Cooler weather and more lockdown activities.

I have never loved our garden more than I have during lockdown (even though we are only on day 4) but the cooler weather and occasional rain has put a slight spanner in the works. On the cooler days we have still tried to get outside quite a bit but the rain forced us inside for a day or two. I generally don’t mind playing in the rain a bit (well obviously not during a thunder/lightening storm) but I guess I’m a bit hesitant at the moment in case the kids get sick… no one needs to add to the stress of the current situation. That being said Mila (8 months old) has had a terrible ear infection the past few days. This kid has some excellent timing.

I am going to get straight to the activities today without much blurb… mostly because as soon as I take my laptop out my 4yr old goes from playing happily by herself to wanting to press all the buttons.

Firstly we baked (fact: I am going to gain weight during this lockdown).

We made banana blueberry muffins, something healthy which used up some overripe bananas and some of the frozen blueberries which we have taking up freezer space (I usually make these with strawberries but we don’t have any in the house). I can’t remember where I found this recipe but I have been making it since Ella was 1yrs old (it used to be our go to cake substitute for when we took her to birthday parties).

Strawberry (or blueberry) banana muffins:

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼  cups flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1 ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp melted and cooled coconut oil (I haven’t tried another kind of oil but I’m guessing you could substitute this).
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 130g mashed banana’s (about 2 bananas)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • ¼ cup plain yoghurt (I always use full fat)
  • 105g diced strawberries (or blueberries) fresh or frozen and slightly thawed

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius and prep muffin tin (grease it)
  • Sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and mix
  • In a separate bowl whisk together coconut oil, egg and vanilla essence
  • Stir the mashed banana, honey, yoghurt into the egg mixture and beat with an electric beater so there are no lumps
  • Add this mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until just combined
  • Fold in berries
  • Spoon into muffin tin and bake for 22-25 mins
  • Leave in tin for 5 minutes after taking out of oven and then transfer to wire cooling rack.

We baked seed bread.

This was so delicious and pretty easy but just took ages because of all the rising. We used this recipe but added pumpkin seeds because we didn’t have sunflower seeds. We used this recipe from the Minimalist baker https://minimalistbaker.com/the-easiest-whole-grain-seeded-bread/

When we got a chance to get outside we played with Ella’s rainbow rice. We already had rainbow rice which I had made a few months ago, so that helped. If you haven’t got any then playing with water, plain rice, dried beans etc could all be fun. If you want to make rainbow rice then there are plenty of links online but the way I was told how to do it was to put around 2 tablespoons of vinegar with a little food colouring in a bowl and then add raw rice and mix around until coated. Lie flat on paper towel or an old tray (because food colouring stains) to allow to dry and then store in an airtight container. I made a few different colour batches to get the rainbow effect. When we play with it we use various size cups and containers and a funnel. We pretend to bake and eat with it as well as some estimation, measuring and comparing (e.g. how many of these containers of rice do you think will fit into that cup and then test it). Just the feel and sound of the rice is great for sensory exploration and is actually quite calming.

Finally we made a (temporary) stained glass window for Ella’s room. I never thought I would let paint inside the house…never mind a bedroom … but when it’s raining outside and you need a quiet activity because the baby is sleeping. This was a great activity that my friend shared from an Instagram account she follows called Life by Leanna. Basically you tape a design onto a window (she used electrical tape I used masking tape). Then you use children’s paint –she suggests either washable paint or adding some dish soap to the paint. I had Tempera paint which said “super washable” on the label but I still added 3 drops of dish washing liquid and some water to make it a little thinner. Then we painted the window with it. We had a fatter brush and a medium brush but the fatter brush was better by far. We waited for a while and then when the paint was dry we removed the tape. This was amazing (although I haven’t washed it off yet), Ella maintained excellent concentration and we had tons of fun doing it. It was great for motor control and also makes our house look a little more cheery.

I hope you find something in the above short list of activities to keep your little one occupied. Happy lockdown. Stay safe and stay sane.


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