Daycare Fun: 4 Outdoor Summer Activities by Shannon L Buck

Photograph by Brija on morguefile.com.(Previous published to Y! Contributor Network. Save money by picking up equipment and other items at yard sales, in thrift stores, or on clearance.)

Daycare Fun: 4 Outdoor Summer Activities

Summer is full of activities to be enjoyed by anyone who wants to participate, but they are not always accessible to the daycare provider and the children that she takes care of. The provider may not have enough money to fund a lot of activities, or the means to bring the children far.

Whether you are part of a daycare center or run a daycare home, these ideas will allow you to provide the children with fun activities that can be enjoyed outside during the summer months. Enjoy these activities with the children, in the yard or at the local park.

Baseball

Find something lightweight that can be used for bases, grab a few bats and balls, and bring along any baseball gloves you have available. Head outside and split the group up into two teams, including yourself and other daycare workers in the count. Matching shirts for team members are not necessary for a good, old-fashioned game of baseball.

Water Fight!

Children deserve water play on the hottest days, as do adults. While water balloons are not environmentally friendly and water guns may not be desirable, there is an alternative. Use balls, often found at dollar stores, that soak up water. They have cloth covers, and do not generally hurt when thrown at someone. One of these for each child will allow for hours of enjoyment. The children and adults throw the balls back and forth at each other, and everyone has plenty of chances to get wet. The only other things you need are a few cheap buckets filled with cool water. A nearby hose will male it easy to refill the buckets.

Park Cleanup

Not all activities are about ultimate enjoyment, but should still be treated as fun. After some play time and a picnic at the park, you and the children can walk around cleaning up the area. Make sure everything ends up in the trash bins located throughout the park area. This activity aids in teaching children what a precious resource the earth is. Pick up returnables as well, returning them to fund a good cause in the fall. All of the money collected throughout the summer can be donated to an animal orphanage or children’s hospital.

Playground “Beach” Party

The key for this party is in setting the daycare playground area up to be reminiscent of the beach. Fill a couple of pools with water, also adding water to the sand pile so the children can build a sand castle. Provide Frisbees and beach balls for the children to use while at the “beach”, and set out blankets for them to sit on, preferably in the shade. Be sure to provide towels for drying off.

Tips for a Safe, Enjoyable Time

Be sure that the children are wearing sunblock. Choose an organic formula, if possible. Reapply throughout the day.
Allow the children to wear caps and sunglasses.
Always have plenty of water available.
Provide the children with picnic lunches, or at least snacks.
Keep a small first aid kit handy.

The adults and children in your facility will have much fun with these activities, providing the opportunity to work together as a team.

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4 Patriotic Daycare Crafts by Shannon L. Buck

photograph by mistyferie on morguefile.com(Keeping children happy and entertained is good business. Stay frugal by using scraps from previous projects, allowing parents to donate things, and shopping yard sales and thrift stores. Previously published to Y! Contributor Network.)

4 Patriotic Daycare Crafts

Daycare centers and homes are often more busy during the summer months, catering to extra children. Providers are always looking for crafts to do with the children, to keep them busy with something productive.

Patriotic crafts are often chosen during the summer, particularly during the month of July. During the time when providers are showing children how to do these crafts, they also talk with them about Independence Day and other patriotic topics.

Painted Flags

These can be small for placing in a garden pot, or bigger for putting elsewhere in the yard. To prepare, cut dowels to size with a small hand saw, and cut white fabric to the size desired, being sure to have extra fabric for a hem up the left side. Sew the hem along the side of each flag-shaped piece of fabric, to allow a snug fit for a dowel. It will be easiest if you sew this hem with the dowel in place. Paint a sample flag to show the children.

Give each child a flag and 3 paint brushes, and provide each group with bowls of white, red and blue paints and a cup of water. Have the children paint a section in the upper, left-hand corner blue, and then paint red stripes going across the flag, leaving the white-striped areas untouched. When the blue area is mostly dry, they can paint white dots to represent stars. It is not necessary for them to make a star for each state, though you should mention how many there are on todays’ flags.

Patriotic Votive Holders

Have one holder already decorated for them to see before beginning. Provide each child with one or more clear or frosted votive holders. Give them star-shaped stickers as well, in the colors of red, white and blue. Gold and silver will also work. Have them decorate their votive holders with the stickers. When they are finished, ask them to come to you in turn and choose the candles for their holders. Have red, white and blue votive candles available for this. The children can present these to their parents for use during their 4th of July celebration.

Star Magnets

Provide foam or felt stars in three different sizes. Each size should have stars of red, white and blue. Place these at the center of the table, along with a bunch small, of adhesive-backed magnets. Give each child a small bowl of glue and a paintbrush, and instruct them on how to go about making the magnets. Show them one that you made as an example.

Ask each child to take a large star of a color of their choosing. Have them glue a star of the next size down onto the first star, choosing a color different from the last. Instruct the children to then take one of the small stars, in the last color, and glue that one to the center of the second star. When this is done, have them flip their stars over and add the magnet. Allow each child to create as many stars as they wish.

Decorated Gift Bags

The votive candles and holders, as well as the magnets, can be presented to parents in gift bags that the children have decorated themselves. Provide them each with a white bag and markers, stickers or paints and brushes, or a combination of all of these mediums. Allow them to decorate their bag with a patriotic theme, suggesting fireworks, flags and stars. Allow the bags time to dry, then have them place the gifts they made within their bags.

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Kids Centerpiece Crafts by Shannon L. Buck

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.(Previously published on Y! Contributor Network.)

Kids Centerpiece Crafts

Children love crafts, and are creative sorts. Their imaginations help them to make an endless supply of art and craft projects for family and friends. Adults might start off the creative process by suggesting basic ideas for centerpiece projects, and allowing the children to build on these ideas as they see fit.

Baskets

Basket centerpieces are simple to make. Have children male these according to the current season or holiday. Give them pine cones and Christmas balls and allow them to fill the basket, as well as ribbon. Provides them with paints and brushes if they will be painting an otherwise plain basket, and ribbon to decorate the handle with. Fake eggs and Easter grass would go into a white or pastel colored basket for Easter.

Vases

Provide children with all of the elements to decorate and display a vase. Include a paper or lace doily for the vases to sit on, and ribbon for them to tie around the necks of them. Give each child a choice between marbles or pebbles to fill the bottom their own vase, and allow them to search nature for items to fill their vase with. Have them pick flowers during the summer months, or let them uses sticks and leaves during the autumn months. Cattails are a good option.

Cornucopia

Give children paints, brushes and Styrofoam balls. Instruct them to paint them to paint these like apples and pumpkins. Allow these to dry overnight, then have the children place them into the cornucopia with items found in nature such as autumn leaves and acorns. Tell them that it is customary to allow the fruits and other items to spill out around the open area of the cornucopia. Provide them with a place mat or other linen depicting autumn colors to sit their centerpiece on.

Pumpkins

Have the children paint two or more faces around their own pumpkin to serve as a centerpiece, or have them draw out faces for you to carve and provide them each with a tea light candle for their parents to light at home.

Cut the top off each pumpkin and clean it out, then ask the children to fill the pumpkin with soils after placing a few pebbles in the bottom for drainage purposes. Give them marigold seeds to plant, or seedlings for the marigolds or another autumn flower. Ask them each to cut a circle out of autumn colored construction paper to use as a doily to place the pumpkin on.

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Simple Craft Project Ideas by Shannon L. Buck

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.(Think frugally. How can you glean items for crafting projects? Previously published to Y! Contributor Network.)

Simple Craft Project Ideas

Whether making gifts, decorating your home or just crafting for fun, there are a variety of projects that you will want to try. With some projects, you will be decorating useful items to use either inside or out.

