalk, finger-painting and play dough.

19) Provide safe outdoor activities such as a child friendly play structure, sand box; ride on toys and balls. Set up sporting stations with a mini basketball hoop or cones for mini soccer games.

20) Keep a cellular or cordless phone outdoors so you can be available to parents as needed, while being able to supervise outdoor play at all times.

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Many daycare providers ask for tips and advice regarding how to best set up their daycare space.  Even though your home or center layout may be working well, here are some tips that you may not have thought of.

  • Create clear visual boundaries, making it apparent to children where learning areas stop and start.  Define child care areas with shelving units, equipment with backs, area rugs, etc.
  • Each learning area should be separate.
  • Strategically arrange your room to eliminate runways.  Long straight aisles and paths encourage running.
  • The Art Area and sand/water play should be located on tile and by sinks, if possible, for easy clean up.
  • Provide visual order, with a sense of logic.  Group similar things together.  Display materials so they can be seen in labeled bins, baskets, and boxes.
  • Avoid having any “blind spots” or areas where children cannot be seen.
  • Separate quiet and loud areas.
  • Create a soft, quiet area where a child can choose to be alone.
  • Pull equipment away from the walls.  Utilize your equipment to create “nooks” and to visually invite people to come all the way into the classroom.
  • Have any needed supplies and materials close and accessible to the children to encourage independence.

Tips for Arranging Infant & Toddler Rooms:

  • Cribs should be spaced according to state regulations, and should not be touching or too close.
  • There should be a “Play Area” away from where the cribs are.  The Play Area should have ample space for mobile infants to crawl, move around, and safely explore.
  • Safety is always first and foremost!  Make sure any piece of furniture that is freestanding is durable and sturdy enough for a child to pull himself up on.  Make sure that the classroom is completely childproofed, and anything within possible reach is safe for infants and toddlers.
  • All areas of the room should be visible at all times.  Mirrors can be strategically placed to see “blind spots”.
  • Strategically put the cribs of the light sleepers in areas of least traffic and stimulation.
  • The diaper-changing table should face the classroom so that the children are visible at all times.
  • Have a place for parents to place diaper bags out of reach of toddlers.  Often there are things unknowingly left in diaper bags (such as infant Tylenol, Ambesol, etc.) that a curious toddler could get into if within reach.
  • Be mindful of traffic patterns.  You’ll want to avoid people continually walking through the sleep area, or stepping over mobile infants to get to cubbies.

Daycare Centers or Home Daycare Programs:
Whether you’re seeking full or part-time care, either of these options could provide your children with a summer of fun. Many programs not only offer terrific activities on site, they also offer field trips and transportation to outside activities, such as trips to the zoo and swimming lessons.

Teen Babysitting: Another option could be a part-time teenage babysitter (with a car) who can take your kids to the pool, the library, the playground, and other fun places. If you choose this option, be sure to hire a responsible teen with a clean driving record. Ask for references, then check them.

Day Camps:
The best resources for finding camps in your area, are more than likely your local Parks and Recreation, Athletic Clubs, Swimming Pools, Dance and Gymnastics Academies, Community Churches and Children’s Museums. By choosing a variety of camps and alternating them, your child can experience a well rounded summer by attending those that offer sports, arts and crafts or educational activities.

Summer School or Enrichment Classes :
If you’re looking to enrich your child’s summer with learning, you may want to check with your Community College, Parks and Recreation Department or Local School District. Typically a variety of courses are offered from all three resources on topics varying from acting and writing to foreign languages and math.

Regardless of the type of care you choose, be prepared by having a back up plan in the event that the class, camp or center is closed or canceled due to lack of enrollment or already filled to capacity.

Above all else, when you are selecting care for your child at any level, it’s a good idea to ask the following questions:

For small or private facilities:

  • How long has the business, organization, class or camp been established?
  • Do they have references?

