Visit a Fire Station

Fire Station (4)Fire stations are the latest on my list of places to visit with a baby. You may have already done so with kids aged everywhere from toddlers on up to big kids – but infants will love the sights and sounds, too!

As with other field trips Veronika and I have taken, firehouses are full of vivid colors (babies can see red quite well), and of course sounds. Note: you may want to take care that sirens are not too loud or flashing lights too vivid.

If you’re worried about the sirens in the fire station proper, see if your local firehouse has an adjunct museum. This space will have all the excitement of fire vehicles without the noise.

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And of course, that means big siblings get to play!

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Handprint Wrapping Paper

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Parents and grandparents will love any gift that your child gives them – but make it extra special with this fun hand- and footprint paper. The paper itself may very well charm them more than the gift inside!

First, I set up everything for footprints, the messiest part of the project. I recommend using tempera paint, and having a pack of baby wipes right next to you to wash off messy feet.

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Note: you can use acrylic paint, but it will simply require a more thorough scrubbing with soap and water.

Travis sat in a chair in front of a large sheet of butcher paper (alternatively, you can cut open brown bags from the supermarket so they lie flat), and giggled as I brushed paint onto his feet.

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I held his hand as he walked across the paper, leaving tracks behind. He loved peeking back over his shoulder at his trail!

A quick wipe, and then we were on to the hand prints. Travis was giggling again for a nice coat of Christmas red.

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He loved pressing his hands down, making sure each print had all 5 fingers.

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We left the paper to dry, then used it to wrap a package for daddy.

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If multiple children are decorating the same sheet of wrapping paper, you can add names and the date next to their prints.

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A Christmas surprise for under the tree!

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Classic Thumbprints

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This classic Christmas cookie is the perfect recipe to make with little kids: an easy dough that comes together with few ingredients, plus the magic of shaping the cookies with the best instrument of all – your child’s thumb!

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Note: to make Ener-G egg yolks, use 1 tablespoon powder in 2 tablespoons water. For other vegan egg substitutes, aim for a similar volume.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup Earth Balance butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Ener-G egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups flour
  1. Beat the butter in a stand mixer until creamed. Add the sugar and beat until combined.
  2. Add the Ener-G and vanilla; beat until combined.
  3. Gradually beat in the flour. Shape the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour.
  4. To bake the cookies, roll into 1-inch balls and place on cookie sheets. Press your thumb into the middle of each cookie.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees F for 11 minutes. If the thumbprint starts to puff up during baking, press back down with the back of a teaspoon.
  6. Let cool on wire racks before filling as desired. For

For a uber-classic version, use strawberry jam. We updated ours with a carrot cake jam filling!