Wishing you and your families a very Merry Christmas!
Thank you for your support in 2015!
I look forward to sharing more ways to make learning fun for your kids in 2016.
I will be taking a break over January as I vacation with my family.
Happy and safe holidays!
Christmas Stain Glass Cookies are so pretty and the kids love to eat them too! You can make them into decorations by making a hole with a straw before baking, then stringing them up for your tree. My kids just preferred to eat them!
I used a basic vanilla cookie which is fairly crisp (rather than short bread) so that it would hold its shape. These cookies are delicious even without the "stain glass" section. I have played around with the amount of sugar trying variations of 1 cup, 3/4 cup and 1/2 cup....they all work, so it really depends how sweet your tooth is and if you are trying to cut down sugar in your (your children's) food as to how much you might want to put into the cookie.
I make these cookies in a Thermomix, however you can use a food processor too!
185g butter, roughly chopped
½ cup sugar (90 grams)
1 tsp vanilla
2½ cups plain flour (390 grams)
1 egg and 1 extra egg yolk
Boiled hard candy (various colours)
1. Place the butter, sugar and vanilla into the TM bowl. Place on the lid and MC. Blitz for 25 seconds, spd 5.
2. Place the flour, egg and egg yolk into the TM bowl. Place on the lid and MC. Mix for 20 seconds, spd 5.
3. Scrape down the TM bowl with a spatula. Place on the lid and the MC. Knead for 30 seconds.
4. Repeat step 3.
5. Tip out the dough onto a piece of plastic kitchen wrap. Wrap the dough firmly with the plastic wrap and place it into the fridge for at least half an hour.
6. Preheat your oven to 180ºC.
Place section of dough between two sheets of kitchen baking paper.
7. Using a rolling pin, roll over the top sheet of baking paper until the dough is approximately 5mm thick.
8. Lift off the kitchen baking paper and use a floured cookie cutter to cut out your shapes.
9. Place on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper.
10. Use a smaller cutter to cut out a section of each cookie.
11. Place a candy into each cookie.
12. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes (until candy is melted and cookie is slightly brown).
13. Cool on baking tray for 2 minutes before transferring the cookie to a wire rack.
1. Place the butter, sugar and vanilla into a food processor. Blitz for approximately 25 seconds until combined.
2. Place the flour, egg and egg yolk into the food processor. Process until all the ingredients are combined and they form a smooth ball.
3. Tip out the dough onto a piece of plastic kitchen wrap. Wrap the dough firmly with the plastic wrap and place it into the fridge for at least half an hour.
4. Preheat your oven to 180ºC.
Place section of dough between two sheets of kitchen baking paper.
5. Using a rolling pin, roll over the top sheet of baking paper until the dough is approximately 5mm thick.
6. Lift off the kitchen baking paper and use a floured cookie cutter to cut out your shapes.
7. Place on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper.
8. Use a smaller cutter to cut out a section of each cookie.
9. Place a candy into each cookie.
10. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes (until candy is melted and cookie is slightly brown).
11. Cool on baking tray for 2 minutes before transferring the cookie to a wire rack.
Tips: Don't roll your pastry out too thin, otherwise it will difficult to lift up the cookie. Oven temperatures may vary so you may need to adjust the cooking time. Children should be supervised when using the oven.
Your kids will love helping to make these cookies. They will love measuring out and adding the ingredients. They will love rolling the dough and using cookie cutters. They may especially love unwrapping the candy to add to the centre!
I love a cookie that can do double duty or triple duty.... these ones not only taste great, they look great on the tree and they make great gifts!
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I love this time of the year.! The end of the school year is fast approaching, the anticipation of Christmas is exhilarating and summer holidays at the beach tantalizingly close!
Here is a round up of my favourite travel toys and games! Of course, me being me these games make learning fun and your child may even work on their play skills, fine motor skills, social skills, visual perceptual or motor planning skills whilst they play! They would be excellent presents or stocking stuffers for Christmas too!
Note: Stores listed below are Australian. International readers may wish to try their local toy stores or larger toy distributors such as Amazon for similar products.
FOR TODDLERS AND PRESCHOOLERS!
1. Train Tape - A roll of tape with train tracks available from Finlee and ME comes with one small train. Such a simple idea that your train-crazy kids will love. It certainly beats bringing heaps of wooden or plastic track with you. The tape can be stuck onto carpet or floorboards and removed when you finish your holiday. Best to do a test first especially if you are at a holiday house. To make it last a bit longer, you could tape it down onto large cardboard sheets and fold it up. We combined the train tape with paper plates and Mr 5 used his own trains. He also decorated the paper plates as "stations" with houses and stickers. A fabulous way to encourage imaginary play whilst on holiday!
2.Water Painting Books - You can find these any chain stores such as Big W, Target and Kmart. We love these Melissa and Doug "On the Go" series books available from Kids Stuff. Just fill the "pencil" with water and "colour in" the page. The picture then turns to a colour print.
