Fun Pumpkin Art!

Happy Wednesday everybody! It’s almost the weekend woohoo! And I’m sure it going to be a fun weekend for you and your kiddos with Halloween just around the corner! I can’t believe October is almost over! Time flies. As a mentioned in my last post on all things fall, pumpkins are a fall/Halloween staple. With Halloween so close it’s time to get those PUMPKINS ready for their big day! Personally, I hate carving pumpkins haha I have always been grossed out by the guts and goop inside. It feels weird, gets everywhere, and is hard to scoop out. Also it sucks that your kids just have to sit there for the 30 minutes you take to carve it or be far away given all the sharp tools. Because of that I’ve put together some of my favorite ways to decorate pumpkins, with kids, WITHOUT carving them! Still a little messy but as we all know with kids comes mess 🙂

 

The Nanny Guide’s Keys to Pumpkin Decorating

81ztarg11sl-_sl1500_1. Use a dot paint marker! Place the pumpkin on parchment paper or a placemat and let your kiddos go at it. The could do random dots, patterns of dots, or even make a face out of them. You could also get a circular foam paint brush (at Target or Michaels or wherever) and then dip in paint and dot away! Practical benefit: This is good for kids to practice hand eye coordination.

2. Glue on pom poms, googley eyes, or foam pieces! Basically take some glue and fun materials and let loose. Think feathers, leaves, beads. Whatever you can get your hands on. I suggest finding a really sticky glue or permanent glue so the stuff you glue on will last. I know this isn’t as kid friendly but my suggestion, and what I have done before, is to ask the child where they want to put their object and I put a dab of glue and have them place the object on it. You can also use elmers glue and they can practice using that, but be prepared for the mess and that some of the stuff might not stay as well.


3. Color with sharpie or permanent markers! Again you may not think this would be very safe with young kids but with proper supervision of the child it’s easy peasy. Last year Ruby who was 3 years old at the time ws able to use the permanent markers without any coloredpumpkin2-articleissues. We talked about the rules beforehand AKA not putting in mouth, only use on the pumpkin, don’t draw on yourself, etc. Then I sat next to her and opened the color she wanted and let her go. She just scribbled on it, but she was so proud and excited to show her parents when they got home. Older children could draw faces, doodles, or whatever their little heart desires 🙂

4. Paint the pumpkin! This is same idea as using markers. You can paint whatever you want on the pumpkin. A fun thing you can do with paint that you can’t do with markers is paint the pumpkin a completely different color!  Who wouldn’t want a rainbow of beautifully painted pumpkins at their house!

5. Write their name on it! Personalize their pumpkin. You (or if their old enough, your kiddo) can write their name big or small on the pumpkin in sharpie or permanent marker. Then let them decorate it any of these other ways! Having it say their name just adds another element of fun and makes their pumpkin unique and theirs!

6. Do a little bit of each! Paint it first, draw when dry, glue feathers on for hair, dot paint marker eyes, and write their name of it!

These are just some ideas I had, but the main point is just be creative! Let your and your kiddo/s imagination let loose. Who knows what fun you could create 🙂 Also if pumpkin carving is your jam more power to you! Carved pumpkins look super cool and are fun to do if you know what you’re doing 🙂  If anyone has tips on how to make pumpkin carving easy let me know! And if you have any other ideas of decoration send them my way! Happy pumpkin decorating!

xoxo

Kelly

© The Nanny Guide 2016

10 Kid Friendly Fall Activities

Happy fall everybody! I don’t know about you but I LOVE fall. Everything about fall… the chill in the air, apples 24/7, pumpkin spice and everything nice, apple and pumpkin scented anything, and leaves turning beautiful, gorgeous colors! Naturally, I share my love of fall with my nanny kiddos, but it turns out they have a great time doing the fll activities as well. So I decided to put together a list of my favorite fall, kid-friendly, activities!

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The Nanny Guide’s Top 10 Kid Friendly Fall Activities

1. Go to an apple orchard!

Last year me and my boyfriend took Ruby to a local apple orchard, and it is a day she still talks about 1 year later. We all had SO much fun! The local one we went to had apples, apple cider donuts, hay pile jumps, tractor rides, and even more fun things for kids to play on! We went on a cloudy cold day and because it was so much fun forgot all about the cold. Another fun local (aka Minnesota) apple place is Jim’s Apple Barn. I can’t call it an apple orchard because its big draw is that it is Minnesota’s largest candy store haha still a great place for a family outing! They have apples, baked goods, candy, rooters, beef jerky, and a million other fun snacks!

