Recipes, both edible and non-edible, for you to try at home!
This slimy substance has many names, slime, goop, ooblek, but no matter what you call it, it’s fun and pretty irresistible! Today Frances and I held a Zoom session with some friends, and made goop “together.” It was a strange and new experience, and great fun to watch Frances and her friends dive into the project with enthusiasm. It is also a messy project, so I encourage you to prepare your space in advance or set up outside, where you can easily hose everything and everyone down. On the plus side, it will likely keep your child engaged for a long time!
Ingredients: 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup corn starch and 3/4 cup water, food coloring (optional)
Directions: Combine dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon or by hand. Add water a little bit at a time. This is important as we added ours all at once and had to add more and more dry ingredients to get the right consistency! It will feel fairly solid when you’re “done”, and you should be able to pick it up in the end, and watch it melt with the warmth of your hand. Have fun!
Obviously, there are many salsa variations and ingredients as well as amounts are typically subject to taste. If you are wanting to add a little flavor to your food without the spice and gradually introduce your child to the idea of a salsa, this is a great starter recipe!
Ingredients: 6 large garden tomatoes, 1/2 a white onion finely chopped, 3 cloves of garlic, juicy from 1-2 limes, salt to taste, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, and cilantro to taste.
Directions: Add everything to the blender and blend on high until you reach desired consistency!
Gingerbread Playdough (Non-edible)
This play dough was a gift from a former parent of mine and my current favorite recipe. The texture and the smell are so calming, it’s irresistible well beyond the holiday season.
Ingredients: 1 cup flour; 1/2 cup salt, 2 tsp. cream of tartar, 1 Tbsp cinnamon, 2 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp ground nutmeg, 1 tsp ground cloves, 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, 1 cup water, and 1 tsp orange extract (optional).
Directions: Whisk all dry ingredients together before adding water, oil and extract. Mix until thick batter forms and cook over medium heat until a thick dough forms. Allow to cool and knead until smooth. Store in airtight container.
You know how much we love a good sensory project, so I couldn’t resist this snow dough recipe. At least we can pretend that it’s winter around here, right? The nice thing about this recipe is that it’s non-toxic/edible. It won’t taste very good, but at least it won’t hurt our curious friends’ tummies.
Ingredients: 3 cups corn starch, 3 cups flour, 1/2 cup vegetable oil. If you like essential oils, you could also add some of your favorite aromas to the vegetable oil before adding to the dry ingredients.
Directions: Mix dry ingredients with a wooden spoon or by hand. Add oil a little at a time until desired consistency is achieved.
Although it hasn’t been very cold outside, in our home, soup is always a welcome comfort food and what better way to use up some leftover veggies! We’re taking some of our snack leftovers and throwing them in a pot with some fresh garlic and onion next week for a special treat.
Ingredients: Vegetable broth, onions, celery, carrots, corn, peas, baby potatoes, green beans, zucchini, two cloves of garlic, one bay leaf and salt to taste.
Cranberry Overnight Oats
We’re not sure if any of the kiddos will actually be inclined to eat these oats, but they sure enjoy making them, and involving children in cooking is one sure-fire way to get them more excited about food! Plus, overnight oats require minimal ingredients and prep-time, and if your child won’t eat them, then you have a quick, easy breakfast for yourself. Note: These oats are great way to use up leftover cranberry sauce, though we opted for canned whole organic cranberry sauce.
Ingredients: 1/4 cup milk, soy or almond (we used soy), 1/4 oats, 2 Tbsp. of slivered almonds, 3 Tbsps. of cranberry sauce, and 1 dash of cinnamon. Optional: Walnuts, chocolate chips, or coconut.
Directions: Add all ingredients to a jar, shake, let sit overnight in refrigerator, stir and eat in the morning!
Pineapple Mint Smoothies
We love having leftovers from snack; they make the best smoothies! Today we enjoyed some tropical smoothies and imagined we were on a tropical island. Ok, maybe that was just me and Amber! Still, these were a refreshing treat, and all of the kids asked for seconds as usual even with the extra kale! Following, I remembered that we have fresh mint in our garden which I think would make a nice addition to this smoothie! Pick up some mint from us if you would like to try it at home!
Ingredients: Frozen pineapple, kiwi, kale, almond milk and coconut water.
Note: I would recommend adding mint as well or you could add yogurt or coconut milk for a slightly different texture! Either one would be delicious!
