Friday, June 28, 2013

Keeping on Educational Track through Summer Months

Statistically children lose momentum during the summer months particularly in the areas of reading and mathematics. Children on average lose one to three months of learning to “summer brain drain.” While many families encourage some summer reading they don’t always think about math. The summer break is great for all types of activities but keeping an eye on educational options can be critical for a majority of children.

Here are some tips to help you through summer and move your child forward.

·        Keep on Reading – have lots of books available and include regular trips to the library. Libraries in the metro have several special events for children throughout summer. Check out your local library for options that are available. You can also have a summer reading program at home. We kept track of reading throughout the summer, charting each child’s progress with goals specific to each child’s age level and included fun rewards for meeting those goals. It was a win-win experience for all.

·        Teachable Moments – think about what the children are experiencing throughout the summer. How can vacation experiences be teachable opportunities? Include science, history and social study options when planning your summer activities. Keep your eyes open for expanding on children’s curiosity. A trip to the beach could produce conversations and exploration a number of questions such as – How is sand formed? What is buoyancy? Why is the sky blue?

·        Keep Math in Mind – math skills suffer the most loss during the summer so being aware of math throughout the summer activities is important. Remember math skills include measuring, comparison, construction, time, number operations, money, special relationships and more. Many games have mathematical aspects that can be emphasized. Counting and number operations can be fun anywhere at any time. In fact it’s a great way to pass the time in the car or waiting in line.

·        Summer tutoring or summer school is another option to keep children on track or to enrich areas that have a special interest to them. If you choose to have more formal learning options for the children keep the sessions short and select a time of day that is best for that child. You want the child to have a good balance of the fun summer activities along with academic ones.

Whatever activities you choose that include an educational component remember to keep it fun! They’ll remember a great summer break and they’ll head back to school still on track.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

July 4th Ideas!

Family Fun from Disney is now You'll find the same great ideas and resources you've loved in the past just in a new format. I appreciate that they include details and photos. You can follow their step by step instructions or use them as a jumping off point to create your own.  
Here are three links below to that give you some exciting ideas for July 4th which feature photos and step-by-step directions. Enjoy!



Party Ideas:

Monday, June 24, 2013

Question For Our Staff

I’ve heard of hiring an au pair from another country. Isn’t this a less expensive child care option?

     The au pair program was designed as a cultural exchange and educational opportunity program. Most au pairs are 18 to 25 years old. They may or may not have child care specific experience or training. They usually speak fairly good English, but aren’t always savvy to our American culture. That’s part of the experience -  to learn more. Families provide room, board and a weekly stipend in exchange for some child care.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Bubbles, Bubbles and More Bubbles

How to Make Bubbles for Kids

7 of the Best Homemade Bubble Recipes!

From -

The warm weather has reminded me that I’ve been wanting to share how to make homemade bubbles. There are plenty of homemade bubble solution recipes. Some are really simple with ingredients I’m 99.9% sure you have in your home. Others have ingredients that are a bit more obscure.

The most straightforward homemade bubble recipe consists only of soap and water. But there are a few that have some additions you might not expect. Here’s a quick FAQ to answer some questions you might have about the bubble recipes below:

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Minnesota History is COOL!

I recently visited the Minnesota History Center with Kelly (from our office) and her three delightful children ranging from 10 to 3 years. I hadn't been to the center in many years and didn't remember the level of hands on activities there are for everyone but especially for the children. Most of the exhibit areas have plenty to do with great activities to learn more about the topic, well versed staff and often a short video or two.
I'm not sure most people know that younger children - even 3 year olds - will get a lot out of their visit. There are many manipulative activities that engage younger ones. Several exhibits have role playing options. Families can be miners, pretend to serve ice cream from a old soda fountain, learn about ration books, manipulate wind, try their hands at a telegraph message, sit inside a WWII airplane and so much more.  Early readers can handle most of the posted information and signs. It's a perfect opportunity to talk about the past, recall your own history and share knowledge about events with children.
To learn more about the History Center visit You'll love the adventure. After your visit we'd love to hear about your experience!

Engaging Staff
Ice Cream Anyone?

Hop Scotch Fun
Crawling in Grainland

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Celebrating Dads!

Nannies from the Heartland wishes
all fathers a very special day!
Mary and Kelly

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Saying Goodbye

The nanny family employment situation is like no other. The nature of the work and the close relationships that are developed make the transition out of the job challenging for both nanny and family.

Here is a link to a great blog that really focuses on this unique transition - Although written to address the nanny there is advice that can help the family and children as well.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning

This article has been posted numerous times on Facebook. This is important information as we enter the swimming pool season.

The new captain jumped from the deck, fully dressed, and sprinted through the water. A former lifeguard, he kept his eyes on his victim as he headed straight for the couple swimming between their anchored sportfisher and the beach. “I think he thinks you’re drowning,” the husband said to his wife. They had been splashing each other and she had screamed but now they were just standing, neck-deep on the sand bar. “We’re fine; what is he doing?” she asked, a little annoyed. “We’re fine!” the husband yelled, waving him off, but his captain kept swimming hard. ”Move!” he barked as he sprinted between the stunned owners. Directly behind them, not 10 feet away, their 9-year-old daughter was drowning. Safely above the surface in the arms of the captain, she burst into tears, “Daddy!”
How did this captain know—from 50 feet away—what the father couldn’t recognize from just 10? Drowning is not the violent, splashing call for help that most people expect. The captain was trained to recognize drowning by experts and years of experience. The father, on the other hand, had learned what drowning looks like by watching television. If you spend time on or near the water (hint: that’s all of us) then you should make sure that you and your crew know what to look for whenever people enter the water. Until she cried a tearful, “Daddy,” she hadn’t made a sound. As a former Coast Guard rescue swimmer, I wasn’t surprised at all by this story. Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for is rarely seen in real life.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Spring Visitors

Our office is located in a lovely setting with opportunities to see nature daily. Spring is the time for nature's babies and we get to see them up close. Here are some recent visitors.