Five Senses Car Games

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In general, Veronika is an easy child to travel with in the car. She loves to “read” books to herself, or listen to music, or even just look out the window. But I also like finding new ways to keep her entertained in the back seat! Here are a few fun suggestions that will engage all of your toddler’s senses.

Taste & Smell: Make a snack necklace. Remember those candy necklaces from the penny candy store? This is like that, only healthier. Thread o-shaped cereal onto string or a shoelace, and knot into a necklace.

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It was a little difficult for Veronika to understand the mechanics of biting off one cereal piece at a time, but once she figured it out, this was a big hit. And it’s way less messy than handing a bag filled with snacks into the back seat!

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Sound: Ahead of time, enlist other family members to help make a voice recording on your phone. When you then play the sound in the car, your little one will look around for where the voice is coming from! Big brother Travis was my cohort to record a few knock-knock jokes. Then we recorded ourselves humming Darth Vader’s theme song. Poor Veronika looked so confused when we played the jokes, not understanding why Travis’s real mouth wasn’t moving. But she grinned when the song began!

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Sight & Touch: For a whole new view of the world (literally!), make mini toddler binoculars. I cut empty toilet paper tubes a little shorter than actual length, and then hot glued two pieces together for each set of binoculars.

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Cover the front of the tubes with a sheet of colored cellophane.

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The world could be pink! Or purple! Or green!

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These were the biggest hit of the day, and I could hear her little fingers crinkling along the smooth slippery cellophane with interest, too, adding an element of touch to the game.

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Note: These cellophane sheets are great for changing up the “view” at home, too, You can have your toddler peer through just one color…

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…or overlap two colors to see color mixing. Veronika likes to look from object to object. “Orange Baby!” she might say, or “Orange Mommy!” Be sure to supervise this game closely so cellophane doesn’t obstruct breathing.

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After all that sensory play in the car, you might just get this:

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Does your toddler have a favorite car game? Please share in the comments!

Frosting Flags

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This craft-turned-snack is meant to let toddlers make “flags” in the run-up to the 4th of July. Will your toddler really be able to make a snack that looks like an American flag? Most likely not, but it’s never too early to introduce a little patriotism and show your child that our national colors are red, white, and blue!

Scoop vanilla frosting into three paper cups. Add a few drops of red food coloring to one cup, blue to the second, and leave the third as is. Stir and repeat with more food coloring until you have the desired hues of blue and red.

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I gave Veronika these cups along with craft sticks as “knives”. Ideally, have your child then paint the frosting onto graham cracker sheets. Because the store was all out of vegan graham crackers, we used saltine crackers instead!

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It turned out that Veronika was way more into snacking on the crackers than spreading the frosting!

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To capture her attention, I scooped the frosting out of the cups and let her spread the colors around this way. Now it became more like edible art!

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All in all, a delicious first lesson on our flag.

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Patriotic Balloons

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Even if your family can’t wave balloons at a real parade this year, I loved this idea (spotted in Country Living magazine) to make easy patriotic balloons for fun at home.

I blew up big blue balloons (and red or white ones would obviously also work), then added the letters U, S, and A out of star stickers.

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You can use small office star stickers, but we found big sparkly ones that added to the fun.

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While I decorated a few balloons in this way, the kids loved adding stickers to a few extras. Stars all over!

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We can’t wait to wave these at home while we watch the virtual fireworks.

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