Coconut Pineapple Rice Pudding

Coconut Pineapple Rice Pudding

If your baby doesn’t like oatmeal for breakfast (which always seems to be the go-to for little ones), try rice instead! This sweet treat also makes a great sugar-free dessert. Look for organic canned pineapple like Native Forest.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  1. Spoon the rice into the bottom of a casserole dish with lid; set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the pineapple and coconut milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. Pour the pineapple mixture over the rice and place the lid on the casserole dish. Bake at 325 degrees F for 1 hour.

Rhythm Sticks

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These easy DIY rhythm sticks lend themselves to so many games, musical and otherwise! To make a few simple pairs, I purchased dowels at the craft store and painted each set a different color. For starters we had blue and purple, but keep adding to your collection for lots of colors if desired.

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Once the paint dried, I showed Veronika a few easy ways to play with them. First I simply encouraged her to tap the sticks while I hummed a song.

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Then I held out one of the sticks from my pair so she could tap against mine. This is almost like rhythm stick Patty Cake.

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We put on music and just played along, of course!

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Then it was fun to challenge her to match color to color. Keep this particular version up as your baby advances to toddlerhood.

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It can also be fun to see how your baby uses the sticks, perhaps in ways you haven’t imagined, and to imitate the moves. Veronika liked rolling hers on the floor…

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…and waving them in the air. So I followed suit!

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We loved this musical interlude together.

Hide the Ball Memory Game

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My dad used to perform a “magic trick” when I was a child, hiding a ball under one cup only to seemingly make it reappear from under another like magic. This is a simpler variation on that old trick, perfect to play with your almost-one-year-old!

I used only two cups and a ball because I knew the items themselves would be of great interest to Veronika, who sure enough wanted to grab everything nearly before I had time to hide the ball. Use three cups if your baby is more patient!

I let her see me hide a ball under one of the cups, then asked her where it was.

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Each time her hand immediately moved to the cup over the ball, almost too fast for me to snap a good picture.

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Obviously this game is great for object permanence. Even cuter, this time she wanted to hide the ball herself. As soon as she uncovered it, she puzzled over how to insert the ball so it was hiding again.

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Inevitably her cup was facing upwards, not down, but I loved watching her brain at work on this one.

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Mosaic Art

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When I first spotted this craft idea online, the suggestion was to draw a picture and then cut into squares before gluing down to form a mosaic. It turns out Travis didn’t want to draw his own picture… but he did love making a mosaic from an existing Star Wars picture!

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I drew a grid on the page he selected and Travis loved cutting along the lines until we had 30 or so small squares.

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Note: It’s helpful to label these on the backside so that the mosaic comes together without frustration.

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We selected green construction paper as the background and then began gluing down the squares, leaving some green showing on all sides. This is also a great lesson in counting for kindergartners. Travis loved seeing the battle droids take shape again.

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At the end, we had a fun piece of mosaic artwork.

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Make Your Own Soccer Ball

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After reading about homemade soccer balls used by kids the world over, specifically in Zimbabwe thanks to a Highlights magazine article, Travis was inspired to make his own! We sort of winged it on this one, but our little ball turned out great.

We only needed three items: a plastic bag, old newspaper, and string.

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First I helped Travis wad up newspaper and stuff into one small (3 gallon) plastic bag.

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I knotted it when about half full and pulled the bag inside out around the knot for a double layer. This was our “core.” We then repeated with a second bag and more newspaper, securing with a second knot and fold over.

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Knead with your hands into a more round shape if your ball is looking a bit oval. Now tie string around the outside. Four strings held ours tight.

Time to go play!

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Travis loved playing pass and taking shots on a goal. We were both so pleased with how well it rolled and held up.

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Next time you find yourself without a ball, don’t be daunted: make one!

Sporty Cookie Cake

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Every good game needs a sweet finish, and this giant cookie from Travis’s Game Day Raddish Kids is perfect if you’re watching sports with a crowd this fall!

First, combine 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl.

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In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 3/4 cup softened Earth Balance butter, 1/4 cup sugar, and 3/4 cup brown sugar. Beat until combined. Add 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon flax whisked into 3 tablespoons water) and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Beat until creamy. Watching the stand mixer is always Travis’s favorite part!

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Add the flour mixture and 1 cup vegan chocolate chips to the wet ingredients; beat until combined.

Pat the dough into a 9-inch round cake pan coated with cooking spray.

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Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes; the edges should be browned and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean (as long as you don’t hit a melted chocolate chip!).

