Baker’s Baby

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Today, I played a little game with Veronika involving the classic rhyme Pat-a-Cake, but in subtly new ways.

First, I sat her on my lap. Instead of clapping my hands, this time I clapped hers alongĀ  to the first verse. As a reminder, say:

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake baker’s man

Bake me a cake as fast as you can

Roll ’em and roll ’em and mark ‘e with a B…

(Here, I rolled her arms, and then traced a little B in her palm. Alternatively, trace the first letter of your child’s name).

And toss ’em in the oven for baby and me.

Point to your child on the word ‘baby’, of course, and to yourself on ‘me’.

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Then I lay her on her back and repeated these motions with her feet, clapping them together, cycling her legs, and tracing the B onto a little foot.

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She loved it!

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For a little extra baker’s fun, I gave her a toy bowl and rubber spatula to play with.

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Mixing up a familiar nursery rhyme in subtle ways like this is great for baby’s brain. Or as an alternative, don’t forget to seek out new rhymes!

Gallant Challenge: Bugged

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Last month, Travis took on his first Gallant Challenge from Highlights magazine: to spread kindness to neighbors!

This month’s column was about a girl who loved bugs but was bullied by friends at school about her interest. After her mom wrote of her plight, entomologists from all over reached out and encouraged her not to give up her dream of working with bugs.

This article was a great jumping-off point to talk about bullying. I asked Travis if he ever saw similar behavior at his school, to which he (thankfully!) replied now. But we talked about what to do if anyone ever bullies him or he witnesses bullying. Highlights encouraged kids to write in their own stories of being bugged about an interest, but we left that bit to older readers!

And then to make the lesson fun, we headed off to see just how cool bugs were, in support of the girl in the article.

A museum near us has a fantastic bug exhibit, and we spent the whole afternoon marveling.

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This was the biggest cricket we’d ever seen!

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We got to marvel at butterflies just emerging from the chrysalis.

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This rhinoceros beetle was almost as big as Travis’s arm!

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Travis introduced the little toy centipede he bought in the gift shop to a real centipede.

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Exposing your child to something new or different can be a great way to combat bullying, or following along a crowd that bullies another child; after all, so much of bullying stems from ignorance or not understanding another person’s viewpoint. Needless to say, Travis was captivated by bugs the entire outing. Hey, these ants seem to have the right message!

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Mother’s Day Hat Card

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This adorable card in the shape of a hat, which evokes Kentucky Derby season and all things springtime, makes a wonderfully whimsical card for a special someone on Mother’s Day! When Travis and I spotted the craft in Highlights, we knew we needed to put one together for his grandmother.

Cut a large circle from colored cardstock; we chose a royal purple. I was impressed with the way Travis followed the lines along the circle I drew – I hadn’t realized his cutting skills had grown so precise!

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Then we cut the rim from a paper bowl for a smaller circle.

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Cut a tab into your cardstock near the middle, and glue onto the bowl. It should be able to lift open and closed.

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Next we glued purple ribbon around the bowl, and also affixed a purple bow.

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Once the glue dried, we added our Mother’s Day message to grandma under the hat!

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Hats off to this cute idea!

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Straw Rockets

Straw Rocket (8)Travis and I have been launching all kinds of things lately, from marshmallows to disks. Today, we made little rockets that could have races!

Cut squares of construction paper that are 3 inches x 3 inches. Make as many of these as you’ll want rockets.

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Wrap each piece of paper around a straw, making sure it is loose enough to fly off the straw when needed. We secured these with tape.

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Although there’s no need to, it was fun to add decorations. Travis soon was swirling pipe cleaners into all kinds of creations!

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I helped with one that was recognizably a “rocket,” as well as a few silly ones. Definitely have fun with these; we even had a little alien with googly eyes.

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We used hot glue to affix our pipe cleaner creations to our paper pieces. Now our rockets were ready to launch!

Lift the straw to your lips and blow, and see how far it flies.

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You can even turn it into a race, and see whose rocket flies furthest.

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