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Baking with Babies

Hi everyone!  A sudden change to our plans!  We are heading out of town today (for a week) to visit relatives!  This means I won’t be using an activity plan this week to blog about.  Instead, I’ll just choose to blog about some impromptu activities we do!

Today’s post is about an activity we did on the weekend.  Baking!!  Fun…and messy (especially if you’re trying to take pics at the same time)!  I found this recipe on a yogurt container and since I needed to use up the yogurt in the fridge, I thought we’d give it a try.  Plus it’s a healthier muffin recipe which I thought would be more suitable for the babies (however it does have honey, so just be careful with that –  I think honey isn’t recommended until after the age of one?)

I can easily list several skills practiced through a simple baking activity like this (you see there really is learning EVERYWHERE):

  • Language (vocabulary)
  • Creativity (creation of food)
  • Fine Motor (pouring)
  • Gross Motor (mixing)
  • Emotional (confidence, independence)
  • Social (co-operation)
  • Cognitive (following instructions, discovery, exploration, observation)

plus there is a sensory learning aspect too (touching, smelling & tasting ingredients)

So here goes!!!

Honey Strawberry Yogurt Muffins

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Combine 1 cup of bran cereal (we used corn flakes) with 1 1/3 cups of French vanilla yogurt – let stand five minutes.  
  3. Add one egg, 1/2 cup of honey, 1 cup of skim milk, 1/2 cup of margarine (melted)

My favourite part was adding the honey because they would dip their fingers in, then lick them and say “sticky”

4.In a separate bowl combine 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour, 1 1/4 cup of all purpose flour (I used 2 1/2 cups of all purpose) 1.5 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda

5. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined, then fold in 1.5 cups of strawberries – fresh or frozen (we used a frozen berry blend we have on hand)

6.  Fill muffin tins and bake for 25-30 minutes.  (I did let the babies fill a couple muffin tins but I couldn’t take a picture at the same time)

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

7. Find something to do while the muffins cook because Mommy said, “we have to wait now”.  They didn’t like the sound of that but I put on a timer and told them to listen for it because that is when we can get the food out of the oven.

8. The timer went of and they were SOOOOO excited!  We ran to the oven and when I took out the muffins they looked at each other and could barely contain their amazement!  What happened in there?  This is the first time that they have been involved in cooking from the very beginning to the very end.  I could see in their eyes that they made some important connections (about what “cooking” is and what the oven does and starting with one thing to create something different).  Of course I can’t say exactly what they understood about cooking but as a teacher and parent you can see when “the wheels are turning” and when “the penny drops”. 

Milk in hands, ready to taste our creations!

Milk in hands, ready to taste our creations!

 

Truth be told, I found this recipe to be pretty good; especially with a bit of melted butter!

Interested in other food related activities?  Click here.

We Like to Make a Good Impression

It’s that time again!  We have come to the end of another Clever Clovers activity plan (Hands & Feet)!  That means we only have one activity plan left (Simple Shapes) and then we are moving on to the next curriculum, Reaching Roses!  I am really looking forward to moving on to the new phase of development (18 – 24 months) and new sets of skills.  Wowzers!  They are growing up quickly!

On alternating Fridays I blog about our final activity (starring my twin babies)

This week’s Theme: Hands & Feet

Activity Description: Make a hand and footprint keepsake out of home-made plaster

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Language, cognitive, creative, gross motor, fine motor, emotional

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 17 months + 3 weeks

1. To warm up I tried to explain what we were going to do.  I don’t think they really understood but they were excited because they knew something fun was going to happen!  I wanted to involve them as much as possible so I made some adjustments to the recipe that is included in the activity plan.  I made the quantity smaller and I didn’t boil the water because I wanted them to be able to manipulate it right away.  Instead, I had them add the salt to the flour and then the water to that mixture.

2.  I knew it was going to get messy so we did this in our pj’s (since they were covered in breakfast anyway).

3.  I realized that I don’t really have toddler friendly cooking tools.  The poor things, were trying to lift heavy glass measuring cups and bowls.  I’m going to start including them a lot more in cooking and baking so I think I’ll invest in some cookware/kitchenware that is more toddler friendly.  If anybody knows of any please leave a comment.

Let’s Get Started!

  • Mix 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt and one cup of water together
O pours the flour into the bowl

O pours the flour into the bowl

M adds the salt

M adds the salt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

O gives it a whisk

O gives it a whisk

M's turn to mix

M’s turn to mix

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

O awkwardly pours in the water but manages to get it in!

O awkwardly pours in the water but manages to get it in!

Opting to stir at the same time rather than take turns

Opting to stir at the same time rather than take turns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Knead the dough, roll the dough and form/cut/press into the desired shape (we did a circle)
M kneads the dough in the bowl

M kneads the dough in the bowl

Each kneading their own dough

Each kneading their own dough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I rolled it out for them

I rolled it out for them – about 1/2 inch thick

O presses the bowl to cut out a circle

O presses the bowl to cut out a circle

O's circle is ready to go!