2. Head to a Pumpkin Patch! 

Take the kiddos to a pumpkin patch! Usually this can be combined with an apple orchard trip but I thought it deserved its own line 🙂 This is a great place to take your family pumpkin-patch-desktop-wallpaper-5653-5939-hd-wallpapersChristmas card at if you’re looking to get that crossed off your list early! It’s also just a fun time to let the kids explore. Kids are fascinated with all the bumps, lumps, sizes, and colors of pumpkins. Once you’ve picked some out, bring them home to decorate! You can go the traditional route of carving pumpkins which if you know what your doing is fun. However I’m not a big fan of pumpkin carving… Too much mess, slime, and really hard to do right. I love decorating the pumpkins with marker, paint, pom poms, and any other arts and craft decoration. I also have found that this is easier for kids to be included in this way. The knives and tools involved in caring are not so kid friendly, but to each their own! 

3. Make a leaf pile and play! 

img_9177This one is pretty self explanatory. Rake up the fallen leaves in your yard and jump on in the pile! Kids find this so fun! I have some great memories as a child of jumping into leaf piles. It’s an easy and free way to have some good old fashion outdoor fun. I also used to take leaves and make houses out of them by making lines on leaves for rooms. Kinda hard to explain but my point is let your kids imagination go wild with the leaves!

4. Make a bonfire

If you have a bonfire pit or access to one, this is fun way to stay warm on the chilly fall days. A fun learning experience is to have your child find different things in nature (think leaves, sticks, pinecones, etc) then you can throw them in the fire pit and listen to the different sizzles! After you’ve had enough time hanging around the fire you can always add to the day by roasting marshmallows and making s’mores 🙂

5. Walk through an area with trees!

You can go anywhere whether that be a forest, nature reserve, or neighborhood. As you walk talk through the trees spend some time talking about the different colors your child sees. This helps practice color recognition. If your children are older it can be interesting to stop and tell them about the different types of trees they see and what colors each tree turns.

6. Go to a Football Game!

This does not have to a NFL game! I actually suggest you don’t go to an NFL game haha. This is because the fans can be very aggressive and shouting profanities. My suggestion is to go to a local college football game! This can still be just as satisfying for your kids as an NFL game. They can cheer on the team and spend some quality time with you, all while being a less expensive day out for you 🙂

7. Walk through a corn maze

Once again this might be able to be accomplished at an apple orchard, but sometimes you need to go elsewhere. A local Minnesota one, Seever’s Corn Maze, provides hours of fun! Kids learn trial and error when getting stuck trying to find their way out of the maze.

8. Bake something fall with them! Pumpkin pies, apple crisps, anything! 

img_3744It’s always fun for a child to be involved in baking something sugary and sweet! When children are involved in the process they feel a sense of accomplishment, and they can physically see what they helped create. Baking with your child also enhances their math skills by counting cups and tablespoons. It also helps enhance gross motor skills with stirring or rolling. When I was little we used to make pies every year with my mom! I always include Ruby when baking anything, and she loves it! It’s a great bonding time. Because patience isn’t usually a child’s strong suit, when Ruby and I bake I usually plan it so the food bakes while she naps! However if you want to practice patience then do it during play time! You can turn on the oven light and they can watch the bread grow or muffins puff up.

9. Taste test some caramel apples 🙂

Carmel apples are my favorite fall treat. Anytime I have an option to get one I do! I think they all can taste a little bit different too. Pick up various caramel apples from local grocery stores or caramel dips and have a taste test! Other places such as Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory make really fun gourmet caramel apples with chocolate, peanut butter, M and M’s, and so much more. So you can always get even more creative! You can ask them before which one they think might be the best and write that down. Then after they test them all, ask again, and see if it changes! To keep this from your kid taking in too much sugar, cut the apples into slices and try each one with just that one slice.

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10. Have a fall family or nanny night in!

Cook a fun fall meal (maybe chill or chicken apple sausages), make some warm apple cider, have a yummy fall treat for dessert, and cozy up on the couch and watch a movie! This is a great way to spend quality time with your kiddos and catch up on life with them. If you are a nanny you can do this in the morning or afternoon with them! Instead of dinner, you could make a snack (maybe apples, or pumpkin bread), have some apple cider, and cozy up and watch a movie then!

