Painting on toast and even rice cakes have been featured on two of my favorite blogs Make and Takes and Mom Tried It but I had never tried the fun craft until today. My son only wants one thing for breakfast these days, waffles. When I was looking at them today I thought, I wonder if I could paint on them too? Oh and if I used a cookie cutter they could be Easter eggs! It was such a hit we used up all our waffles.
- Gather your materials. You will need some food coloring, milk, a paint brush, waffles ( lightly toasted), and an Easter egg cookie cutter.
- Mix your food coloring with a splash of milk, you don’t need much!
- Cut the waffle into the shape of the egg.
- Start painting.
- I made stripes. My son was more free form.
- Toast and serve!
- I have to show you what a hit this was, after he ate the first two he made a third – and ate it too. My kid doesn’t eat that much, this was a feast for him!
The Golden Egg Book by Margaret Wise Brown is one of those books I have clear memories of from childhood. Thing is I don’t really remember the story so much as the cover. In this case it’s ok to judge a book by it’s cover because although the ending has always seemed tacked on to me I enjoyed this simple and cute book about a bunny and the egg that he finds. My son liked it too, although he was much more into the illustrations of butterflies in the first and last few pages.
First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger is the perfect book to introduce life cycles to young kids. It doesn’t go into great detail, but it doesn’t have to it is perfectly effective just the way it is. Each page shows one stage like a seed and the following the result of a flower. My son loved this book and I think older children would too, it’s simple but isn’t infantile. I think the Easter bunny may be bringing this to our house for keeps in a few weeks!
I don’t plan out my posts much more than a scrap paper or notebook page of brainstorms. This post was not planned at all. My son was under the weather and wouldn’t eat. I knew he needed to eat lunch and when I asked ” If you could have anything what would you eat?” his answer was “A Happy Meal” . I was not taking him to McDonald’s every time he is sick! . So instead we made one at home. Huge , huge success ! He was sick and not at all into doing anything but this would be a fun parent and child activity. I am sure this is a healthier option ( not by much… but it is organic) more importantly it’s a treat at home!
- Gather your ingredients and materials. You will need a paper bag, some markers, foil, containers, straw..whatever you need to package your food. Don’t forget a toy or prize as well! We played restaurant as well so I grabbed some money and a tray to complete the pretend play.
- Start by decorating the bag – I wish my son was feeling well enough to do it but instead he told me to make one with fish.
- Make your food! We made apple slices, chicken nuggets, ranch dip , and milk.
- Pack your meal up and don’t forget the prize, I popped some Olympic stickers in for him.
- Take their order and their money!
- Dig in!
- He cleaned his plate and loved the stickers.
Dinner at the Panda Palace by Stephanie Calmenson is a great book. I grabbed it only because of the title but found a gem. My son and I both loved it and had a blast reading it. The story is about a restaurant and the people , or rather animals that come into the restaurant in ever enlarging groups. The text is rhyming and well written. My son loved counting each group that came in figuring out after a few that each group was one animal larger. It was a great opportunity to practice one to one correspondence as he counted one each page. There was also a great message about there always being room for one more when all the chairs were taken and a mouse came knocking wondering if he could eat too!
How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? by Jan Yolen is a book all about eating in the popular and well loved series of dinosaur books . My son loves these books, he likes that the dinosaurs always misbehave in such over the top ways before the reality of how they really behave, well mannered , listening to their parents and eating all thier food. What I like about this is that kids relate to the dinosaurs and I have never had one question why the parents are human. I like that children are encouraged to sit still and say please and thank you. What I don’t like is that the dinosaurs are encouraged to clean their plate, never drop anything and try everything put before them. I know some parents will love these rules but for our house it doesn’t work, we don’t encourage plate cleaning or force bites. The book still served a purpose, as my son said loudly ” I’m a boy I don’t have to eat everything, right?” and we had a good talk about eating.
I bought these oats to make a hearty breakfast for my son before preschool, somehow they ended up as a craft before I ever made him breakfast! I love exploring textures and using unusual materials for art. We don’t have a lot of oak trees around here but I know lawns all over are filling up with them as the colder days of fall are upon us. This craft is easy but takes a long time to dry , so find a sunny window sill to sit it on for a day before shaking off the extra.
- Gather your materials. You will need some heavy paper ( we used a brown grocery bag) , glue, oats, chocolate cereal, brown marker, and scissors.
- Start by drawing an acorn on the paper bag.
- Have your child color this if they want. Even though we are covering it with glue I like doing this step so that if they only add a little of the cereal it’s still decorated.
- Add your glue- you will need a ton so now is a great time to let your little one loose with the glue. If you end up with huge puddles just spread them around.
- Add the oats. We just poured, my floor survived amazingly.
- Add the chocolate cereal.
- Eat a few….
- Gently shake off the excess. Tip if you use a flexible plastic place mat you can gently shake a little off and then fold and pour into bowl, garbage , where ever!
- Let dry… for a long long time…. about 12 hours.
- Cut out when dry.