For all types of facilities:

  • Can you tour the facility prior to enrolling?
  • Do the teachers, aides, coaches and providers have background checks?
  • How many children are enrolled?
  • What are the child to adult ratios?
  • How are illness or injuries handled?
  • What are the discipline policies?
  • What safety precautions are taken regarding the arrival and departure of your child?

With a little planning and thought, you and your child can experience a summer filled with fun activities.

  1. My day kids and tots- A captivating adventure for kids and adults.  The show mode can be used to entertain little ones while also reinforcing and acknowledging all the good things in life.
  2. Kids game pack- talked about in Forbes magazine.  Designed to improve the brains working memory and motor skills with vivid colors and great entertainment.  Great for all kids in child care.
  3. Pediatric Symptoms MD- This app was referenced in the November 2009 edition of Parents Magazine. This care guide help you make smart decisions on what level of care (if any) is needed, and how to provide speedy symptom relief for minor illnesses or injuries.
  4. Kidivities – at a loss for good new activities to keep your children happy? This app has plenty of great kid approved games and craft projects you can do in your daycare.
  5. Family fun – family friendly activities.
  6. Toddle teaser quizzing – Great interactive games for small children to help teach them skills they will need.  Designed with different skill levels for kids of all ages.
  7. Voice toddler cards – the talking flashcard – English and Spanish allows you to teach your kids with talking flashcards.
  8. My baby signs – ALS for toddlers.  Study after study keeps showing the ability and importance of teaching small kids to use simple sign language.  This app can help you teach you kids the basic signs.
  9. Magic sleep – Music and sounds designed to help get small children to fall asleep faster.  With a built in timer function plays the music for as long as you want with no need to continue restart a CD.
  10. Zatz days to — countdown of days until Christmas, Halloween.  Just leave the iPhone docked and let the kids watch.  Need I say more?

Quite often, dealing with friends and family in a business sense can be frustrating. You definitely need to be strong and make sure that your personal relationship can endure the working one. I suggest that before agreeing to care for the children of family or friends, you make sure they understand the following:

1) The working relationship cannot affect your personal one, i.e. no favoritism and no hurt feelings should issues arise between you.

2) The rules, policies and pay dates for your daycare, apply to everyone-friend, family or otherwise and that they too must sign a contract agreeing to abide by these rules and policies established for your daycare.

3) Their children must also abide by your rules and be disciplined in the same manner as the other children.

4) If they cannot agree to the above, then you will not be able to provide care for their children. In a situation where you are already working with the friend or relative, I suggest that you provide them with a written contract and ask them to sign it. Although late, it’s better than not having one and this allows you time to cover your policies and possibly correct any misunderstandings regarding your daycare policies that person may have. If you have a signed contract with your friends or family members, enforce those rules just as if they were any other daycare family.

On the first day of care for any child, regardless of who they belong to, make the rules of your home daycare perfectly clear. If the children do not listen, or follow the rules then apply the appropriate discipline. It is imperative that you be consistent and follow through after every warning.

Providing quality childcare is a team effort, one that involves everyone, encourage teamwork from the beginning of care, no matter whose children you are caring for.


By Linda Raas

 Definite changes concerning the issue of RESPECT within our society as a whole, have taken place since the 1950’s. More and more, we see those who step over that invisible line, with behaviors that they allow themselves to exhibit unchecked, from someplace deep within. Today, people feel at risk on the highways, in the schools, at work. Where the rage is coming from is complex, to be sure. While we are in this present phase of Retro from the 50’s being ‘in’ and fashionable once more, maybe we could also revisit some of the values that were present at that time. Respect was emphasized, and ran like a thread through the society at a much higher-level, than it does today. Respect is a building block for our children’s future, and that of our society’s structure. Respect breeds kindness in a society, and is a key character trait on which other values can build.

Media is a big influence on all our lives in any time period. Today, many Sitcoms, the Cartoon fare, music, and video games insidiously seep in, and many continually feed, images of disrespect of ‘kids to parents’ and of ‘kids to kids’, laying down a foundation for hostile actions and violence being acted out. These constant images are a real problem, and one to take seriously.