Craft projects do not have to cost much, and may be created using materials that you already have on hand or can be found when you are out walking. Be sure to have the basics such as paints and brushes, or a glue gun and glue sticks, at the ready when starting your project.

Painted Garden Planters

Use bright or bold paint colors to make the planters stand out when placed in the garden, or pastels for a lighter look. Mix and match colors, if desired, and use one color on some planters while using more than one on others. Choose brushes of different sizes, depending on the designs that you will create, and start by cleaning and rinsing pots made of clay, plastic or other materials, and allowing them to dry. Paint the outside of each planter, and don’t forget to decorate the drip trays. Create designs such as stripes and polka dots, or paint pictures of bees, birds and butterflies.

Pine Cone Ornaments

Use these ornaments when decorating for the holidays, or match them to your homes décor for use as every day decorations. Bake large pine cones in a 200 degree oven for 1 hour and allow to cool, so the sap dries and does not make a mess. Glue a ribbon to the top of the pine cone to use as a hanger, then decorate as desired. Use colored ribbon or strings of small beads to glue around the top of each pine cone, allowing them to drape over the sides. Apply glitter or paint to the tips of the pine cone for added decoration.

Basket of Ornaments

Take a medium size basket, and wrap ribbon to match the occasion around its’ handle. Tie the ribbon in bows at the base of each side, so that the ribbon ends hang half way down the outside of the basket on either end. Use pinking sheers to cut a fabric liner to fit in the basket, while allowing the four corners to hang out over the sides. Heap ornaments of colored Christmas bulbs within the basket, and stick a few holiday picks into the crevices between bulbs. Place this centerpiece on a white or colored lace doily at the center of a mantle or coffee table.

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How to Gather Craft Materials for Your Daycare by Shannon L. Buck

Photograph by RebeccaMatthews on morguefile.com(Previously published on Y! Contributor Network. Be frugal, friends.)

How to Gather Craft Materials for Your Daycare

It is not always feasible to purchase all the craft materials that a daycare provider will need to keep on hand, especially when the economy is not as good as it should be. You may find yourself wondering how you will acquire all the items that you will need to provide crafting opportunities for the children in your care.

Scraps from Daycare Projects

As you and the children are cleaning up from each craft project, be sure snag any scraps that you may find useful for future projects. Quarter sheets of construction paper, a few sequins and broken crayons can all be saved.

Scraps from Home

There are many projects that you do at home that will give you scraps to use with the children at the daycare center. Scraps of paper, extra borders and little stickers from scrapbook and card making projects will be useful. Small pieces of ribbon and lace from sewing projects will also come in handy, as will scraps of wood from home improvement projects. It is acceptable to ask parents of the children in your care to look for opportunities to glean these items from their own homes as well.

Recycled Products from Home

Toilet paper tubes, as well as those from paper towels and gift wrap, will come in handy for projects such as the creation of rain sticks. Aluminum foil will cover stars to make them shiny for a holiday tree, and baskets will give the children something to place decorated eggs into during the spring. Parents might also bring in mismatched socks so the children will be able to make puppets.

Yard Sales

Visit yard sales to collect materials for the children to use when crafting. This will not likely net you full sets of craft items, but you will find odds-and-ends to use with the children. Think outside the box. Wooden skewers will serve as flower stems, and a sheet cut into squares will provide the children quilt blocks to decorate.

Stores and Shops

Craft stores often have clearance sales that will have a number of items you might think about spending money on. Sheets of foam and felt, magnet strips and beads are often found at these sales. Thrift shops may have odds-and-ends such as partial packages of crayons and markers, and dollar stores have items such as glues, paints and scissors.

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4 Outdoor Spring Activities for Daycare Children by Shannon L. Buck

By taliesin(Originally published on Y! Contributor Network. Frugal ideas for your day care. Reuse. Repurpose.)

