Spark Appetites and Creativity with a Simple and Enjoyable Project
We’ve heard it one too many times: don’t play with your food! However, some kids need the motivation to get their appetite going! That’s why we’ve discovered a fun and engaging activity for you to try out. All you need are some grapes and toothpicks, and you’re ready for an exciting adventure!
Bowl of Grapes
Box of Toothpicks
Adult supervision is a must, so keep your eyes on your precious little ones! Those toothpicks can be sharp!
Start with one piece of grape. Stick the toothpick in and grab the next grape to connect!
Keep connecting until you have built a figure! You can create stick houses, atomic models, or random polygons that are interesting! The sky’s the limit when it comes to your creativity!
Were the kids able to enjoy the activity? Inquire with them why the activity is fun and if it helped them want to eat fruits more.
While creating your masterpieces, discuss with your young one the benefits of grapes. Use simple statements like, “Grapes make your heart healthier, so you can love mommy and daddy more!” or “Eating grapes make your eyes clearer, so you can see colours better!”
Allow the kids to enjoy creating figures with the grapes and toothpicks! Make sure to provide positive feedback! If at one point they get frustrated, do not hesitate to lend a hand and show them how to do things better!
Let the kids dive into the activity and have a blast creating figures using grapes and toothpicks. Encourage their creativity and talk about the benefits of grapes along the way. The post-activity discussion can provide insights into how enjoyable the activity was and if it helped increase their interest in eating fruits. Remember to offer positive feedback and support, guiding them through any moments of frustration.
Springtime is a wonderful season for young children to explore the outdoors and discover new things.
With the warmer weather and longer days, there are plenty of fun activities that nannies can do with their charges to promote physical activity, creativity, and learning.
In this article, we will provide ideas for fun springtime activities for young children that nannies can use to keep their charges engaged and happy.
Planting and Gardening
Spring is a great time to teach children about gardening and nature. Nannies can involve their charges in planting seeds or flowers and teach them about the importance of water, sunlight, and soil.
This activity not only encourages physical activity, but also fosters an early understanding of science and the environment.
Outdoor Scavenger Hunts
Scavenger hunts are a great way to engage children in outdoor activities and teach them about the natural world. Nannies can create fun challenges that involve counting or identifying different plants or animals, which can help develop cognitive and observational skills.
Sports and Games
Outdoor sports and games are a fun and healthy way to encourage physical activity and promote social skills. Games such as tag, hide and seek, and soccer can help develop hand-eye coordination and balance. They can also help teach children cooperation and teamwork, as well as fair play.
Arts and Crafts
Arts and crafts are a fun and creative way for children to explore their imagination and develop fine motor skills. Nannies can organise spring-themed projects such as making bird feeders, painting flowers, or decorating Easter eggs.
These activities can also encourage children to experiment with colours and textures, developing their creativity and self-expression.
Picnics and Outdoor Meals
As spring days get warmer, outdoor picnics and meals can provide a fun change of scenery for children. Nannies can prepare healthy snacks, sandwiches, or salads and find a shaded spot to enjoy them. This activity encourages children to eat healthily and can also promote an appreciation of nature and the outdoors.
Nature Walks and Hikes
Nature walks and hikes are a great way to engage children in outdoor activities and provide an opportunity for them to explore the natural world. Nannies can take their charges on a guided walk, pointing out different plants and animals, and teaching them about the importance of protecting the environment.
Water play is a fun and refreshing activity for children during hot spring days. Nannies can prepare activities such as water balloon fights or sprinkler games, which provide an opportunity for children to engage in physical activity and enjoy a fun way to keep cool in the sun.
Visits to Outdoor Museums and Nature Centres
Spring is a great time to visit local outdoor museums and nature centres, where children can learn about the environment and participate in hands-on activities. Visits to these places can help to foster an early interest in science and nature, as well as provide a fun and engaging learning experience.
Springtime provides an excellent opportunity for nannies and children to engage in spring-cleaning activities around the house. Nannies can involve children in activities such as dusting, tidying up their toys, or sorting and donating clothes. This activity not only encourages physical activity, but it also teaches children about responsibility and the importance of having a clean and organised environment.
Storytelling is a great way for nannies to encourage children’s imagination and literacy skills. Nannies can choose spring-themed books and read to children on a picnic blanket, under a tree, or in the garden. This activity can help to develop a love of reading and enhance children’s vocabulary and story comprehension skills.
Bike rides are a fun way for children to explore their surroundings and also promote physical activity. Nannies can organise a bike ride around the neighbourhood or in a nearby park, ensuring that children are wearing helmets and following safety guidelines.
Springtime provides an opportunity for nannies and children to engage in community service activities, such as planting trees or picking up litter. These activities help to teach children about the importance of taking care of the environment and also foster a sense of social responsibility.
As you can see, spring is a wonderful season for children to explore the outdoors and engage in fun and educational activities. Nannies can encourage children’s physical, cognitive, and social development by organising activities such as planting and gardening, scavenger hunts, sports and games, arts and crafts, picnics, and nature walks. These activities provide an excellent opportunity for nannies to engage with their charges and foster a love of learning and nature in young children.
Engaging with nature is highly valuable and considered an excellent form of education, the Forest School approach to childcare and education is rooted in exploring nature through the seasons and this approach is explained more thoroughly in our course on Alternative Approaches to Early Years Care and Education, offering practical examples of how to use this approach in your role as a nanny.
Are the usual painting sessions with the kids getting a little boring? Add a new twist to make the activity more interesting!
Try using a water gun or spray bottle as your paintbrush!
Tickle the kids’ creativity and watch them freely express their artistic side!
