Spring Treasure; Sensory Play

For toddlers, sensory play is never ending and easy to compile. As adults it’s difficult sometimes to think so simple and uncensured in our imagination spectrum. It dawned on me during a warm Saturday afternoon walk… We were on a sensory play adventure.

From the moment we left the house our senses were tantalized with each step. The snow was crunchy and sparkling but when held we had little salt crystals; wait they melted into our hand. The water droplets plopped into a puddle. Ooww, a puddle. What does a toddler love about puddles? EVERYTHING! The sounds, reflection, splashes, they submerge part of your foot, a twig floats and this particular puddle turned into a stream. Let’s see where that twig goes!
So, we set off…

I started teaching my daughter how to cross the road a few months ago. When the grey squares stop and the black road starts we stop, then wait. “Do you hear any cars or trucks driving?”, asks mommy. “Let’s look all around the road. Do you see any cars, trucks or bikes driving? No, ok we can walk now.” “Go”, yells my little girl.

The sensory journey continues. The birds are chirping, yet we can’t seem to locate one until a few fly by and land on a budding tree branch. One of the branches are low enough to reach without “hurting” the tree. Sofia giggles as I tickle her forehead with the fluffy bud.

I notice how quiet it is. The air is so light, fresh and warm. It reminds of my 10 year old self; climbing trees, searching forest trails, sitting on the farthest rock in the river, skipping rocks and lying in the bushy field grass. All those beautiful feelings come back and all it took was a mild, sunny day in March.

SPRING is close! I can smell it. The wet dirt waking up from burial. The tree branches reaching to touch the soft breeze.

As we continue up the hill then down, Sofia takes notice to different textured bushes. We finish off our adventure in front of a neighbours house. Sofia watches tentatively as three older kids play street hockey in their driveway. The red ball rolls, bounces and goes into the net over and over again.

Hopefully, sooner than later, we can collect things on our walk like a treasure hunt. In the meantime I’m making a trip to the dollar store for items that pertain to this change of season. Plastic flowers, windmills, topiary foam, seeds, water play with squirt bottles and colours; that’s all I got off the top of my head.
Of course when we can be outside we will play in dirt, explore the forest and in the sandbox as well as go for picnics and picking fruits and vegetables at the farm.

What sensory play do you do with your toddler for spring?

Loving These; Ode to Food

fruitI am one very satisfied carnivore after a good meal or snack. Food can make or break your day, at times.

1} What’s cooking- Kraft recipe book: kraftcanada.com
Online you can search by product, ingredients you have to make recipes, type of meal and in many other features. Wonderful, quick meals and snacks with items I usually have in my pantry(soups, stuffing).

2} Crispy minis: Yet another trick. With brown rice and corn as the two first ingredients, these are a great snack. Mommy also has trouble finding caramel corn, so yeah for Crispy Minis Caramel Kettle Corn.

3} Aloe Vera drink (Paldo): Anything my daughter loves, I love. This drink is yum! It has actual pieces of Aloe Vera. Although it has quite a bit of sugar, I mix 2/3 water with it. Great way to get them drinking water.

4} Chili is our family’s staple winter meal: Sofia eats it with little toast shapes. I should invest in more cookie cutters. She might wonder why, in spring and summer, I am still giving her Xmas stockings and gingerbread men; although I think she would agree that gingerbread is fantastic and special enough to have year round.

THE RECIPE: CHILI
Note: I usually only measure when I bake, so I will give approximates for some ingredients. Adjust to your familys’ taste. I also use whatever ingredients I have on hand.

2 lbs of ground beef or ground turkey
1/2 cup onion (green or Spanish)
• cook together in a big pot
• stir in seasonings
Turmeric, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, garlic powder
• stir until meat is covered (it’s best to mix seasoning in before liquid so the taste is throughout)
Add: vegetables (carrots, red pepper, zucchini) approximately 3 cups total
• cook and stir for a few minutes
• boil 8 or so yellow potatoes and 1 sweet potatoe(don’t tell my husband), diced cubes, in another pot.
• To your veg. and meat mixture add:
1 large can pasta sauce
1 can diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 box of chicken or beef broth
1 can black beans or any bean(lentils)
1 cup of frozen corn
Potatoes diced
• Simmer for 1 hour
• Season with salt and pepper and add any extra spice

LEFTOVERS- mix in with scrambled egg for brunch, top fries or rice, in a wrap with sour cream and cheese, blend it into a thick paste then add sour cream and a little mayo as a dip.

Now I’m hungry.