Saturday, July 23, 2016

DIY - Making Papyrus

Our Summer Camp theme this week is DIY.

Megan and the kids made their own version of papyrus. The word paper comes from the word papyrus which is a plant that old civilizations used to make paper. Having limited access to actual papyrus, Megan's club instead took a more eco friendly approach. 

The kids gathered up all the scrap paper they could find, sorted them by color, texture, and thickness. After that the they began the process of breaking it down until it became fibrous and then added color to it. once that has been achieved the kids gecan sifting out the fibers and placed it on a parchment paper, this allows them to get totally hands on and shape the paper,  

After that they just sandwiched it between some heavy books and found a nice sunny place for it to dry. 

It take a few days for the paper to completely dry but after that the kids had created fresh craft paper for the community to use!

By Josh Rosenquest

Friday, June 17, 2016

11 Ways to Help Kids Manage Stress

At Children’s Choice, one of the outcomes we are trying to achieve with kids is that they develop skills for managing stress, coping with feelings, and being resilient when bad things happen in life.  How do we do this?

1. Power of Play
We make time for play. Play is not a four-letter word. Well, actually it is, but that’s not the point. Play is not a frill. It is a powerful tool for managing stress. Play gets the brain to release powerful neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin that counteract stress.  Play creates a sense of belonging and fosters cooperation. Play supports social, intellectual, and language development. Play builds confidence, and relieves stress. So, we bring “FUNERGY” to the job!

2. Confidence through Enrichment
Confidence is a skill that is a necessary building block for developing self-control and the ability to solve stressful problems. Often, kids who are struggling in traditional school subjects suffer from a lack of confidence, which inhibits their ability to solve problems and increases stress in difficult situations. When children have the opportunity to be involved in activities like drama, team-building, music, cooking, sports, gardening, dance, and art, they learn that there are many things they might be good at in addition to the more traditional school subjects. Through these experiences they gain the ability to approach challenges with more confidence.

3. Role Models who Fail
Adults make mistakes. Sometimes adults hide this fact from children or blame others when they make a mistake. At CC, we are trained in the value of recognizing mistakes, admitting mistakes, and learning from mistakes. When we make a mistake, we acknowledge the mistake so the kids can hear us saying, “Oops” or “My bad.” Then we come up with a strategy to fix our problems, and talk about the lessons we learned. We very intentionally do all of this out loud, so children can hear how responsible adults handle it when we make mistakes.
4. Permission to Make Mistakes
We give kids permission to make mistakes.  Mistakes are part of life, and are valuable to the learning process. Some of the strongest learning moments happen when people make mistakes.  When kids make mistakes, staff don’t shame them, or punish them. We say, “That’s okay, try it again.” We say, “hit the reset button and try a different solution.”

5. Name that Feeling
We help children identify feelings by labeling or naming the emotion out loud. “I see that your face is red and you are breathing very fast. It looks like you are angry. What’s happening?” or “I can tell you are upset right now. You look very sad. Would you like to talk about it?”

6. Listen, just listen.
When we do get kids to open up and talk to us, we don’t interrupt. We let them finish. We don’t “make them wrong” or disagree, especially when they are talking about their feelings. You won’t hear our staff say, “You shouldn’t get angry about that” or “That is not something to get upset about.”

7. Acknowledge Super Powers
We don’t attempt to control kids. Instead we help them develop what psychologists call an Inner Locus of Control. We teach kids to recognize their feelings, and to understand that feelings are not good or bad, but that they have control over their actions and how they behave when they feel a certain way. When kids say things like, “Ryan made me hit him,” we challenge this by asking “Would it be more accurate to say, you felt angry and chose to hit Ryan?”

We intentionally teach children these steps to coping when bad stuff happens. 
Help them C.O.P.E.

8.   C = Calm.
This is all about arousal control. We teach them breathing techniques like taking a series of slow breaths in through their nose and even slower breaths out through their mouth. We teach them progressive muscle relaxation exercises like first tensing and then relaxing their muscles starting at their toes and ending with the muscles in their faces.

