Blowing Games

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Teaching your child to blow helps strengthen the lips and tongue which in turn helps with language and speech. Although Veronika was on the young side for the activities we did today, it was nice to lay a foundation for these oral-motor skills.

First, I used a toy horn to give a few short toot toots! The immediate response was giggles of course.

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Then it was her turn to try. She lifted the horn to her mouth, and although she couldn’t produce a sound, she gave a little puff of air. She was definitely trying!

Next up: party blowers! Leftover ones from birthday parties make for fantastic blowing practice.

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I showed her to make one pop open, a delight both visually and audibly. Again, there were lots of little huffs of imitation.

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Get silly and blow one against your toddler’s tummy for some ticklish fun.

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Of course the most classic game of all to teach blowing is just to pull out the bubbles. Instead of blowing them yourself, encourage your toddler to dip the wand and then huff.

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At fifteen months Veronika isn’t quite there yet, but these blowing games were all about exploration.

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When did your child learn to blow a horn or party blower? Please share in the comments!

Broccoli with Meatless Crumbles & Rigatoni

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This hearty recipe makes enough for the whole family, one of those rare gems that pleases kids and adults equally.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta
  • 8 ounces meatless crumbles (such as Gardein)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance butter
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Non-dairy Parmesan cheese sprinkles
  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside in a large bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the meatless crumbles in a skillet for about 5 minutes, until browned. Transfer to the bowl with the pasta.
  3. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the broccoli, water, and bouillon cube; simmer for 8 minutes, or until the broccoli is very tender. In the last minute, stir in the basil and parsley.
  5. Add the broccoli mixture to the pasta mixture, and stir to combine.

We like this topped with the Parmesan shreds from Follow Your Heart!

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Valentine’s Day Popcorn Gift

Popcorn Valentine (9)Here’s a novel way for kids to pop in and say they love someone this Valentine’s Day! This rather lengthy project wouldn’t be great for class Valentine’s since it’s big and involved, so save it for someone special like a parent or grandparent.

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To start, Travis helped cut red and white pinstripe craft paper to fit an empty tissue box. Cut the top off the box and use a glue stick to attach the paper around the sides.

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Travis needed grown-up assistance for a few of the decorations. Cut a circle and rectangle from colored cardstock (we chose yellow an dorange), and arrange on the front of the box. We wrote in the message, “Just popping in to say… Happy Valentine’s Day!”

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Next we hot-glued pom poms and cardstock hearts to the tips of sparkly gold pipe cleaners. Stuff a little yellow or orange tissue paper into the box.

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Add a package of microwave popcorn – yum! An I.O.U. for a movie night would be a fun addition!

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Travis helped bend the pipe cleaner decorations and slip them in among the tissue paper.

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Add a few yellow pom poms to the outside of the box as “kernels”, for the finishing touch.

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He was so proud of this and made sure we hid it from daddy’s eyes until Valentine’s Day!

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