Little Passports: Ireland

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Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, Travis’s latest package from Little Passports was all about Ireland. We loved delving deeper into the Emerald Isle than just leprechauns. After putting on his passport flag stamp and map push pin, Travis turned to the booklet.

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Topics this month included Irish symbols like Celtic knots and Claddagh rings, but the activities were a touch advanced for a 1st grader, including spotting minute symmetrical differences and locating castles on a map.

Souvenir:

‘Sam and Sofia’ had included a magic paint book this month, each page featuring a fun fact about Ireland. Travis liked it and I appreciated that it got him doing some arts & crafts!

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Further Activities:

Online activities included a pretty coloring page of Celtic knots, as well as lyrics to a popular Irish folk song. The topic had us instantly searching online to hear a version of it, which led to watching some Irish dancing online as well. That’s the next best thing since we can’t attend a performance in person this year!

I was a touch disappointed there were no more hands-on crafts with this particular kit, but Travis has just made a leprechaun trap as a school assignment.

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Recipe:

As always, our tummies got to enjoy the country exploration, too. We made this loaf of Irish Soda Bread to enjoy for breakfast on St. Patrick’s Day.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 tablespoons Earth Balance butter, chilled
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Scant 1 and 3/4 cups soy milk
  • 1 Ener-G or flax egg
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda; set aside.
  2. Cut the butter into a small pieces and add to the flour mixture; mix with your fingers until the mixture is like coarse crumbs. Stir in the raisins.
  3. Meanwhile, pour the lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup. Add enough soy milk to equal and 1 and 3/4 cups. Let stand for 5 minutes to clabber the mixture (like dairy buttermilk).
  4. Add the Ener-G egg, orange rind, and soy milk mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring to combine; the dough will be sticky.
  5. Using floured hands, shape into a loaf and place on a greased baking sheet. Make 2 slits in the top of the loaf with a knife, then bake at 425 degrees F for 40 minutes.

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DIY Rainbow Salt Tray

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This colored salt activity looks beautiful, is great for sensory play, and is guaranteed to keep your toddler busy.

Preparation is remarkably easy. For the best result, you want to use large salt crystals, rather than regular table salt. I used kosher salt, but rock salt would have been even better! I poured a little salt into each of 6 zip-top plastic bags, then added food coloring to each, mixing two colors where needed to result in a full rainbow. Seal the bags and shake to combine. Your toddler might want to help with this part!

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I then arranged the salts in rainbow rows on a craft tray. In remarkably short time (only about 30 minutes), the color on the salt had dried and was ready for play.

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I had no agenda for Veronika other than to enjoy! I set out small glass jars and she immediately was spooning salt into them. She loved seeing or choosing what color was on her spoon…

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…as well as observing the mix of colors that resulted in the jars.

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Then she started pouring from one jar to another instead of using spoons, great for her fine motor skills and her concentration!

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I think she was busy making potions.

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She did sometimes spoon or stir through the salt on the tray, but the jars were the main draw today.

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How long did Veronika play solo? Let’s just say I had time to finish the Sunday puzzle page. When she started picking up handfuls of it to scatter on the floor, we called it quits for clean-up!

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