Applesauce is a standard toddler favorite, and nothing smells better than apples and cinnamon simmering on the oven or in the crockpot on a chilly fall day! You can find variations of this recipe online, though we’re opting for this simple recipe which is made on the stovetop so our children can experience and taste the results more quickly!
Ingredients: 4 large apples of your choosing (Pink Lady, Gala or Macintosh make good choices!), 1/2 cup water, juice from one lemon, and 1 tsp cinnamon (optional).
Directions: Peel and chop apples into bite size chunks (with or without your child depending on their age and ability), throw apples into a pot with water, lemon juice and cinnamon and heat mixture over medium heat until it starts to bubble. Allow to bubble a few minutes longer, then cover pot slightly with lid and allow to simmer until soft approximately ten minutes. Remove lid and let simmer another ten minutes. You can eat it chunky, though I like to give the children opportunities to mash the apples for the experience!
Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats
I learned about this recipe recently from another Montessorian, and it sounded too good to pass up. There are a ton of variations, so it definitely seems worth experimenting!
Ingredients: 1/3 cup oats, 1/3 cup non-dairy milk, 3 Tbsp pumpkin puree, 1/2 Tbsp chia seeds, 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup, and 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice.
Directions: Add all ingredients to a jar, cover, shake well and stick in the refrigerator overnight. Add pumpkin seeds and bananas for an extra treat!
Blue Day Smoothies
When you are indoor bound for a couple of days with a group of toddlers, it helps to break up the routine with an unexpected smoothie treat! We call these Blue Day smoothies, because some of our friends are feeling the “What’s happening with the weather and my nose?” blues while others are feeling the “Why aren’t we running and sliding and getting dirty blues?”
Ingredients: 1 carton of fresh blueberries, a handful of strawberries, 1 1/2 frozen bananas, a heaping handful of fresh baby spinach, 1 spoonful of sun butter, and enough soy milk to create a smooth consistency.
Pumpkin Moon Sand
Sensory exploration is an important part of the toddler’s experience, and we’re excited about introducing this new sensory experience this month which is part slime, part play dough. It can stand alone or you can add various tools for more exploration. Leave uncovered so it doesn’t mold, and if it dries out, just add more water! This month we’re adding pumpkin pie spice for some seasonal fun.
Ingredients: 4 cups of play sand, 2 cups of corn starch, 1-3 cups of water and 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice. Optional: Food coloring or liquid watercolor.
Note: Add water a little at a time to get desired consistency. The more water you add the slimier it will be!
Another seasonal favorite of mine, and usually a big hit with the children! Smoothies are a great way to get greens into your child’s diet. And, while some folks like to “hide” healthy items in their smoothies, I encourage you to involve your child in the process of making the smoothie and introducing the ingredients by name so they can start to become familiar and comfortable with different foods, like kale and peas, and maybe actually eat them someday!
Ingredients: Pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, bananas, soy milk, and vanilla yogurt. (Quantities are dependent on how much you want make and which flavors you want to stand out! I tend to wing it when it comes to smoothies, just have fun! You can also sub the soy milk for almond milk for a different flavor and add agave or honey if you want to sweeten it a bit, but it’s generally pretty sweet with the bananas.)
Note: If you want it to be cold and frothy, you can add ice cubes. Since ice tends to water down the flavor, I prefer to use frozen bananas when possible!
This is one of my favorite recipes from childhood. It’s so easy to make and inexpensive. Plus, it’s safe for little ones! Occasionally, I like to add essential oils or extract, such as peppermint or lavender to provide an extra sensory experience. Playdough is an all-around great tool for little ones who like to manipulate, and there are so many extensions . . . I highly recommend it, especially on a rainy day!
Ingredients: 1 cup water, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup of salt, 1 Tbsp. oil, 2 tsps. cream of tartar, food coloring.
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a pot over low heat and stir gently until dough starts to form. Remove from heat, and allow to cool briefly before kneading. Store in an airtight container. It should keep for several months!
Foam is a great sensory activity for littles, especially on hot summer days! You can do it plain or add color, either liquid watercolors or food coloring, for variations. We typically extend the activity by making it a washing activity as well, though the foam itself is usually enough to keep the kiddos busy for a long time!
Ingredients: 2 Tbsp of dish soap and 1/4 cup of water OR 1 part bubble bath to 2 parts water.
Directions: Mix on high speed with hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Add color before mixing for best results.