Simple Sorter

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Veronika has started to recognize shapes. Although right now she calls almost all of them “stars”, what she’s exhibiting is an awareness that the world is made of shapes. She’s just starting to say triangle and circle, too! So I grabbed at the chance for some early learning today, by making a shape “sorter” with only one shape.

She has a toy bucket and lid that features a variety of shapes, but this can make it confusing for toddlers who are just learning the vocab. Instead, the sorter I made her only contained circles. I cut holes in the lid of a clean non-dairy yogurt container. Ideally you want your cut-outs to be a perfect circle, although this was tough to achieve with the knife I used.

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I gave Veronika the can and lid, along with soft yellow golf balls to push through.

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Since it was all circles, I could help her say “circle, circle, circle” over and over as she pushed each one through.

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She used a round milk carton cap a few times, too, which roughly fit the circle theme.

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The golf balls were just the right size though, such that she had to give each one a little push to make it pop in. She seemed to enjoy that sensation!

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It seems like we’re all about inserting into containers and dumping these days, but whatever keeps her toddler hands busy is fine with me!

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Clothespins and Containers

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Clothespins plus containers are a match made in heaven, perfect for keeping little hands busy. Today, Veronika and I played a few variations on the game.

We started with an empty almond milk jug, which was perfect because it had a lid that Veronika could easily twist on and off, plus the hard plastic sides meant that clothespins inside would make a nice jangling noise.

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I simply showed her how to drop clothespins in.

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And she took it upon herself to dump them out again!

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For variation, seal it up and shake it like a maraca. For further variation, drop something else inside! We decided metallic spoons might be too loud, but give them a try if your kids like things really noisy.

As an alternative clothespin game, I showed Veronika how to pinch spring-type clothespins around the rim of an empty coffee can.

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The pinching motion proved to be too advanced still for her at seventeen months, so I’ll probably return to this game down the road.

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But when I cut a hole in the center of the coffee can lid, she loved dropping clothespins inside!

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She needed help to remove this lid, but then could dump the clothespins out and begin again. The can also makes the perfect place to store clothespins, when we’re ready to put the game away.

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As a side note, coffee cans are also great for filling with rocks.

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Drop them in, put on the lid, and shake away for a noisy maraca! This was a great way to extend some recent rock play.

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Hip Hop Fruit Pops

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Now that we’re in the habit of mixing music and cooking, Travis and I made Hip Hopcicles today i.e. fruit Popcicles that we made while we listened to hip hop.

First, cut the tops from 1 quart of strawberries. Combine the strawberries in a blender with 2 tablespoons sugar and process until smooth.

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Spoon non-dairy vanilla yogurt into Popsicle molds, until the molds are halfway full (alternatively, you can use paper cups). Add the strawberry mixture, and swirl with a toothpick to blend the two together.

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If you’re using paper cups, insert a craft stick into each for a handle, held in place with a cap of aluminum foil.

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Freeze for 6 hours, or until completely firm. Travis doesn’t normally love yogurt, but these got a big thumbs up.

 

Creepy-Crawly Pranks

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Travis got silly today tricking other members of the family with a few buggy pranks! This was a nice change of pace from home school work, and it felt good to make him laugh.

For the first prank, we simply placed an empty paper cup on daddy’s desk with this note: Do not lift. Huge spider underneath.

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Of course there was no spider; it was just about the anticipation. But Travis cackled with delight when his dad opened it up to find nothing creepy waiting beneath.

Then we made a buggy snack! Draw little ants (or other bugs) with a black sharpie on a plastic snack bag.

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Fill with food and leave out where the recipient can find ants having a picnic.

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The third prank was the best one by far: a giant bug shape that Travis colored in. I cut out the shape and we taped it to the inside of a lamp.

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When the lamp turns on, your prank victim will see the large bug shadow. This one definitely got a yelp of surprise! All in all, Travis loved making everyone laugh with these pranks.

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Does your child have a favorite prank? Please share in the comments!