Let’s Count

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Counting out loud might seem silly when you play with babies who don’t have many words yet, but it’s never too early to learn! At one year old, here are some fun ways Veronika and I count.

First off, little fingers and toes practically beg to be counted.

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You can simply count them out with a touch or a tickle, or recite a classic rhyme like “This Little Piggy”, but add numbers for a twist. (“One little piggy went to market, two little piggies stayed home…”)

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Stairs are another fantastic place to count. Chances are your little adventurer loves climbing up these days. Counting helps cement the notion that numbers go in order, plus helps keep grown-ups patient since those little feet take longer than yours on steep steps!

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We also play with toys that involve counting, like a veggie farm set or Duplo blocks.

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Consider counting bubbles as you blow them. Or pop them!

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You could also try counting when you’re out and about, such as when you wait for a green light to change. Finally, read fun counting books together, especially ones with tactile elements.

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Before you know it, Veronika will be counting along! Once your baby does reach this milestone, don’t worry if he or she counts out of order. “One, two…five” will still mean he or she is learning these new words and concepts!

 

Strawberry Banana Yogurt

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This easy yogurt mixture is perfect for babies to spoon up themselves. Or serve it the way we like best – spooned over pancakes!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup vanilla non-dairy yogurt
  • 1/2 cup chopped strawberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced banana
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, and stir to combine.

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Apple Crumb Pie

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We had a pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving this year, but that didn’t stop me and Travis from whipping up this apple pie at home a few days later! He loved preparing this recipe from his Thanksgiving Table Raddish Kids.

To prepare the crust, combine 1 and 1/4 cups flour, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl.

Cut 1/2 cup Earth Balance butter into small cubes. Add to the flour mixture, using your fingers or a pastry blender to cut in until the mixture is like small flakes. Raddish recommended the fingertip method, but Travis preferred using a tool for less of a mess on his hands.

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Add 4 tablespoons cold water. Stir with your hands and form a ball, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes

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Meanwhile, prepare the apple filling. Travis single-handedly peeled all 2 pounds of Granny Smith apples. He loved this part!

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As he finished each apple, he handed it over and I thinly sliced it. Combine the apples in a bowl with 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

To prepare the crumb topping, melt 1/2 cup Earth Balance butter in a microwave-safe bowl for about 30 seconds. Stir in 1 and 1/4 cups flour, 1/3 cup brown sugar, and 1/3 cup sugar. Stir with a fork until combined.

Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to a pie plate. Press into the pan, and trim any overhanging edges. The recipe card featured two options for decorating the edge: pressing with a fork, or crimping. We chose crimping!

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Spoon the apple filling into the crust. Sprinkle the flour mixture on top, and bake at 375 degrees F for 1 hour. The recipe card also had the helpful suggestion to check the pie after 40 minutes and tent with foil, if the top was getting too brown. So we did! The resulting pie was perfect.

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As he enjoyed a slice, we checked out the recipe card’s other features, including information on harvest festivals around the world and about the life cycle of an apple.

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Rainbow Paper Experiment

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Here’s a quick project that’s equal parts science and art. It was the perfect follow-up to Travis’s Rainbow Optics crate from Kiwi Co.

Because it’s a bit messy and you have to work quickly, I gathered all the materials ahead of time. You’ll need paper towels for drying, small squares of black construction paper, a bowl filled with about 1 inch of water, and clear nail polish.

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Place one of the black squares in the water, soaking completely. Let float towards the surface. Now it was Travis’s very important job to add 3 drops of the clear nail polish.

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Remove the paper very quickly, pinching it from one corner, and place on the paper towels to dry. Now it was covered in rainbow swirls!

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We wanted to make a few more, but found that the nail polish residue made streaks in the water; as a result, each ensuing piece of paper came out a bit messier.

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Still, these were quite pretty, and you could glue them onto cardstock for a pretty art print if desired!

Colorful Goo Bags

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These pint-sized sensory bags are just right for little hands, and can be played with in multiple ways.

To make the filling mixture for the bags, combine 1 cup cornstarch, 1/3 cup sugar, and 4 cups cold water in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture starts to become clearer and thickens. It will be almost like Vaseline!

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Remove from heat and cool completely. From here, I spooned it into snack-sized zip-top bags. Add a few drops of food coloring to each. I used six bags to get the full rainbow.

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Seal the bags and run under water to remove any mess on the outside, then squish with your hands until the color is incorporated. Now you have the perfect squishy bags for small hands!

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Veronika was immediately enthralled with the bags. She loved picking them up and squishing in her hands.

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She could pile them up, or lie one flat on the ground and press her hands down into it.

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Then she had some imaginative game going on for quite some time that involved transferring them from one pile to another and flinging them behind her back. She also loved hiding them under a dish towel and then uncovering them.

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At one point I got down at her level to talk about the colors she was holding, but for the most part, she played solo, quite happily.

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Needless to say, these were tons of fun in a small package.

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