Grocery Store Game

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When she was very little, I grocery shopped with Veronika against my chest in the Ergo carrier, napping more often than not. Now that she’s big enough to sit up and look around, I highly recommend a seat cover with an infant booster. Veronika sits happily ensconced and gets to take in all the sights and sounds of the grocery store – one of my very favorite locations for language-learning and texture exploration!

Instead of racing through my list today, I set aside extra time for Veronika and I to shop slowly and talk about each item we purchased. There was a crinkly bag of lettuce to scrunch in her hands.

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Next we talked about colors – like bold green zucchini!

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She loved the papery feel of a head of garlic.

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And playing with the wrappers of energy bars.

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Temperature is another fun area to discuss, like the cold items from the refrigerator case. And a dehydrated soup cup makes sounds like a maraca!

Engage your child’s senses fully in this way and you might just get lucky and be that parent at checkout whose baby is not fussing.

Squishy Art Play

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Today was Veronika’s first art project!

What’s the safest art for a seven month old? Covered up! Because Veronika puts everything in her mouth, there is currently no way to safely give her markers, crayons, or paint – even all-natural or non-toxic stuff – unless it is safely sealed up. But art inside a plastic bag is the solution you’re looking for.

Place a piece of thick paper (like watercolor paper) inside a gallon zip-top bag; for the best fit, I folded our paper in half. Add a few splotches of color, and seal tightly.

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I placed this bag on Veronika’s high chair tray, and encouraged her to squish it around.

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She was a little confused at first, and more so when she realized she couldn’t actually the paint on her fingers, as she can with food on her tray. I talked about the squishy blobs she was feeling, and helped her press her hands into the piles of paint under the plastic.

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Soon she had the idea!

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Truth be told, she was a little frustrated that she couldn’t lift the whole art project up and try it for dinner. But she still had fun exploring!

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When she tired of the game, I removed the paper – her first work of art!

Squishy Art (7)Because the fingerpaint was smeared on quite thick, I folded it over the other (blank) half of the paper, resulting in a cool symmetrical painting.

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Overall, this was a great first art project for a baby, and it encapsulated all that I love about watching kids make art: that the process is a lot more important than the final product; that our role as grown-ups is to facilitate and make sure a little one is using materials safely, but to let them be the “artist”; and that after serving as a model or guide, the most fun can be had when you step back and watch your child create!

Whale Napkin Holder

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As we head into summer nights and summer dinners – whether poolside, seaside, or just out on the patio – this is a cute napkin holder project for kids to put together. Make as many as you want, whether just one whale to add summer fun to your child’s table, or a whole pod of whales for family dinners al fresco!

Cut a length of cardstock (we chose blue) to fit around a toilet paper tube, and attach with a gluestick.

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Travis thought it was so neat that the rectangle he cut out could be wrapped around in this way!

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While he worked on that rectangle, I drew a whale for him on a second piece of blue cardstock and cut it out (bigger kids can do this part themselves).

Travis added some belly lines with marker, and glued down a wiggly eye.

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Glue the whale to the tube and your holder is ready!

It was fun to show him how to accordion-fold a napkin, alternating folds over and under.

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Slip the napkin in the tube and your whale now has a water spout. Meanwhile, summer diners have a napkin ready when it’s time to wipe those buttery fingers from corn on the cob!

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