Dental Hygiene Part 1: Brushing

I laminated a simple illustration of an open mouth and asked my daughter to draw pieces of food on the teeth using dry erase markers. She had a great time choosing colours to represent the different food bits on the teeth! When she was done drawing, I gave her an old toothbrush so she could brush the teeth clean. We talked about how there was food on all sides of the teeth, as well as in between. She enjoyed this activity so much; it kept her entertained for more than 20 minutes and she has asked to play with it again on multiple occasions. #win 🙂

If you enjoyed this post, check out Dental Hygiene Part 2: Flossing

Cheers! Teaching moments during a tea party

  • We take turns being the host and guest; the guest always brings something to contribute and says “thank you for having me” at the end
  • We talk about making eye contact when we ‘cheers’
  • Being aware of others (for example, “would you like some more tea, I see you’re running low”)
  • Everyone clears their place and helps to tidy up

Learning skills like these early on allows them to become natural later in life. Teaching through play keeps it light and fun, and make it easy for young children to retain.


Raising Friendly Flyers

Flying with young kids can be exciting and challenging; it’s also a great opportunity to encourage courteousness. Here are some of our family’s habits when flying:

  • Take a moment to smile and say “hi” to the flight crew as we board; it’s a simple gesture that is often overlooked
  • Use our “library voice” to be considerate of other travellers
  • Snacks! Enough said 🙂
  • Have a layer that can be added or removed depending on cabin temperature
  • Avoid using products with strong fragrances that may be overwhelming for others during the flight
  • Keep a variety of quiet activities on hand for entertainment

Some of our favourite travel activities include:

  • Search and Find books
  • Alphabet and animal magnets with a metal lunch box or a small flat baking sheet
  • Reusable stickers
  • Melissa & Doug Water Wow colouring books
  • Playing cards for simple games like Go Fish
  • Tidy up any garbage
  • Avoid blocking the aisle while gathering our things
  • Thank the crew when we reach our destination and deplane

By creating these habits for my daughter now, they will become instinctive as she grows older.

What are your favorite tips for travelling with little ones?

Cereal Box Aquarium

Here’s what you need:

  • An empty cereal box
  • Blue paint for the “water” and whatever colour you’d like for the outside of the “aquarium”
  • Box cutter or scissors
  • Glue gun
  • Rocks or stones
  • Shells
  • Sand (we used kinetic sand cause that’s what we had on hand, but you could use regular sand)
  • Green pipe cleaners
  • Fishing line/thread/ribbon to suspend paper fish
  • Construction paper for the fish (you could also use the side of the cereal box that you remove and paint them)
  • Googly eyes (these are optional, you could draw the eyes on if you don’t have googly eyes)

Here’s what to do:

  • Tape the open top of the cereal box
  • Cut out one side of the box
  • Paint the inside of the box blue (we did a couple of coats)
  • Paint the outside of the box while the inside is drying
  • When the paint is dry, glue on sand (kinetic and sticks to itself, so glue was sufficient but if you use regular sand, you might want to try sealing the outside with a bit of hairspray)
  • Glue rocks along the bottom of the inside (this step as functional as well as decorative, as the rocks help the box stand up)
  • Glue green pipe cleaners in clusters to represent seaweed
  • Glue shells (careful not to burn yourself!)
  • Cut out fish (if you use the leftover cardboard from the cereal box, you’ll want to paint them ahead of time so they have time to dry)
  • Glue fishing line/thread/ribbon to the back of the fish and then glue other end to the top of the inside of the box

Voila! We spread this activity over two days; we painted two coats the first day and then assembled it the following day. We spent time talking about the different textures of all the materials, as well as different shell dwellers, and habitats of course. 🙂

Rainbow Pasta Sensory Play

Here’s what you need:

  • Pasta (any shape works, but if you want to use them as beads you’ll want one that has a hole you can thread)
  • White vinegar
  • Food colouring (we used gel, but liquid food colouring would work too)
  • Container with a tight lid (we opted to use a lock & seal container to mix the pasta with the colour and rinse it between colours, but you could use baggies)
  • Baking sheet(s) and/or wax paper to dry the coloured pasta on
  • 1 tsp measuring spoon
  • Small dish to mix vinegar and colour
  • Small spoon for mixing

Here’s what to do:

  • Measure 1 tsp of white vinegar and mix in a small dish with approximately 1/8 tsp of food colouring
  • Pour desired amount of pasta in container or baggie (we used about half a bag for each colour)
  • Add coloured vinegar to the pasta, make sure lid is well sealed, and shake shake shake (my daughter loved this part)
  • Lay coloured pasta to dry on baking sheet or wax paper (we used a roasting pan and layered each colour of pasta with sheets of wax paper in between)

Things you can do with it:

  • Sensory play: explore the texture and the sound of the pasta rattling (you could fill empty plastic bottles to make discovery bottles)
  • Seek and find: hide small toys and objects in a bin of pasta and have little one(s) reach in to feel around and find the hidden items
  • Fine motor skills: thread pasta like beads on pipe cleaners or yarn to make jewelry or decorations
  • Crafts: use white glue to stick pasta on paper, disposable plates, etc. to make 3D artwork

There are so many fun educational benefits for young children with this activity, and since it’s reusable you can try all the different ideas using one batch.

What are some other ways you’d use this colourful pasta?  Let me know in the comments below!