9.   O = Options.
We encourage them to stop, take a breath, and relax before reacting to the situation. We know the longer they delay before reacting, the longer of a list of options they can create. The more options they can create, the more likely they are to come up with an effective and appropriate response. , Frontal Lobe takes the keys, Self Talk, Break it Down, Generate Long Lists, Brainstorm, Visualization and Mental Rehearsal Making a long list of strategies,

10.   P = Problem Solving
The next step is picking a strategy and putting one into practice.  Try it out and see if it works. We teach them to acknowledge that the situation stinks, to acknowledge how they feel about it, make a list of possible solutions, then pick one. One of our useful phrases is, “That stinks, now… what can we do to MAKE THE BEST OF IT?”

11.   E = Evaluate
After picking a problem-solving strategy and trying it out, look back and see if it worked. We ask, “Did that work?”  “What part didn’t work so well?” “If you could go back and try it again, what strategy do you think you might pick this time?”

Monday, June 13, 2016

Create a Planet!

This weeks theme at Osuna is SyFy Channel. 

We created our own planets and solar systems. Cabins 1 and 2 created a solar system teeming with life where you could create your own planet and anything was possible! Cabin 3 created a planet where there were Pizza Shaped Planes that dropped Pizza from the sky and Cabin 4 had a planet where they spoke their own grunting language. 

Cabin 5 created a planet that resembled the Death Star and Cabin 6 created a Minion Planet where King Bob ruled supreme. In Cabin 7 the sky on their planet made it rain money and Cabin 8’s  planet had well thought out tunnels and poisonous plants.

After each cabin presented their planets, we took a community vote for who would win our Deep Blue C that week and the winner was Cabin 6 with the Minion Planet! It is now Cabin 6’s privilege to get to decorate and protect the Deep Blue C until next week’s assembly where a new cabin can win the Deep Blue C.

Space Wars

This week at Osuna, the theme is SyFy.  Ben led an enrichment club called Space Wars.  

Kids in the younger unit worked together in pairs to create their own space ships.  They spent a few days constructing their ships out of materials such as cardboard, tinfoil, Popsicle sticks, and pipe cleaners.  

After the ships were built and decorated, we took them outside for an intergalactic meteor shower of water balloons!  We divided into two teams and held a tarp up in between.  Hidden by the tarp, each pair chose a location for their ship.  

One child was the “seeker” and peeked around the tarp to see the opposing team; the seeker then gave the “launcher” a description of where to throw their water balloon. It was up to the launcher to throw his/her balloon over the tarp, in hopes of connecting with a ship on the other side!  Everyone had fun and got wet, and we strengthened our communication skills along the way by designing, constructing, and executing a plan with a partner.

By Shannon Donegan

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Name That Fruit!

This week's theme at Children's Choice Sombra Del Monte Summer Fun Camp was the Game Show Network. We played a fun and healthy game called "Name That Fruit!"

Here's how you play:

1. Go to the grocery store and pick out the weirdest looking fruit you can find. 

2. Gather some cutting boards and knives

3. Have all the kids wash their hands 

4. Show the kids the fruit on piece at a time. Have the kids guess what the fruit is. Once they've guessed you can sneak in some geography and science by talking abouthow the fruit grows, where it originates, and what it can be used for.

5. After you've gone through all the fruits have the kids cut up the fruit in small pieces. 

6. All the kids do a blind taste test. You can do blindfold or just gave them close their eyes. After everyone has tried the piece everyone says "Name That Fruit!" And you discuss what fruit they think it is.

By Sommer Batterson

Monday, June 6, 2016

Roman Aqueduct Challenge

This week’s theme is National Geographic and Discovery Channel at Comanche

This week we learned how Romans got their water. As Roman towns got bigger, it became difficult for people who lived in towns to get drinking water. Because raw sewage was draining into the rivers, people who drank river water often got very sick or died. First in Rome and then elsewhere, Romans decided to build long stone channels or aqueducts to carry clean water from nearby hills to the towns.  The first Roman aqueducts were build in 312 BC.

This week Rebekah challenged the kids to build their own CC aqueducts. The challenge was to build an aqueduct to transport water from a short hose to a small kiddie pool using any resources they could find. After inventorying their supplies and brainstorming the team created a long snake like aqueduct consisting of pool noodles, flimsy cardboard tubes, duct tape and saran wrap. They quickly realized that wasn't enough, they needed gravity to assist them, so they spread out and used their various heights as part of the structure itself to ensure a slight downward gradient. Triumphantly, they celebrated by splashing into the pool.

