COUNTRY FUN

an early education learning space ~ where play equals learning

November 28, 2016
by countryfun
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Tis the Season! Flu and Cold Arrives

It is important for all of us to do what we can for prevention.

  • WASH YOUR HANDS!!!! WASH wash-hands-sign-nhe-13111_300YOUR HANDS!!!!WASH YOUR HANDS!!!!WASH YOUR HANDS!!!!WASH YOUR HANDS!!!! Washing hands is the first line of defense and super easy. We all need to do a better job of this, especially now. Use soap and water as the first line of defense. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer is fine for when soap and water is not available.
  • Keep hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth. That’s the door to the body for influenza germs. This will be harder to teach to our youngest ones.
  • Cover up that cough or sneeze. Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve- “The Dracula”. Germs die in the material and don’t get spread to everything you handle. Be sure to still wash your hands. If tissues are used get them into the wastebasket and wash up.
  • Stay at home and avoid contact with others if you are sick.

***** Proper Hand Washing***** 

To be sure all surfaces of the hand are cleaned – have children work up bubbles to cover all the parts of their hands.

  1. Wets hands with warm, running water and apply liquid soap.
  2. Rub hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds, covering all surfaces and fingers – fingers wide, (interweave) cross together to make x’s, move those x’s up and down, then close fingers and rub the palms together. Be extra careful to wash back of the hands and the full length of the thumb.
  3. Scrub nails by rubbing them against the palms of your hands – scrub nails from finger tips to wrist multiple times, switching hands -“Tickle Fingers”
  4. Rub backs of each hand
  5. Rinse your hands with running water
  6. Dry your hands thoroughly with a paper towel and use it to turn off the faucet.

For children, 15 seconds can be reached by saying the ABC’s, counting to at least 20, or singing a favorite finger song like ‘itsy,bitsy spider’.

Scrubbing nails on the palm is probably new to most of us, but kids have fun with it real quickly.

*****Is it cold or flu?*****

They are so similar in symptoms. Flu symptoms are fever, cough, runny nose, muscle pain. With the flu you really feel pretty achy all over. Fever is another strong sign, especially with children that may not be able to tell us how their body is feeling. Not as common, but at times there is also nausea and diarrhea. Remember true FLU is a respiratory illness, not the stomach upset we often refer to as the flu.

The flu virus is spread when contaminated droplets exit the mouth and nose of the one infected and make contact with someone healthy. It is important to disinfect door knobs, light switches, phones, computers, toys and any other surfaces that are commonly touched around your house.

Here are the recipes for non-toxic cleaning sprays that I use year-round to disinfect every surface within our space:

  1. Fill a 16 ounce spray bottle almost to the top with water. Add 3 tablespoons of liquid castile soap and 20 – 30 drops of tea tree oil, and shake to mix. Tea tree oil has natural antiseptic qualities. This is great to use on doorknobs, sink handles, phones, and other commonly handled surfaces.
  2. By itself, vinegar is not a disinfectant, but when used with hydrogen peroxide, it kills bacteria more effectively than any commercial cleaner. In spray bottle that keeps sunlight out (I covered a bottle with solid contact paper), put 3 % hydrogen peroxide. In another bottle, put straight white vinegar. Spray one after the other (order does not matter) on desired surface. Leave several minutes and wipe clean. Can use water to wipe down or just a clean cloth.
  3. This is a “mix as use” disinfecting recipe: 50% water and 50% hydrogen peroxide(3%). Just wipe on or spray and let dry. (I usually mix in a bowl and then wipe down any surface want to disinfect.)

Additional non-toxic home cleaning recipes.

For the little extra time cleaning with a disinfectant adds to your daily routine the benefits are huge – a healthier family and home environment.

For recovery: rest, drink plenty of liquids (add in ice chips, light soups, broths), take fever-reducing medication (no aspirin to anyone under 20), and lukewarm sponge baths to relieve further discomfort. Antibiotics are not of any use in the treatment of the flu.

October 25, 2016
by countryfun
Comments Off on Remembering Summer 2016

Remembering Summer 2016

30539186345_b40680dfe5_oAs we welcome Fall and the many changes to our days that come with truly transitioning to another season, it’s fun to look back at snapshots from our days over the past summer.

