Basic Cereal Threading

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This easy threading game is a great intro to the activity for toddlers. All of the items involved (play dough, cereal, and dry spaghetti) lend themselves to solo toddler play either before or after the activity, too, meaning you’ll get double-duty from one game.

To set up, we first rolled a few balls from different colors of play dough. Veronika loved helping with this step.

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I then speared a strand of dry spaghetti into each mound of play dough. We were working on a craft tray, so I simply poured out some o-shaped cereal right onto the tray. If you’re doing this activity in a high chair, give your toddler a bowl of the cereal instead.

I showed her how to thread one cereal piece at a time onto the spaghetti. After a few misses, she was quickly a pro at the activity!

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I loved watching her work with great care, not only looping the cereal over the top, but then holding onto it as she guided it all the way down to the play dough base.

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Don’t be surprised if there’s some snacking involved, too, with all the cereal around!

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Sweet Potato Cakes

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There’s a lot going on in this recipe, and it’s a great way to introduce foods or flavors that your kids might never have tried before, such as red lentils or pumpkin seeds.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 4 slices vegan bacon
  • 2 cups peeled and shredded sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup chopped pumpkin seeds,
  • 4 Ener-G eggs
  • 1 cup shredded non-dairy cheddar
  1. Place the lentils in a bowl and cover with the boiling water. Let stand for 20 minutes, then drain and return the lentils to the bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the red onion and bacon; cook for 6 minutes.
  3. Stir in the shredded sweet potato, followed by the softened lentils, pumpkin seeds, Ener-G eggs, and cheddar.
  4. Line a 13×9-inch baking dish with parchment paper and spoon in the lentil mixture. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake a final 10 minutes.
  5. Cool completely, then cut into squares or fun shapes with cookie cutters! We tried circles and hearts for a little bit of whimsy at dinner.

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Bundt Pan Suncatcher

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We’ve made sparkly winter suncatchers in cookie cutter shapes before, but this year we decided to think big: Bundt pan big that is!

To start this gorgeous project, head off on a treasure gathering hunt. Veronika especially loved finding the bright pop of red berries and collecting small pine cones as we took a walk.

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Once home, I filled a Bundt pan with water about half full, then we plunked in our treasures.

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Now simply set it outside to freeze! We actually had to wait a few days for this to work, since first I realized our layer of water was simply too deep and poured some out. Then we needed a night that dipped down to 20 degrees, and finally we woke to a beautifully solid chunk of ice.

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To unmold, simply run the bottom of the pan under a little hot water and slip out gently. I wrapped a bright ribbon through the hole in the center of this ice “cake” and suspended it from a tree branch.

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This was absolutely gorgeous in the sunlight!

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Travis loved that way that tiny icicles began to form near the bottom as the sun warmed the ice through a little.

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We’re hoping for a few icy cold days so this can last before the sun melts it. As a bonus, all the nature treasures can simply fall where they lie as the suncatcher melts. Just be sure to clean up the ribbon!

Primary Colors Squishy Bag and Storytime

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This activity is 50% storytime and 50% art activity, and 100% fun for your toddler.

I set up the color squishy bags first so they would be ready to go. Squirt one primary color into the bottom left corner of a small zip-top plastic bag, and then a second primary color in the top right corner. Seal tightly and tape down to the floor with duct tape. Repeat so that each primary color is paired once with the other two.

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Now I was ready to invite Veronika over for this hands-on storytime! There are so many wonderful color books you can read, but we love Press Here and Mouse Paint, both of which are particularly good for talking about primary colors.

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As we read through Mouse Paint, we copied the mice! As the red one danced in the yellow paint, we squished that bag together and got orange! The middle mouse mixed yellow and blue to make green, and we followed along with our squishy bag.

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And finally the third mouse mixed red into blue, and Veronika did the same. She loved that the storytime was so interactive, not to mention simply loved the squishy feel of the paint bags!

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There were lots of ways for her to continue the play solo, whether continuing to have fun with the sensory bags or leafing through the pages of the books.

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What’s your toddler’s favorite book about primary colors? Please share in the comments!

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