O’s circle is ready to go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

M's turn!

M’s turn!

M with her perfect circle

M with her perfect circle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Make an imprint/impression of hands and feet (press firmly but not all the way to the bottom or it will be too thin and breakable)
O's footprint

O’s footprint

O's handprint

O’s handprint

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

M's footprint

M’s footprint

M's handprint

M’s handprint

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taa Daa!

Taa Daa!

 

  • Bake at 225 F for about 3 hours (check now and then to see if it has hardened completely)

 

After baking

After baking

  •   Finishing Touches (There are a lot of options here.  I used acrylic paint and sealed it with a varnish.  The sky’s the limit though so feel free to get crafty!)  Also, I did consider letting the babies do the painting, but I wanted a cleanly finished product.  In retrospect, I would have made two each, one for them to paint and one for me to paint.  They didn’t mind, they liked watching me paint them.
Painted hands and feet

Painted hands and feet

Painted background

Painted background

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seal with varnish & embellish

Sealed with varnish & embellished

  •  Final Product (Again, there are options here.  I chose a shadow box, though I think I might get bigger ones and also place in pictures of them making these.  Before baking you can use a pencil or large straw to put a hole in the top so that you can lace some ribbon through to make it a hanging ornament instead.)
Placed in shadow boxes

Placed in shadow boxes

These will look great hanging in their room; the paint colours coordinate with the existing décor.  Also they are at an age now where they remember participating in things.  Every time they see these they keep showing me a hand and foot pressing motion (to indicate that is how they made them).  It’s really sweet & it will make them happy to see them hanging on their wall!

If you are interested in other culminating projects from Clever Clovers, click here.

Have a nice weekend!

We Tried Our Hands at Making Music

Today marks the beginning of the Hands & Feet activity plan from Clever Clovers.  If you have recently bought the curriculum, this is a good one to start with.  The concepts are simple, very familiar and leave a lot of room for demonstration (so that your baby can get used to a little bit of instruction).  Today is all about hands!

Mondays and Wednesdays I choose one activity we did today from the Clever Clovers curriculum and share our experiences (starring my twin babies)

 This week’s Theme: Hands & Feet

Activity Description: Creating Sound: Gather different materials that are safe to bang on (plastic bowl, toy piano, cookie sheet, wood cutting board, ceramic pot etc.) Allow your baby to bang on them with her hands and explore the different sounds she can make.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Creative

Specific Skill: Creating/discovering different sounds

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 17 months + 2 Weeks

1. Our warm up was being introduced to the songs provided in the lesson plans.  The girls really enjoyed these songs!

2.  I explained to them that we were going to use our hands to make some music.  I demonstrated on the table how to bang on it using hands (soft and loud sounds).  They mimicked me and, there was a lot of giggling.  Each time I handed them a new item/material to bang on, I gave a quick introduction, such as, “This is wood.  It’s a cutting board that I we use to cut vegetables on.  What sounds can you make with your hands?”

  • Wood (cutting boards)
Drumming on wooden cutting boards

Drumming on wooden cutting boards

What sounds can you make?

What sounds can you make?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Metal (cookie sheets)
Banging on metal cookie sheets

Banging on metal cookie sheets

M contemplates her hands

M contemplates her hands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Plastic (toy bins)
Tapping on plastic bins

Tapping on plastic bins

M prepares to do a big bang!

M prepares to do a big bang!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok, hercules! M wants to see what the plastic sounds like banging on the table.

Ok, hercules! M wants to see what the plastic sounds like banging on the table.

 

  • Ceramic (Corningware)
O liked experimenting with the different tings and clangs

O experiments with tings & clangs

M likes the ceramic too!

M likes the ceramic too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tapping on ceramic dishes

Tapping on ceramic dishes

  • Glass (pyrex baking dish)
Sharing one dish!

Sharing one dish!

O inspects the texture

O inspects the texture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. The last thing I did was put all of the materials down for them to play with all together.  I took a video but had to chop it into two parts in order to upload it. (I also apologize for the quality of the videos on my blog, I have to lessen the quality in order to be under the upload limit)

 

I’m not sure that this next video is necessary but I like to show elements/efforts in communication.

 

You could also include some soft items if you wished (to notice the lack of sound).  I chose not to because I was more focused on the creation of sounds.

P.S. They are still spending lots of time playing with the sensory toys we made a couple of weeks back.  I highly recommend that activity.  (Click here to find it)

 

Colour us Happy!

We have come to the end of our third week using the Primary Colours (+1) activity plan from Clever Clovers.  (We decided to do a third week to give them more practice).  I can definitely say they have not mastered the four colours presented to them but it’s been a good start (colour is probably the most abstract thing I’ve tried to teach them, and was bound to take time).  Anyway, it’s time for our final project today which is making coloured sensory toys!  So much fun…..and a bit messy!