Whether it was the exploration of the nature around us on our summertime walks – like 1 garter snake saved from tires “smushing” it…….. img_1176_29584086402_oor garden harvests for meals – like homemade sauce……..30058070832_8a0832f1f1_o or enjoying eating white raspberries with a friendly grasshopper……….. 29875285895_ef69663322_o We enjoyed both our outside ………..

outside

and inside time………inside

 

September 8, 2016
by countryfun
Comments Off on A Healthly Reminder

A Healthly Reminder

As we head into a season that seems to see more illness here’s a reminder:

original source:http://w2.cocokids.org/_cs/downloadables/cc-healthnutrition-keepmehome.pdf

August 10, 2016
by countryfun
Comments Off on Zucchini Jam?

Zucchini Jam?

Our zucchini seedlings germinated really well this year and I find it hard to throw seedlings on the compost pile. I gave some away to families to plant and the rest ended up in our garden. With the weather this year the zucchini plants are really producing. We’re baking, dehydrating, freezing and eating both raw and cooked. There is also only so much zucchini you can give away, so…… what else can we do besides the compost pile? Have fun with a zucchini recipe online search :)

I found a couple of interesting ideas and settled on Zucchini Jam. After watching YouTube videos and comparing recipes I combined with my other jam recipes and settled on the following:

  • 6 cups shredded zucchini – I left on peel, seeded completely and shredded with multiple grating plates to get a variety of sizes/textures.
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup bottled lemon juice – I always have this on hand vs fresh lemon
  • 1 – 20 oz can crushed pineapple (with natural juice) – do not drain
  • 6 oz regular jello, any flavor works – I tried strawberry first as I know it’s liked by everyone here. Does have food dye for those with allergies.

Placed everything, but jello, in a saucepan that would hold ingredients with an extra 4 inches to cover splatters as it boils. Boil for 20 minutes. Stir almost constantly to prevent sticking and browning. Also cuts down foaming. Zucchini goes transparent, but maintains texture.

While cooking zucchini mixture get canning jars and lids ready. (Loving my electric water bath canner. Heats quicker and maintains temperature really well. Also frees up much needed stove top space.)

After 20 minutes remove zucchini mixture from heat source and add in jello. Stir it in really well and get it into hot jars. (I used a mix of jelly jars that I had on hand.) Process in water bath for 5 minutes.

jam

Always seem to have a bit left over whenever I make jams, relishes, and pickles so we enjoyed this new jam this morning on homemade whole wheat toast. Texture was more like a marmalade and not too sweet. Will definitely make more of this zucchini jam. It was super easy, reasonable cost and pretty healthy for a jam – zucchini and pineapple.

July 9, 2016
by countryfun
Comments Off on Can We Paint?

Can We Paint?

Part of the fun of having my school-age children for the full day in the summer is their desire for doing art projects. The challenge for me is to continue to find ways to teach techniques, expanding learning while considering current interests.

This activity met the requirements of wanting to paint and wanting something finished to take home. I wanted to reinforce the importance of not over painting until it was a mud color/ or knowing when to stop. We have been having lots of play involving rainbow colors and patterns. For storytime I’ve been reading Eric Carle books. Putting this all together and pulling from my Pinterest boards I pulled together the materials for spinning chameleons. I was inspired by a colorful chameleons project on Tippytoe Crafts.

2016_06_27_img_0231_28010489992_oWe started with finding a coloring page that provided the size and position the children wanted for their chameleons.

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I traced the page from Hedgie’s Desk and made a stencil for our spinner cut-out while the children got started painting paper plates using tempera paints.

2016_06_27_img_0230_27497934993_o   2016_06_27_img_0233_27497880133_o

I couldn’t waste all the tempera paint spread over the paint tray, so I showed them how to do a print by placing paper down on the tray. I them went for a lesson on symmetry by folding that paper in half, pressing and opening. 2016_06_27_img_0240_27832351880_oDid this twice rotating 180 degrees between each print/fold and press. We’ll use this texture paper later for another project.  

