A Day in Spaghetti

To continue our sensory play this week, I decided to try an activity with cooked spaghetti. Yes, some might think that’s absolutely nuts, but I’m all about using the senses to discover things in our everyday world. To me, cooked spaghetti was along the same line as a rice table, or dried bean activity…except this was cooked.  I did not make this up, either. There are a million blogs dedicated to toys and play for babies and toddlers. Here were a few places I found inspiration using cooked spaghetti: Here and here. I love the brightly colored rainbow pasta, and I can see how awesome this activity would be for toddlers identifying colors and textures and all that. For my 10 month olds, I used this as my basis when making this activity happen.

I didn’t want there to be too much dye in my pasta, as my babies are still in the stage where everything goes in the mouth. I know it’s called “food coloring” for a reason, but I wanted to limit the amount they may digest. I liked how Bean (in the last link) played with pasta that had a hint of raspberries, to engage the taste and smell senses. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the blueberries I might’ve used (which probably saved me a onesie or two), but I did have some already cut watermelon. So I purchased a box of spaghetti from the dollar store, cooked it up and as it cooled, added a little olive oil to keep it from sticking. I used too much oil. Sticking was not an issue. So for anyone that tries this, just a little oil will work . 🙂

Then I dumped the juice from the cut watermelon and also chopped up a few pieces just in case the babies wanted to taste the chunks (they love watermelon at the moment). It didn’t really make the pasta smell much, so if I did this again, I’d 1) cut back on the oil and 2) skip the fruit. Plain, white pasta would’ve been just fine! I also made this the night before and it was cool when I put it out for them.

It was a beautiful day out so I considered doing the activity outside, but didn’t want to deal with the bugs. Instead, I put down a clean shower liner on the kitchen floor for easy clean-up, plunked the babies down with a bucket of pasta and let them go to town. And this is what happened:

Tentative at first, they each put a hand in and didn’t really explore too much.

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It didn’t take B long at all to try a taste, though for the most part I don’t believe C ever did. (This might have something to do with the fact that they still don’t feed themselves their finger foods…)

 

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And once he tried it, he liked it. Clearly.

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Yes, somewhere in there B had a mini-meltdown over his bib so I decided the shirt would just be destroyed and so be it – thankfully, it’s totally fine!

C continued to just feel it with her hands, while some fell on her leg.

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One of my dogs, Riley, was having a field day with all the food on the ground and even though I tried to contain her tongue, she slipped a few licks and slurps in.

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They were having a grand time, with C concentrating pretty hard and B just going crazy with delight.

 

 

 

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Then he lifted up the bucket and I knew this activity would end soon. Thanks to the handy shower liner, I just let him go for it.

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Nothing is a mess until you have a box of slimy, cooked pasta on your floor. They weren’t even interested in playing around in it. So after a minute I decided it was time to clean up before the shower liner didn’t do its job anymore and I just grabbed the pasta with my hands and put it back in the fridge, in case we do a repeat in the next few days. While I was cleaning up, I gave them two clean buckets, and I think they would’ve been fine with just those to begin with.

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They slid on the floor so well! Maybe from the oil, maybe not..

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They got up close and personal to finish up.

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And then this happened:

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Resulting in C falling backwards, C screaming, causing B to scream, and that was officially the end of the activity.

Clean-up is a hose to the shower liner (or just throw it out), a wash of the buckets, hands and legs, and that’s it. No pasta on the floor, just some dirty buckets.

Would I do it again? Yes…but I might wait a few months until I think the babies will get even more out of it. I mean, if I’m going to give them a messy activity, I want them to get messy. Step in it, feel it between the toes, that sort of thing. C sitting there picking up one strand at a time…very cute, easy clean-up. But next time I’ll take it outside, maybe color it, maybe not, and again, go easy on the oil.

I still do love these sensory activities and am on the hunt for more, especially for babies. Yogurt as finger paint? I’ll think about it.

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Almost there!

It feels like the babies are on the brink of some major milestones. I’m reminded why I need to really enjoy the baby phase (like Muppet’s mom discusses) and so I do try to keep that in mind. I have loved the snuggles, the baby smell, the tiny toes. Yet for me, I love how C deliberately puts her head on my chest and wraps her arms around my neck, whereas when she was an infant, she couldn’t do that. And sure baby skin was even softer and smelled even better when my twins were newborns, but now they laugh and when I say, “Where are the doggies?”, they whip their heads around trying to find a dog and grin. That level of understanding, for me, is where it’s at. And so I feel like with this new understanding taking place between myself and them, they’re getting close to making some serious discoveries.

