Bath Tub Finger Paint
This bath tub finger paint is easy to make, and unlike other recipes does not use harsh soaps that could irritate your child’s skin and eyes…
1/3 Cup No Tears Baby Shampoo (Any brand is fine – I always choose something organic)
1 Tablespoon Corn Starch
Combine baby shampoo and corn starch in a bowl. Mix well and pour into an ice cube tray (each section should be about half full). Add about 4 to 6 drops of food colouring to each section, stirring with the end of a spoon and making each section a different colour (experiment with mixing colours so you have a variety).
Supervise your child as they finger paint on the walls of the bath tub, or on themselves. Then simply rinse with water, and the mess is gone!
This is my favourite playdough recipe of the many I’ve tried over the years. The Kool-Aid adds vibrant colour and makes it smell absolutely yummy, but it still tastes awful which discourages most little ones from eating it. And if they do eat it – don’t worry! It’s entirely edible…
2 cups flour
1 package unsweetened Kool-Aid
1 cup salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups boiling water
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, Kool-Aid powder, and salt. Add oil and boiling water and stir until well combined. When mixture has cooled slightly, knead until smooth. Store playdough in an airtight container in the fridge. To learn more about the benefits of playing with playdough, click here. Enjoy!
Super-Duper Bubble Solution
The glycerin in this bubble recipe makes the bubbles stronger, allowing you to blow bigger bubbles that don’t pop as easily…
½ cup Dawn or Joy dishwashing liquid
4 cups water
2 teaspoons sugar
4 tablespoons glycerin
Combine ingredients and store in a leak-proof container with a lid. For more tips on playing with bubbles, click here. Have fun!
Incredible Edible Craft Glue
Craft projects are so much fun for little ones, but store bought glues are full of harsh chemicals and make a terrible mess. This craft glue is easy to make, relatively easy to clean off of little hands and household surfaces, and safe for even very young children to use. So safe that you don’t need to worry if they try to eat it – it is totally edible!
You will need…
1 cup white flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 ½ cups water
1 teaspoon vinegar
Combine flour, sugar, and half of the water in a small saucepan, stirring until mixture forms a thick paste with no lumps. Add the rest of the water and the vinegar and combine thoroughly. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until glue thickens. Allow to cool, then store in an airtight glass or plastic container with a lid. Glue will be thick and pasty, so allow plenty of time for your child's art project to dry. To make clean-up easier, try this helpful hint.
Scratch and Sniff Paints
Several packages of Kool-Aid (or any packaged drink crystals) in a variety of colours
Ice cube tray
Combine equal parts Kool-Aid and water in one section of an ice cube tray, stirring well with the end of a spoon. Repeat with different colours of Kool-Aid in each section of the ice cube tray to create your palette of paints.
These paints work like watercolours, so provide your little one with some big sheets of white paper and a few paintbrushes. Allow your child’s artwork to dry overnight. Once dry, your child can scratch and sniff their works of art!
Goop is an amazing, endlessly entertaining substance that changes from a liquid to a solid and back again right in the palm of your hands. It’s safe for babies and toddlers, but big kids, teenagers and adults will love it too! You will need...
1 ¼ cup cornstarch
1 cup water
Few drops green food colouring
Combine cornstarch, water and food colouring in a large mixing bowl and combine thoroughly using your hands. If more than one child will be playing with the goop, simply double the recipe. Then have fun touching, scooping, dripping, and rolling goop together with your child.
4 cups flour
1 cup salt
2 cups water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and knead until smooth. Form dough into shapes or roll and cut using cookie cutters. Bake at 300 degrees for approximately one hour, or until dough appears dry throughout. Happy creating! For more tips on using baked clay, click here.
Puffy Salt Paint
¾ cup salt
½ cup white flour
½ cup water
Combine salt, flour and water in a mixing bowl, adding food colouring until paint reaches your desired colour. Spoon paint into a clean plastic squeeze bottle, then show your little artist how to squeeze puff paint onto paper to create a puffy masterpiece. The salt makes the puff paint look sparkly when it dries. For tips on using puffy paint, click here.
1 small whole wheat or multigrain wrap
I large banana
Almond or peanut butter (I prefer organic almond butter – which tends to have less sugar, salt and other additives than peanut butter)
Spread peanut or almond butter evenly on wrap. Place banana at the edge of the wrap, and roll. With a sharp knife, cut banana roll-up into thin slices and serve. For a fun twist, place a raisin at the centre of each roll-up slice to make an “eyeball”. I called this new snack creation “dinosaur eyes” (much to the delight of my dinosaur-loving daughter), but you can adapt the name to suit your child’s interests. Happy snacking!
You will need…
Bun dough - any of the following will work...
- Pillsbury-type refrigerated bun or biscuit dough
- Store-bought freezer bun dough (preferably whole wheat), defrosted
- Homemade whole wheat bun dough (actually very quick and easy if you use a breadmaker)
Filling – use the following ideas or make up your own..
· Peanut or almond butter and jam
· Cream cheese with mashed bananas or berries (have your child help you mash the fruit and combine with the cream cheese)
· Cheddar or mozzarella (cut into small cubes)
· Other filling of your choice
Give your child a ball of dough and show them how to pat it out into a flat pancake shape on a greased pan. Next, show them how to arrange or spread your chosen topping in the centre of the dough. Then step in to help, folding the corners of the dough into the centre, pinching shut, and placing pinched side down on the baking sheet. Bake according to directions for the dough you are using, allow to cool, and enjoy!
There is a reason that companies spend the money they do on developing the colourful, cartoon character adorned packaging used in snack foods. And the reason is because it works. There is an abundance of research out there that illustrates the power of marketing techniques on little minds. So why not use that knowledge to our advantage, and do a little "mommy marketing" of our own? I adorn my daughter's bananas with a few inexpensive little stickers. A typically picky toddler who is not a big fan of fruit, she happily gobbles them down as though they were a prepackaged treat. Even if your little one already likes bananas, it's a little surprise that is sure to delight!
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups white sugar (you can reduce this to one cup if you choose and still have yummy muffins)
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups pureed pumpkin (canned is easier, but fresh is yummier)
2/3 cup applesauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tins or line with paper liners. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat together pumpkin puree, applesauce and eggs. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture and combine until smooth. Bake roughly 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the muffin comes out clean. Makes 24 small or 18 regular sized muffins. For special occasions, try this decorating idea.