Toy Blog - Toys, Parenting, and Kids

Got Snow?

While organizing my recipes, I came across this yummy concoction that is sure to please any sweet tooth.  It is one of our “winter” favorites as my boys always say the coating is “snow”!  Mix some up for your crew this week as a special winter treat!  This recipe is so simple that even little hands can help out!

Winter Trail Mix

3 c pretzels (I prefer sticks)
1.5 c corn Chex or Crispix
1 c nuts (pecans, walnuts or peanuts or a combination)
.5 c dried cranberries or raisins
12 oz white chocolate

Mix all ingredients except for the white chocolate together in a large bowl.  Melt the chocolate (see package for directions) and pour over the mix while gently stirring.  Scoop out and place on wax paper until cool, then bread into bite-size pieces.  Makes about 10 cups of delicious snacking!

Homemade Fingerpaint!

I’m one of those messy moms.  I buy playdough every couple of weeks (that is, when I’m not making it myself).  I let my kids draw with markers that aren’t washable from time to time, and we even create art with pudding and other foods.  Making a mess is part of exploring the creative side of yourself.  So, fingerpainting is definitely a “must do” at our house!  However, I don’t always have fingerpaints on hand, so I came across this great recipe for making some at home.  The best part is, it is completely washable.  So, make up a batch, set the kids out on the porch with some paper and fingerpaints, then hose them down when they’re done!

Ingredients
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 T sugar
1 cup water (cold)
Food coloring of your choice – to make it truly stain-free and washable, use liquid watercolors to tint the paint, or try different flavors of Jell-o.

Directions:

Put the cornstarch, salt, sugar, and water into a pot. Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes.  Be sure to stir constantly. The mixture will start thin, but it will eventually become thicker. When it is finally thick, take the pot off of the stove and let the mixture cool off. Once it is cool, divide it into small containers (small jars or leftover yogurt containers work well) and add a few drops of food coloring to each. Stir in the coloring and voila! It’s time to paint.

Fun With Food

My boys love to eat – just one look at them and you can tell!  While getting them to eat isn’t a problem, though, getting them to eat the things I want can be.  Here are some fun ways to spruce up mealtime for your kids!

  1. Say goodbye to the standard triangle-cut sandwich.  We use cookie cutters and cut shapes out of our sandwiches, but then leave the shapes in the bread.  My kids love taking their sandwich puzzle apart and gobbling up the pieces!  For even more fun, use two different types of bread.  If using shapes such as circles, stars or other symmetrical shapes, simply flip the cut piece over and reinsert into the bread.  Voila!  A two-tone puzzle!
  2. Who says milk has to be white?  My kids love purple milk.  Take 1/4 cup of grape juice and add it to a cup of milk.  Stir together and enjoy!  It is a great low-fat, low-calorie alternative to a smoothie.  Try other combinations, too, such as cherry and even orange!
  3. Share with nature!  When we have popcorn or even corn-puffed cereal for a snack, I help my kids string some of it on a thread to hang from a tree.  The birds in our back yard love the treat, and I know my kids are not hogging all the popcorn!
  4. Put it on a stick.  Use pretzel sticks to stab yummy snacks such as marshmallows, melons and bananas.  Everything is completely edible and there’s no risk of a little one poking themselves with a skewer.

What are your favorite snack ideas?  Leave a comment and let us know!

Fruitsicles Kids Can Make!

During the wintertime, I have a battle to get fruits into my kids.  Fresh fruits are almost always not an option as my kids tend to like the “good” fruit of summer and fall, and not the grown-in-a-greenhouse crop of winter.  So, I look for ways to get fruity things into my kids without adding a whole bunch of extra sugar.

Fruitsicles are one of our favorite things to make during the winter months.  Granted, we live in the South, and we have balmy days during the wintertime that make popsicle eating quite normal, but even in chilly weather, kids are bound to love this snack.  And, if it is cold outside, perhaps their fruitsicle won’t melt as quickly!  This recipe is easy enough for any child to at least help, if not create, on his or her own.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup strawberry yogurt (the one with the fruit chunks in it!)
1 cup orange juice (we use pulp-free, but any orange juice will do)
1.5 cups raspberry or cranberry juice
8 paper cups
foil
8 popsicle sticks

Fill small paper cups with equal amounts of yogurt.  Make sure that it is spread evenly on the bottom.  Cover the cups with foil.  Poke a popsicle stick through the foil and into the yogurt.  Set the cups in the freezer for about 40 minutes or until the popsicles begin to set.  Lift off the foil, being careful to leave the sticks in place.  Pour equal amounts of orange juice in each cup.  Cover again with foil and place in freezer until firm, about 40 minutes.  Repeat with the second juice.  Freeze about 4 hours or overnight until solid.  Peel away the paper cups to serve.  Makes 8 popsicles.

Eating Your Way Through The ABCs

One of the best ways for children to learn their letters is through multi-sensory experiences.  By creating letters for themselves in a variety of media, they are expanding their exposure to the shapes and strokes necessary to learn their alphabet.  So, why not make it a truly delicious experience with edible letters?

Alphabet cookies can be made with pre-made dough from the store or with any plain sugar cookie or peanut butter-type recipe (see below for my favorite!).  Roll the dough into 1.5 inch balls, then have the child roll the balls into “snakes” about 8 inches long.  Shape the snakes into letters and follow the directions for baking on the package.  It might be necessary to add a couple of minutes to the baking time; keep an eye on the cookies while they are cooking.  This is also a great way to work with shapes and numbers as well.

JUDY’S ALPHABET COOKIE DOUGH RECIPE

1/2 c butter, softened
1/2 c light corn syrup
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c creamy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 c unsifted flour

In a large bowl, beat margarine, corn syrup, peanut butter, sugar and vanilla at medium speed until smooth.  Lower the speed and gradually add flour until well blended.  It might be necessary to chill the dough for about an hour or until it is easy to handle.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place dough on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool on racks.  These cookies may be stored in a tightly covered container for up to 3 weeks.

  • WonderBrains Educational Toys Weblog - Blogged blog search
directory Blog Directory & Search
engine