Foods – Recently I recall not yet making that leap to finger foods and wondering how to go about it when the babies loved their purees so much. Well, C suddenly decided she wouldn’t touch another puree and happily went right to finger foods, no “thicker textures” necessary. I was making my own purees, so they were on the thicker side to begin with, but I never put chunks in them. Now she loves mushy finger foods especially, as most babies do I assume. I’m starting to push the envelope by adding new things with different textures little by little. Chicken is the most recent addition. C is finally starting to try feeding herself. She keeps missing her mouth, or her hand will make it to her mouth but the food will fall. But I’m pleased she continues to try. B – not so much, but then, he was content with purees as well. He’s content to be fed by me, period. He’s made the switch to the straw cup, but won’t hold it himself. C is working on a regular sippy cup with handles – she does drink water from it well, by herself. Thank goodness. But when I put the milk in it and have her attempt it at mealtime – no way. She still wants me to feed her the bottle.

I’m at a bit of a loss right now for new foods to give them that don’t involve a spoon. We still have some protein sources to go, some veggies to go, but if it involves a spoon, they’re out for the time being.

As for movement, again, C is making some major leaps right now. She’s still not crawling but she’s really, really close. Finally – one day about a week ago she decided to roll, at 10.5 months. And roll she does. Rolling even onto her stomach to sleep for naps, which for her is unheard of. Flopping all over the living room floor. Wanting to pull up on things. So, she’s getting there. As for B – when I hear people say, “My baby skipped crawling and went right to walking. He/she only scooted around/army crawled.”, I’m confused because to me – any movement in which child gets from point A to point B I consider crawling, even if it doesn’t look exactly right. So my question is, can a baby COMPLETELY skip crawling/scooting/sliding/army crawling and go straight to walking? Because that’s what B wants to do. He is only happy when standing, he is pulling up more and more, and he’s using my hand to turn himself around (while standing) and take steps toward something he wants. We’ll see. Sometime soon, all these changes will take place. And I’m not RUSHING it…but at the same time, I want these things to happen. B is 3 pounds away from maxing out the weight on my changing table – the boy needs to move on his own. This mommy is ready.

Thanks to Pinterest, I’ve come across some fun little activities for babies in the summer months. As usual, my babies get sick of their toys (or is it just me?) and I try to only bust them out once or twice a day. The rest of the day, for my own sanity, needs to be something different. So this week I’m trying out a few new (but yet so uncomplicated) sensory activities to keep them interested and curious and keep myself from falling asleep on the floor.

So with today’s hot and sticky weather, we had some good fun splashing around outside with some dollar store bins and colored ice cubes.

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It started out all nice, with the babies happily splashing while wearing their hats. Until they realized they were wearing hats (hence the tie in C’s mouth). Then there were double meltdowns, and the options for me were to either end the activity or go without hats. So with sunscreen slathered on, the play continued.

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I found it interesting that B was all into the water today, while C quickly took her bin and dumped the water out, turning it into a drum.

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After that became boring, I brought out the colored ice cubes which happily did not stain any clothing (though they wore some PJ extras just in case). This was a fun fine motor activity and B especially loved it.

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I dumped out the bin after a while and got him some fresh water and ice cubes, making the water really cold, but he didn’t seem to mind.

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C decided to use her bin to try and stand, all the while leaning forward to eat kiss her brother. She doesn’t get that her open mouth means nothing to B, except to maybe smack her with his hand.

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Luckily, the twins like water. This wasn’t our first mini-water activity. In fact, a few days ago after breakfast I kept them in their high chairs and poured some warm water on top of their high chairs, threw a towel down on the floor and let them splash away. I also added a drop of food coloring. That day, C was into it but B less so.

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These little activities remind me of teaching, a lost art that I will be returning to in a few months. Planning an activity, getting the supplies, and executing it. And I like that – it makes the day exciting knowing that I have something planned for the twins to do. On the list for the rest of the week: sensory bags, spaghetti play, and a yogurt/food coloring snack/play…thing. I could never come up with some of these things myself. Thanks, Pinterest.