If you offer after school enrichment programs but find it difficult to come up with new curriculum visit TeachersPayTeachers.com.
TeachersPayTeachers.com is an Etsy style open marketplace for educators. On there you’ll find a variety of resources that are created by teachers. Granted most of the resources are for school courses, but depending on what type of enrichment classes you are offering you may just find some neat new games, activities and/or project instructions. There are a lot of free downloads, but the good stuff you have to pay for (between $1 – $20+). Based on the after school enrichment classes we offer, here is what I found:
Do you celebrate birthdays in your after school programs? Here are a few suggestions on making those celebrating their birthdays feel special.
1. Birthday Necklaces/Beads
There are some fun, inexpensive birthday necklaces available from places like Party City and Oriental Trading. The ones we use for our after school program are from Party City. They come in a pack of 20 for $10. Since they are inexpensive we let the kids keep them.
It seems whenever a new season begins we start looking at the pile catalogs we get from various companies to order our arts and crafts supplies. We, of course, have our favorite vendors, but they don’t always carry what we need or have the best prices. So here is my take on the companies we use.
Discount School Supply
Discount School Supply is my favorite company for one reason – shipping. If our order is over a certain amount (usually around $79) then shipping is free. The best part, however, is that it only take 2 days to get to us. In other words, they get the order filled right away and ship it FAST! I love that!
A reader sent this to me and I thought it was very interesting – and appropriate as summer comes closer. This is an article reprint from the July 2009 issue of SmartMoney.
1. “This pool could sure use a few more of me.”
In recent summers qualified lifeguards have been in high demand at pools, lakes, beaches and water parks across the country. But things are looking very different this year. “Everybody in the industry is cutting back,” says Patricia Roper, director of Seaside Aquatic Consulting, in Irvington, N.Y. For a dozen-plus municipal pools in Georgia, for example, that means shorter hours; elsewhere, Roper says, the number of lifeguards—who typically make an hourly wage of $8 up to $20 for well-trained beach guards— is getting slashed.
It’s bad news for lifeguards and swimmers alike. Though most states regulate the number of guards required per square foot of pool space or length of beach, many facilities and town don’t comply, and the standards are rarely enforced, says Shawn DeRosa, an aquatics-safety consultant in Boston. And that can bring danger: In a September 2007 case, a Maryland jury found that inadequate staffing was one factor behind the drowning death of a five-year-old at a country-club pool. Only one guard was present, according to testimony—which isn’t considered adequate by most experts.
Fitness classes are like a spaghetti western – there’s the good, the bad and the ugly. The instructor usually makes all the difference in the world, but it’s difficult to find a really good group fitness leader. If you’re unable to find one then the next thing to do is create a program/class that is enjoyable regardless of the instructor.
Last week I came across an iPhone app called BodyFate. Here’s how it works. You check off the equipment you have (medicine ball, dumbbells, resistance bands, hula hoop, jump rope, etc.). You choose between 3 levels (beginner, intermediate and advanced) and you choose the length of your workout. When you hit the start button you are presented with two options (doors or hands). Once you have chosen a door (either the left or the right) it will reveal the exercise you (and fate) have chosen. An animated photo will appear to show you how to do the exercise and your workout begins. The exercises are based on your fitness level and the equipment you have available. You never know what exercise is next and that is the fun of it.
You also get 1 “Pass”. If you don’t like the exercise that appears, or you find it too difficult, you can use your “Pass”, but you can only do this once. There are also “Rest” options. You get 3 of these. If you use one of your “Rests” you get one minute to relax. You can earn more “Passes” and “Rests” throughout the workout/game. There’s more to the app, but this is the general concept.
Here’s an after school program that is worth considering. It all started with a trip to the bookstore. I came across a book called The Boys’ Book – How to Be the Best at Everything. In it was written how to do all kinds of things, from ‘how to fight off a crocodile’ to ‘how to juggle’. Many of the things in the book are ridiculous, I mean do boys really need to know “how to teach a parakeet to talk’? But it go me thinking that there are a lot of things many boys don’t know how to do, some are outdoor related while others are etiquette related. Having grown up without a father I felt as though I missed out on a lot. These days many fathers aren’t around to teach their boys those “guy” things all boys should know, whether it’s because of long work hours or other reasons.
Once I decided that an after school program teaching boys stuff they ought to know was a good idea, I began to research what could be taught. I figured that if the instructor didn’t know how to do something he could learn through online videos or books. If it was something a little to difficult then someone who could teach it could be brought in as a guest speaker.
I came up with 75 different ideas, though I figure in an 8 week (one class per week) session 25 things would be enough to teach. What is chosen to be taught would depend on the age group and the skills of the instructor. The following ideas came from the book I mentioned above as well as:
One of our regular summer camp forum contributors, Cody, posted a list of camp games that were altered to fit a Halloween theme. I have posted them below. If you haven’t visited the new summer camp forum there are some neat ideas that can be used for after school prgorams as well. Come by and see for yourself, and share some ideas of your own.
Select one camper as the scarecrow. Form a circle around the scarecrow. The object of the game is to change your pose without being caught by the scarecrow. If the scarecrow sees you move, you are out and must sit in your spot. You must change your pose every time the scarecrow turns away from you. The last person standing becomes the scarecrow for the next round.
Witches Broom Obstacle Race
Use the cones to form an obstacle course on each half of the gym. Make sure that they are equal on both sides. Divide up into two teams and send each team to a course. On the word “start”, the first person of each team sweeps a ball around the obstacles with their broom and comes back to their team line. The first team to finish wins.
I was going to write about an art activity that pays tribute to the artist Michelangelo. In this activity students lay on their back and paint. This activity is based on the popular story that Michelangelo painted the Sistene Chapel ceiling on his back (which isn’t true). Though we have done it in our after school programs I searched the net to find any other ideas I could add to the process. Through my search I found a great page that outlined the activity perfect at a site called BrightRing.com. Then in dawned on me that there are a lot of great sites that have wonderful arts and crafts ideas that you should know about. Here are my favorites.
When you have a chance take a look at these sites. Some are blogs which make it nice to get on their feed and receive updates to new projects.
A month ago I had a parent contact me to ask if I would put together a treausre hunt for her 9 year-old’s birthday party. “YES!” I exclaimed.
I do at least one treasure hunt or scavenger hunt every week of summer camp. The campers love them. Let me repeat that – The campers LOVE!!!! them. Fortunately, I really enjoy putting them together and running them as well. So when I was asked to put together a hunt for a birthday boy who loves the book series The 39 Clues, and I was going to get paid for it…well, how could I refuse?
Organizing the Hunt
The first thing I had to do was ask mom some questions:
One of the conversations on LinkedIn was about community recreation event sponsorships. It seems a lot of people are looking for information on how to set-up and find sponsorships. While I don’t have the answers (as I was the one who started the conversation on LinkedIn) I do have some links to info on what other departments are doing.
Below are files you can print or download to your computer that have to do with sponsorship and advertising agreements.
Thank you to Dianne Marquez of Los Alamos County for sharing the following advertising documents: