Get ready for summer! I can’t believe that it’s going to be summer. This year has flown by so fast so far! With a rocky spring, I’m ready for crafts that can be done outside if needed. There are three fun summer crafts I do yearly and the kids just love to do them!
Flower Toilet Paper Roll Craft
Materials: Empty toilet paper rolls, brown construction paper, black construction paper, bright tempura paint, green tempura paint, green pipe cleaner, sponge cut into the shape of a leaf.
Instructions: Cut out flower pots shapes from brown construction paper. Have the children glue a flower pot shape onto the bottom of a piece of black construction paper. Show children how to dip a slightly flattened toilet paper roll into paint and stamp it onto the paper in order to create “petals” in a circle (a flower design). Have children use a green pipe cleaner for a stem. Dip the sponge in green paint and stamp on to create leaves.
Ice Cube Ice Cream Art
Find instructions here.
Pop Bottle Firefly
Materials:One 20 ounce green plastic soda bottle, empty and cleaned out (label removed)
- One glow stick
- Three 12 inch pipe cleaners in green or black, for the legs
- One 12 inch pipe cleaner in gold, silver, or black (for the antennae)
- Two yellow pony beads (for the eyes)
- Construction paper or card stock (for thorax and wings)
- Black paint
- Clear tape
Instructions: Begin this pop bottle craft by cleaning out a green 20 ounce soda bottle. Remove the label by soaking it for awhile in warm water. Wash well and allow it to dry completely. Twist three 12 inch green or black pipe cleaners around the middle of the bottle. Give them a twist to secure, and then bend them to look like legs. Cut a rectangle of construction paper or card stock to wrap around the pop bottle. Don’t have it wrap completely. Cut the rectangle slightly smaller so it ends where the legs show . Fold another piece of construction paper or card stock in half. Cut a wing-like shape, using the fold to create mirror images of the wings. Glue these on top of the firefly’ body to secure.Paint the bottle cap black and allow it to dry. Screw the cap on the firefly. Glue two yellow pony beads to the sides of it, to be the lightning bug’s eyes. HINT: Make sure to screw the cap on first before you glue on the eyes, otherwise they eyes may not be in the right position. Then, wrap a 12 inch gold pipe cleaner around the neck of the bottle, twist to secure, and curl the ends to be the lightning bug’s antennae. (photo and instructions from craftsforallseasons.com)
Like most other daycares, I’ve had raised my rates over the years. With the rising cost of living, it has to be done. Parents may not like it, and sometimes you might lose a family in the process. Handling this process can be difficult and stressful, but you should never let a parent bully you into backing down.
Handling breaking the news to parents in this situation doesn’t have to be hard. Break it down in these simple steps:
- Explain to them about how your rates compare to the average providers in your area.
- If you have rate increases policy in your contract (you should!) have a copy of it to show them.
- Talk to them about the great care you give their child deserves a raise just as they get raises at their jobs for excellent work.
- Explain how a lot of your fees goes back into the daycare for expenses of supplies and food for the children and with the rise in costs in turn results in higher fees.
Most parents should understand about how the cost of living hits all businesses-even daycares- and if they don’t, then maybe you should rethink if they were actually a good fit for your business in the long run.
One of the biggest responsibilities for providers is making sure that the children we care for will be provided with nutritious meals. So, to make sure that you provide the right foods, you should put together a meal plan.
General guideline for planning a daycare meal:
-Find out what your state licensing requires for a daily meal.
-Make sure none of the children has a peanut allergy.
- Plan your meals according to the seasons for fresh fruits and vegetables.
How to stay in budget for your meal planning:
- Buy generic food items.
- Stock up on items such as peanut butter that have long shelf life.
- Look for sales.
- Shop at discount food stores, such as Aldis.
Make meal time fun time. Let kids help with preparing meals and teach them about each food item. Use fun shape cookie cutters to make fun sandwiches.
Running a daycare can be one of the hardest businesses to run by yourself. There are lots of responsibilities to take care of. With the crazy schedules and balancing acts you need to keep, marketing is just one more task you’d rather not have to worry about scheduling.
Why not make a marketing calendar to help?
An Annual Marketing Calendar will help map out your activities for the year. Here is an example of a marketing calendar that you can use. Just modify it to suit your needs.
January – Prepare your posts for your blog/website (you DO have one, right?) for the year. Write out post titles and go back monthly to write posts.
February – Write your press releases and guest post for local kid related businesses website.
March – Order marketing kid tshirts for park field trips to “adertise” business.
April – Put out yard sign. Print out flyers for outdoor hangups.
May – Post to Craigslist for summer school aged kids program.
June – Send out new press release announcing your book fundraiser.
July – Post to Craigslist for fall openings.
August – Send out newsletter to parents announcing fall openings. Have open house for potential parents.
September – Check for reorder of marketing material (pens, business cards, etc.)
October – Prepare for Halloween marketing “treats” bags for trick or treating.
November – Volunteer for Toys 4 tots and other services.
December – Post to Craigslist and put up flyers for New Years Eve sitting services for extra money and potential parents. Prepare Marketing Calendar for next year.
Providing care for infants requires special attention from providers. If you agree to take in an infant, you need to be prepared for the chance of the mother wanting to breastfeed their child. It is important that child care providers are supportive of breastfeeding mothers and to make it an easy experience for mothers to be able to supply you with their breast milk.
How can child care providers best support breastfeeding mothers?
Many moms decide to not continue to breastfeed when going back to work for fear of the person/place that will be caring for her child will make things difficult for her. As daycare professionals, we need to encourage moms to feel comfortable bringing breast milk or feel that they can come breastfeed whenever possible.
Benefits to Breastfeeding:
- Healthier face, head, and body development- alternating breasts stimulates and exercises both sides of the baby’s face, head, and body
- Better mouth/speech development- the breast is drawn deeply into the baby’s mouth, thus maintaining the palate’s shape and the mouth moves in a more sophisticated manner than during bottle feeding.
- Fewer sinus, ear, allergy, and respiratory, and reflux problems- this is so true! All three of my children were breastfed and were barely sick growing up.
- Lower incidence of SIDS - breastfed children are at lower risk for SIDS.
Some helpful tips:
-Before the child starts, sit down and talk to the mother and asure her that it is perfectly ok to continue to breastfeed her child and that you will allow breast milk stored in your home if needed. I would suggest that child care providers encourage moms to work with local (IBCLC) lactation consultants.
-Encouraging moms to purchase a good breast pump is also important. World Health Organization (www.who.int) is a great source for breast pump recommendation site.
-If you were/are a breastfeeding mom yourself, talk to her about your experiences with breastfeeding.
image from www.ifood.tv