Butter Art

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Travis loves butter (our favorite is the original from Earth Balance!), so much so he’s been known to ask for it by the spoonful whenever we make recipes with butter. So when he read an article in his latest Highlights about a butter artist, we had to give sculpting with butter a try.

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I pulled two sticks of Earth Balance from the fridge (the colder the butter the better) and gave him a dull knife to carve.

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At five years old, Travis didn’t actually make anything recognizable, but that wasn’t the point. First he told me he had sculpted Darth Vader, and then he was at work on a city.

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Every once in a while he’d have a nibble of course!

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I felt a bit like a kid again as I put my own skills to the test on the second stick of butter. This one was a shoe:


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And this one was a bed:

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We had such a laugh during this whole activity, washed our hands really well after, and otherwise learned something new about butter and art. In other words, highly recommended!

Stick Letters

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I recently made sure to collect a variety of sticks: some long, some short, some very straight, and some slightly curved. Because I knew Travis and I had stick letters in our future!

The following day, I dumped out the bag of sticks on the floor and told him we’d be going through the alphabet.

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Now, this was a real test for Travis as we prep for kindergarten, because I knew it would require patience to work through all 26 in one sitting, plus he had no guidelines to follow for the letters. I am thrilled to report our summer work is paying off; he was fascinated and focused the whole time.

Part of the fascination is that we turned it into a challenge: which letters would take the fewest sticks, and which the most?

He started confidently with 3 sticks for A. But then B really gives him pause; I pointed out that to make curves, we needed more sticks, but they had to be short ones. That meant a total of 6 sticks for B!

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He began working his way through the alphabet and this was a great way for me to notice which ones gave him pause. At first he boldly clustered the lines of E together. I helped him see one went at the middle, one at the top, and one at the bottom.

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M and N were a little tricky. We focused on a vocalizing an “up down up down” pattern to help him get there.

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Could he turn P into an R by adding only 1 stick? He could, no help required!

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Curvy S needed so many sticks.

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But the winner for the most sticks was the curviest – Q, requiring a total of 8.

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Meanwhile, he aced the ones that used only 2 sticks: L, T, and V.

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We loved everything about this activity, from the nature walk to collect the sticks, to the feeling of accomplishment, to the fun of making each letter.

Create a Water Garden for a Budding Gardener

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Here’s a beautiful activity for baby’s first “garden”. If you have a true garden, then by all means just head outside with your little one plus a tot-sized watering can, and he or she can help with the watering. Since we have no garden of our own, we had to improvise a little.

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First, I filled a child’s watering can and had Veronika help me pour the water over a few flowers and fronds on our patio. She was immediately intrigued both with the water coming from the spout and with the can itself!

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Next, I set up a little water garden. It included a few floating blossoms, kale leaves for “reeds” and a plastic duck and frog.

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She had so much fun reaching in and splashing about.

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In retrospect, I wish I’d used an edible flower like roses so I didn’t have to worry about her putting anything in her mouth.

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As a result, I moved the flowers out rather quickly and then didn’t have to worry if the toys or kale made their way up to curious lips.

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As you can see in the photos, this activity was so fun that big brother wanted to join in, making it an impromptu water table to cool off.

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I loved watching them play together! And much like a picnic breakfast, it’s the perfect early morning outdoor activity before the heat of the day sets in. Here’s to many gardening moments to come with my girl!

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