Feed the Frog

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Ha, this activity is probably more suited to a creepy-crawly time of year like Halloween, but how do you keep a 4-year-old busy on the day before Christmas? With some good, spider fun, it turns out!

Travis spotted an old trove of spider rings in our craft bin, so we set up this game.

We needed a tissue box, and I let Travis go to town emptying the box and playing with the leftover tissues – something I wouldn’t normally encourage, but every once in a while, you need a sacrificial tissue box.

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Ideally, use a green box. Ours had streaks of green as well as other colors, so I guess looked more like one of those tropical bright frogs – why not!

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I made two big eyes for the frog, simply drawing black circles onto white paper and taping to the frog. Cut out the plastic around the hole of the tissue box, and your frog is ready to eat.

Present your child with the “frog”, a pair of tongs, and a set of spiders, and challenge him or her to feed the frog. Tongs are great for fine motor skills!

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Travis would happily have done this all day. To throw in a little education, I asked if he could think of a pattern to feed the frog. “Black, orange, black, orange,” he suggested. Yes!

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Next we tried rolling a dice, taking turns and feeding the frog the appropriate number of spiders.

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When our frog got full, we simply dumped him out and started over.

Travis wanted other things for froggie to eat, so we found red pom poms, which he decided were poisonous bugs.

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He even suggested we make a little mouth for froggie that could open and close, to keep all the food inside.

In sum, a great way to keep your kids entertained!

Meet New Friends

 

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If you’re following along in my baby game journey, then your infant is nearly 2 months old (!) and finally getting his or her crucial first dose of vaccines. This means it’s safer to play with other young children, so it’s time to meet some new faces!

If you haven’t done so already, it’s the perfect time to introduce cousins or host playdates with friends of the family, or invite over some of a big sibling’s buddies.

No need to do anything special (although we combined one playdate with a cookie swap!); babies love watching older kids, and older kids will love sitting near baby, perhaps stroking an arm.

Veronika has been taking long daytime naps lately, but she was absolutely entranced watching big kids run around the living room, which kept her wide awake.

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She watched from her swing for over an hour without a single fuss!

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Big kids are so cool!

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If an older child wants a special role, you can definitely help make them feel useful. They’re great at handing over a clean diaper, wipes, or simply talking to baby during a change.

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Host a Cookie Swap

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Travis doesn’t know it yet, but he’s about to receive a subscription to Raddish Kids as a gift this holiday season. Having gotten a sneak peak, I’m already impressed with the company. A suggested further activity from his upcoming December package was a holiday cookie swap. I instantly knew I wanted to make this happen, but it had to be quickly, even before he opens up his first box on Christmas morning. Could we pull off a cookie swap in just a few days? Yes!

First, we decided on a date for the party, then downloaded the invitation template and sent off to a few buddies. Come to Travis’s cookie party!

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The day of the party, we set our computer to play holiday tunes…

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…and added festive decorations around a cookie table, including garlands, pinecones, and various crafts we’ve made this holiday season.

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We offered 4 kinds of cookies to our guests:

Classic Thumbprints

Peppermint Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Caramel Cracker Bark

and Snowball Cookies

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Now it was time for guests to arrive, each bearing their own plate of cookies!

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I recommend keeping things manageable – 3 to 8 friends, depending on your child’s age and the size of your home. Older kids may want to do an organized tasting, sitting down and rating each cookie. Little kids just loved running around and occasionally stopping to chomp a cookie! Meanwhile grown ups got to sit around, enjoy sweet treats, and chat.

As a couple of extras, we also added gingerbread men ice cubes to fruit punch for the kids, and I provided gift bags for everyone to take home the cookies they wanted.

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This was an absolutely perfect afternoon – I’m so thankful to Raddish for a suggestion I’d never have come up with otherwise, and can’t wait to see what Travis receives in his official first December kit. You can be sure there will be a blog post about it!