4 Outdoor Spring Activities for Daycare Children

Children enjoy being outside more and more during the spring. This is good for them and should be encouraged when possible. There are activities that you can share with your daycare children at this time of year, that you will all enjoy. Group activities that you do along with the children are best.

Nature Walk

Even children feel the need to stretch their legs. Each morning, take the children for a walk in nature. Ask them to notice the things that are happening around them. Point out animals and birds when you see them, and ask the children to be quiet at times to enjoy the sounds of nature. Give them journals, pencils and crayons to record their findings, stopping at least once during the walk to give them an opportunity to add entries. Be sure they are recording each days’ date.

Have a Picnic

Allow each child to prepare his or her own lunch. Children are able to make simple sandwiches, and to place pre-cut vegetables into baggies. Fill water bottles with healthy beverages while they do this, and give one bottle to each child to add to their lunch sack. Take them to a local park to play for a while, and have lunch with them before heading back to the center.

Begin a Compost Pile

It is important to begin teaching children not to be wasteful from an early age. Composting is a good way for daycare centers to accomplish this. Decide where you want the pile, and have the children spread some straw or dried leaves over the area. Let them shovel a few bags of soil over this dry matter, while explaining the types of waste that will be composted. Have a bucket or two of food scraps ready to be added as well. Use a long stick or broom handle to show them how to mix the food into the soil, and explain that this action will help the compost to break down more quickly. After each meal, one child can take a bucket of scraps out to the pile and mix it in with the existing soil. By autumn or the next spring, you will be able to use the compost in the daycare garden.

Plant a Garden

Gardening is a good way to get exercise into your routine, for both children and adults. Place a raised bed where you want a garden located, and allow the children to help you to fill it with organic soil. Even the soil out when you are done, while explaining to the children that they will be planting vegetables for use in the daycare later in the year. Use seedlings that were started from organic seeds, demonstrating to the children how to plant them properly and showing them how to space the seedlings correctly so the plants will have room to grow.

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4 Spring Crafts for Daycare Children by Shannon L. Buck

Photograph by jade on morguefile.com(Originally published to Y! Contributor Network. Save money by asking families for donations, picking items up on clearance, at yard sales, or at thrift stores, and by repurposing old items you may have at home.)

4 Spring Crafts for Daycare Children

Simple crafts provide children with the opportunity to successfully create decorations and gifts. These ideas will provide your daycare children with the opportunity to celebrate spring, while making items that they will bring home and show off to their family and friends. These crafts may also be used as spring holiday gifts.

Picture Flowers

Have each use a flower shaped cookie cutter and a pencil to trace flower head shapes onto plain or patterned paper. Instruct them to cut out 2 shapes for each flower they want to make. Provide the children with small pictures of themselves that you have cut into circles to fit the center of each flower shape, and have them glue these onto their flowers. Ask the children to glue a wooden skewer to the backs of half of their flowers, then to glue the other half of the flowers to the backs of these. They will be creating two-sided flowers that they can place into a vase.

Glittery Planters

Give each child a set of glitter glue pens, and a small planter that has been washed and allowed to thoroughly dry. Ask the children to create designs or spring scenes on the outer sides of their planter. Allow these to dry thoroughly, then have them fill their planters with soil and plant a seed or seedling in them. Explain to the children that water and sunlight are important to the plants but that too much water will kill them, asking them to only water their plants when they start to dry out. Tell them about the plant they are growing so they can tell their parents.

Tulips in a Vase

Tulips are often the first flowers that we notice in the spring. These vibrantly colored flowers have a way of bringing happiness into the heart of anyone waiting for the first signs of spring. Cut the cups out of egg cartons, and cut each of these along the sides, 2/3 of the way down. Poke a hole in the bottom of each. Provide each child with vibrant paint colors and some brushes, and allow them to paint the tulip heads. Once dry, have the children poke pipe cleaners up through the holes to form the stems, and to place these into vases. Ask each child to tie a bow around his or her vase.

