Archive for the ‘Tip for Nannies and Au Pairs’ Category

San Diego – Amazing Hidden Gem of California!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

With its miles of glorious beaches, ideal year-round weather and countless cultural and historical attractions, San Diego is one of the most visited cities in the world! If you’re on the fence about where to spend your program year, here are some of the top reasons to choose San Diego.


Balboa Park:

Like no place else in the country, Balboa Park offers a magnificent combination of art, architecture, history and agriculture all in one park. From wonderful concerts featuring the world’s largest outdoor pipe organ, The Spreckels Organ, to tours through science, art and history museums, a day spent in Balboa Park is an unforgettable experience.

 

Coronado Island:

On the beautiful island of Coronado, you’ll discover a charming collection of shops, art galleries, fine restaurants and fun eateries surrounded by tree lined walkways, swaying palms and sparkling ponds. Across the bay is one of the best views of downtown San Diego. Developed 130 years ago as a haven for the rich and famous, this oceanfront community maintains an air of luxury. Admire the mansions, Duchess of Windsor Cottage and the Museum of History and Art, which highlights the relaxed and enriching atmosphere on the island.

 

Torrey Pines State Reserve:

Named after the Torrey Pine tree, this reserve is just north of La Jolla and is a lovely place to see indigenous wildlife in its native environment. With more than eight miles of trails, you can explore the serenity of Torrey Pines in the same atmosphere as the first settlers to California. Take a hike to Blacks Beach, popular with surfers. The Torrey Pines Gliderportoh is the only place on the west coast for visitors to go paragliding and hang-gliding.

San Diego Zoo:

One of the world’s most famous zoos, the San Diego Zoo offers hours of fascinating entertainment for people of all ages. Of the several thousand animals that live in the zoo, you’ll have an opportunity to see everything from Giant Pandas and Polar Bears to the Tasmanian Devil and African Wild Dogs—and so much more. The many hundreds of species include rare amphibians, birds, mammals, reptiles and insects that come from all over the world and are cared for in their natural habitats. As you walk through the lush pathways and thriving gardens that frame the zoo, keep in mind that much of the flora are exotic plants and vegetation. Spend an afternoon or the whole day and gain an understanding of the many beautiful animals that inhabit our world.

 

Gaslamp quarter: 

The heart of downtown San Diego is the historic Gaslamp Quarter. It’s a fun and busy area where you can find: shops, galleries, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, theaters, sporting arenas, conferences, concerts, Comic-Con and more. Head towards Horton Plaza’s outdoor shopping mall to find the likes of Macy’s, Victoria Secret and Claire’s or enjoy the baseball game at Petco Park.

 

Children’s Pool Sea Lions:

Another famous San Diego attraction is Children’s pool where you can observe seals and sea lions in their natural habitat. Silly, loud, ultra-lovable, and a little smelly, they are sure to bring a toothy smile to your face. Sea lions are often compared to being the dogs of the sea for a good reason. After all, they are smart, playful, and newborns are even called pups. They capitalize on San Diego coastline as prime real estate, colonizing rocky and sandy beaches during nesting season.

 

Beautiful Beaches:

San Diego is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. There are 70 miles of shoreline and a diverse selection of beaches to explore. If you like surfing, you’ll be in heaven; if you prefer getting lost in your thoughts on a secluded sandy stretch, you’ll also be in heaven. From La Jolla and Mission to Coronado and Pacific Beach, there’s a beach for you in San Diego.

 

For more information about the GreatAuPair J-1 visa program, visit www.greataupairusa.com. Families can call 800.604.2507 to speak with a GreatAuPair representative.  Au pairs can call 1-775-636-8302, or contact us on skype at greataupair.com.

 


Honolulu – Tropical Paradise for Au Pairs

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

hawaii2 Do you want to live where most Americans only dream they could live? Islands ranging from a tropical climate, to snow skiing on the Big Islands 14 thousand foot peaks, Hawaii is one of the most ecologically diverse places in the world and seems too good to be true! If steady warm weather and only 90 rainy days per year is what you prefer, Honolulu is for you!

 

You have six beautiful islands to hawaii12explore. Each inhabited island has a different pace and culture, ranging from the city life of Honolulu on Oahu, to the largely native culture on Molokai. Where else in the United States can you both swim in warm water, snow ski and visit a volcano all in one day?

