Shape-Sorting Puzzles

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I’ve already introduced Veronika to the notion of “in” and “out” with games when she was younger. Now, at nine months old, it’s the perfect chance to introduce a toy that takes this concept to the next level: shape sorters!

Not only are shape sorters fantastic for (obviously) learning shapes, but they also hone fine motor skills and they are the perfect vessel to continue games of “in and out.” Rather obviously, first all the shapes go in…

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…then all the shapes come out!

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Veronika has two shape-sorting puzzles that she loves. The first is a classic bucket with a lid that detaches. Mostly she bangs the shapes against the lid, but she does aim for the holes and gets closer every time. Sometimes I’ll place a square (or circle or triangle) right near its hole so all she has to do is it tap it in.

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“In!” we say, whenever one lands.

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The second shape sorter is a little bus that has three shape slots on top to put them in

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…and a fun compartment in back that opens up to dump them out.

There are plenty of other ways to focus on “in” and “out” if you don’t have shape sorters. Consider mailing a letter together! Today Veronika helped me put one in to the envelope…

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…and then in to the mailbox!

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Planetary Pasta Salad

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With just a little bit of imagination, orecchiette pasta can look like flying saucers, making this dish from Raddish Kids the perfect recipe for my little outer-space lover. It’s the first of three recipes from their Cosmic Cuisine kit, and Travis loved it!

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First, cook 3 cups orecchiette according to package directions. The recipe card even featured a section on cooking perfect pasta, exposing Travis to terms like “al dente“. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside to drip dry in the strainer.

Meanwhile, Travis helped me wash and halve 1 pint cherry tomatoes. In fact, rinsing the ingredients was his favorite part of this recipe, and he was so proud when I let him cut one tomato entirely by himself (I guided his hand for the rest).

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Place the tomatoes in a large bowl. Drain and rinse 1 (15-ounce) can white beans; add to the bowl. (Note: the beans were Raddish’s vegan alternative to 1 package of fresh mozzarella). Drain a can of black olives. Slice 1/4 cup and add to the bowl; reserve the remaining olives for another use. Chop 1/4 cup fresh basil and add to the bowl.

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Add the orecchiette, stirring to combine.

To prepare the dressing, whisk together 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Gradually whisk in 1/4 cup olive oil. Drizzle over the pasta and stir to combine.

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One very happy galactic traveler enjoyed his meal! We read the fun solar system facts on the recipe card as he dined for extra cosmic fun.

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