Every other Friday I blog about our final project (starring my twin babies)

 This week’s Theme: Primary Colours (+1)

Activity Description: Create colourful sensory toys! Allow your baby to participate as much as possible in the creation of these toys.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Creative, Cognitive, Fine Motor, Language, Social, Emotional

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 16 months + 3 weeks

M looking at the materials for today's project with anticipation and a good amount of restraint!

M looking at the materials for today’s project with anticipation AND a good amount of restraint!

Sensory Toy #1: Oil and coloured water (we did yellow)

Use any colourless oil (baby oil works well). Pour about 1-2 cm of oil into the bottle and add coloured water. (don’t fill it completely). Hot glue the lid on. Have fun shaking it and watching it separate.

M adding yellow food colouring to water

M adding yellow food colouring to water

M pours colourless oil

M pours colourless oil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

O pouring in the yellow water

O pouring in the yellow water

 

O points to the oil that is separating

O points to the oil that is separating

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sensory Toy #2: Water, glitter and beads (we did blue) 

Place clear water, glitter (visual effects) and beads (audio effects) into a bottle (glitter & beads should be the same colour). Quantities are up to you but allow for movement in the bottle. Seal lid with hot glue.

O pours the water

O pours the water

M putting in a blue bead

M putting in a blue bead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

O spoons in blue gravel

O spoons in blue gravel

 

Mom gives a helping hand with the sparkles! (We all know how messy those things are!)

Mom gives a helping hand with the sparkles! (We all know how messy those things are!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

O playing with the blue bottle

O playing with the blue bottle

 

Sensory Toy #3: Soap and coloured water (we did green)

Place coloured water into the bottle and add a big squirt of dish soap (the colour of the soap could affect the overall colour so using a soap the same colour as the coloured water would be best). Seal the lid with hot glue. Have fun shaking and making bubles!

Mom demonstrates how to squirt the food colouring. O & M amazed at the diffusion!

Mom demonstrates how to squirt the food colouring. O & M amazed at the diffusion!

Pouring in the green water

Pouring in the green water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

O squeezes in some green dish soap

O squeezes in some green dish soap

M shows off the green bottle

M shows off the green bottle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sensory Toy #3: Coloured rice (we did red)  

Place 1 teaspoon of water and some food colouring into a zip-lock bag. Pour in desired amount of rice (you don’t want the bottle too full of rice because you want it to make a sound when shaken). Mix the rice so it is all covered in colour. Pour it out onto wax paper in a thin layer and allow it to dry. Place in the bottle and hot glue the lid shut.

M spoons in the red rice

M spoons in the red rice

O shows the red bottle

O shows the red bottle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PLAYING WITH OUR NEW, COLOURFUL, SENSORY TOYS

 

Mommy-led play: (you’ll see them repeating the language a bit and following instructions)

 

Baby-led play: (you’ll see them playing on their own with the toys)

 

Click here to see more activities on learning colours.

Simply Blue-tiful

Hi folks!  We are reviewing the colour blue today.  We did this activity straight after breakfast before getting dressed…you’ll see why!

Mondays and Wednesdays I choose one activity we did today from the Clever Clovers curriculum and share our experiences (starring my twin babies)

 This week’s Theme: Primary Colours (+1)

Activity Description: Finger Painting with Food (sensory): Use blue edible finger paint, blueberry yogurt, blue Jello, blue juice crystal paste, blended blueberries, etc. to make some finger paint artwork.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Creative Skills

Specific Skill: Exploring texture in artwork

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 16 months + 2 weeks

1. First, I prepared some ingredients that wouldn’t be harmful if eaten (not all the items were food based).

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Our textured, blue paints

TOP (left to right): Plain yogurt, crushed blueberries, baby oatmeal

BOTTOM (left to right): Baby powder and water mixture, home-made edible fingerpaint, clear baby bath gel

Plus blue food colouring added to all of them except the blueberries

2. I let them have a look at the set-up but told them not to touch yet.  I just wanted them to observe for a few seconds before they started digging in!  Then I very quickly modelled how to dip a finger in and put it onto paper.

The anticipation is palpable!

The anticipation is palpable!

3. I didn’t need to ask them twice!  At first their movements were delicate and neat:

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4. This quickly turned into an excited frenzy of finger painting:

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5.  After making a couple of paintings each, they indicated to me that they wanted to make one together (I can’t really explain how they communicated it to me since it was a series of pointing to things and “uhs” and “ahs” and “dip, dip”)  Eventually I was like, “oh, you want to paint on one paper together?  O&M together making 1 blue painting?”.  To which I received smiles and nodding heads.

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                                Collaborative painting (a great social learning skill)

6. This is when we knew it was time to stop:

Poor M!  She got upset because we were all laughing at her!

Poor M! She got upset because we were all laughing at her!

 

Our blue-tiful masterpieces:

M’s art pieces:

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O’s art pieces:

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The collaborative piece:

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7. During lunch, I showed the girls their artwork that had dried.  They were really excited and saying “dip, dip” and “more”……so I think they liked it :0)