By Josh Rosenquest

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Jeopardy: Make Your Own

One of our themes for Summer Fun Camp 2016 is Game Shows. 

Check out our Pinterest Page for more of our Summer Fun Camp Themes.

For years, we have created Jeopardy games that we use with kids. We pick categories, and then create answers and questions - you know the game - no need for us to explain the format and rules.

Recently we created a Jeopardy game for Family Events. The kids and parents separated into teams and competed against each other to win prizes.  To sneak in a little education, we used one category that contained Children's Choice facts that we wanted parents to learn/know. We are including the categories, questions, and answers (below). Feel free to replicate!

We have also created a functional electronic Jeopardy game that uses Power Point. Click here to download the template, then just make your own edits to personalize the game for your organization.

Health and Safety Jeopardy Game

Family Jeopardy!

Category: Children’s Choice Community

For 100 Points
How old is Children’s Choice?
-17 years old

For 200 Points
Which two areas of our community are you allowed to take your shoes off in?
-The Quiet Area
-The Drama Area

For 300 Points
Name three holidays that Children’s Choice is closed for:
-Christmas, Christmas Eve
-New Years
-Thanksgiving, the day after 
-Labor Day
-Memorial Day

For 400 points
If you are going outside at Children’s Choice when the sun is out, what 4 things do you have to do before you go?
-Clean up your mess
-Put on Sunscreen
-Clip Your Name
-Ask a Staff

For 500 Points
Name all 5 staff that currently work at Children’s Choice ADO

Category: Children’s Book and Author

For 100 Points
'The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind and another his mother called him 'WILD THING!' and Max said 'I'LL EAT YOU UP!' ...' 
-Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

For 200 Points
'Once there was a tree.... and she loved a little boy.' 
-The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

For 300 Points
'A mother bird sat on her egg. The egg jumped.' 
-Are You My Mother? By PD Eastman

For 400 Points
'A told B, and B told C, 'I'll meet you at the top of the coconut tree'.' 
-Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.

For 500 Points
'All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this...' 
-Peter Pan by JM Barrie

Category: Animal Trivia

For 100 Points
Human beings have 840 of these in their entire body, while elephants have 40,000 of them in their trunk only. What are they?

For 200 Points
What's the difference between a turtle and a tortoise?

For 300 Points
Animal names: If a male chicken is called a rooster and a female chicken is called a hen, What do you call a male cat?

For 400 Points
Which river in New Mexico and Arizona hsa the same name as a venomous lizard?
-Gila River/ Gila Monster

For 500 Points
The heaviest crustacean ever captured was 3 foot 6 inches long and weighed 44 pounds. What kind of animal was it?
-A Lobster

Category: Cartoons

For 100 Points
What blue-skinned cartoon characters took North America by storm in 1981?
-The Smurfs

For 200 Points
What cartoon features a team of superheroes that includes Cyborg, Beast Boy, Starfire, and Raven?
-Teen Titans

For 300 Points
What cartoon characters were created when Professor Utonium accidentally added "Chemical X" to a concoction that also included sugar, spice, and everything nice?
-The Powerpuff Girls

For 400 Points
What cartoon, accompanied by a collectible card game, became a huge hit in Japan in 1998?

For 500 Points
Who is the creator of television's most popular dysfunctional family, The Simpsons ?
-Matt Groening

Category: Mythical Creatures

For 100 Points
This legendary creature roamed the forest of Europe and never was tamed. It had a single magical horn growing from its head.

For 200 Points
I was a mythical creature found in the sea. I was half human, half fish. The female of the species was most commonly reported. A classic children's fairy tale and a Disney movie were about me.

For 300 Points
I am a symbol of rebirth, as I was born many times. I was born of fire. Every 500 years I would be set aflame and then I would rise from the ashes.

For 400 Points
Which 19th century horror novel was written by Mary Shelley?

For 500 Points
According to Greek mythology, every time one of this dragon-like monster's heads was cut off, two more grew in its place. It was finally killed by Hercules. What was it?


By Erik Wolf

Follow mikeafterschool on Twitter