Gourmet Strawberry Jam

Gourmet Strawberry Jam (3)

Cooking projects are always such a fantastic multi-generational project, and this activity includes not just a recipe but also a craft. Requiring only four ingredients and easy enough for little kids to help with, this one ticks all the boxes!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound strawberries
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple, grated
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  1. Cut the tops form the strawberries and cut into quarters.
  2. Combine the strawberries, grated apple, and sugar in a saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until thickened. It will take about 45 minutes total, and helps to mash the strawberries on occasion to help them break down.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the balsamic, then cool completely before transferring to a mason jar.

Gourmet Strawberry Jam (1)

To decorate, we made labels with paper and crayons. Grandparents, parents, and kids can each add their own silly strawberry to the label!

Gourmet Strawberry Jam (2)

Add yarn or pretty ribbon around the lid, too, if desired. We think this jam is especially delicious with crackers for a snack.

Gourmet Strawberry Jam (5)

Draw and Tell

Draw and Tell (2)

As your budding artist begins to make deliberate scribbles and doodles, not just random lines on paper, it’s fun to teach a toddler how to tell a story with pictures. Choose a classic tale, draw it simply on paper, and invite your little one to draw along with you!

Today, Veronika and I did a visual retelling of the Three Little Pigs.

I grabbed white paper and crayons, and began telling her the story. As we came to each character or plot point, I added basic drawings: silly circular pigs and basic shapes like squares and triangles to show the houses.

Draw and Tell (3)

She giggled at the illustrations and – as I had hoped! – she soon jumped right in.

Draw and Tell (1)

“I’m drawing piggies!” she said. “I’m drawing shapes!”

Your toddler might not draw anything that actually has to do with the story (Veronika then said she was adding a clock), but it’s a great exercise to help little ones realize that the lines they make can represent things.

Draw and Tell (4)

This game would be fun with just about any classic children’s story. Or you can even make up your own tale with your child as the star!

Find the Color

Find the Color (2)

I love throwing a little learning into even vacation days with a toddler, and here is a game that you can literally play anywhere. Simply ask your child to find something of a certain color, then start counting dramatically down from 10 to 0 until they run and touch it.

I demonstrated for Veronika the first time through, naming the brown clock and then doing a big happy run over to it. Ten, nine, eight…

Find the Color (1)

She giggled and wanted to play along. Could she touch orange?

Find the Color (5)

Could she touch green?

Find the Color (3)

Yes!

Find the Color (4)

You can see how easy and obvious the game is, which means it can easily occupy fussy toddlers just about anywhere.