Once the back plate was painted the children chose to switch to watercolor for the top plate. 2016_06_27_img_0234_28035291981_oThey all went with blue for a sky look. Some will add a construction paper branch for the chameleon to be climbing along.  2016_06_27_img_0238_27498158304_o2016_06_27_img_0239_28078934946_o 2016_06_27_img_0241_28010318802_o

I loved how they used every paint brush from the brush box. :)    2016_06_27_img_0237_27832412740_o

To finish we traced the chameleon shape onto the top plate, cut it out (remember to place an eye) and glued the branch into place. We used a colored googly eye. Notice the branch helped with providing a tail for our chameleon. Last was push the brad through and we had our finished spinning chameleon.

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The children enjoyed the changing chameleon that occurred as the top plate was spun.

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(For those wondering about the punched holes. We recycled some left-over plates from a prior project. The holes didn’t affect this project.)

 

June 28, 2016
by countryfun
Comments Off on Insect Safety Tips

Insect Safety Tips

Passing along this fact and tip sheet from PHILADELPHIA INSURANCE & ASSURE CHILD CARE’s monthly information sheet for child care programs they insure. With all the outside time the children get here and at home thought the resources here were good to pass along.

INSECT SAFETY

Every year, anaphylaxis (or severe allergic reaction) to insect bites or stings cause over 40 deaths, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.  Some insects carry pathogens that can cause serious diseases, such as West Nile Virus, Lyme Disease, Dengue Fever, and the plague.  And, while the vast majority of insect bites and stings will not cause anaphylaxis or serious disease, they can commonly result in tissue swelling, itching, dermatitis, pain/burning, infections, lesions, or dermatitis.  Your best defense is to know the facts and take appropriate action.

Insect Safety Tips:

1)     Be age appropriate – The Food and Drug Administration recommends to not use DEET on children under 2 months and not to use picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus for children under 3 years. The Mayo Clinic and the American Academy of Pediatrics has similar recommendations. 

Fact: The most common insect repellant ingredients are DEET, Picaridin (KBR 3023) and oil of lemon eucalyptus

http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/EmergencyPreparedness/ucm085277.htm

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Insect-Repellents.aspx

2)     Ask about allergies – Your application and interview process with a child’s parent/guardian should include questions about allergies, and especially any allergies that can cause anaphylaxis.  If a child is at risk, know their triggers and be prepared with a dose of epinephrine (adrenaline), if agreed to and supplied by the parent or guardian.http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anaphylaxis/basics/tests-diagnosis/con-20014324

3)     Know the symptoms – A child with a severe allergic reaction to a bite or sting may have the following symptoms: difficulty breathing, dizziness, nausea, large skin areas of itching or hives, excessive sweating, swelling of their tongue or throat, loss of consciousness.  http://www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/anaphylaxis

4)     Treat anaphylaxis immediately: If you believe a child is having an anaphylactic reaction, call 911 and take whatever steps you have pre-planned with their parent/guardian. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anaphylaxis/basics/treatment/con-20014324

5)     Avoid insect habitats – Ticks commonly live in overgrown grassy and bushy areas. Avoid these areas (including your pets) and cut back vegetation around your home.

Fact: Tick bites account for up to 30,000 cases of Lyme Disease in the U.S. each year

         Remove standing water around your home where mosquitos can breed. 

Fact: In general, mosquitos will bite anytime. Mosquito bites have caused over 30,000 people in the U.S. to become ill with the West Nile virus since 1999. Those carrying the West Nile Virus bite mainly from dusk through to dawn.

         Watch for bees and wasp/hornets nests and keep children safely away.

http://www.safe-wise.com/downloads/lymefac.pdf

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mosquito-bites/basics/prevention/con-20032350

6)     Avoid fragrant soaps – Highly aromatic soaps and perfumes can attract unwanted insects.  http://www.rd.com/health/wellness/6-tips-for-avoiding-insect-bites-stings/

mosquito_bites_relieve_naturally_n7)     Use first aid – For insect bites and stings that don’t involve anaphylaxis, take appropriate first aid, based on the type of bite or sting. 

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/wound-care-10/bugbites?page=1

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2010-117/

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