Pickled Veggies

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Thanks to High Five for this cute culinary idea! If you chop the veggies, your toddler can prepare nearly the entire rest of the recipe for quick pickles. It’s a neat way to introduce the idea of canning and preserving.

Adults, cut 1 large English cucumber in half, and then into 1/4-inch thick slices. Peel 1 carrot and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices.

Give your child the veggies and a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Travis was so proud to tackle the task of moving the veggies from plate to jar, doing so very studiously.

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Next, prepare the brining liquid: Whisk together 3/4 cup hot water, 3/4 cup rice vinegar, 6 tablespoons sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let stand for 15 minutes.

Help your toddler pour the brining liquid over the veggies. Travis was very careful to make sure all the vegetables were covered before we latched the lid. Now it’s time to wait! Let the veggies chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours before serving.


Introducing Zero!

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Travis and I had some toddler math fun this week, playing with the concept of zero.

He’s familiar already with “empty” and “nothing,” thanks to the age-old trick of hiding an item in one hand but not the other, and having a child guess which hand is full. Whenever I reveal the empty hand, I’ll splay my fingers and say, “I’ve got nothing!” He cracks up every time.

So it only seemed a small step from there to introduce the concept that nothing is another way of saying zero. To play with the idea, we did a few easy games.

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Label a piece of construction paper with 6 squares, numbered 0 to 5. Give your child pennies or other tokens, and see if he or she can put the correct number on each square. The 0 square should stay empty of course! Travis was great at leaving the zero blank, although his counting got creative on squares 4 and 5, still tougher concepts than 1 and 2!

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The second game involved eating Fruity Bunnies (no hardship there!) a favorite snack. Choose any treat or small candy that your child loves, and lay out 3 to 4 bowls, some filled with the snack, some without. Your toddler then gets to put a big 0 in the bowls that have no snack.

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As he continued eating, more and more bowls got a 0, making this a little introduction to the idea of subtraction, as well. Travis had so much fun laying down his orange 0 cards that he almost didn’t mind when the bunnies were gone!

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Finally, we played a game outside with cards numbered 0 to 5. If Travis drew a 5, he had to march 5 steps, and so on (his counting got a little creative here, too, of course!)

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But if he drew the 0, he had to… freeze! 0 steps. A cute movement-play way to introduce the idea of nothing.

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