Let cool slightly. Meanwhile, combine 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons plain non-dairy creamer in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, and stir until the chocolate is melted.

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Spoon the chocolate mixture into a zip-top plastic bag and snip a hole in one corner. Decorate the cake to look like your kids’ favorite sports ball.

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Travis chose a baseball!

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This dessert was declared a big winner.

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Plan a Treat

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Today’s blog activity wasn’t for Veronika; it was for mommy and daddy!

It’s so important to remember to do something special for yourself now and then, whether that means connecting with a partner over a night out on the town, or having friends in for a movie.

A local “speakeasy” with inventive cocktails was on the menu, while grandparents kept watch.

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It was the best feeling to return and hear that Veronika didn’t make a peep but we got to sneak in some grown-up time. My best suggestion for a night like this is to keep the conversation away from the kids; focus on you.

If you don’t have a grandparent nearby who can babysit but the cost of babysitters is prohibitive, one other great idea is a babysitting circle. You can join an app, or simply watch a friend’s kids one night and they watch yours the next. And everyone gets to enjoy a treat!

Hand Over Hand

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This little game can be played anywhere, and is sure to have your baby giggling!

The idea is simple: Place your hand down, palm facing down, and encourage your baby to cover it with his or her hand. Then continue piling hands. Pull out your hand from the bottom and now it goes on top. Surprise!

It may be easiest to play first with another grown-up or a sibling so baby can see the idea.

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Then Veronika wanted a turn! It’s this kind of simple entertainment that is sometimes the best.Hand over Hand (1)

Game Day Guacamole

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It was a lazy football Sunday for us today, and that meant whipping up a batch of game day guac! Kids will love scooping avocado flesh from the peels and mashing everything up!

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1 tomato
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime
  1. Cut the avocados in half and pit. Spoon the flesh into a bowl.Game Day Guac (2)
  2. Mash with a potato masher.Game Day Guac (3)
  3. Core and chop the tomato; add to the bowl along with the cilantro.
  4. Cut the lime in half and squeeze over the avocado mixture, stirring to combine

Serve with tortilla chips of course.

While shopping for ingredients, we also took the opportunity to hunt for iconic fall harvest foods.

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Travis helped spot pumpkins, pears, apples, and more.

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It can also be interesting to point out items that aren’t in season, a quick lesson for kids on modern grocery stores versus traditional seasonal foods.

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Game on!

Football Math Touchdown

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This math-heavy lesson from Raddish Kids was a little tough to tailor to a kindergartner, but I appreciated the challenge, and that Raddish had us thinking about new concepts and skills. We’re excited to make more ballpark fare to go along with the learning!

The lesson begins with brainstorming a list of sports. I put white poster board up on the wall just like a teacher and gave Travis a big sports-couch-voice, “Go!” He soon had a great list.

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I told him today we would focus on football, and went through some of the facts that Raddish provided. Did you know that the first official football game was all the way back in 1869? We watched a quick overview of the rules and took a look at all the gear players have to wear.

Pause a moment and make a second chart with your child, focusing on what we learn from losing and what we learn from winning. I was proud of Travis coming up with items like, “You learn not to cheat” and “not getting upset when you lose”.

Now go over a bit of football facts and figures (6 points for a touchdown, 3 points for a field goal etc.) and set up some math problems with manipulatives. We used dried beans, and I talked Travis through three problems. First up, addition:

If the Dallas Cowboys scored 2 touchdowns and 2 extra points, how many points did they have altogether?

Travis counted out 6 beans for each touchdown, plus the extra two, then added them all up. This is a sophisticated problem for a kindergartner, and I don’t think he even realized it!

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We next did subtraction:

Last night the Kansas City Chiefs lost to the New York Jets by a score of 7 to 10. How many fewer points did the Chiefs have?

Again, manipulatives made it a cinch. He counted out each team’s score in beans, then took away 7 from the Jets pile. How many were left? “Three!” he declared.

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Finally, fractions:

If there are 4 quarters in a game and 2 have been played, how many are left?

Beans made the answer clear.

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After that big brain workout, we needed a physical one! We played two fun variations on “football” that we found online, adapting them to be a mom-and-son game instead of requiring teams. For the first, I set up a yoga mat as the end zone. His job was to get as many balls as possible into the end zone in 1 minute.

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For the second, he stood on a target (we used stacking rings) and had to catch a ball. If he caught it, he moved the target to his end zone for a point.

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We even had an adorable cheerleader on the sidelines!

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Finish up with a football read at storytime. Travis enjoyed A Running Back Can’t Always Rush, by Nate LeBoutillier

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