3. Kids Animial Torch - These hand push torches by Typo are so cute! Kids love playing with "light" so why not encourage their hand strength "squeezing" these torches at the same time!
4. Young Ones Carry Along BBQ and Beauty Salon - Cute carry along "suitcases" available from Target Australia. Bring your imaginary play on holidays with these all-in-one sets. I love how the suitcase itself forms part of the play either as a BBQ or Beauty Salon and all the pieces fit back into the suitcase.
5. Torch Projector Space - Insert the provided discs to project a picture of space (nebulae and galaxies). Available from theAustralian Geographic Shop, this torch may foster imagination for budding astronauts as well as encourage some fine motor manipulation.
6. Playskool Potato Head Marvel Mashable Heroes - These mini "Mr Potato Heads" have superhero outfits to create Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine and Iron Man. They are fantastic for keeping hands busy with pushing and pulling whilst imaginary play with the superhero characters is great too! These toys are available from a range of toy shops, including Toys R Us. These are popular with "big" kids too!
7. Our Generation Doll - These 45 cm dolls have soft bodies and are very cuddly. Perfect to bring on a road trip or even a plane ride to keep your child company. They are very natural looking dolls with age-appropriate proportions. There are a range of accessories available to change outfits or for further pretend play. These dolls are available from Kmart and David Jones. This doll is also suitable for older kids looking for an alternative to a "baby" doll.
8. Spexa: Doll's House Book - This "doll's house" unfolds into four different room scenes ready for your child to add their own doll or puppet to play. Available from IKEA Australia it is portable and easy to fold back. Great for imaginary play as well as visual scanning and visual figure ground skills as your child looks at the details of their "house".
FOR SCHOOL AGE CHILDREN
1. Travel size Connect Four, Battleship, Guess Who and Hangman by Blue Opal Australia- I purchased these games at a local toy shop and I use them a lot in my OT sessions! School age kids will love these travel size versions of their favourite games and they can inadvertently work on their pincer grip, visual perceptual and fine motor skills at the same time!
2. Snake Puzzle - A classic fidget toy with a wide range of colours from Smiggle. Hours of fun making new shapes and patterns, keeping hands and fingers busy with the manipulation.
3. Make a Match Memory Game - Woodland Friends Edition - This beautiful wooden memory game comes in a small drawstring bag. The pictures are black ink drawings and will prompt creative imaginary play as well as visual memory. It is available from Finlee and Me.
4. Laser Peg Light Up toys - These light up toys are available from a range of toy stores including Toys R Us. Each box comes with a number of different models which can be copied. Laser Pegs are also compatible with "other bricks" and has an added bonus of lighting up. Kids can work on their visual motor skills as well as their fine motor manipulation with this toy!
5. Spirograph - A classic arts and craft set that comes in a transportable tin. "Originally developed as a drafting tool by a mechanical engineer, the distinctive wheels and rings of Spirograph cleverly combine the principles of art and maths in a unique way that has inspired generations!" I remember loving this as a child and your child can spend hours making their own patterns and designs. Available from Kids Stuff.
6. Stunt Kite - Loved by kids of all ages, kites are the perfect thing to throw into the car for run at the beach or park. These stunt kites are available fromKmart and will get your kids moving!
7. Solar Power Kit - A variety of kits available from the Australian Geographic Store. Your child will love clipping the pieces together to form various models (ranging from 6-12 models depending on the kit). You don't need glue, paint, nails or batteries! Learn the principles of solar power whilst watching your model go.
8. Cat's Cradle - This version of the string game from Smiggle comes with a useful instruction booklet. Your child can work on their bilateral coordination as they use both hands together to manipulate the string.
Are you travelling these holidays?
What is your child's favourite travel toy or game?
Disclosure: Train Tape was gifted to me by Finlee and Me to provide a blog post for their site. I have not been paid any renumeration by any of the companies listed here. There are no affiliate links and I do not benefit financially by recommending these toys and games. All opinions expressed are based are my own and toys have been purchased from my own funds.
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Hi, I'm Cindy and I am an Occupational Therapist. I enjoy working creatively with children to see them reach their potential. Read more about me here.
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Disclaimer: The information on this site is general in nature and should be used for educational and entertainment purposes. The activities are safe for most children, however, you should consult an Occupational Therapist or health professional to address specific movement, sensory or other medical conditions. This blog does not replace formal therapeutic professional advice given by a health professional or medical practitioner. Reviews and endorsements of products will only be made based on my expertise and personal opinion; and deemed worthy of such endorsement. The opinions shared in sponsored content will always be my own and not that of the advertising company or brand. Content, advertising space or posts will be clearly identified if paid, affiliated or sponsored. Affiliate links may be found throughout this website in advertising. This means that if you follow through with a purchase from these links, Your Kids OT will receive a percentage of the sale. Your Kids OT undertakes to meet the requirements of the "Social Media Policy" as published by Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Further information about this policy can be found here.
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