Baking with kids

The learning opportunities are numerous: math, reading, science and nutrition, to name a few. Engaging young kids in the kitchen also offers wonderful sensory exploration – the textures, the smells, the flavours…. Mmmm the flavours!

My daughter has always been sensitive to textures. Baking together has been a great way for us to gently explore various textures, and help her get comfortable with them.

Baking for others is one of our go-to acts of kindness. We like to prepare baked treats for neighbours, friends, family, our postal carrier, my daughter’s teachers and classmates, my husband’s colleagues, etc. We do extra baking around the holidays, but surprising someone with something delicious on a random day for no particular reason, that’s what I enjoy most. I like trying out new recipes, having the smell of fresh baked goods fill my home, and most of all, making memories in the kitchen with my daughter. Have you Filled a Bucket Today? is one of our favourite books, and baking for others is one of the ways we fill buckets.

What’s your favourite thing to bake with kids?

Carrot Patch Craft

I love this craft idea because it’s super simple, is a fun way to learn about root vegetables, and with Easter only a month away, it’s the perfect way to kick-off our holiday themed crafts. 🙂



Here’s what you need:

  • Two paper plates (one cut in half)
  • Paint: brown and blue
  • Construction paper: orange and green
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Paper cutter (optional – I used this for the green stems but you could just use scissors)

Here’s what to do:

  • Cut one of the paper plates in half
  • Paint the paper plate that is whole blue (on the side that you would eat off of)
  • Paint the half plate brown on the bottom side
  • When the paint is dry, glue the two plates together facing each other
  • Cut out carrot shapes from the orange paper and stems from the green paper
  • Glue stems on the carrot tops



Helping Hands – Washing Dishes

My daughter has been helping to load and unload the dishwasher for a long time, and recently we’ve added to that by encouraging her to learn how to wash dishes. We use a big plastic bin filled with warm water, a clean soapy sponge, and an assortment of dirty dishes; for now we’ve been giving her plastic/metal/wood dishes and cutlery in order to avoid broken dishes she could injure herself with – and of course, no sharp objects. We talk about why it’s important to thoroughly clean all sides of the dishes because even though we only put food on the top side, when they’re stacked food bits can transfer to the underside. As she practices, she’s learning how much force to apply when scrubbing, which side of the sponge works best for what, how to rinse, and how to best place the dishes on the drying pad. These are simple skills that many of us as adults take for granted, but for a young child these simple skills help feed their sense of independence, which is so important for them.

I love that my daughter is having fun while learning and contributing as we clean up after meals. I also love that this keeps her entertained while I take care of some of the meal cleanup that she can’t assist with.

What are some of the things that your little ones like to help with in the kitchen? Tell us in the comments below.

Children’s Books About Kindness

Books are my favourite thing to give and receive as gifts. We have a growing library of children’s books, and always have a running list of titles we hope to add our collection – not to mention the mountain of books we borrow each time we go to the local library. For us, cuddling up with a pile of great books is our favourite thing to do.

Here are some of our favourite stories about kindness:

  1. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  2. How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids by Mary Reckmeyer and Tom Rath
  3. The Smartest Giant in Town by Julia Donaldson
  4. Have you Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud
  5. Heartprints by P.K. Hallinan
  6. Frog and Toad Storybook Treasury by Arnold Lobel
  7. Peas on Earth by Todd H Doodler
  8. King Daniel the Kind by Angela Santomero

Many of these books were new to me in the last few years, but The Giving Tree was one that my dad read to me repeatedly as a child, and I love being able to now share it with my daughter.

What are your favourite children’s books?

Daniel Tiger Mix and Match Game

I printed the sheets, cut out the pieces (there are 14 characters, so there was a good amount of cutting involved), laminated them and stuck magnets on the back so that we can use them with our ‘travel busy box’, which is a metal lunch box. This game is great for restaurants, waiting rooms, and long car/plane rides, and at home too!

Rainbow Carnation Science Experiment

How it works:

Flowers transport water through their stems (from the roots in the case of planted flowers). As water evaporates from the petals, buds, and leaves, more water is pulled up through the stem (known as transpiration). As water evaporates, more water is “pulled up” to fill the space in the tiny tubes inside the stem left by the evaporated water, this is movement process is called capillary action. Colouring the water makes it possible to track the movement of water into the flower, without harming the flower.

Our observations:

  • Within an hour or so, the flowers had already begun to show colour in the some of the petals; the blue was the first to show
  • The red showed the least, which I was surprised by – I imagined the yellow would show the least due it being the lightest colour
  • The blue and purple both looked the same in the flower

*This can also be done using celery.

Rainbow Art – Tissue Paper Bleeding

My daughter is currently into everything rainbow, so we were delighted when our recent Kiwico Koala Crate arrived and the theme was Rainbows. If you aren’t familiar with Kiwico, they offer a subscription service focused on science and art for kids 0-16+. We’re really big fans!