“Lighten up!” they say? When Respect is sacrificed without showing consequences for doing so, there is a price to pay. Our children are paying that price. Don’t allow yourself to think it isn’t a big deal. It is a very big deal. Even if a kid is so street smart that he or she has ‘seen and heard it all’, it doesn’t mean that the child needs to see or hear anymore of it. Attitudes are being learned and absorbed continually. Our children are like sponges, absorbing all that is around them, the good stuff, and the bad stuff together.

A child’s forming attitude of respect is a very important thing to guide in them. Their attitude of respect can, and will be, a future protection for them. Not only will it lead to a happier and better life, but children and adults who have a basis of respect in their integrated value system, are not as readily affected by violent scenes that they may and will have occasion to see, as are those children and adults who do not have this basis of respect as part of their integrated value system. If respect is the cornerstone of a person’s value system, this will in the end, make a difference in HOW they react to exposure they may receive. This is preventative. Feelings of anger won’t be stepping over that invisible line and exploding into violence. We can no longer only to be concerned about bad habits a person may develop over time, but are now dealing with school violence all over the country and in the workplace.

Respect must be taught as a core value to children at a very young age. A value system with respect integrated as part of it, will reject these ways of acting out they may see, while the opposite is true of those who have no basis of respect integrated in their value systems. Formal talks with children about respect, and why we have respect, need to take place throughout their growth process, and is a must. For parents to be thinking ‘they know’ is not enough. Talk, talk, and talk. Forming the attitudes of respect for authority and for one another, beginning at the Pre-School level and all the way up through the grades, can and will most definitely make a huge difference and outcome for the future society as a whole, let alone the life of the child. The time for teaching values is as soon as a child can understand direction and adult example. Values and choices kids make at 20 depend on the value system they learned before the age of 10. The time to impress values on children is when they are young. Some parents keep waiting. Teach children what is right, what is wrong, what is healthy for their lives, what is smart, and then teach them how to be strong enough to make the right choice. It is important to start NOW to train them to listen to and not to ignore or override their ‘gut’ feelings of what they know inside is the right thing to do. Teach values now.

Always keep in mind how much the media of television, movies, video games, and music matters. Much of the media is not concerned about the children’s values in the production of their products. They make what sells. Know what they are watching and hearing. Visuals, music, and words remain with us all. We store house all of it. It is in there. Protect yourself and your family from what you allow to enter your minds. Set your own family ratings, as the official movie ratings are unreliable. What is PG or PG-13 today, is not the PG or PG-13 of even 5 years ago. And believe how very much music lyrics do matter. What we hear over and over again we remember, store away, and incorporate. How many parents can recite almost word for word the lyrics of some of their favorite music of when they were young?

Media also has a very powerful positive side. Media can also be utilized to have a very positive effect, and is a very useful and powerful force for teaching. We can choose and enjoy positive choices for television viewing, movies, video, and music. We can use positive images and positive musical lyrics to form a base from which to build strong character values. What kids are seeing and listening to again, and again, and again becomes a part of them, and can be helpful to their growth process. You have heard, “You are what you eat.” We aren’t only what we eat, but what we hear and what we see!

My company, Kid Character Builders has brought together exceptional award winning collections of Character Education Resources, representing several companies whose goals are to educate the whole child. These Resources were created for Parents, Schools, Daycare, and any child-centered organization or program concerned with the topics of character education and child safety. The positive power of Film, Video, Music, Song Lyrics, and the Reinforcement of Activity Resource Books are used. Images and Music do shape what we think, talk and feel, and are useful as powerful tools for teaching the values of character education, and safety. Music is especially important as a learning tool, and has been shown to help with the actual retention of what is being learned, engaging a special part of the brain. With these winning collections, children learn positive character traits and values, with sing-a-long song lyrics set to engaging, fun music.

Educators know that children learn and remember best using a combination of their senses, through what they SEE, HEAR and DO. These programs have been a successfully used across the country, using these principles. The children look to us for answers and guidance. Start early. Kid Character Builders can help.