Teach Your Child To… Tie Their Shoes

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January is a great time to introduce the idea of a New Year’s resolution, and to help your kid focus on learning a new skill. When Travis overheard a classmate say their resolution was to learn to tie their shoes, I seized on the opportunity to tackle this big kid skill!

We tried two methods, and here’s what worked best for Travis:

First, he sat in my lap so we were both facing the laces in the same direction. Cross one lace over the other to form an X and tuck one lace through the hole; pull tight. So far so good!

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Now make one bunny ear, and pinch closed with your fingers over your child’s. Wrap the other lace around and push through the hole until it makes a second bunny ear. Now pull the ears tight. We called the loose ends the “whiskers” to stick with the bunny theme!

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Travis could do this method from my lap, but not once he tried it solo. So it was time for two bunny ears. Instead of forming just one, form two “bunny ears”, then cross them into an X and tuck one bunny ear through the hole. Pull tight.

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Little sister Veronika might not be ready to tie her laces, but she sure wanted to try on the shoes!

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Which method works best for your child: one bunny ear or two? Please share in the comments!

Winter Star Sensory Ice

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This ice activity is really just good old-fashioned ice exploration, but with a winter twist to give it the guise of something new!

To make our sparkly “winter” ice, ideally use a star or snowflake ice cube mold and freeze overnight. Lacking such a mold, I used winter-themed cookie cutters instead (a pine tree, snowflake, star, and heart). This was a bit trickier because I had to lift the cookie cutters from a larger dish after the water started to freeze, but before the cookie cutters were frozen solid! I also sprinkled star-shaped glitter into the water before freezing for extra winter sparkle.

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When we took the ice out of the freezer the next morning, Veronika was delighted. “It’s a little snowflake!” she said, spotting this shape.

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We used our senses to explore them, and she carefully touched her fingers to the ice. “Ooh, that’s cold!” she said.

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Then we placed them in a little dish of water to see what would happen. The small shapes melted almost instantly. Good thing our larger star shape lasted much longer.

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She loved picking this one up and transferring it in and out of the water, testing how cold it was each time.

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This was a fun winter twist on early STEM exploration of liquids vs. solids. With older toddlers, you can delve more into how water can come in three states (solid, liquid, and gas); test sprinkling salt on the ice cubes to melt them faster; or see if the ice shapes melt faster inside or outside.

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