Painted Frames

Give each child a wooden picture frame, minus the glass, inserts and back, if possible. Ask them to paint their frames in such a way as to give them a spring feel such as a solid bold or pastel color, or by painting bees or hummingbirds on them. Be sure to mention that they should also paint their name on their own frame, so they do not get mixed up. When these are dry give each child a photograph of him or her self, as well as a the frame back, and demonstrate how to put the frame back together.

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Repurposing Odds and Ends from a Scrapbook Hobby by Shannon L. Buck

photograph by spider-man on morguefile.com(Previously published on Y! Contributor Network. Repurposing enables you to save money on crafting supplies.)

Repurposing Odds and Ends from a Scrapbook Hobby

Scrapbooking is a fun activity that generates a lot of scraps. These can be repurposed for other projects, by the scrapbooker or someone else. By repurposing these items, you are sending less waste to the landfill and saving money on future scrapbook projects or other craft projects.

There are many ways in which scraps from your projects can be used. The end result may be decorative items for your home, or gifts for others. Some creations may be useful, while others will be nice to look at. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Mini Albums

Use small scraps, such as portions of paper, to decorate mini scrap or tag books. Use color themes for these types of projects. Another option would be to use leftover character stickers from previous projects to create a cartoon themed album for a child. If you have an abundance of leftover flower, bee and butterfly embellishments, you may choose to make a mini garden themed scrapbook, and leftover tree items might be used for a camping themed tag book.

Scrapped Picture Frames

Scrapped frames are made using the cardboard insert, or cutting a piece of card stock to fit. A picture and scraps from your hobby are used to decorate the insert, and the finished project is framed and displayed for all to see. Color themes are common, with embellishments such as stickers and ribbon.

Cards

Use half sheets of scrapbook paper or card stock to make holiday and other cards. Fold these partial sheets in half and decorate them using smaller pieces of paper, punch-outs and stickers. Adhere items to the cards with glue or another available adhesive. Search quote books or web sites for sayings to write inside each card.

Gift Tags

Tags can also be made using small scraps from your scrapbook hobby. Cut squares, rectangles or other shapes from the paper and add a sticker to each, leaving room for the “To” and “From” fields. Many scrapbookers have tag templates for tracing shapes onto paper to cut out. Using these will provide you with tags of various shapes and sizes.

Decoupage

Scraps of paper, stickers and ribbon can be adhered to objects using a decoupage medium. Photograph sections might also be used for this purpose. Many items can be decorated this way, including hat boxes, mirror frames and jewelry boxes. Furniture can also be decorated using the decoupage method. Table tops of all shapes and sizes are common for this type of project, A glass cover is sometimes placed over the table top after it has dried thoroughly.

Kids Crafts

Scraps from your hobby might be kept in a plastic container with lid, and taken out on rainy days or whenever children might want to make gifts for people or decorations for your home. Children may want to make their own scrapbooks using paper bags that are folded in half and tied together with ribbon. Perhaps they will make paper ornaments for the holiday tree, or cards for their friends.

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Make Simple Drawer Labels for Organizing by Shannon L. Buck

Photograph by mensatic on morguefile.com(Originally published on Y! Contributor Network. To save money, use scraps when possible.)

Make Simple Drawer Labels for Organizing

Labeling drawers in your hobby room will help you to organize the various materials that you keep on hand. The same is true for the scraps that your hobby generates. An organized hobby room is tidy, and provides easy access to all of the materials that you need to finish projects with.

Whether using plastic drawer units, metal ones, or you are repurposing an old dresser, these labels will guide you in finding the materials you need for any project in no time. They will also help you to quickly put materials away when you are done with a project.

