You Pick Popcorn Mix

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Kids can mix and match to make the version they like best for this fun popcorn snack mix. It packs up great for snack at school, or just keep it on hand at home if you need to fuel through a marathon Zoom session.

Before even eating, this recipe was so fun to make. First, Travis loved watching the bag of popcorn pop in the microwave. I fooled him into thinking we had a dud bag in the first minute, until all those pop pop pops began, and then he was ecstatic.

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Now add mix-ins to taste, using a ratio of 1 cup popcorn to 1/3 cup nuts or seeds, 1/3 cup dried fruit, and 1/3 cup healthy sweets. Here were the four variations that we tried.

Version 1: 1 cup popcorn + 1/3 cup peanuts + 1/3 cup dried cranberries + 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips + 1 tablespoon melted butter

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Version 2: 1 cup popcorn + 1/3 cup sunflower seeds + 1/3 cup banana chips + 1/3 cup coconut flakes + 1/2 teaspoon salt

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Version 3: 1 cup popcorn + 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds + 1/3 cup raisins + 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips + 1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar

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Version 4: 1 cup popcorn + 1/3 cup slivered almonds + 1/3 cup dried cranberries + 1/3 cup coconut flakes + 1 tablespoon melted butter

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You can even throw in a few math problems as you nosh so this counts toward math home school of the day! For example, count the number of kernels in 1 cup of popcorn, then multiply that by a factor of 2.

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Big kids can try making up their own equations! And the littlest kids can just enjoy the taste.

Picture Menus

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If your toddler loves playing with toy food and kitchen sets, here’s a fun way to extend the play!

I went through old magazines and clipped out images of food, then glued them onto small paper plates. You can either attach one food item per plate, or make little “meals”.

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Now I set Veronika up with her own “restaurant”. I mimicked how to be a server, bringing over a plate. “Here is your soup and sandwich,” I could say. Or, I flipped the game on its head and said, “I’d like the pasta please,” to see if she could bring me the right plate.

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Of course she wanted to combine these plates with her food toys, which meant the game could extend into solo play.

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The plates are also great vocab builders, because there might be foods that your toddler has never seen before.

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Incidentally, if your child is having a difficult time vocalizing their wants, these images would be a great way to ease frustration at meal time. Cut out images of foods you actually cook or keep in the pantry, and ask your child to point to the one they want!