A Friend for all Seasons by Julia Hubery is a gem! The book explains the change of seasons in a fun and easy to understand way for young children. Readers follow along with Robbie Raccoon as he notices the changes that are happening around his home, a big oak tree. My favorite part of this book was when Robbie and a few woodland friends notice that the tree’s leaves are falling and they assume he is crying, so they give him a hug. I loved that! Robbie’s mama raccoon explains the changes and before they go to sleep for a long time during winter’s dark days, they plant 5 acorns . This was a fun part of the book because I had my son predict what would happen. I liked that it gives parents an opportunity to extend this into a science lesson about seeds, and a oak tree’s life cycle. Sure enough when Spring comes there are tiny baby oaks waiting for Robbie when he awakens. I loved this book and would recomend it happily!
When Autumn Falls by Kelli Nidey is a stunning book, the illustrations which are painted paper collages, by Susan Swan are so richly colored you will want more after turning the last page. The text is clever as well. Readers will discover that fall is well named not just because of falling leaves, but also pumpkins falling from the vines, temperatures falling, seeds falling from their leaves and even football players falling! The text is the perfect length for toddlers but not too short for preschoolers too. Cute book for this time of year.
Apple Cider Making Days by Ann Purnell kinda surprised me, I don’t know what I was expecting but I loved this book. My son was sold on the tractor in it but I really liked how simply the author explained the whole process of making apple cider. From picking the apples on Grandpa’s farm to sorting out the good ones to sell and the bad ones to press, to selling it it covers the details without being too much for a young child to process. I loved that the whole family, aunts, uncles, cousins and more helped , seeing a family work side by side is heartwarming. My son loved the tractor but also the conveyor belt that took the apples to press! The illustrations by Joanne Friar set the happy autumn tone for the book and I particularly liked the small details like the pumpkins and squash for sale at the farm. No bad reviews today- all three books are worth a look !
Fun with Food
By creating a chart with the four food groups, I was able to highlight the difference between the food my toddler was eating and why it’s important to select food from different boxes. This activity was done over a couple week period. I focused on one food group each week, did the activity, talked about it, mentioned it at dinner etc.
Directions: Using Bristol board, divide with marker into four squares (I also left a small space at the bottom to discuss treats at a later time if I choose) Then, select which square to fill and activity to do.
Vegetables and Fruit
This was the easiest group for him to understand. The first activity we did was a fruit bowl (see the purple thing in the square!). We talked about his favourite fruits and as he named them, I cut them out of felt. He glued them onto the ‘bowl’ made of construction paper.What was great at the end, is that there was a variety of colour in his choices. We were able to talk about this as well. For vegetables, we did the activity from a preschool website here: Vegetable Basket //www.first-school.ws/activities/nutrition/veggiebasket1.htm and a Mr. Broccoli Head using this template: http://www.dltk-teach.com/alphabuddies/mbigboybroccoli.html
By far, this was the most fun activity because of the mess. I gathered all the grains I had in the cupboard (rice, couscous, oatmeal, flour, pasta etc) and put them in a container (I used an egg carton)Next, my son painted glue on a piece of cardboard (used a cereal box!)
Then, he added bits of the grains onto the glue. This got messy but it was fun! Let dry. Shake excess grains before adding to your board!
Meats and Meat Alternatives
Instead, I went through the cupboard and fridge and found examples of meat and meat alternatives: Peanut Butter, canned Salmon, Beans, eggs (using an old egg carton) – and I drew a fish and chicken leg!
He identified the foods, and we took the labels off if necessary and glued everything to the square.
Finally, to finish off the activity we talked about cookies being a treat and ‘sometimes’ food and read a book about Cookie Monster and cookies!
Have fun and encourage your child to talk about what they like about certain foods, their favourite things to eat etc.
- Gather your materials. You will need green and pink(or red) paper, some black paper, a hole punch, green marker, scissors and glue.
- Write a large wide upper case W on the green paper.
- Have your child color the W with a dark green marker.
- Cut a strip of black paper and grab the hole punch. Help your child punch a number of holes. Make sure to gather the punched holes. My son needed a lot of help with this but wanted desperately to do it. Set aside.
- Layer your W and the pink paper and cut .
- Trim your pink W by about a centimeter along the bottom edge.
- Glue the pink W onto the green W
- Add the punched holes for seeds. Let dry.
” Eating the Alphabet” by Lois Ehlert is an alphabet book extraordinaire! Wonderful paintings of fruits and vegetables seem ultra simple and it is but somehow the way the author has pieced this simple book together is brilliant. Maybe it’s that children learn about food at the table multiple times a day and feel proud being able to identify not only some of the letters but some of the pictures too! From a teaching standpoint I love that there are both upper and lower case letters on each page! This book will grow with your child, and beware it will also make you
“One Watermelon Seed” by Celia Barker Lottridge is a counting book that takes the basic 1, 2, 3 to the next level. The book follows a brother and sister as they plant their seeds 1-10. After the watermelon, pumpkins, tomatoes and more are fully grown they count their bounty! This time counting is done by 10s ! Of course my son’s favorite part wasn’t the counting instead he noticed the different bugs and garden critters on each page. I liked the end of the book where there was a page devoted to allowing the reader to see what the outside and inside of these fruits and vegetables looks like.