Friday, July 22, 2011

Bead Bugs

This is a fun little craft project to enjoy with your munchkin on a rainy summer day (which we’ve had an abundance of this summer). These little bead bugs are cute and quite impressive looking, and are a fun fine motor challenge.

You will need –
Styrofoam craft balls
Pipe cleaners
Beads with large holes
Googley eyes (optional)
Cut pipe cleaners in thirds, and twist one end of the pipe cleaner into a small loop (to prevent beads from sliding off of the end). Show your child how to thread the beads onto the pipe cleaner (supervise little ones so they don’t mouth the beads). When your child has added several beads, help them poke the straight end of the pipe cleaner into the Styrofoam ball, then bend the pipe cleaner slightly in the middle to create a “bug leg”. Continue adding legs, and use two smaller pipe cleaner sections to create antennae. Finish your bead bug by gluing on googley eyes, or by simply drawing eyes on the Styrofoam using a ball point pen.  This is a great little project for beginning beaders, as it is much easier to thread beads onto a pipe cleaner than onto a string.
Helpful Hints:
·         If you don’t have beads or would prefer not to use them, cut drinking straws into short sections and thread these onto the pipe cleaner instead.
·         If your child isn’t quite ready for this fine motor challenge, try this very simple threading activity: Cut the egg cups out of a cardboard egg carton, and punch a large hole into the bottom of each egg cup. Loop and twist one end of a pipe cleaner to prevent “beads” from slipping off, and help your child practice threading egg cup beads onto the pipe cleaner. A great introduction to this tricky concept!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Smoothie Popsicles

Ah, summer. There is nothing else quite like it. And though our summer has been incredibly busy this year (hence my negligence in posting!), it has also been lovely. What could be more wonderful than sitting in the sun out on the back deck with your munchkin? Well, perhaps sitting in the sun out on the back deck with your munchkin and popsicle!!
As the mommy of a typically picky toddler, I’m always looking for ways of getting healthy food into that cute little belly. This summer, smoothie popsicles have been the answer. Every time I make a smoothie for my daughter, I double the ingredients and pour whatever is left over into a popsicle mould. My little princess gobbles them up as though they were candy…and yet they’re very healthy and nutritious (shhh – don’t tell her that).
To make your own smoothie popsicle, simply blend together…
Yogurt (go for the plain, unsweetened kind –  it’s healthier, and your kids won’t notice the difference)
Whatever fresh or frozen fruit you have on hand
Pour well blended smoothie into popsicle moulds (available at most dollar stores) and freeze. Then simply serve and enjoy!
Helpful Hints:
·        This is a great way of using up slightly over-ripe fruit, or making use of yogurt that has almost reached its expiry date.
·         Be sure to make a few extra popsicles – mommies and daddies will love them too!