Water Gun/Plastic Spray Bottle
Place the easel outdoors to avoid unnecessary mess. If the weather doesn’t permit you to perform this activity outdoors, waterproof your floors and walls well. If you do not have an easel, you can tape the watercolor paper onto another surface, like a waterproofed fence, concrete or even a tree!
Have the kids fill the water guns or the plastic spray bottles with liquid watercolors.
Fire away! Spray the water gun or spray bottle at the paper and watch as the paint sprays over the paper, colours mix, and paint drips. Allow the kids to take the lead on this and let their imagination run wild through their art pieces!
Once done, have them sign their name like the true artists that they are!
After the Activity:
Ask the kids which part of the activity they found most challenging; The set-up? The activity itself? Or the fact that they had to clean up after? Probe why they found that part a challenge and explain the value of each activity.
You can create a portfolio of all the artwork they have created. If they want to do this activity again, praise them for things they have improved and ask them to choose which picture they would like to keep!
Have the children name their artwork and ask why they chose this name.
Ask the children to plan painting with other kinds of resources like this; perhaps you could try using a salad spinner, a colander or even water balloons.
Positive Communication Between Nannies and Nanny Parents
Relationships between Nannies and Nanny parents can be difficult to navigate with a host of potential issues to overcome. Most of these issues can be prevented or resolved by using clear and effective, positive communication. In fact, positive communication is one of the most important tools a Nanny can have.
Why work in partnership
A Nanny and Nanny parents need to work in partnership for the good of the children involved. When caregivers and parents work together towards similar aims, outcomes and day-to-day experiences are better for everyone; the children, the parents and the nanny. Working in partnership helps provide consistency for children, which makes them feel safe and secure and in turn helps them to learn and develop. It is crucial for caregivers and parents to develop solid and secure partnerships when working together to care for young children.
How communication supports working in partnership
Good communication allows both parties to set and maintain clear expectations for their relationship. When it comes to nannying, communicating clear expectations helps both the nanny and the parents to build trust in one another, feel comfortable and ultimately helps to ensure that care provided to the children remains consistent.
Nobody knows a child better than their parents and parents are their children’s first educators, so in order for children to thrive, nannies will need to draw on this knowledge. In addition, nannies are professionals who are often trained in child care child development, so in many circumstances parents will often need to draw on nannies’ knowledge and experience too. This partnership works best where there is a two-way flow of information and mutual respect.
On a day to day basis there is actually quite a lot for Nannies and Nanny parents to communicate about. Some nannies will be working alongside parents, whilst others will have a handover, or a period of transition from parental care to nanny care, to help make the transition easier for the children.
A good handover requires clear communication from both sides. Nannies can ask questions to gather the information they need for example, “Did he sleep well? “What time did he wake this morning?” or “What did she have for breakfast?” They can also use this time to begin setting expectations for the day. If a parent is heading off to work, it may help them to know what their little one will be doing during the day. For example, a nanny may say “we’ve planned a picnic in the park at lunchtime” or “we’re going to have a playdate with his friend Martha this morning” so that when the parents are at work they have a concrete idea of what the activities their children are engaging in.
Some nannies use daily diaries to communicate the basics, which often include what types and how much food has been eaten, what time and how low the children have napped or when the baby’s nappy has been changed, whilst other nannies and caregivers are happy to relay this information in person. Different methods will work for different families and different nannies, it’s important to find what works best for your own situation.
Apps and texting can also be ideal methods of communication, allowing the nanny to send quick photo updates throughout the day. but you should only have more important conversations face to face as apps and texting mean that things like gesture, body language, facial expression and tone of voice are missing so meaning can get muddled.
There will be times as a nanny that you need to have a more difficult conversation with parents and throughout the relationship, positive communication will be vital. For example, it might be that the child has displayed some difficult behavior, injured themselves or you may have concerns about their development that you need to raise. These kinds of conversations should always take place face to face in the absence of the children. In these types of situations, when nannies and parents need to communicate about more difficult topics, a nanny should try and select a time where the parent is not rushed and is able to listen without distractions. If the situation warrants it, it may be worth arranging a meeting time in advance.
Nannies should always try to ensure that a conversation doesn’t become a list of complaints. This is not to say that you should sugar coat information, but it’s important to recognise positive qualities the child exhibits as well. If you have had a day of difficult behavior, then you should be truthful about that, but there is often good alongside bad behavior so try to acknowledge this during the conversation.
Where you have developmental concerns about a child, remember that a parent will find this difficult to hear and take care to approach this sensitively. Nannies should never attempt to make any kind of diagnosis themselves as they are not medical professionals. Instead, tell the parent what you have observed or experienced, why this concerns you, and what you’d like to do going forward. For example, you may feel that a child has delayed speech so you might tell the parent that you can see they understand the majority of what you say, but they aren’t really trying to form words and they don’t have as much expressive language as you would expect for their age. You might also state that this could be concerning as speech is a key area of learning, and gently suggest that the parents mention it during the child’s next visit to their pediatrician.
When discussing an accident or incident, nannies should report these occurrences shortly after they happen as opposed to waiting until the parent arrives home. This gives parents the opportunity to express if they would like you to get medical attention, but also can be useful to mentally prepare them for a black eye or visible bumped head when they arrive home.
Positive communication between nannies and nanny parents is the key to a successful working relationship and to achieving better outcomes for children. You can learn more about this vital skill at the International Nanny Institute. Our OCN-London approved course, Working as a Nanny, helps students understand what will be expected of a professional nanny. This includes the kinds of tasks you can expect to fulfill, and explain the types of responsibilities you’ll be taking on. We also offer tips on securing employment and developing a positive, healthy relationship with your next family.