Baby Sit-Ups

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We’ve been working on strengthening Veronika’s little muscles in various cute ways, and I highly encourage you to add this method to the list!

Start with your infant lying on a soft surface in front of you.

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I gave her a little count of three each time – 1, 2, 3…

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….then gently and firmly grasped her hands and pulled upwards. Veronika grinned each time we repeated this motion!

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We paused at the top for big coos and smiles, then I gently lowered her back down.

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If your baby doesn’t have great head control yet, be sure to place one hand behind the head and neck on the way back down.

Do a few crunches, then rest! Seven minute abs just got a whole lot cuter.

Bouncing Baby

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In busy days with babies, it can sometimes feel like they’re passed from arm to arm or set some place to lie down all day. But this quick little activity is a welcome chance to sit upright, so your little one can feel his or her body in a different way.

Pull out a stability exercise ball or a beach ball. Securely place baby on top, holding them around the middle, and give a few little bounces.

Veronika looked a little uncertain on the first try!

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But then she really got into the bouncing. Not only will this help your child understand where they are in space, but it strengthens little tummy muscles.

If your child seems up for it, turn them onto their tummy on top of the ball too; it can encourage babies who haven’t lifted their head during tummy time yet to do so.

Textured Talk

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This game is a nice extension of the hand control activity Veronika and I played a few days ago. This time, I was less concerned with her grip, and more interested in using language to describe what she was feeling. You can use the same toys from that activity, or introduce a new set.

I did present her with mostly fresh toys, to keep things interesting. As I handed her each object, I said words about its texture out loud.

This one is smooth and plastic, Veronika.

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This one is soft and squishy.

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Bumpy was fun!

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It’s definitely okay for your child to move all these items right from hand to mouth. Babies learn a lot about the world through their mouths, so as long as the item is too big to be a choking hazard (use the toilet paper tube test), then it’s safe to hand it to your child.

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Veronika loved testing each one in her hands first, and quickly in the mouth second!

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In sum, this was a nice activity for language and sensory development, plus it was a delight just to watch her happy expressions!

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Self-Portrait

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Travis is learning to depict objects in his drawings as they are; by this I certainly don’t mean exact replicas, but rather, he’s paying attention to shapes, sizes, and other elements that make up an animal or person instead of just scribbling. I love seeing the little bubble people he sends home from school with stick arms and legs, reminiscent of my own kindergarten drawings!

So today, we decided to make a deliberate self-portrait.

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To make this exciting and new, I produced a handheld mirror, and asked him to really think about each thing we added to the picture before penciling it in. What shape was his face, I asked. A circle! So we started with a big one.

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We went feature by feature, and soon had circles for eyes, a triangle for his nose, and a U-shaped mouth.

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Once he had finished his pencil drawing, I outlined it in black sharpie to make each feature clearer. He loved seeing the picture take shape like this!

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To color it in, we had another novelty: watercolor paintbrushes that he loved. Simply dip the tip in water, and the color comes out of the brush. You could also use watercolor crayons or pastels, for this project.

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Travis very proudly added brown hair and brown eyes. He noticed in the mirror that his nose was beige, but decided yellow was the closest color in our pack.

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And a big red smile of course!

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I was so proud watching the care that he put into this project. And the watercolor paintbrushes were such a hit that he spent nearly an hour after making painting after painting, and hung them on our wall as an art gallery.

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In other words, this project was a huge success.

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Cheesy Spinach Dip & Chips

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It’s game day, everyone, so we’re whipping up a warm vegan dip to scoop into while we root for our favorite team! There’s a trio of vegan cheeses in this creamy dip: vegan Parmesan sprinkles, shredded Daiya mozzarella, and Daiya cream cheese. It’s hard to cut Daiya cream cheese into cubes as you can with dairy cream cheese; we found that it was fun to scoop out small spoonfuls and add it to the bowl that way, instead.

Ingredients:

For the chips:

  • 6 pitas
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the dip:

  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed
  • 8 ounces Daiya cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup vegan Parmesan sprinkles
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup shredded Daiya mozzarella
  1. To prepare the chips, cut the pitas into 6 wedges each. Toss in a bowl with the olive oil and salt.
  2. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees F for 10 minutes, until lightly browned.
  3. To prepare the dip, combine the spinach, cream cheese, milk, Parmesan, black pepper, salt, and garlic powder in a bowl.Spinach Dip (1)
  4. Transfer the spinach mixture to an 8×8-inch baking dish, and sprinkle evenly with the mozzarella.Spinach Dip (2)
  5. Bake at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes, until bubbly.Spinach Dip (3)

Serve to a crowd. Game’s on!

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