Crinkle, Crunch

Crinkle Crunch (6)

Paper games never get old for a toddler, and while materials like wrapping paper and newspaper might seem mundane to a grown-up, they are a goldmine of fun for little ones. There’s sound, there’s texture, and there’s also fine motor skill building from ripping paper. So yes all this fun even has a purpose!

First up was the sound aspect. I set out three different kinds of paper for Veronika: brown paper bags, wrapping paper, and tissue paper.

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One by one, we crumpled them up. The brown paper was the loudest, and then the game grew quieter and quieter with the tissue paper making the softest sound.

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Of course then Veronika needed her own turn to take a piece of each material and crumple crumple until she’d formed a small ball in her hands.

A great twist on this auditory play is to hold one ball of paper behind your back and squish it so it makes a crinkle sound. Veronika came to find it!

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Sit back and watch what your child does with the paper. Veronika liked tossing it in the air, and wearing it as a hat!

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Then I demonstrated the sound that wrapping paper made as I ripped a piece in two. “More more!” she immediately asked. I had to start a small tear for her, but then she was able to wrench the two halves apart. Which she then did over and over, testing all three materials.

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What delight to learn she can rip! I thought she might enjoy returning to an old classic game, hiding toys in balls of the paper.

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But she was having so much fun ripping the paper she barely noticed the toys! (Okay, maybe one quick bus zoom).

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I guess that makes this game a winner.

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Red Beans & Rice

Red Beans and Rice

This mildly-spiced take on the classic pairing of red beans and rice is a sure winner with kids!


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup carrot puree
  • 1 tablespoon wheat germ
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice
  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the beans, marinara, carrot puree, wheat germ, oregano, basil, and thyme. Cook for about 5 minutes, until warm.
  2. Meanwhile, place the cooked rice in a large bowl. Add the bean mixture and stir to combine.

National Polar Bear Day

Polar Bear Day (3)

I’ve wanted to introduce Travis to the idea of global climate change, and chances are other parents struggle with how to discuss the issue with their kids. As a citizen of the world, this is going to be a very real issue in Travis’s lifetime, but I also don’t want to alarm him. When I learned from Highlights that February 27 is National Polar Bear Day, I seized the opportunity to open the discussion!

We started off with a read of two picture books that gently address the warming Arctic and the threat to polar bears as a result. Check out The Last Polar Bear, by Jean Craighead George or Where do Polar Bears Live? by Sarah Thomson, or see what your library has to offer!

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After discussing his takeaway from the books, it was time to get crafty! This was a simple project, gluing cotton balls to a paper plate for a furry polar bear face.

Polar Bear Day (1)

Add a black button for a nose, and glue on wiggle eyes. Finally, I cut two ear shapes from cardstock, which we glued to the plate and covered with additional cotton balls.

Want more polar bear ideas? Try a shaving cream version instead!