Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate (2)

This recipe makes just enough for one, but is easily doubled or tripled. Ice cubes cool it down to the perfect tot temp, and are built right into the ingredient list!


  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 2 ice cubes
  1. Combine the agave, cocoa powder, and vanilla in the bottom of an empty coffee mug. Meanwhile, warm the soy milk in saucepan over medium heat just until warm.
  2. Pour the soy milk over the other ingredients, whisking to combine, then add the ice cubes.

Hot Chocolate (1)


Go, Car, Go!

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Today seemed ripe for a little cause-and-effect play with Veronika. We built a series of “ramps” out of books or board game boxes for her cars, and then experimented with them in multiple ways!

To start, I stacked up a few books and then set one at an angle as a ramp. I aimed for a medium incline with this first round, and showed her how to set a car at the top and give it a push. Gravity does the rest of course!

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First, she simply experimented with driving the car up and then letting it go. She tended to let go in the middle of the ramp, not the top, but it was great for a toddler effort!

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Now to add a little early STEM to the lesson. What if the stack was very low and our tilted book wasn’t steep at all?

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She seemed more confused by this set-up than anything else, so I quickly changed the slope again. Now we had a really steep incline! She loved when we set two cars at once down the slide and made it a race.

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From here, it turned into more of an engineering project, with a stack of books in the middle and multiple books angling down as ramps from all sides.

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I let her explore any way she wanted, whether driving cars up the ramps, letting them race down, or sometimes just gathering them all near the top in a little parking garage.

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Pom Pom Busy Box

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I needed a box to keep Veronika busy this morning, and I needed it fast! This one fit the bill. First, I filled a plastic toy bin with pom poms – as many as you can! Be sure to include lots of different colors and lots of different sizes. I then set out a few empty cardboard tubes and some brightly colored straws, thinking these would be great for scooping and stirring.

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Veronika very quickly had other plans. She loved the straws and pretended she had a “smoothie”. So I made her one! I showed her how to stuff pom poms into the cardboard tubes like “juice”, then insert the straw.

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Now she was running a juice bar!

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When she tired of that game, there was still so much more to do. Next, we buried a few favorite small toys in the pom poms. “Where are you bunny?” she called, as she sifted through either with fingers or with the straws.

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For older kids, you could even make this more of an ‘I Spy’ search with laminated pictures of every object you hide, but I knew that would be too advanced for Veronika.

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Next we had fun watching items drop through the tubes. We could drop a toy down to land with a plop in the soft pile of poms pom. Or just let handfuls of pom poms rain through.

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She was frustrated trying this a few times with the largest pom poms, which wedged into the tube instead of slipping through, so it turned into a useful lesson on relative size.

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And then sometimes she just wanted to run her fingers through the whole pile for the feel of it, or stir with the straws, or stuff the tubes full of pom poms.

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Needless to say, this bin lived up to its name; it was the perfect way to keep her busy.

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Sink or Float Toys

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There are many ways to teach the notion of what sinks and what floats to a toddler, but I loved that this one could be done right before bath time without any special materials needed.

I lined up a variety of objects on the side of Veronika’s bath, some I knew would sink (toy cars, a spoon) and others I knew would float (her rubber ducky, toy boats).

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It was up to her to toss them all in from the line-up and see how they landed in the water.

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Some, like a plastic apple or the rubber duck gave a splash and and a bounce before bobbing along on the surface. Others made a big plunk (the car!) and sank to the bottom. We stopped to talk about each of these different ways that the objects had made the water move.

It was the first time I saw a spark in Veronika’s eyes as I repeated the words “sink” and “float” deliberately.

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By the time she was sitting in the tub and playing with all the items, she was using the words in full sentences. “The spoon sinks! The boat floats!” A great first lesson on this everyday scientific concept.

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