Chopstick Challenge

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After preparing a meal of homemade sushi, Travis was eager to learn how to use chopsticks. I remember learning this same skill as a child, and how tricky it can be! Here were a few fun games (hint: there’s candy involved) that honed his skills.

First up was simply showing him proper form, with the chopstick wedged between thumb and pointer finger. Then I showed him how to place the second chopstick between thumb and forefinger and to use the middle finger on top like a little lever.

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It was tricky, but he was a good sport about it! For the games that followed, he did revert to a typical first-timer move, pinching the items between two chopsticks with one in each hand instead.

His favorite was Color Sorting because of course we used candy.

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Choose any candy with multiple colors and move them from a jumble into color-sorted piles.

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The reward of course was eating them.

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Next up was a Pick-Up Relay. You can play this as a true competition, moving items from a full bowl to an empty one and seeing who’s fastest, but Travis and I worked as a “team”. He tackled the easy item (mini Dandies marshmallows) and I handled the hard one (marbles – tough even for grown-ups!)

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Then we played a Passing Game. Using chopsticks, we passed a rubber band back and forth. Travis loved this one!

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Finally, we played Chopstick in the Hole. Tie a string to a chopstick and then the other end to a player’s wrist.

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The goal was to lower the chopstick into an empty water bottle. There may, in fact, have been some cheating involved.

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But Travis was still so proud!

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Hummus & Mango Sandwich

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You can introduce new flavors in kid-friendly sandwich form with this fun, easy lunch. It’s a great one for school lunchboxes, if you’ll be packing those up again soon!


  • 2 slices whole wheat bread
  • 1 tablespoon hummus
  • Mango slices
  1. Spread the hummus on one of the bread slices. Top evenly with thin mango slices to taste (you’ll probably want about 1/8 cup per sandwich).
  2. Top with the remaining bread slice, and cut into triangles to serve.

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Fly Swatter Painting

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This art project is messy, so you’re going to want to take it outside. But I can happily report that it’s worth the effort!

I placed a long sheet of craft paper on our back patio, securing the corners with heavy rocks so it wouldn’t blow away. (As an alternative, you could clip craft paper to a fence or other outdoor surface that is upright).

Then I set out a tray with several different colors of metallic craft paint. You’ll need a nice puddle of paint for this project to work well, so don’t worry if the colors mix together.

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I dipped our fly swatter in the paint, making sure to coat it evenly, then showed Veronika how to say “Whap!” and slap it down hard on the craft paper.

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Well of course now “Whap!” was the most fun thing in the world to say.

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Dip and whap, dip and whap, dip and whsp.

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She loved every bit of this project, both dipping the fly swatter in paint, and seeing the marks she made.

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She wanted to whack the fly swatter against the rocks, too!

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Her little feet paraded all around the craft paper, making sure she covered her big canvas.

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As a bonus, our fly swatter happens to be flower-shaped, so it made beautiful prints!

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This project likely won’t get you a lasting work of art. But Veronika sure loved the process!

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Car Wash

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This is one of those activities that turned out to be just beautiful. I had originally intended the game for Veronika after a morning trip to have our real car inspected, but big brother Travis was eager to join in, too!

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We have a kid-sized Mustang that was perfect for the activity, but truly any kid “vehicle” would work, whether toddler ride-on toys, old tricycles, or bikes! Pull out the buckets, sponges, mild dish soap, and rags, and set your washers to work.

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Both kids immediately loved dipping little sponges in the bucket of soapy water and scrubbing gently all over the car.

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Travis focused on the exterior…

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…while Veronika liked cleaning the seats!

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When it was all soaped up, we rinsed with the hose. Then it was time to towel dry.

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And then of course we took the car for a spin!

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This was watery, soapy, sunshine-y summer magic at its best.

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Beachy Creature Feet

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It’s just about the end of summer, which means by next year any current flip-fops are not going to fit your kids’ feet anymore. So here’s a fun way to transform those flippies as the season winds down!

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I had each of the kids select which kind of “creature” paws they wanted, care of a few suggestions in Highlights magazine, then helped trace and cut the shapes out on craft foam.

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If your kids truly won’t be wearing their flip-flops again, you can use tacky glue to adhere the foam, as well as additional foam dots or stripes for decoration. If you want a more temporary version (we still have a few beach days left!) use double-stick tape for a fun, reversible transformation.

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They loved stomping around as creatures for a little bit!

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I’d say these were the cutest critters on the beach.

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