This week many of our activities were inspired by food, as I am working with her older brother on food groups and pyramid and nutrition, and I was able to adapt materials I had out and on hand for the younger audience.

Baby L is 14.5 months

Tot School

Plush Food.  As I posted a few days back, I had picked up some plush food from Ikea during our trip there a couple weeks ago specifically for this week of food-related tot school.  We have fruits, vegetables, and a breakfast set.  The blog at made me laugh; I was searching for a listing of the vegetables somewhere to identify the ones that I couldn’t and it said regarding the breakfast pack:

If you’re raising an average child, this is: Breakfast.

If you’re raising a “foodie,” this is: Baby’s First Brunch Set. Includes hand-cut sourdough with fresh prosciutto and mozzarella, heirloom lettuce and thinly sliced vine-ripened tomato, gingerbread pancakes with fresh seasonal topping, farm-fresh free range eggs, natural cased sausage, and apple wood smoked maple bacon.

I left the basket out  on a shelf within her reach for her to play with this week once we’d done our specific totschool focus on it (most of the totschool toys are NOT left out for her to use), and she brought it out many times.  I suspect that this was just to dump it out, spread the pieces from one side of the room to the other so that mama would crawl around on the floor finding them all to put back in the basket.

Vocabulary: Fruit, Vegetable, names of specific food, soft, squishy

Fruit and Veggie Stick Puppets.  As I posted about a bit back, I made these from painted cardstock, with just some pen accents and then glued them to popsicle sticks.

We played with these as puppets with mama hiding behind a small wall of pillows and making them talk.  I also let her handle them and would say the name of the food as she picked one up.  Yes, in fact a couple did get ripped and torn off the sticks.  That was fine, I made them for her {inexpensively}, knowing that would be a probably outcome.  Lastly, we read through Food For Thought, and looked for matches with the puppets.  (OK, mama looked for matches and then pointed them out to her, talking all the while =))

Vocabulary: fruit, vegetable, names of specific foods, stick, puppet

Fruit Tasting.    This project was initially designed for kidlet, who was rating them on a scale of 1 to 5, and keeping track of which ones were sweet vs. not so sweet in a kind of mini graph. 

I included raspberries, tomato, banana, lemon, kiwi and avocado.  She has had all these fruits and more before tbh; we are not an apple, banana and orange family.  We are a buy every crazy fruit (and vegetable) we can find at asian and farmers markets kind of family.  ;)  I’d planned a trip to Uwajimaya for a more exotic selection, but frankly its a couple days to payday and those far travelling fruits are expensive and, really, exotic wasn’t necessary for kidlet or baby L’s purpose in this activity. I put a few pieces of each on a plate, let her taste one of each, then encouraged her to not only sign “more” but to point to the ones she wanted to eat after tasting each of them, and to try and vocalize *something* to show what she wanted (I’d say “buh buh buh banana” and see if I could get her to at least say “buh” for example).  I got a buh for banana and a kuh for the kiwi, which was a triumph in my eyes because she is so focused on the phyiscal and has been uninterested in vocalizing at all. 

What’s this one?

Oooh, So Sour!

Vocabulary: names of fruits, sweet, juicy, sour, red, yellow, green

Food Collage.  I’d planned another contact paper collage with pictures of different foods, but she was completely uninterested this week.  She just wanted to tear and taste the pictures, so I put this activity aside and we had extra outside time instead.

Hanging in Cousin P's backyard

On a side note, one reason that I’ve been including collage each week is that I have been clipping magazines, cutting out pictures from torn up about to be discarded books, and collecting stickers for several years, ever since Kidlet was learning his basics (we did a collage page for each letter for his alphabet book).  A couple months ago I finally sorted them from the random pile in a 12×12 scrapbook paper box which was an absolute beast to manage into separate file folders stored in a portable file tote, sorted by letter (I did letters first, once I had at least a half dozen for a letter, I’d sort others of that letter into a theme folder instead — and who knew that “N” and “O” would be almost as difficult as “Q” and “X”?!), colors, and theme (such as animals, food, clothing, transportation, halloween, etc) so its ridiculously easy to go to the box, pull out a folder and have whatever I want right at hand.  Now, before I recycle a magazine, kidlet and I will go through it and find good clear pictures that are worthy of saving and its so easy to add to the collection!

Felt Board.  I pulled out our homemade felt board (I made it for kidlet years ago using a corkboard that was on clearance and a large piece of felt both from Craft Warehouse) and felt play pieces. In keeping with the theme, I used a set of storebought fruits and vegetables and a homemade set based on Lunch! by Denise Fleming.

She likes sticking the  pieces on the board and pulling them off.  As usual, I just keep up a constant patter of which ones she is holding, and what she is doing.  {I know, felt boards are so passe and file folder games are where its at ;)}

Vocabulary: food names, felt, stick, on, off

Rice Box.  Pulled out the rice box after a week off.  I added an assortment of food and pans from the play kitchen.

She really is still more interested in tossing handfuls of rice to the 4 corners than anything else!

Vocabulary:  Rice, Dig, Pour, Scoop, Bury, Find

Stack and Sort Board and an Abacus. 

While totally unrelated to the food theme, I wanted to do at least one activity this week in tot school that would encourage her more fine motor skills, and I decided not to spend any money on a fruit and veggie large knob puzzle just to be a stickler to the general theme this week.

Vocabulary: slide, stack, red, blue, yellow, purple, green, square, triangle, rectangle, circle, hexagon, off, on

Music Time:  Hot Cross Buns, Did You Eat Your Vegetables (tune of Muffin Man), If You’re Healthy and You Know It,

Baby L also “helped” (i.e. banged a stick of celery on her high chair set up in the kitchen) while kidlet made vegetable soup (using Growing Vegetable Soup recipe, which I thought was quite bland) and then sampled that as well as the “Pink Fruit Soup” that kidlet made as well.  She LOVED the fruit soup (although frankly, with 3 cups of orange and white grape juice and only 1/2 cup of cranberry juice as the recipe calls for, it was barely pale peach, and not pink at all!)

Sampling Fruit Soup -- Spoon Practice!

New sign: Soup:  Hold your left hand like a bowl  at chest level.  Use your index and middle fingers on your right hand to scoop into the bowl and bring it up towards your lips a couple of times.   I also took the opportunity to reinforce “eat”, which we have been using, but she hasn’t picked up yet.  Right now she has still been doing “more” when she wants something to eat, whether she had something yet or not.

On Topic books we read this week (although some were read with Kidlet and were definitely not really toddler material, but she likes sitting with both of us and turning pages): Stone Soup, Eating the Alphabet, Green Eggs and Ham, Growing Vegetable Soup, I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato, Feast for Ten, Showdown at the Food Pyramid, Food for Thought, Lunch

Find more terrific tot school posts over at 1+ 1 + 1  = 1