Potty Pals

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Veronika has shown an early interest in the potty, but although she knows all the potty steps (sit, wipe, flush, wash!), she has yet to actually go on the potty. Given that we have even more hours to fill indoors this COVID winter than a normal one, it seems the ideal time to potty train.

To make the potty exciting, try this simple trick: I cut smiles and eyes from construction paper, then adhered these to larger pieces of contact paper which could stick to the underside of a toilet lid. I also attached a set to her training potty!

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When I brought her into the bathroom, she was delighted! “It has a smile!” she exclaimed. “The potty has eyes!”

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Of course she immediately wanted to sit.

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If you want to get more graphic with the method, tell your toddler that the potty is thirsty and he or she can help fill its belly each time he or she goes!

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This likely won’t be enough in and of itself to potty train her, but she’s young and we’re in no rush. Right now, the goal is to ease any anxiety about the toilet and make it seem friendly and fun.

Learning Letters Lineup to Squirt

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I’ve noticed Veronika singing the alphabet to herself a lot lately, and she’s starting to identify a few of the letters correctly by name. This little game seemed like a fun next step to test her letter knowledge. After all, what toddler doesn’t love to squirt things with water?

Ideally, I would have done this activity on a chalkboard so it could be repeated, but I don’t own one large enough. Instead, I wrote out the alphabet in white crayon on a thick piece of black poster board. I then set out a tray with the magnet letters from our fridge and handed her the first one as a test.

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“What letter is it?” I asked her. She correctly identified V, and then I asked if she could find the corresponding V on the poster board.

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Once she matched each magnet letter to crayon letter, I told her she could spritz her target. Whoa, permission to spritz! She immediately loved this game.

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It was eye opening to see which letters she knows (m, v, and i are early ones), and which ones she wasn’t sure (s, r).

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Either way, she could always pair a magnet to its corresponding crayon shape even if she didn’t know the letter’s name, simply by matching them, and much more quickly than I would have guessed!

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And then came the fun chance to squirt.

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This was a great set-up to leave out for her all afternoon, as she happily mixed and matched the magnets or scribbled some more on the “chalkboard”.

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Easy Winter Sensory Bin

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If you need to occupy a toddler on a cold winter day, simply throw a few items that seem “wintry” onto a tray and call it a winter sensory bin!

Yes, this really was as simple as that, just some odds and ends to keep Veronika busy for a short while. I raided the craft bin for items that fit the theme and ended up using: packing peanuts for their snowy white color and puffy texture; sparkly silver and gold ribbon; white and blue pom poms that were like mini snowballs; and some sparkly silver and blue chenille stems that seemed like icicles.

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The mix of textures, sizes, and shapes turned out great! Veronika could pretend she was sifting through snow with the packing peanuts and pom poms.

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For a little fine motor work added in, I also set a couple of spring-type clothespins on the tray and encouraged her to pinch some of the items.

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She proudly lifted a pom pom! The crinkly ribbon, meanwhile, made a wonderful sound and was great fun to lift up and then let “snow” down.

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Her bin was a mess by the end, the sure sign that she’d had some tactile wintry fun.

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No-Bake Banana Cookies

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These sweet treats aren’t actually cookies at all, but sugary bananas are a wonderful secret imposter in many desserts. This particular sweet treat is so easy that your toddler can help with every step!

To start, I poured about 1/2 cup Annie’s bunny grahams into a zip-top plastic bag ((or use regular graham crackers) and showed Veronika how to tap with a rolling pin until crushed.

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Next, we added slices of ripe banana to the bag. Seal the bag and shake shake shake!

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Arrange the bananas slices on a plate and your “cookies” are ready. Even better, there’s no wait for the oven required!

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