Parents & child care providers: This is your forum! If you have ideas to share with others, or need an idea in a certain area, please place it in the Suggestion Box. If you submit an idea that is added to this page, I will give you credit. If you need a suggestion on a specific topic, I will include your request for information under the "Ideas needed" section. Perhaps someone out there has faced the same dilemma and came up with a great solution!
If you find an idea you like on this page, you might want to go ahead and copy it down or print it out. If I get a lot of response to this page I will have to delete these suggestions to make room for more. Since this content could change frequently, check back often!
Ideas to share
Homemade Colored Glue!
Take the felt tip out of dried out markers with tweezers, drop them in some white glue and let set overnight. Result: magnificant colored glue! (Thanks to Cheryl for this tip).
Preservation of Outdoor Equipment
If you want to avoid sun faded outdoor toys, rub your equipment with car wax. The colors of the toys stay bright and new, and the resist dirt better. We have also discovered that toys that come with decals stay looking new longer if you opt not to use the decals. It seems the edges always
peel and collect dirt, and children always tend to pick/pull the stickers off anyway. (Thanks to Becki for this tip).
Diaper Reminder to Parents
For providers who have a hard time remembering to remind parents when their child is almost out of diapers, or the parents forget to bring them even though reminded, try this: When there is about a three-day supply of diapers left, write directly on the child's last diaper of the day, "More
diapers, please!" and add a big smiley face with a colorful marker. Parents are home when they see it, and can grab a package of diapers to set out and bring the next day. If no diapers are brought the next day, repeat. (Thanks to Debbie in MN for this idea).
Homemade Sticker Books
Fold a piece of construction paper in half for the book cover. Then place folded microwave waxed paper sheets between the halves of the cover and staple. Stickers can be attached to waxed paper sheets and easily removed for trading or repositioning! (Thanks to Cheryl for this tip).
Inexpensive props & costumes
During the Halloween season, check your local Wal-Mart, K-Mart, ShopKo, etc. for good props and costumes at a reasonable price. I have bought angel wings, crowns (as mentioned above), a policeman's outfit and props, doctor and nurse uniforms and props, etc. None are very expensive. They are not the top quality you would find if you ordered from a childcare catalog, but are much more within the budget of most family child care providers. With a little care, and only being used to supplement themes or for special occasions, etc., they will last quite awhile.
Homemade baby wipe recipe
One of my past day care moms shared this with me, and I'd like to pass it along to other parents/providers. These wipes are gentle, they moisturize, don't leave a sticky residue, and best of all, they smell good and are easy to make.
First, start with a quality paper towel (I use Bounty). If you use regular sized towels use a serrated knife to cut the roll in half, leaving you with two "squatty" rolls. If you use Bounty Select-a-size, you only need to tear off about half the roll to start (each section is the right size).
Next, mix two cups hot water, 1 heaping tablespoon baby bath, 1 heaping tablespoon baby lotion together as well as possible. The recipe called for Baby Magic brand, but I used Johnson's because I like the smell better.
If you are using the "cut roll" method, stand one of the "squatty" rolls on end inside an airtight container and pour mixture over one end, especially soaking the middle. Remove the cardboard core (if thoroughly saturated, it will come out easily). Seal in the airtight container. If this container is one of the "dispenser" type that some brand of wipes come in, you should be able to use your roll of wipes this way. If the container is not one of those types then tear off and fold as many as you need at a time (I fill one of the travel wipe containers daily).
If you are using the Select-a-size towels, put the half roll that you tore off in your airtight container (I tear each one apart and go ahead and prefold them to fit my travel container. This saves a lot of time later). Pour the mixture over these, and seal.
I found that by using the large roll that the two cups of mixture was not quite enough, so I mixed up another cup (using 1/2 tablespoon of baby bath and lotion) to pour on mine. I suggest you start with the two cups, pour it over and seal the wipes for awhile, giving it time to really soak through, then check them and see if you need more.
Looking for Menu Ideas
Cindy writes, "I have tons of recipes but have trouble coming up with menu ideas. I would like to have a 2 -3 month "menu plan" and rotate it (with a few variations). Does anyone have a "month of meals" menu to share? Thanks!"