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Gift Ideas

For Providers

Shopping list:
Carefree gum or candy, Extra gum, Lifesavers, Small bags of "Nuts" or a "Nuts" candy bar, "Reisen chocolate candy"..... Put one of each in a bag and add the following card and place on the table for each one of your guest...

You Are Special
  • Parents can go to there many different jobs "Carefree" because they know their children are in good hands
  • Parents realize that you always go the "Extra" mile to ensure that their children received "The Best Care"
  • You are a "Lifesaver" to the children in your care. You never know how your actions or attitudes will affect their lives.
  • I know you love your job, but it can make you "Nuts". It helps if you are a little nutty, to cope
  • You are the "Reason" children are off to a head start because of the love and guidance they receive from you.
  • You are very much appreciated
~ Susie710


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For Parents

I took baby food jars and had the kids use watered down glue to cover the jar. Then they placed colored tissue paper on the glue. Let it dry and add another coat with glitter added to the glue. Let it dry. Put in a votive candle and you have an instant candle holder for mom. I dated and put the child's name on the bottom with permanent marker. My mother enjoyed hers from the grandkids. I can't wait to hear the reactions from others. -MissiFrank

I bought wood plaques big enough for a hand print and a picture. I dipped their hands in fabric paint, stamped them on the plaque. Glued on a picture of the child and then put three coats of Modge Podge Matte-Mat over the plaque and put hooks to hang them. I am going to also hang this little poem to it-

I miss you when we're not together
I'm growing up so fast
See how big I've gotten
Since you saw me last?
As I grow, I'll change a lot,
The years will fly right by.
You'll wonder how I grew so quick
When and where and why?
So look upon this hand print plaque
That's hanging on your wall.
And memories will come back of me,
When I was very small.


Actvities and Crafts Ideas

Scented Soft Playdough

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups salt
  • 2 Tbsp. cream of tarter
  • 1 sm.pkg. Jell-O (any flavor)
  • 2 pkgs. Kool-Aid (same flavor as Jell-O)
  • 3 Tbsp. oil
  • 3 cups water
Mix and cook over medium heat until not sticky to touch. you must keep stirring because it will stick to the bottom of the pan. Once it starts forming a ball it will become hard to stir.
This playdough has a good smell, texture, and will last up to 9 months.


Bubble Solution

  • 1/3 cup dish soap or baby shampoo
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 drop food coloring
Combine ingredients and pour into an unbreakable bottle.-ICARE4Kids


I took the plastic dish scrubbers, cut them in half and gave each child a plate of washable tempera paint in yellow red and blue. I gave them each a black piece of heavy construction paper and they simply dip the scrubber into the paint and onto the paper for a beautiful "fireworks" painting. Fast simple and easy. Good luck.-Ilenebrow1

Frugal Crafts

  1. I use cereal boxes instead of poster board for lacing cards and small projects calling for poster board. I turn the picture to the inside.
  2. I call the local newspaper office and purchase their roll-ends. This is the paper that is left when they change the rolls on the machines. I think it was 20 cents a pound the last time I bought. On rainy days, (A) sit the kids down at the kitchen table or table a piece to my larger picture window and have them color a giant picture (B) lay the kids down on the floor and let them trace around each other then color in their twin
  3. I cut up paper grocery bags and let the kids use the paper for painting--it is heavyweight and doesn't seep through
  4. I had the kids use mini x-mas stampers and paint to make gift wrap using the cut open grocery bags
~ BRENDA 8725


Obstacle Course
I like to set up obstacle courses for the kids, using hula hoops for the tires, jump ropes as balance beams, milk crates for them to jump over, and I drape our parachute over some toys for the tunnel. I also have a rope hanging from a tree, and I spread out a big quilt and this is the "mudpit" - this is always a hit, be creative with what you have. -Donnamo2

Potato Head
Slice the very top off the potato, scoop some out. Fill 1/2 way with soil, put in the grass seeds and top with soil. We cut 1/2 tp tube to stand the potato in. Water with an eyedropper daily and grass will sprout within the week... We let it get long and then the kids give their Potato Head a "haircut". They love this. We use googly eyes and construction paper for the features on the potato head. -RUTHJRC