I hope you all enjoy theses activities and have some great fall fun with your kiddos! This is just my list of fall fun, and I would love to know your families favorite fall activities!

xoxo

Kelly

© The Nanny Guide 2016

Goodbyes are not the end

Hello and happy Tuesday to all the lovely mommies, nannies, and caregivers out there! The Nanny Guide has been on a bit of a hiatus… Crazy end of spring and summer! Loss, love, and laughter all included in 5 months. BUT now I am back and plan to be much more consistent as the fall air and routine sets back in!

With the new school year beginning my little Ruby is off to PreK, and I’m back full time at school and working as a teacher in a local daycare for a little different experience. As sad as I am to be closing my chapter as Ruby’s nanny, I know she will always have a place in my life and I will always have a place in hers. As my old friend Dr. Seuss once said “don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” #rubyworld This is one thing that is very important to me when it comes to leaving a nanny family.

If possible maintain contact with the family and their little ones. If you have worked with them for a year or more, you have become part of their family or at least an integral part of the children’s lives. If you just disappear and never come back that can be very hard on a little one and can leave them feeling hurt and sad. Now I know this isn’t possible in every circumstance (they/you move, bad experience with family), I think it is important to try to make time for them if you can. That said here are some of my favorite ways to spend some special times with all my past nanny kiddos.

  • Have a nanny date night! Take them out to dinner somewhere fun and catch up with them. Ask them about school or sports or life in general. The best part is this doesn’t have to be some fancy, exciting restaurant. Most kids grin ear to ear if you mention going to McDonalds! Another date night idea is to take them to a fun movie in theaters. This was always a hit with my older nanny babies. We have even found an inexpensive local movie theater where tickets are just $2.50.
  • Give them a framed picture of the two of you. I love doing this for my kiddos, young img_5408and old. If you have a fun, cute picture you love of the two of you (or all of you if you have multiples) frame it and give it to them. You can pick up a nice, inexpensive frame at Target or Michael’s Craft store. If you have a printer and a good deal on ink, I suggest printing at home because you are just printing one picture. However, if you don’t have access to a printer at home check out your local Walgreens to see what there deals on photos are right now. Usually you can find a good coupon on there for 40% off 4 by 6 prints or prints for 10 cents, etc. Then send in your order and you can most likely pick it up that day. Walgreens has a super easy to use app that makes this process even simpler.
  • Plan something special for the 2 of you around their birthday. Instead of just getting them a present or card, I like to plan a special outing for the 2 of us so we can spend some quality time together. I try to think of fun special things that parents wouldn’t easily be able to do with their kids. One time I took an old nanny baby to get a pedicure and she about died! She felt so grown up and I relished in the smiles and giggles. Other things I’ve done include taking one of the boys out to a local baseball game, and taken a girl out to tea at the American Girl Place. I’ve done the American Girl Place multiple times now with different kids and it’s always a MAJOR hit! I highly suggest this if you live near one.
  • Send them mail! Most little kids rarely get mail and if they do it is the greatest thing ever. Clarification: THIS IS NOT AN EMAIL (most young kids don’t have an email anyways haha) Go the traditional route and mail them a handwritten card or letter. This small gesture is minimal in cost (think paper, envelope, stamp) and means a lot to the children and the parents. If the child is old enough you could even write down a few questions for them in your letter so they can write you one back! Pen pals have never been so cool 🙂
  • Ask the parents if they want to go on a date night and you can babysit! I have heard from a lot of parents that they don’t want to ask you to babysit too often because they don’t want to burn you out. While that may be the case for some, for me I would spend every weekend babysitting if I could 🙂 Shoot one of your families a text every so often asking if they want a night out any weekend in x month. All the families I’ve worked for have been more than happy to pick a night and go out and do their thing! Quality time + a little bit of cash never hurt anybody.

Finding time for old families is something that is so important to me. Each and everyone of the kids I’ve watched has left a special mark on me and I hope I have left one on them. Maintaining our connections and bonds are natural and necessary for me. I have been so lucky to have great relationships with all the families I’ve worked with, I hope you all are just as lucky!

xoxo

Kelly

PS: Here are some of my favorite memories with all my babies who I don’t see every day now 🙂