Hidden Treasure

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Today Veronika learned to dig! Despite somewhat chilly temps, we headed to the sand play area of our local playground armed with a bright ball and a shovel.

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I sat Veronika down and – making sure she was watching – showed her that I was digging a hole. I placed the ball in and covered it back up with sand, making sure some of the bright purple was easily visible.

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Now I showed her how to uncover it!

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She was a quick study. She immediately wanted her own turn with the shovel, whether to dig for the ball, or simply to dig a nice hole in the ground.

You can make the game harder as you move along. On the next round, I left even less of the ball visible, but Verouinka wasn’t fooled!

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Work your way up to hiding the ball (or any other bright object) when your baby isn’t looking, and see if he or she will know to dig it up. This is not only great for fine motor skills, but also object permanence!

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Make Your Own Soft Play Area

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Ball pits in children’s playspaces can be intimidating for the littlest tykes; inevitably there are bigger kids splashing and jumping around, not to mention the pits are deep when you’re only 11 months old! To let her join in on the fun, I made Veronika her own “ball pit” today.

Cover a floor space with a soft blanket and line the area with pillows (or you could even recycle the baby tub for this game!).

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I dumped in a package of soft play balls (look for these on Amazon.com). She was delighted.

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I showed her how to swish her hands around in the balls…

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…and we buried her toes, then found them again!

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We added some crumpled newspaper “balls” for extra texture, but she didn’t like those as much.

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It turned out that this pit was also great for learning to climb up and over pillows, an inadvertent bonus.

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She loved crawling in, fetching out a ball, bringing it somewhere, and then heading back in again. It easily filled an afternoon of play!

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Magic Chocolate Bar

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What’s better than one chocolate bar? One you get to eat twice!

Okay, perhaps not really, but this neat puzzle will have your child thinking hard about shapes and how they fit together. We printed out a chocolate bar template, and cut into 5 pieces along the dotted lines.

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I told Travis he was going to “eat” the smallest piece, which gets removed from the rectangle. Now the challenge is to fit the remaining 4 pieces back into a whole rectangle. It was a matter of turning the pieces…

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… and tada!

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As a fun reward, we cut up a real chocolate bar in the same way for a little after-school treat!

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Make Your Own Jigsaw Puzzle

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Travis had so much fun with the puzzles in his latest Kiwi Crate that we decided to make a few of our own!

Download and print out any puzzle template from online. We found ones we liked showing a teddy bear and a butterfly (and if anyone can find the Steve the Kiwi template from kiwico.com/puzzles, let us know!).

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Coloring in was half the fun. I warned Travis that if he made his butterfly all orange, it was going to be very hard to put back together.

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Soon he branched out to other colors, and added blue so that the butterfly was flying over the ocean. Glue your template to an old cereal box and let dry completely.

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Now it was time to cut up the pieces! Word of caution: This task is quite time-consuming for a 16-piece puzzle. For that reason, and because I worried the 16 pieces would be quite a challenge for Travis, I cut his butterfly into fewer, larger pieces.

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Now puzzle! As mentioned, the butterfly came together quickly.

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Between uneven pieces and tricky outlines, the teddy bear nearly stumped us!

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What would your child make a puzzle of? Please share in the comments!

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