Our Rainbow Koala Crate came with three great arts and craft projects, and a magazine with a short story offering a perfectly age appropriate explanation of what rainbows are, as well as some fun rainbow-related experiments. One of the crafts involved tissue paper bleeding on a reusable bag, and we enjoyed it so much that we have recreated it on paper multiple times. It’s very simple, not particularly messy, and using pipettes is great for fine motor skills.

Here’s what you need:

  • White paper as your canvas
  • Several colours of tissue paper, cut into small pieces (different shapes can be fun)
  • A tray or baking sheet with a lip to keep water contained
  • Plastic pipettes (an eye dropper or plastic syringe would work in a pinch – pun intended) 🙂
  • Small cup or jar of water


  • Lay your white paper on the tray/baking sheet
  • Cut tissue paper in piece/shapes (My daughter tried to help with cutting the pieces of tissue paper, but safety scissors are tricky with tissue paper so she found it frustrating and asked me to do it for her.)
  • Fill cup/jar with water


  • Have your child place the pieces of tissue paper on the “canvas”
  • Use pipette to drip water on each of the pieces of tissue paper
  • Watch as the colours bleed from the tissue paper onto the “canvas”
  • Let dry overnight and remove the dried pieces of tissue paper to reveal the finished art piece

*Note: the more water you use, the more the colours will get diluted and therefore be less vibrant



If you try this, I’d love to see photos of your art piece(s) in the comments below!

3D Paper Rainbow (with bonus science experiment)

This was a really simple, low mess craft. While working on this craft, we spent time discussing (again) where rainbows come from. We also spent some time counting out pennies, and then did a little experiment using vinegar and salt to polish the pennies (details below).


Here’s what you need:

  • Construction paper (in each colour of the rainbow, black, and white)
  • Heavy card stock (you could use a piece of construction paper instead, but the pennies are heavy, so if you want to hang it up I recommend using stronger paper)
  • Glue stick
  • White glue
  • Scotch tape
  • Scissors or a paper cutter
  • Pennies

Here’s what to do:

  • Cut or slice equal strips of each of the six rainbow colours
  • Draw and cutout a pot shape from the black paper, and a cloud shape from the white paper
  • Fan out the rainbow strips keeping the ends of one side together
  • Tape down the side that isn’t fanned out to your heavy card stock
  • Use glue stick to glue the black pot over the taped pieces
  • One by one, fold the other strips forwards and use glue stick to glue them to the heavy card stock (be mindful of the spacing so that your cloud will be able to cover all the ends after)
  • Use glue stick to glue cloud over the ends of the fanned tips
  • Optional: you can clean your pennies using white vinegar or lemon juice and salt – mix 1/4 cup of vinegar or lemon juice with 1 tsp of salt and soak the pennies for several minutes before rinsing and drying them
  • Use white glue to attach the pennies on or around the black pot to look like a “pot of gold”

Voila! 🙂

Even small hands can be helping hands

It’s never too early to start helping kids learn to pitch in around the house. We are a family and we share the responsibility of keeping our home tidy, clean, and organized. In the words of Daniel Tiger, “Everyone is big enough, big enough to do something.”

Ever since my daughter was one year old, she has enjoyed helping with the dishes. We usually try to run our dishwasher overnight so part of our morning routine is to put away the clean dishes. We started out by removing any sharp utensils and then have her empty the cutlery basket. As she got a bit older, she would help empty the bottom rack too.


As a toddler, she now takes care of starting the dishwasher and she loves it! The few times that I have absentmindedly put the soap in and started the dishwasher on my own, she quickly reminds me that it is her responsibility and insists that we start over so she can do her job. Doing the dishes may feel like a chore for us as parents, but kids tend to thoroughly enjoy being given (age appropriate) responsibilities.

What are some of the things your kids love helping out with?

Dental Hygiene Part 2: Flossing

Here’s what we used:

  • Construction paper (pink for the mouth and red for the tongue)
  • Scissors
  • Black marker
  • Glue (I used a glue gun, but white glue would probably work)
  • 20 Mini marshmallows
  • Small strips of tissue paper
  • 6-12 inches of yarn

How to make it:

  • Fold the pink piece of paper in half and use 10 marshmallows to create a horseshoe shape on the paper (starting and ending on the fold)
  • Trace a line on around the outer side of the marshmallows leaving a small gap between the marshmallows and the line
  • Put marshmallows aside and cut along the line you traced in order to create the jaw
  • Cut out a tongue shape that will fit inside the lower part of the jaw – make it about half an inch longer than you need so you can fold the edge over to glue it down), draw a black line down the centre to look like the fold in the tongue
  • Glue the tongue in the centre of the lower jaw, lined up at fold
  • Glue each marshmallow in place as the teeth (I found it easiest to do the lower teeth first and then place the top teeth in such a way that the mouth could still close when the top and bottom teeth touched – the placement of the back teeth is what affects this the most)

How to use it:

  • Place pieces of tissue paper in between the teeth to represent piece of food
  • Show your child how to hold the yarn like dental floss and explain how to use the “floss” between each tooth to remove the pieces of “food”

In case you missed it, check out Dental Hygiene Part 1: Brushing