Easter Baskets
Cut off bottom of styrofoam ball so it will stand. Glue the flat edge on to lid of baby food jar (a glue gun works best for this part). Bend 2 white pipe cleaners for ears. Fill in center with a pink pipe cleaner. Push pipe cleaners into ball for bunny's ears. Glue on googly eyes, pink felt nose, black pipe cleaner for whiskers, bend either a red or pink pipe cleaner for mouth, glue cotton ball to back (for tail). Fill jar with jellybeans, chocolate eggs or other treats. You could also do the ears and facial features using fun foam!- LINDA Icare4kids

Saying Goodbye Ideas

Termination Letter

I firmly believe with all my heart, that each child we encounter has this really neat little person "lurking" inside, just waiting to come out and play and interact with us. The catch, is that there are locks and keys involved. NOT EVERY PROVIDER HAS THE KEY TO EVERY CHILD. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we all did? I believe we have to make an honest effort to explore the possibility that we may indeed have the key for a particular child. We also have to be able to face the reality that there are some children we don't have the key for , never did and never will. We have to be willing to let these children go and hope that somewhere down the line, and hoping that that line is very short for the child's sake, there is indeed someone with their key.

I think that this is an extremely polite and uncruel way to explain to a parent why their child can no longer participate in your program. It takes a lot of personal courage on our part to speak these things out loud. We want to be everything to everyone and frankly we can't.

This thing that we all do is not a "state secret". It is a living breathing entity, and it has to be nurtured and coached and coaxed along. We must share what works and what doesn't work. We must spread this thing we do around for our own sanity and for the sake of all the lives of the children we touch or will some day touch. -Ijanet1

Remember Me

We have all been together for 3 years (and the 2 siblings a little less) I am losing one of my 2 families. I am giving them a pillowcase with the kid’s handprints on it with this poem.... 
****As I lay me down to sleep
I'll count these hands instead of sheep And think about the friends I made 
When at Ruth's house I played****

I have 3 leaving this week :( I bought each of them a tee-shirt and painted the other kid's hands with fabric paint and had them place a hand print on each shirt. Then I went back and wrote each child's name under the handprint. I have a letter I give to the parents.I personalize it for each family.

Dear (parent's name)

We give you back (child's name), the same child/ren you confidently entrusted in our care. We give (him/her/ them) back pounds heavier, inches taller, years wiser and more responsible and more mature than they were. Although (he/she/they) would have attained this growth in spite of us, it has been our pleasure and privilege to watch their personality unfold day by day and marvel at this special miracle of development.

We give (him/her/them) back reluctantly, for having spent this time together in the narrow confines of this house, we have grown close, have become a part of each other, and we shall always retain a little of each other.Ten years from now, if we meet on the street (child's name) and us, a light will shine in our eyes, a smile on our lips, and we shall feel that bond of understanding once more, this bond we feel today.

We have lived, loved laughed, played, studied, learned and enriched our lives together. We wish it could go on indefinitely, but give (him/her/them) back we must.

Take care of (him/her/them), for they are precious. Remember that we shall always be interested in (child's name) and their destiny, wherever (he/she/they) go, whatever (he/she/they) does/do , whoever he/she/they become(s) . Their joys and sorrows we'll be happy to share.

Please call on us if there is anything further we can ever do for them.We shall always be their friends.

With Love.
(All kid's names in childcare and of course mine)


Celebration Ideas


I ask parents to bring in an unbaked cake mix and a can of frosting and sprinkles/decorations. We then make the party an afternoon event of making the cupcakes together and as they bake we all make cards for the birthday child and party hats - cones or crowns. I keep a box of the extra books I receive from Scholastic (you know those bonus ones) and the birthday child picks out a book to keep. We read the book together while the cupcakes cool. I use paper muffin cups and place a little frosting and sprinkles in each one. I give the children plastic knives with smooth edges and they decorate their own cupcakes. I don't mind the mess as much when it isn't a five-minute ordeal of the day.

For the younger children I sprinkle the sprinkles before I make the cupcakes and they are happy with their pretty frosting and I am happy with the less mess!

