Roasted Carrots and Grapes

Roasted Carrots and Grapes

Roasting fruits and veggies together makes for a surprising flavor combo that’s sure to delight little taste buds!

Ingredients:

  • 1 (10-ounce) package baby carrots
  • 3 cups red grapes, quartered
  • 1 pear, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  1. Steam the carrots in the microwave for 3 minutes; let cool, then slice into thirds.
  2. Combine the carrots in a bowl with the grapes and pears; set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the butter in the microwave for about 20 seconds, until melted. Stir in the cinnamon and agave nectar. Pour the butter mixture over the carrot mixture, tossing to coat.
  4. Spoon the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes.

We served these alongside a simple lentil and rice curry!

Spoon Puppets

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I had a few old wooden spoons that never get used for cooking anymore, so today the kids turned them into puppets!

First, I invited everyone over for painting, trotting out a few bright neon colors of tempera paint for the occasion. Veronika chose a neon orange and purple, and Travis gravitated right to the neon green.

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I loved watching the kids paint side-by-side!

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Let dry completely. Now it was time to give our spoons a little personality! I set out a variety of odds and ends from the craft bin and let the kids pick what they wanted. Travis wanted wiggle eyes and a little outfit to turn his green spoon into Baby Yoda. Veronika liked buttons and pipe cleaners!

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Your kids can glue on all their crafty bits with white glue, if desired. Since my kids wanted to play with the puppets right away, I used hot glue to make quick work of it.

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These were so cute for acting out little stories! Veronika named hers Mr. Tricky, and carried him around almost the entire rest of the day.

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Condensed Milk Edible Finger Paint

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I love finding new ways to make edible finger paint for toddlers, and this version couldn’t be easier. Just crack open a can of condensed milk, add food coloring, and your little artist is ready to paint! For a vegan version, try the sweetened condensed coconut milk from Nature’s Charm.

I spooned a little bit into each of three plastic cups and put a small toy spoon in each cup. Veronika loves these little spoons, so she was excited to help stir a few drops of food coloring into each one. We used green, blue, and red.

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Since she already had the spoon in hand, she first used this as her tool to dribble or rub the paint over thick watercolor paper. But I encouraged her to use her hands, and so she curiously dipped in a finger.

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Then she was brave enough to do some smearing! The condensed coconut milk is very thick and creamy, much more so than regular slippery finger paint, so it was a great new sensory experience for her.

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She’s been very into Blue’s Clues lately, and discovered that if she pressed her hand down, she left a paw print “clue” just like Blue can!

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She requested I leave a paw print, too. There’s nothing like playing with your toddler to embrace your inner child and get a little goopy!

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In fact, Veronika then loved rubbing the paint all over her hands and smooshing her palms together. Needless to say, once her masterpieces of finger paint were finished, we ended with a good hand washing.

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Interestingly, she never tasted this one, but it was nice to know she could have, had she wanted to.

Nuts and Bolts

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When Travis was in preschool, he had a whole “tool shop” apparatus of screws that pointed up through a wooden board, onto which he could attach all manner of washers, bolts, twist tops, plastic caps, and more. It was fun, but it was also complicated! For pure toddler fun, try this much easier variation to keep little hands busy, using only a few different sizes of nuts and bolts.

This is definitely an activity for older toddlers who are past the stage of putting objects in their mouth. And even so, be sure to supervise play closely.

I gave Veronika several nuts and bolts in two sizes, first just setting them down for her to explore with all her senses. I pointed out the size comparison to her, and we sorted them by big and little.

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Next, I showed her how to twist the little nuts down the ridges of the bolts.

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She quite quickly loved screwing these off and on. At first she thought she could simply push on the nuts, so it was a good lesson in perseverance when she realized that twisting was necessary.

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This mess-free game is great exercise for little fingers, and sure to keep mischievous hands busy!

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