Tag Archives: playtime

Farm Camp (for Kids) Does Exist!

My city boy husband knows I enjoy a good article proving the outdoors and farm life are good for the soul. He recently forwarded me “What City Kids Can Learn On My Farm,” by Larissa Phillips. She is a former Brooklynite turned upstate farmer. She shares the joys of seeing her own children working and playing on their family’s farm. She even shares the experience with city kids and their parents offering a place to stay and the opportunity to do jobs on the farm.

Earlier this year my parents volunteered to take our two oldest boys for 16 days while I recovered from my last birth. My parents own a small farm in northeast Ohio, and every summer we road trip there to stay on the farm. However, this year we couldn’t all travel with the new baby so the boys travelled with their grandparents back to Ohio.

Each day, my mother sent photos of what the kids were doing. My parents are both former educators — they like routine and follow a more strict parenting style. Loving, but firm is a good way to put it. The boys love it and seem to thrive. 

A typical schedule looks like this:

  • – Wake up: make beds, get dressed & take clothes to the laundry 
  • – Breakfast & brain exercises (my mom loves work books)
  • – Outside play till Papa gets back from the golf course
  • – Jobs: cleaning the barn, feed/water the cows, weed or pick veggies out of the garden, mow the lawn, paint the barn, sweep the garage, etc.
  • – Lunch time
  • – Go for a bike ride or hike in the woods
  • – Jobs (cont.): fix the cars, air conditioner or something else that broke
  • – Cousin time at the playground in the back yard 
  • – Downtime reading in the hammock 
  • – Dinner
  • – Bath & TV: they are allowed to watch something they typically watch at home or they watch Gunsmoke with Papa
  • – Bedtime in the basement (boys only!)

Can you imagine how tired kids would be after this schedule? Absolutely pooped! In bed by 8:30 p.m. and willingly. 

They missed home, but lived it up in Ohio. When they came home to hot Dallas, the good habits continued. My oldest willingly went to our small garden, weeded it and picked all the carrots. I usually have to ask for this. The second oldest usually has to be asked 5x to go outside to ride his bike for some exercise, but since getting back home he does it on his own. 

It is the best experience for everyone. I got some quality time with the baby and the boys got lots of independence and learned excellent life skills and habits on the farm. 

Larissa you are definitely onto something!

My second oldest on the farm

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Training Thursday Vol. 10 – Playtime

Welcome to volume 10 of Bell Family’s video training series, where each Thursday we release a video to help coach sitters on an array of childcare topics.
This week we are featuring a training video on playtime!
Here are a handful of ways to easily and actively engage lil’ ones:
1. Read. Be animated! Act out the characters, make sounds, and point at the words or object you are referring to.
2. Sing. Sing child nursery rhymes or songs. You can act many of them out like ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’ and ‘Wheels on the Bus’.
3. ‘Ring-Around-the-Rosy’ and ‘Duck Duck Goose’. These are two easy, play anywhere games, that toddlers and up can enjoy.
4. Grab a ball. You can do so many things with a ball and a child that is six months and up (roll to one another, play soccer, catch, keep it up, etc.).
5. Color. Grab some paper and poster board, and draw/color simple pictures (flowers, planes, farm animals, etc.). Then the child can show their parent when they get home.
6. Art/crafts. You can use a lot of the things already in the home. Noodles and yarn to make necklaces, make cookies, play restaurant (you be the guest and the child the server), play theater (where the child puts on a production for you), and use props in the home for the show.
Here are some fast playtime clean up tips:
1. Tidy up: Always tidy up the children’s play or eating areas before the parents come home. If the child is of age (toddler and up) have them help you. You can even make a game or song out of it to make it fun!
2. Wipe down: Wipe down the toys with a wet cloth and some dish soap after playtime, especially if you saw the child put something in their mouth.
3. Dishes/cups/bottles: Make sure these items are placed in the dishwasher or washed in the sink before the parents come home. The parents should not come home to a sink full of the children’s dishes. It takes just an extra minute, and makes such a difference to the parents.
These videos are recommended to all BFC childcare providers to view for the latest techniques when caring for children. These videos were designed by our team comprised of long-time babysitters, full-time nannies, mothers, grandmothers, elementary educators, and social worker.
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Note: Always follow the family’s instruction and care methods, and keep the family informed of everything with their baby.  These videos are not required to view, but a simple recommendation. For more information or for questions, please contact our office or read our terms.