Category Archives: Sydney’s Kids Corner

10 Creative Ways to Tell Your Kids Your Love Them


Ditch the heart-shaped box of chocolates and show your little cherubs how much you love them with these creative gifts and activities. You’ll make Valentine’s fun for everyone – and you may even help your daughter forget that she didn’t get roses from the boy she not-so-secretly likes.

Worth a Fortune. Bake your own fortune cookies with personalized messages inside to remind your kids just how lucky you are to have them. Find recipes online at Got baker’s block? Order custom cookies online at

Tattoo Love You. Write your child’s name in a heart on your bicep tattoo-style, snap a photo and send the picture to her cell phone or e-mail account. She may laugh or groan, “Oh, Mom, you’re so lame,” but deep down she’ll know you love her.

Teach Speech. Give your kids the gift of giggles with Mad Libs in Love by Roger Price and Leonard Stern (Price Stern Sloan, $3.99), a collection of 24 stories for kids to complete using nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives of their choosing. Aimed at kids ages 4-8, these wacky stories make loving fun.

Bursting with Love. Write a Valentine note on small strips of paper and slip each strip into an inflated balloon before tying the knots. Let your child hop and pop and then reassemble the phrases of your love letter. Make sure to keep balloon bits away from little mouths — they can be a choking hazard.

Love in Any Language. Je t’aime (French). Te amo or te quiero (Spanish). Taim i’ ngra leat (Irish). Ich liebe dich (German). Make a set of heart-shaped flashcards. On one side, write “I Love You” in a foreign language. On the reverse, give three hints to the language displayed. For instance, “Home of the Eiffel Tower, Capital City is Paris, Famous Leader was Napoleon Bonaparte.” You’ll build social studies skills and laugh like crazy pronouncing your love for each other.

Hungry for Love. Make lunchtime all about hearts by cutting kids’ sandwiches into a heart shape using a cookie cutter or knife. Want to go all out? Buy bread tinted pink at your local bakery to make sandwiches extra-Valentiney.

Just Say “Spaaaaa.” Make bath time extra special with bubble bath, heart-shaped soaps, and pink and red bathtub paints. To make your own, mix a few drops of food coloring into a dollop of shaving cream in a bowl. Let kids paint the walls of the tub or themselves for some foamy fun. Be careful to check that the paints won’t stain fixtures or skin before indulging.

Buy the Book. Give your child a book that says how much you love him. For little readers, try I Love You Through and Through (by Bernadette Shustak, Cartwheel, 2005, $8.95). Take an older child on a date to the bookstore and enjoy a hot chocolate together while browsing.

Puzzled by Love. Buy a do-it-yourself puzzle card or create one yourself by mounting a picture and message on cardstock and cutting puzzle pieces your child can reassemble. Decorate a box or envelope to hold the pieces.

Can’t Hide My Love for You. Have a scavenger hunt at home. Hide chocolate kisses with clues attached to direct your child to a final family event — perhaps a love-themed movie night or an indoor dinner picnic complete with a heart-shaped pizza. Spending time together is the best gift of all.

Heidi Smith Luedtke fell head-over-heels in love with her son from the moment she saw him. Read her blog on parenting as a leadership experience at

Borrowed from:


Online Jigsaw Puzzle

Here is a great jigsaw puzzle that you can do with your kids:

Juicy Fruit Punch Recipe

1 can (6 oz. size) frozen grapefruit juice concentrate, thawed
1 can (6 ounce size) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 cans (6 ounce size) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup grenadine
3 bottles (28 oz. size) ginger ale, chilled


In 4-quart non-metal container, combine all ingredients except ginger ale. Chill.

Just before serving pour in ginger ale. Serve over ice or ice ring. Garnish as desired.