 

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Honolulu offers a wide range of land and water based activities including sports, swimming, surfing, windsurfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, canoeing, sailing, camping, hiking, mountain biking, and even snow skiing or snowboarding.  A popular magazine named Honolulu the “fittest” city in the United States. The city offers year round activities such as Great Aloha Run, Honolulu Marathon, and Honolulu Triathlon.

 

Although Honolulu has no professional sports teams, it does have three venues for spectator sports such as baseball, basketball and volleyball at: Les Murakami Stadium, Neal Blaisdell Center Arena, Stan Sheriff Center and Aloha Stadium.

Howhawaii beach about a relaxing day at the beach? Waikiki is a beachfront neighborhood of Honolulu, located on the south shore of the island of Oahu. It was once a retreat only for Hawaiian royalty in the 1800’s. Today, the area is filled with large resort hotels and hosts many events each year, including surf competitions, outdoor performances, hula dancing and outrigger canoe races.

 

Help the kids find Nemo at Waikiki Aquarium! Listen for the extremely vocal Common Mynah bird at Foster Botanical garden, Lili’uokalani Botanical Garden, or Walker Estate!

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How about a day with your host family visiting the Honolulu Zoo? There are over 1,230 animals to see! Afterward, take a ride on Waikiki Trolley to see the sites throughout Waikiki, Honolulu and East Oahu; or plan to stay for a Snooze at the Zoo. Yes, they schedule overnight camping with activities – imagine the sounds of the animals during the night!

 

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Do you like natural history? The Bishop Museum displays the state’s largest collection of natural history specimens and the world’s largest collection of Hawaiian and Pacific culture artifacts.

 

Head to the Ke’anae Arboretum and botanical garden, to see the most colorful and unique trees on the planet. The bark of the Rainbow Eucalyptus tree changes color as it sheds, so no two are ever alike and each is constantly changing. You can drive along the Hana Highway west of Maui to see them or visit the arboretum for free.

 

Hawaii Mall

If shopping is your passion then you are in for a treat! Ala Moana in Honolulu is the largest mall in Hawaii and the 7th largest shopping mall in the United States with a total area of 2,100,000 square feet! Make sure you wear your walking shoes!

 

Diamond Head Theater is dubbed the “Broadway of the Pacific” and is the oldest performing arts center where music lovers go to enjoy live theater.

 

hawaii8Honolulu Museum of Art is the largest of its kind in the state, with over 50,000 works of art and is housed in First Hawaiian Center, the tallest building in Hawaii. You can enjoy two cafés, gardens, films and concerts at the theater as well as take a studio art class or workshop. Some events and certain days offer free admission to all.

 

Want to work on a language? The Hawaii Japanese School – Rainbow Gakuen holds its classes in Kaimuki Middle School in Honolulu, serving overseas Japanese nationals. In addition, Honolulu has other weekend programs for the Japanese, Chinese, and Spanish languages.

 

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No matter what you love to do, it’s impossible not to have fun here and create life long memories with your new host family! Come see what Honolulu has to offer!

 

For more information about the GreatAuPair J-1 visa program, visit www.greataupairusa.com. Families can call 800.604.2507 to speak with a GreatAuPair representative.  Au pairs can call 1-775-636-8302, or contact us on skype at greataupair.com.


Why au pairs love Arizona, let me count the ways

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sedona SunsetIf you love the sun and want to live in the desert southwest, with year round sunshine, surrounded by some of the most spectacular natural wonders in the United States, then Arizona is the place to be.

Not only are Phoenix and Tucson packed with fun things to do with children, they’re filled with great young adult activities and incredible places to explore during your free time.

 

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However, you need to be a good swimmer.  Most households in Arizona have a pool to keep cool in the summer heat.  If you’re comfortable in the water you’ll want to take the kids to some of these fabulous water parks:  Big Surf, Flowrider, Grande Resort Oasis, Wet‘n’Wild, and Enchanted Island.

 

 

heard museum

It would also be fun to take the children to explore local Museums, the Science Center, Puppet Theater or the Railroad Park.  There are collections of handmade dolls and Native American crafts at the Heard Museum and pre 1940’s Navajo and Hopi textiles at the Tucson Desert Art Museum.  You can take a ride on the Adobe Mountain Railroad. Visit the Science Center for interactive games and sports or for those under 8, visit Imagination Avenue, a kid sized town.