At my daughter's birthday party we took group Polaroid pictures and then the kids all got to decorate frames with different stuff (beads, puzzle pieces, buttons, ribbons, etc). Then each kid got to "autograph" the back of the picture. It was nice because all the kids we're in each picture and now they have a neat keepsake

Grandparent's Day

Last year, I had a Grandparents Open House. We sent out invitations to all the children's grandparents. Each child had one set of grandparents there! I gave them information about family childcare, gave a tour of the daycare, had them do an activity with their grandchild, and had a snack. It was great! I'm not doing it this year because I will still be closed then.
~ Muchkins6


I have done an annual Fall BBQ for the past six years. I invite my current daycare families as well as families that have moved on, outgrown my care. I don't invite the little boy who was terminated, though, lol. I hold mine on Friday night after work, so parents don't have to cook dinner and get a break. We do burgers and hot dogs, simple salad (lettuce greens and a pasta salad) and I make brownies and cookies with the daycare kids during the day so they feel a part of the celebration. We usually make a birthday cake too and all the kids get to blow out the candles, "just because" We have a fire pit so we roast marshmallows. Obviously since there are little kids, it's an early night for most everyone. I haven't ever planned games, since the parents socialize with one another and tend to their kids, and that keeps everyone busy enough. It's certainly an event that we all look forward to.

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Other Good Ideas

Welcome Letter

I have a welcome letter that says who i am and why I choose to be a daycare provider. My brochure describes the services I offer and day to day schedule. I also offer special discount coupon for their first month. I include special coupons I get from my Sunday paper for diapers lil swimmers etc and i provide a incentive gift age appropriate to the child’s age nothing expensive max $2.00. I also include local advertiser info for my town, which includes coupon from my dentist for a free first exam screening toothbrushes paste stickers. WIC office gave me free stickers and sippy cups try there free fries from Mc Donald’s just lil stuff but they get excited and I look like I know -STEFFLYN

Bulletin Boards

I have an idea for those of you that are wanting a bulletin board for your DC's. I have several of these all over the place because they are so multi-purpose and CHEAP! I went to Home Depot to buy mine but you can buy this stuff at any large hardware store. It is called "Shower Wall" it is a 4'X 8' sheet of smooth white paneling. It is normally used to replace the walls around showers (hint: water proof). It sells here for $7.99 a sheet and most of the stores will cut it the size you want for free. They also carry a plastic edging for $1.28 for an 8' strip to go around the edge of the board. You can paint on it, use it as a dry erase board for markers, hang things on it with poster putty...the list is endless. I had one piece cut in half and this gave me (2) 4'X 4' buttetin boards and after I put the edging on it I trimmed it with the decorative bb trim you see in all the school supply catalogs. I had another one cut in half long ways and that gave me (2) 2'X 8' boards to hang the kids pic. etc. on. and lastly I bought one sheet and left it whole trimmed it in the plastic edging and hung it low on the wall , right above the baseboards, and the kids paint on it. They love having the large canvas and it wipes right up. It has really saved my walls from lot of wear and tear. -Cindy

I made a bulletin board (sorry, I don't have a picture of it) about what kids learn here. I have it sectioned off in dramatic play, block building, creative art, clean up, snack time, outdoor play, and manipulatives. Then I wrote what children learn during each different aspect and posted pictures of the children doing those activities. This hangs in our entry way and parents can see pictures of their kids and read about what they are doing and what they are learning by doing this activity. It's a great way to show them how play IS their child's work! -Munchkins6

Videos for parents

Implementing this idea can be effortless if you have cameras installed in your center already but to personalize it and make this more effective I asked permission from each parent to use my own camcorder to do interviews with each child separately. Asking them serious questions at first to see how smart they are then moving on to not so serious questions to bring out the child's silly side and sense of humor. Concluding the personalized video profiles I let the children choose from two physical activities to show gross and large motor skills. Also to show parents what their favorite thing to do at school is. Always reminding the children to be themselves even if they get "camera shy" and that Mom and Dad are going to keep this video for a keep-sake.

This idea had great results. Parents are always smiling when they see their child interact happily with someone they can trust while they're at work. I also think the interview set up was a big hit. Parents found it professional in a playful and age appropriate way. - Terra B.