Borrowed From CDKitchen

Five Tips For Cooking With Kids

When it comes to life learning, most houses have more opportunities in the kitchen than anywhere else. Stirring, pouring, transferring, and all of the little movements that go along with cooking and baking are excellent for little ones and their developing fine motor skills. As children get older, estimating, measuring, and cutting provide real world experience with mathematical concepts. Perhaps most important of all is the opportunity for connection that working in the kitchen together provides, drawing children in to the rhythm of everyday life, connecting them to their food and the processes involved in preparing it, and creating a relaxing space for old and young to work side by side. Many of us, however, in our desire for tidiness and order in the cooking process, have a hard time involving our children as often as they might like for us to. As a recovering culinary control freak, I’d like to share a few of the things that have helped me let go and enjoy opportunities to be with kids in the kitchen.

1. Set aside time

Often, the pace of family life calls for us to get a meal on the table in an hour, even fifteen minutes or less. There is almost always some small way to involve our children regardless of the time crunch, but these hurried times are not ideal for children, who tend to be work for the process over the product. Consider how often is reasonable for you, and set aside a special time to take it slow, involving your child in every step of preparing a meal or treat. If a weekly baking day is feasible, that’s great! If your schedule is too full, consider preparing dinner together on a weekend once a month, or just creating family traditions around special recipes for birthdays and holidays.

2. Check in with yourself

Many children are happy to join their parents in the kitchen at every meal. This is fantastic if you’re up for it, but if you’re like me there will be days when you simply don’t have much patience left by dinnertime. I find that it’s really helpful to take a moment before I begin cooking to ask myself whether I can offer the gentleness and patience my daughter deserves. If the answer is yes, I prepare a space at the counter for her. If I don’t have it in me, I provide her with something else to do.

This is what a toddler in the kitchen really looks like!

3. Have realistic expectations

Have you ever seen a children’s cookbook? They’re full of beautiful photos of young children doing a beautiful job of food prep in pristine kitchens. They are slow, careful, methodical, usually wearing a spotless apron and a little chef’s hat, too. If you have ever actually cooked with a child, you know how far from realistic these pictures can be. As much as I know better, I still find myself expecting what’s in the perfect picture instead of the very normal toddler behavior I often get. My daughter does not always mix the batter. Sometimes she dips the spoon in, pulls it out, and shoves it in her mouth, spilling flour everywhere in the process. Sometimes she pushes the cookie cutters aside, and can’t help but grab handfuls of the perfectly rolled dough and shove them in her mouth. When I go in to the kitchen expecting the perfect picture and I get all of that, I can quickly become grumpy mom. When I remember that I’m dealing with a toddler and plan accordingly, I’m more likely to be able to smile at her eagerness to touch and taste everything, and turn the clean up into yet another opportunity for connection.

4. Prepare a safe, kid-friendly place

While older children can happily work at the counter with the help of a regular stool or chair, keeping a toddler or young preschooler safe can be a bit more of a challenge. Cooking together is much more relaxing when done safely and on the same level. One way to do this is by bringing your project to your child’s height. If you have a child-sized table, you can set up everything you need for cooking together there. Many coffee tables work great for this purpose as well, depending on the height. If yours is lightweight, you could bring it right in the to the kitchen to make for an easier clean-up. The other option, of course, is to bring the child up to counter height. There are commercially available options, like the Learning Tower, the Fun Pod or even a simple high rise step stool with rails, but if you’re handy, you can create a DIY version for much less money.

5. Make considerations for your child’s age and stage

While I only have one kid in my kitchen now, I used to do regular baking and food prep projects with groups of children as a Montessori guide, and I found that there were different things to consider with different children. My toddler, of course, wants to taste and fully experience every single ingredient and absolutely cannot wait. To accommodate this, I give her a small bowl, measuring cup, and spoon of her own, and give her a chance to take a small amount of each ingredient that I place in my own bowl. This way she can taste and smell to her heart’s content and I don’t have worry about passing our germs on to all of the guests at the evening’s pot luck. Older children reach a point where they really want to do everything by themselves, so setting things up to be more hands-off for you can eliminate struggles and help them feel successful. Of course the whole process of cooking is easier for children of any age and stage if they have the appropriate tools.

Every family is different, and not all of us have time to prepare every meal together every day, but taking time to figure out how, and how often you can get your kids in the kitchen can give them a great learning opportunity and allow you to connect on a whole different level.

How do you involve your kids in cooking? Tell us in the comments below.


Borrowed From Natural Parent