 

 

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You could spend the day at the children’s museum and walk through the Noodle Forest or the Rock n Roll ball room, or head out to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum to see a zoo, natural history museum, and botanical garden all in one. There are over 40,000 plants representing 1,200 species as well as a gem, mineral, and fossil collection.

 

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Visit Rawhide Western Town for gun fights and stunt shows, or head to Tombstone southeast of Tucson, where some of the biggest legends of the Old West originated – Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, and the gunfight at the OK Corral. You can stay at local hotels, Bed & Breakfasts, go on horseback, stagecoach and wagon train tours. There are gunfight shows, monuments, some intriguing museums and historic buildings to view.

 

 

 

 

The I.D.E.A. Museum has something for kids of every age, with interactive areas to learn and develop your creativity.   Build something out of recycled materials or play in the glow in the dark blacklight room. For older kids, Airworx is a trampoline park that sponsors dodge ball tournaments.  Xtreme Pursuit is a paintball facility where they can run off that extra energy or play laser tag at the Laser Quest facility. Your future firemen won’t want to miss the Hall of Fame Fire Museum and everyone will enjoy Out of Africa Wildlife Park.

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In your free time, you’ll love the Music and art scene in Phoenix.  From the Arizona Jazz Festival, Artwalk on Thursday evenings, the Musical Instrument museum to the Phoenix Art Museum, you’ll never run out of exciting outings.  The world-class Jazz Festival is in Tucson in January, followed by the Folk Festival in May.

 

 

az window shopping

 

If you’re a fashionista or love to shop, there are outlet malls, Scottsdale fashion square, Kierland commons and the Biltmore Fashion Park.  If your tastes are more eclectic and artsy, visit the American Park n’Swap, or Mesa Swap Meet.  Those into food, art and wine will find unlimited year round events put on by the Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance.

 

 

monument valleyPhoenix and Tucson are surrounded by some of the most beautiful and unique country in the United States. Countless western films were shot in Monument Valley, and the Grand Canyon in Flagstaff is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.  Antelope Canyon in Page, AZ is a natural slot canyon, and a photographer’s dream.

 

Rafting Grand Canyon

No trip to Arizona would be complete without visiting the red rocks in Sedona.  Sedona is famous for its incredible hiking trails.  You may want to visit Hoover dam at Lake Powell, rent a boat and paddle to the Rainbow Bridge, a natural rock arch.  If you’re adventurous, take a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River.

 

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Visit Anisazi cliff dwelling ruins at Mummy Cave in Canyon De Chelly, or head to the Chiricahua national monument south of Tucson to enjoy hiking and rock climbing.

       

 

tucson bird

 

 

Saguaro National Park is part of the Sonoran Desert, and extends east and west of Tucson. It features saguaro or candelabra cactuses, desert flora and fauna and hiking trails.  There is so much more to do and see in Arizona, we just can’t list it all in a short post.

 

 

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If you love the outdoors and are fascinated by art, photography, Native American culture, the Wild West and natural wonders, Arizona is a fabulous place to live and work as an au pair. Complete your application today, so you can be on your way to sunny Arizona.

 

 


Au Pair in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Dallas (or DFW – Dallas/Fort Worth as its most commonly known) is actually a group of several large & small cities and towns that make up one of the most diverse areas of Texas.

Fort Worth started out as a railroad and cattle town and still retains much of the ‘cowboy’ culture today.  In addition to its zoo and arboretum, the Fort Worth Stockyards and rodeo are major tourism draws and a great way to spend a day or weekend. This is where you will find the “wild west”.

 

Dallas, or the “Big D” is home to some of the best shopping, dining, arts, culture and history in the state. You can spend an afternoon with your host family at the Perot Museum where they feature activities for children, teens and families or enjoy a weekend at the Dallas Zoo.  The Dallas Arboretum is a dream in the spring where you can take a picnic and enjoy live music amongst the thousands of tulips. Dallas also has several farmers markets, museums, and sculpture gardens so there is never a shortage of things to do!

 

If shopping is your thing, there are several malls and outlet malls as well as vintage shops and craft festivals.