Materials

Measuring tape
Card stock
Paper cutter
Adhesive
Stickers
Black, blue or green marker
Laminate

1. Measure the drawer fronts to determine the size labels you want to make. Choose a size that will allow you to adhere a sticker to the front of each, and to write in big enough letters to enable you to read the labels easily.
2. Choose light colored card stock that matches your hobby room. Use a paper cutter to measure and cut out the number of labels you will need to the size you desire. Make sure the blade of the cutter is sharp enough so that the cuts are clean.
3. Use a dark colored card stock that also matches the hobby room as a background. Use the paper cutter again, this time to measure and cut the card stock ¼ to 1/3 inches bigger around than the labels you just cut out.
4. Glue the light colored labels to the dark colored backgrounds. Be sure that the labels are centered onto each of the darker colored pieces of card stock. Allow these to dry thoroughly, so they do not slide around due to the wet glue.
5. Adhere a sticker of your choosing to either the left or right side of each card. Mix these up so that you have some labels with stickers on either side, or keep them uniform by placing stickers on the same side of each label. Place a sticker on both ends if preferred, as long as there will still be enough room for writing.
6. Pick a dark colored marker, such as green, black or blue, to finish the labels with. Write the name of the item for each drawer on its’ corresponding label. Use clear printing or script, do the labels are easy to read.
7. Cut two pieces of laminate for each label you are making. Cover the front of each label with one piece, and adhere the second piece to the back. Trim around the edges of the laminate to be sure that it is even.
8. Adhere a label to each drawer. Use a magnet for metal drawers, being sure that the adhesive is dry before placing each label on a drawer. Use glue or another adhesive for adhering labels to other types of drawers.

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Make a Simple Scrapped Pencil Holder by Shannon L. Buck

Photograph by JessicaGale on Morguefile.com(Using scraps from other projects and a recycled aluminum can will save you money on this project. Previously published on Y! Contributor Network.)

Make a Simple Scrapped Pencil Holder

A pencil holder will organize more than just pencil. You can also place markers, highlighters or pens in one. This project is simple to accomplish, and the finished product will aid you in organizing your office or hobby desk.

A scrapped pencil holder also adds charm to your desk, especially when created to match the décor of the room that it will be used in. Alternatively, a pencil holder can be made to represent a holiday or season, depending on the desires of the person who will be using it.

Materials

Aluminum can
File
Tape measure
Paper cutter
Decorative edged scissors
Scrapbook paper, 2 colors
Adhesive
Stickers or other embellishments

1. Wash the aluminum can in hot, soapy water. Make sure all food has been removed, as well as the label and the sticky residue that holds it in place. Rinse the can well and allow it to dry thoroughly before continuing.
2. Use the file to get rid of any sharp areas around the inside edge of the can, which are often left behind by a can opener. Rinse the can well, again, to remove any filings. Allow the can to dry all the way again.
3. Choose the colors of paper you will use for the project. One sheet should be light, the other a medium to dark color. Use colors that match the décor of the room where then pencil holder will be placed, or that coincide with a chosen theme.
4. Measure the can height, and then measure around it. Add ¼ inch to the second number. Use the paper cutter to measure and cut the light colored sheet of paper to size. Glue this sheet of paper around the can by first gluing one end to the can, then overlapping the other end and gluing it in place. Allow this dry completely.
5. Using the second number again, cut 2 pieces of dark colored paper to a ½ inch height using the paper cutter or decorative edged scissors. Adhere these to the top and bottom edges of the light colored paper that you have already glued to the can, using the same method as above. Again, allow to dry thoroughly.
6. Choose stickers to match your décor, an upcoming holiday or the season. Look at the can and decide where you want to place each sticker. Adhere them in a flattering manner to the chosen areas.
7. Place the pencils or other writing utensils into the pencil holder, and place it on your desk.

As an example, a spring themed pencil holder may include stickers depicting grass, flowers and the sun. Other options are bees, butterflies, birds and dragonflies. A beach theme would include sand, water, a beach ball, and a pail and shovel.

You may choose not to decorate your pencil holder with stickers, opting to use darker colored or patterned paper. This is fine, and will look very nice. Painting decorations onto the paper is also an option.

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