Washing Vegetables

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If you have a toddler who’s eager to help in the kitchen (say while an older sibling is cooking by your side), here’s the perfect task that he or she can tackle solo!

I set out a tray with just a little water, along with a cloth, a vegetable scrubber, and a few extra veggies. Use fruits and vegetables that you know you’ll peel later (think russet potatoes, eggplants, or citrus fruits), so it doesn’t matter if your little one actually makes the vegetables dirtier on the floor rather than cleaner.

We had a few extra eggplants and I showed Veronika how to scrub at the skin with the vegetable brush.

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She was an eager helper and liked dabbing at them gently with a cloth. When the eggplants were “clean”, I showed her how to pat them dry, too. This little activity is so simple but made her feel just as important in the kitchen as big brother.

Washing Vegetables (#)


Beginner Object Line Tracing

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Here’s a neat hack that allows a toddler to practice following lines like tracing, but which doesn’t require holding a pencil or marker: “Trace” with objects instead!

Great first letters for toddlers are always their name, since this is often the first world they’ll have to write. I like to use Veronika’s nickname so she’s not overwhelmed too many letters, so I spelled out V-I-K-A in blue painter’s tape.

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Next, I showed her how to arrange our set of colored dominoes along these lines.

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She caught on quickly, and although her focus often wandered (she was very interested in talking about the colors of the dominoes, too), she was easily redirected to the task and followed along as I helped her fill in all the letters.

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This was a great chance to say the name of each letter, too, and the sound it makes. The giant size of the tape letters definitely invited interaction! She loved standing in the empty space of the V…

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…or walking along the lines of the A. In fact, you could encourage your toddler to trace the letters with his or her feet!

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Just to gauge where she’s at with pen control, I did give her a marker at the end of our play to see if she wanted to follow the big lines of tape with it. She preferred drawing small circles or loops on the tape instead, so we’re not quite there yet!

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Winter Snowflake Slime

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We don’t make slime often, so this winter snowflake version today was a real treat for Veronika! I did use borax powder for this particular slime recipe, but there are lots of alternatives (including saline solution or liquid starch) if you’d rather not. Since I knew Veronika would be using craft sticks to play with the material, and not her hands, I felt comfortable about the borax.

To make the slime, combine 1/2 cup white glue and 1/2 cup warm water in a bowl or tray.

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Next, add silver glitter: lots! I used large flakes of silver to make it look like snow in the wintry white slime. You could also search for glitter in the shape of actual snowflakes at the craft store! Finally, dissolve 1/4 teaspoon borax powder in 1/2 cup hot water. Add this to the glue mixture and it will seize up instantly.

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Our mixture turned out almost like ooblek, running back towards a liquid when we didn’t touch it, but seizing up as soon as we stirred or scooped. Needless to say, Veronika was fascinated. She loved watching me lift up big handfuls of it.

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She would stir with her craft stick and then lift it to pull up big globs before watching it dribble back down.

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If we touched our two craft sticks together, the mixture was so sticky!

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And of course the silver glitter and white color made us think of sparkly snow. If you want, recite your favorite word play or nursery rhyme about snowflakes while your toddler plays and stirs.

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Here’s one we like, which you can say as you flutter your fingers like snowflakes.

Softly, softly, falling so,

This is how the snowflakes go.

Pitter-patter, pitter-patter,

Pit pit pat,

Down go the raindrops

On my hat.

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