Backyard Grill

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This one’s a little complicated, parents, but I promise it’s worth it!

The idea came from our August High Five magazine, and although I wondered if Travis would understand the concepts – we’ve never grilled dinner with him! – he has lately been very curious about the grills in our building’s courtyard, and took to the whole game with alacrity.

You’ll need to do some set-up the day before. Cut sponges into circles and have your child paint some brown and some yellow to make (veggie) burgers and buns. Our yellow is on the brown-ish side anyway, but if yours is bright yellow, you might want to tone it down with a drop of brown for better bun color.

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Travis had a blast painting the sponges, proudly saying, “We’re making burgers!” Make sure to let dry overnight – the sponges will absorb a lot of paint.

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While he slept, I did a little mommy work: roll toilet paper tubes in yellow tissue paper, and tuck in the ends. Add a piece of green tissue paper to one side, securing with tape; twist the overhanging end and secure with a rubber band. Draw on corn kernels with brown pen. Now you have corn on the cob!

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If your child is a preschooler instead of a toddler, they can probably help out with this part too!

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In the morning, I told Travis we were setting up the grill, and he was so excited. We used castle blocks as the base, but any blocks or Duplo you have around the house will work. We crumpled up black construction paper for charcoal, and then I told Travis we needed to add fire so our grill would be hot like the oven. He loved adding wads of red and yellow tissue paper, and helped me blow on the coals to start our fire!

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We added a cookie rack as the grill itself. Then it was time to cook our burgers!

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Travis became an expert burger flipper:

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Added green tissue paper “lettuce”:

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And liked the corn even though he seemed very unsure what it was:

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And after about 20 minutes of good fun, toddler happened:

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A good ending!