Monday, October 26, 2009

Bake Together!

Early toddlers may seem a little young for this, but they will enjoy the quality time they spend with you and can actually help quite a bit!

Use a boxed brownie mix or a simple cookie/muffin recipe.  Measure everything out and show your tot what you're doing.  Help them pour everything into the bowl and have fun! Help them turn the mixer on, teach them how to crack an egg.  Supervise closely and be ready for spills and messes :)

It helps if you have everything out ahead of time and then bring your child in to help.  I try to have all my ingredients and utensils on the counter so I don't have to leave him standing on the chair alone.  With his short attention span, having everything out helps move things along before he gets bored.

Recently, my tot and I made banana bread together!  Click here for my favorite easy recipe.

You can never supervise too closely.  Case in point: In the photo above, we were pouring in eggs.  In the photo below is what happened when I watched but didn't help.  He actually almost dumped the egg into the bowl but as he pulled the cup back, the egg dropped to the floor! Haha!

Homemade Play Dough

This is kind of a "twofer" activity!  Activity 1: make play dough.  Activity 2: play!

Rumor has it this recipe came from Parents Magazine.  I wasn't able to find it online or in my magazines to give credit where credit is due.  It's a great, all-natural recipe though!  Natural, stain-free coloring too.

1 cup flour
3/8 cup salt
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
natural coloring of your choice:
  • brown = 3/8 cup + 1 Tablespoon hot water + 4 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • pink = 3/8 cup hot beet juice
  • yellow = 3/8 cup hot water + 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • orange = 3/8 cup hot water + 1 Tablespoon paprika

Allow your child to add the ingredients after you've measured them out.  Explain what you're doing as you measure!  Give them a chance to mix the play dough first and then you can finish combining all the ingredients.  Then, split the play dough in half and play with your tot!  Use rolling pins and cookie cutters too!

This is the orange playdough using a tablespoon of paprika:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

painting with trucks

  • washable paint
  • paper
  • cars/trucks ($0.99 at Toys R Us)
  • frisbee or other dish for pouring paint into

Pour paint into kid-friendly (read: non-breakable) dish.  Dip car/truck in paint and drive along paper.  Have fun making car and truck noises!  Kids love to hear their parents make silly noises and can learn about things like the "backing up - beep!beep!beep!" that will translate to real-life experiences.  Try different vehicles for different designs

Sticker Time

  • stickers
  • scratch paper, newspaper, old envelopes, cardboard box, etc.
I have recently discovered that it really doesn't matter what the sticker looks like - it's the process of peeling and sticking that is fun for my toddler.  I search the dollar bin at Target or party stores, and have also taken to using up those free return address labels mailed out by non-profits.  Be sure to supervise closely so the stickers stay where they should be and not on your furniture and walls!