Tag: creative

Cooking Club In After School Setting

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Cooking Club is a very popular after school club choice. Let’s be frank, if eating food is involved children will suddenly become more interested! But Cooking Club is a choice, not without its complications such as:

1) Many child care centers have limited kitchen access or only have access to a microwave/refrigerator which makes it difficult to “cook” any food.

2) Safety can become a concern with hot surfaces & knives. Using plastic utensils and active supervision is crucial

3) Cooking Club can easily become junk food club. Try to balance by offering a good mix of treats and healthy options! Continue reading “Cooking Club In After School Setting”

Our Incredible Earth Club

The 40th Anniversary of Earth Day is fast approaching on April 22, 2010. What better time is there to lead an Eco-Friendly Club? You have quite an opportunity here to build children’s awareness of the importance of taking care of our friend the Earth which we all call home and how vital it is that we take care of it!

Week 1: Start a Recycling Project and have a Clean up the Campus Day

Take time to explain what recycling is (re-using materials rather than throwing them away in a landfill) and what materials can and cannot be recycled (aluminum, glass, plastic, etc.) Prior to starting your project find a local recycling center that will reimburse you for any recycled materials you bring in and what items they take. Give the children gloves & bags to help clean up the campus. Sort recyclables into the recycling bins you have provided. Another special bonus is that once you have completed your recycling project your group will have earned a little extra spending $money$. You can have the children create a goal for something they would like to obtain for your center such as an outdoor toy or game or have them help choose a charity to donate the funds to. TIP: Large sturdy Rubbermaid containers or trash cans can be used/labeled as your recycling bins.

Week 2: Craft Activity ~ Grocery Bags for Earth Day

Something I have done with the children for the past several years is to have the children participate in making Grocery Bags for Earth Day. The purpose is two-fold. 1) To promote Earth Day Awareness to the local community. 2) To have to children create a usable craft with a message that makes them feel like they are contributing to taking care of the Earth. A few days before Earth Day you can ask a manager at a local grocery store to “borrow” grocery bags. After the children have completed their designs you can return them and ask that they be distributed on Earth Day. TIP: Make sure children do not include any personal information/names on their bags since they will be distributed at a local grocery store.

You can visit http://www.earthdaybags.org/ for more information about to get an Earth Day grocery bags program started at your school/program.

Week 3: Plant a Vegetable Garden

Even if you don’t have a lot of space planting a vegetable garden is still possible and can be a very rewarding experience for children. It also teaches them to appreciate nature from all stages: seed to vegetable.

Some veggies you can include in small planter boxes include: green onions, radishes, tomatoes (such as small fry or patio), and green beans.

1)  Help the children create colorful labels for your veggies.

2) Use a nutrient rich soil such as Miracle Grow to plant your seeds. Make sure to provide adequate soil and space for the seeds.

3) Assign a watering schedule. It is very easy for kids to over water or under water the plants, assigning a schedule and letting the kids know the importance of sticking to it (to keep plants healthy and growing) is essential.

4) Make sure to place your planters in an area with at least 6 hours of sunlight per day.

Week 4: Solar Pizza Ovens and Our Incredible Earth Awards:

1) This week is all about celebrating the journey the children have made in Incredible Earth Club. You can challenge them to start thinking of ways they can conserve and take care of the Earth in their daily lives. For instance when using paper to draw, using both sides of the paper and not wasting it or placing objects in a recycling bin instead of the trash. Help them to know that even the little things they do can make a difference.

2) You can continue your celebration by warming up a yummy treat in your own homemade solar pizza oven. Cooking foods in it is not recommended but heating up pre-made cookies using the suns rays can feel like eating a freshly baked cookie from the oven!

3) As far as a giveaway or prize for the participants of Our Incredible Earth Club I am inclined to stay away from paper rewards as it doesn’t really keep in theme of the club nor do justice to it. But I have used a fun giveaway made from recycled newspapers that the children just love called ~ SMENCILS! They are scented pencils, and the children really enjoy them.

Taking care of our Earth and environment around us is so vital. If we can help explain that to our youth in a fun and exciting way I think it could do wonders! Do you have any ideas about teaching Eco-friendly ideas to our youth today? Please share, I am eager to hear your ideas.

Everyday Craft Items

Have you ever read a cooking article in a magazine or book where it tells you to have “everyday pantry items available?” These pantry items can include things such as:  salt, pepper, butter, etc. Having a good supply of basics on hand provides the foundation for many delicious recipes. You can apply the same idea to planning after school activities. Having a properly stocked craft cabinet will provide the foundation needed for an abundance of creative & engaging craft activities after school and save you the headache of starting from scratch each time you want to lead a project.

Items to include in your Everyday Craft supply regimen include:

Markers, crayons, colored pencils, oil pastels, pencils, rulers, white glue, glue sticks, craft sticks (regular and jumbo), white 8 x 11 paper, construction paper – assorted colors, google eyes, washable tempera paint, sequins, glitter, paintbrushes, pipe cleaners, pom poms, cotton balls, balloons, feathers, hole punch, paper plates, paper lunch bags, pony beads, thread, yarn, plastic bowls, and a glue gun.

Some other recommended items I find come in handy and are always kept in my bag of tricks include:

Glue dots – Readily available at Oriental Trading Company or Amazon. For those tricky craft projects where glue and glues sticks just won’t quite cut it. Tip: Purchase glue dots that come in sheets rather than rolls as they are easier for children to use and they will waste less of them.

Vinyl table cloths – easy clean up after messy projects

Shaving cream – great for hands on manipulatives and craft projects

Fuse beads – can be used for a variety of craft projects and tied into a number of themed units. They can be purchased through S&S Worldwide or Michaels Craft Stores.

Happy Crafting everyone!

Marie

The benefits of after school clubs

Chances are if you have ever attended, worked in, or had your child attend an after-school program you will find  daily activities such as Arts & Crafts, Homework time, inside and outside games, and snack time. These daily activities are designed to provide a safe, stable, and structured environment for children. There are times, however when this daily schedule may become somewhat of a grind leaving center staff and children wanting more. After school clubs are a way to add new life and enthusiasm into the program.

What are after-school clubs?

Clubs are a combination of all the best aspects of an after-school program. They can include games, arts & crafts, learning & special events. Typically they last 4-6 weeks and are planned by After School center staff. They are also designed to fit a certain theme. Your center staff can choose a topic/hobby that they specialize in such as dance or music or you can tap into popular children’s themes.

Example Club Theme & Activities:

Taste of Asia Club

Week 1: Dragon Wands

Week 2: Make Candy Sushi

Week 3: Kung Fu Panda Frames

Week 4: Taste Asian food- Sushi, egg rolls, & Orange Chicken and watch the movie Mulan.

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