Cooking with Toddlers

Our kiddo is knocking on the door of becoming a two-year-old and with that I’ve started to see this independent, thoughtful, and inquisitive mind blossom in front of my eyes. Dinner has always been hard since becoming parents, but I’m starting to see the role that he can play in this process so that we can all eat at the same time and the same meal! Here are a few books that inspired me to get my kid in the kitchen!

Kids in the Kitchen: Simple Recipes That Build Independence and Confidence the Montessori Way by Sara Cotner

My favorite book of the bunch – great pictures and directions! Includes all the set-up you need to get your kiddo started in the kitchen. This book is not bursting with content, but it’s a good place to start, especially for Montessori families.

Food Play! by Amy Palanjian

The easiest book on the block for the youngest among us! Sandwich pinwheels, instant oatmeal decorating, and watermelon smashing! Loads of fun and incredibly easy recipes for those near to preschool age (I plan on doing a few of these with my one and a half year old). I’m also obsessed with her blog: Yummy Toddler Food.

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Craft for a Cause

I used to volunteer every year for a cause and it used to be my balm when things felt like too much. I rebuilt houses, fed the insecurely housed, and cared for children who had experienced trauma, abuse and neglect. The pandemic and my kiddo put all that on hold. Now more than ever though I feel this need to do more, but wasn’t sure how. A friend had reached out to me about contributing to a charity raffle to help women in need. She asked if I could donate a crocheted item – yes! yes! yes! That got me thinking about crafting as a way to give back to our community.

Here are a few books in our collection that show that idea in action:

Black Girls Sew: Projects and Patterns to Stitch and Make Your Own by Hekima Hapa and Lesley Ware

Black Girls Sew is an organization that takes sustainability very seriously, offering life skills to women and girls that trace back to the days of our indigenous ancestors.” -Eve, Brooklyn NY

The world bombards Black and Brown girls and boys daily with images and comments about what to wear, how to look, and everything in between. This book teaches the skills to claim their own style through creativity, to empower them beyond brands to be their truest selves, and declare: I am here! Take a lesson from this book – from basic sewing lessons to finding our creative side to making fashion work for all of us.

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Growing Wild!

We recently took our son to visit his grandparents in rural Oregon. Surrounded by acreage and farms, he got to visit goats, sheep, a llama, chickens, and a handful of dogs and cats. He was delighted! On top of that there was running down rolling hills barefoot, digging in dirt, and climbing rock piles. Each night he went to bed exhausted from his busy days. This was just the beginning of earthing himself into a place that will become an important part of his childhood. It gave us an idea of what to be prepared for in our future adventures and when to let go and let him grow wild!

Here are a few books in our collection to inspire your own kiddo’s adventures with nature:

Vitamin N: the Essential Guide to a Nature-rich Life by Richard Louv
A book chock full of ideas to get involved with the natural world. While I was originally drawn to it for ideas for my child, it goes above and beyond the immediate family to include the greater community at large. It highlights organizations connecting people to nature, as well as articles, research and reading suggestions. Also, for a book published in 2016 it is still relevant and informative.

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For the Dads

There are lots of feelings for people around Father’s Day – for me having lost my dad six years ago I can find it a little hard emotionally, but there is also a new way for me to celebrate this day and that’s for my husband and son. Rather then focus too much on dad themed stuff to buy I decided to get a few books from the library for bedtime with dad this weekend.

A Father’s Love by Hannan Holt, illustrated by Yee Von Chan and Wild About Dads by Diana Murray, illustrated by Amber Alvarez –  Focusing on the animal kingdom, these two books highlight and celebrate fatherhood showing its many forms of love. They also both give us more in-depth information at the end of the story about the animals themselves. Continue reading “For the Dads”

Gardening with Toddlers

We made a small garden space for my kiddo to play in to get him involved in the growing of things. It’s still mostly dirt play and mud making, which is a delight, but by planting that seed I hope his love for gardening grows as he gets older. Here are a few books in our collection that we’ve added to storytime at home to get him thinking and reading about the garden.

Dig In! by Cynthia L. Jenson-Elliott, illustrated by Mary Peterson
What kid doesn’t LOVE dirt?! This book is all about your child getting their hands dirty and what they will find as they play in the garden.

Green Green: a Community Gardening Story by Marie and Baldev Lamba, illustrated by Sonia Sanchez
Highlights the growth of community and reclaiming green spaces. Told through quick rhymes and colorful pictures. Continue reading “Gardening with Toddlers”