Gallant Challenge: Secret Agents of Kindness

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Travis was introduced to “Goofus and Gallant” in his welcome issue of Highlights magazine, a feature my husband remembers from his own childhood! For those who don’t know, Goofus is always messing up or erring on the side of rudeness, while Gallant always does the right thing. Each issue will feature a Gallant Challenge, and Travis was up for the first one – to do a secret and kind deed for a neighbor!

We talked about some nice things you can do (such as leaving cookies at someone’s door, or helping an elderly neighbor carry mail or groceries) and decided that today our task would be to make people smile – with cheerful chalk messages!

At various entrances around our apartment complex, Travis helped me think of kind messages to write, and I chalked them in (bigger kids can, of course, do this step themselves). Travis added scribbles and drawings around my messages, and loved signing his name at each stop, too!

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Soon we had left behind happy missives like “Happy Spring!”

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“You are wonderful!”

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and “Life is Good!”

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Near this last one, Travis decided to make X’s, which he said meant he was crossing out any bad days that people were having. I loved how into the project he was!

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Some other suggestions included:

  • Bringing in trash cans
  • Leaving the newspaper at a neighbor’s door
  • Cleaning up trash

Whatever action your kids choose, the key is to do it in secret. Then hide and see if you can watch a person’s surprised and pleased reaction! How do your kids spread kindness? I’d love to hear in the comments.



Tickly Toes

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Ok, spring has only just begun, but today I tantalized Veronika with a hint of the summer to come… With sand, that is! No matter what time of year you play this game, sand is a fantastic tactile and sensory play ingredient.

Since you don’t want sand anywhere near a baby’s hands or mouth, this is strictly a foot game for a five month old.

I poured some sand into a shallow baking tray, and sat with Veronika on my lap. I dipped her toes into the sand for a little feel. She seemed intrigued, although also confused.

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Swirl baby’s toes around or press gently into the sand. You can also pick up a little handful of sand and trickle it down over the toes – this will both feel good and look exciting!

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Once she tired of her toes in the sand, I took some time to pour sand from a cup for her, so she could further enjoy watching the sand sparkle. It won’t be long before this girl is at the beach!

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All Fall Down

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Try this adorable game to improve your baby’s hand-eye coordination, as well as skills like concentration or cause and effect. It also introduces a love of playing with boxes, something that’s sure to continue throughout the toddler years.

Small boxes are ideal for this game, to fit a baby’s small hands. We had a variety pack of cereal boxes that were just right for the job. I taped the empty boxes shut so no edges poked up.

First, I simply let Veronika hold and explore one. She was instantly drawn to it – probably because of that grinning cute tiger!

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Stack a few of the boxes together, just out of baby’s reach. This was a bit tricky, since Veronika is just learning to hold herself upright in a seated position, and she wanted to lunge for the boxes. Concentration, being built!

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Once I had a tower, I let her take a swing. Bam! We all fall down.

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If your baby doesn’t seem interested in the boxes themselves, you can set a toy on top of the tower as enticement.

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Once baby reaches for the toy… Boom!

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The boxes fall.

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But honestly Veronika was so eager to get her hands on the cereal boxes, the toy was a moot point.

Once we’d had enough of sitting and knocking down, I set the boxes up for tummy time.

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She also had fun with them while she played on her back. As always, boxes make excellent toys.

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