Eat the Rainbow

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This lesson was an extension of the Cozy Minestrone soup Travis and I made at the beginning of the month from Raddish Kids. I didn’t do the lesson directly in conjunction with the recipe, as I wanted Travis to focus on the food and fun of cooking. But it made for a couple of cute projects over the course of a week, after the fact! If you prefer, you can do this lesson first, and cook Cozy Minestrone after.

First, Travis and I sat down to name all the colors of the rainbow. For each, I produced a square of matching construction paper. Next I told him we’d brainstorm fruits and veggies for each color. We set a timer for 30 seconds for each; Travis was in charge of the timer and loved this part!

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At the end, we had a few items for most colors…

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…but tons on the green. Clearly green “won” and we talked about why this might be.

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Now we looked at an infographic describing what gives each fruit or veggie its color, and what that corresponded to in terms of health.

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Kids can also watch a fun description of phytonutrients. Finally, we had a printout from Raddish, that we can refer back to later.

Next, we went through a grocery flier and looked for fruits and veggies.

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We pasted these into a collage that went up on a the fridge – a great visual reminder of foods we aim to eat each week!

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Finally, I asked Travis to think of what colors he’d eaten that day. Orange for papayas, green for cucumbers, etc. We kept a running tally, and kept it up over the course of a week. At the end, we could see that the blues and purples were most lacking in his diet, but he scored quite well elsewhere!

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Overall, this lesson was a great intro to nutrients for a preschooler. The lesson plan includes tons more detail for big kids, so do be sure to check out Raddish for yourself!

Glowing Planets

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One of the bonuses about winter’s early sunsets is that even little kids are awake to see the stars and planets. Travis and I talked recently about what it is that makes planets glow; they don’t make their own light the same way stars do, of course, but they do reflect the light of the Sun and thus give off a glow – sometimes the brightest one in the sky!

We came in to make our own glowing planets, thanks to a few simple materials.

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First, I asked which planets Travis wanted to make, and for each, we brainstormed a little diagram of what he knew about it. Earth, for example, would appear blue and green from space, and has oceans and continents.

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Saturn was made of gases, has rings, and is colder than Earth.

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We finished out diagrams for Earth, Mars, Saturn, and Neptune (the four that Travis picked) and colored four golf balls accordingly. Travis loved making Mars bright red! Use permanent marker for the best results.

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Now make a slit in the bottom of each ball with an X-acto knife (grown-up step), and place over the flame of a tea light.

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We found that small tea lights worked better than tall ones, even though we had more of the latter.

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Now your planets glow just like the ones in the sky! These were especially fun in the bedroom at night.

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Entertain With Dances

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Today, I got silly for Veronika!

Moms and Dads, set aside your inhibitions, prop your little one up, and get dancing. I promise you that your baby won’t judge; he or she will just love the show.

To make things fun for Veronika, I picked kid-friendly dance music, pulling from Travis’s music mix (think: the type of songs you hear at a Gymboree over and over and over).

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For added effect, I even put on a “costume” – a top hat and feather boa.

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Now it was time to pull out dance moves from back in my high school theater days – jazz hands and chorus line feet were in heavy rotation. The hat made a perfect peek-a-boo prop mid-dance!

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She seemed so into it, if perhaps mildly startled at mommy’s antics at times!

I also tapped her little feet along to the rhythm, so she could feel it in her body.

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Bottom line: don’t feel silly – get silly! Your baby will love the entertainment.