Toddler Collage

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It’s near the end of the month, which means time to empty out odds and ends from the craft bin as we stock up for next month. I knew exactly who would be a willing partner in my clean-out… my toddler!

I wanted Veronika to have a large “canvas” to work with for this project, so taped a piece of contact paper, sticky side out, to the largest piece of cardboard I could find in the house. You could also do this on a smaller scale, but whether big or small, the cardboard is nice because it means your toddler can leave the project and come back to it later. The same can’t be said if you tape the contact paper to the floor.

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I set out a tray with all the craft bin odds and ends, including: wrapping paper pieces, tissue paper squares, cotton balls, strands of ribbon, plus some clover from outside (flowers would be pretty, too!). I also added uncooked dinosaur-shaped pasta pieces.

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Veronika immediately needed to investigate all of the components of the tray of course!

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It turned out that the dinosaur pasta was the big hit. She loved sticking it to the contact paper, either by tossing on big handfuls, or by pressing one piece in carefully at a time.

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The ribbon was also fun, because the ends curled up until she pressed the length of it with her finger to secure it down.

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She was less interested in the cotton balls and tissue paper than I thought she would be!

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When she initially tired of the activity, I tucked the cardboard and the tray aside, waiting for her next creative impulse.

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By the end of the day, we had a masterpiece.

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Bunnies on a Log

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Here’s an adorable twist on classic “ants on a log”. We love watching the bunny who hops outside our window each morning to eat the clover, so today we added hopping bunnies to our celery snacks instead! It’s a great recipe for kids to put together themselves.

To start, spread either non-dairy cream cheese or sunflower butter onto cut celery sticks. Travis was thrilled that he was allowed to use the knife all by himself!

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Now add your hopping little bunnies.

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Travis’s verdict was that he liked the cream cheese version better than the sunflower spread. Which will be your kids’ favorite?

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Note: If your family eats dairy, you could put a further spin on this snack by taking it from land to sea: add goldfish crackers in place of the bunnies and you’ll have fish in a river!

Smokey Bear

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Heading in to summer, it was fun and informative to lead Travis through a lesson on Smokey Bear and outdoor fire safety today. This little lesson plan was the kick-off to Travis’s “Edible Elements” kit from Raddish Kids; we’ll soon be making recipes that rely on elemental power (think fire and ice!) during preparation.

But first up: the fire safety lesson. I provided Travis with pictures on index cards as we talked about safe ways to use fire, both indoors and out (the oven, a campfire). Older kids can come up with a list without this parental prompt.

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We then watched a video from Smokey Bear, and I read facts about Smokey’s origins. Turns out he was based on a real rescued cub!

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Travis enjoyed activities including a dot-to-dot…

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…and forest puppets to color.

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Then it was time for a puppet show! Oh no, Travis’s sneaky fox stole the water to douse the campfire. He then decided the skunk could spray it out! I loved that these puppets fired up (ha) the imagination and the learning.

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Big kids have so many options for extension here, whether creating their own PSA about fire safety on poster board or video; learning about the fire alert system; writing a letter to Smokey; or even learning about a historical fire like the Chicago Fire of 1871.

But for my kindergartner, we kept things light and not scary… and he earned a certificate to boot!

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