 

Weekends in and around DFW are always filled with options.  In the spring, there are farmers markets, baseball (both professional and minor league), art festivals, a St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Greenville Ave, food and wine festivals (Greek Fest, Taste of Addison, Chocolate Festival, and much more).  In the summer there are several water parks, lakes, Six Flags of Texas, and tons of shopping.  4th of July offers KaBoomtown in Addison, and fireworks in almost every town!

 

In the fall and winter, you can’t miss Oktoberfest in Addison, the Balloon Festival in Plano, train rides in Grapevine, Texas football games, or countless other activities.

 

Dallas is a 4 hour drive from Austin or San Antonio, and 6-7 hours to Houston, so weekend trips are a must!  Austin has a great music and art scene and is our state capital.  San Antonio is home of the Alamo, and the world famous Riverwalk, and Houston is close to Galveston, the beach, NASA and  Moody Gardens nature museum.

Complete your application today, so we can match you with our friendly Dallas/Ft Worth host families!


How To Keep Kids Busy During the Summer

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

            For most children across the world, school is out, and they can hardly wait for the summer fun to begin! If you’ve been hired as a summer nanny, or if the children you watch year-round are out of school for the summer, the parents will expect you keep their children occupied and safe. While an occasional movie or trip to the library is an option, there are lots of other things to do in the summer! Here are some of GreatAuPair’s tips to keeping everyone safe and happy this summer!

Play-dates:

           If you are watching school-aged children, you may notice them missing their school friends as the summer continues on. Set up a few play-dates where they can get together and socialize! Ask the parents and children for a few phone numbers of school friends, and give them a call. Make sure not to agree to watch more children than you can handle, and always get permission from the parents before agreeing to invite over someone’s else’s children.

Plant a Garden:

 Gardening is a great outdoors activity for children to take part in. Not only is it fun, it’s a confidence-booster to children that get to see their hard work pay off! Try planting some easy-to-grow crops first, like sunflowers, radishes, cherry tomatoes, and lettuce. Kids will be eager to see results, and you can make the garden a part of their daily summer routine. What a fun way to spend time outdoors!

Go to the Park:

           School-aged children are used to keeping busy with their daily routines, so they’re likely to have a lot of energy, even in the summer. Why not take them to the park? Always be sure to supervise them playing on the playground. Bring along a few snacks and always pack plenty of water to make sure the children stay hydrated in the summer heat. Be sure and pack a first aid kit, to clean up any scrapes or cuts!

Arts and Crafts:

           Sometimes, it’s just too hot to play outside. Why not enjoy part of the day inside with some arts and crafts? You can do fun things with the kids like make tie-dye shirts, finger-paint, create fabric necklaces and bracelets, or even put on a play with hand-made masks and costumes. Try Pinterest for more ideas on different arts and crafts activities you can do with the children.

Get in the Water:

If you have a pool nearby, or even in the backyard, you’re one lucky nanny! If you don’t, and the beach is too far away, why not check out your local recreation center, (YMCA or Boys and Girls Club) to see if they have a community pool? Swimming and playing in the water is great way to conquer the summer heat.

It’s extremely important to always keep an eye on the children when they’re in the water. If you’re at a community pool with a lifeguard, don’t assume that they will always have their eyes on the children. It’s your responsibility! Going swimming and getting to play in the water is a great summer activity the children will enjoy, but only if you’re comfortable watching children in the water. Don’t forget sunblock, towels and floaties. 

Zoo/Aquarium:

           If you have a zoo or aquarium nearby, why not take the kids there for the day? Pack a light lunch and plenty of drinks, and head out for a day of exploring! Younger children will appreciate looking at the animals from their strollers or your arms, while an older child will enjoy a more-hands on approach. Sometimes, these places provide exhibits that allow visitors to feed or touch the animals. Look to see if there is a petting zoo exhibit open. Challenge the kids to mimic the sounds of the animals and have a great time! It’s best to go on a weekday when it’s less crowded.

Museums:

           Museums are a great way to avoid the heat and spend time indoors. If you have a Children’s museum in your area, take the kids there to have some hands-on playtime. You can also visit a local art or science museum. Call in advance and ask if they have any activities planned for children. Some museums have special exhibits centered around children during the summer. Always keep a close eye on the children!

No matter what you decide to do, be sure to keep you and the children safe and hydrated. Have a great summer!