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Flour Play

Since we’ve been talking about other fun kitchen play (with rice, with potatoes, with water), I had to do a post on good ol’ flour.

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It’s been snowing here, and my toddler (“J”) has been really interested in the snow.  I decided to make him some “fake snow” out of flour so that he could push it around with his bulldozers and pretend they were snowplows.  As it turned out, we didn’t get that far because he loved playing with it with regular kitchen utensils so much!  (Plus, I wasn’t in a hurry to get his toy trucks full of flour.)

A few weeks ago, I bought a plastic fold-out table from IKEA that’s meant for having breakfast in bed or in front of the TV.  I had been searching for a short table that “J” could use when he helps in the kitchen, and I hoped this would be perfect.  It is!  It’s easy to clean, relatively large, folds up so that I can store it in a kitchen cabinet, and is sturdy enough that he can put his weight on it without destroying it (though it’s debatable how many more times he can SIT on it before it breaks).  I can’t seem to find it online, but you can see it in these pictures.  I highly recommend it!

Materials:
Flour
Kitchen utensils and containers (i.e. spoons, bowls, cups)
A place to play (table, mat on the floor, etc.)

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Instructions:

  1. Give the flour to your child, and let the fun begin!
  2. For added enjoyment (but a larger mess), you can also give your child a small amount of water to mix into the flour.

I let “J” play for a little while with the flour alone and then gave him a small cup of water.  He immediately and happily dumped the water into the flour and turned to me with an enthusiastic, “More!”

Don’t forget to rinse your table and utensils soon after you finish playing, or it will be really hard to get that watery flour off!

 

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Potato Fun

DSC03888Today was a snow day for us, so we were in search of things to keep ourselves busy around the house.  My toddler “J” loves his trucks and “boys” (as he calls his toy people).  Sometimes we play with them outside in the sandbox, sometimes with rice or noodles inside, and sometimes he likes to put his smaller trucks into his larger trucks and haul them around.

We have a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture — we order ahead for the season and then pick up every weekend), so we don’t always know what we are going to get week-to-week.  Lately there have been a LOT of root vegetables, especially potatoes.  Our neighbors were gone over Thanksgiving and gave us their CSA share, so despite making a ton of mashed potatoes and potato soup, we are still overloaded with raw potatoes.

These potatoes are sitting in paper bags in the bottom of a rolling cart we have in the kitchen.  Today “J” discovered them for the first time and decided they were the best thing ever!  I would never have expected raw potatoes to be so much fun.

Reasons raw potatoes are awesome toys:

  1. They often have a little dirt on them still, which makes them very engaging for the senses and causes them to bring in a sense of the outdoors.
  2. They are something you often have around the house.
  3. They last almost forever before going bad.  If they have “eyes,” all the more fun to play with!
  4. You can easily manhandle them without causing major bruises or making them inedible.  Your child can play with them for hours, and then you can put them back in their bag and wait another month before cooking them!
  5. You do not need to worry about them getting dirty, since we would need to wash them before cooking anyway (and maybe peel them, depending on how you are using them).
  6. They are natural, , compostable, and environmentally friendly.
  7. They (probably) won’t be as appealing to your dog/cat/hamster as other foods might be.  Just to be on the safe side, we put our dog outside while we played (it’s okay — we have a covered porch, so he didn’t have to lay in the snow).
  8. They come in various sizes and look/feel a bit like rocks, making them great for construction play.

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“J” dumped them out of the bag, piled them into his play pots and pans, carried them around, took them out of the pots and pans, put them back in, carried the pots and pans around, dumped them out, put his toy “boys” with the potatoes, and generally just explored them and had fun.  Such an easy, fun toy!