Thursday, February 28, 2013

Healthy Snacking with Green Giant

I know I'm not the only one who struggles with getting my kids to eat a healthy snack. If they had their choice, they'd be snacking on candy, cookies, and chips. Unfortunately for them, those are not daily options. When I was given the opportunity to try a new product from Green Giant, I jumped at the chance.  Let's see, chips that I could feel good about feeding my daughters... bring it on!

I received Green Giant™ Roasted Veggie Tortilla Chips – Zesty Cheddar Flavor and Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips – Sea Salt Flavor. Being the sneaky mom that I am, I gave them to the girls in a blind taste test. The only thing that I told them were that these were a new kind of chip. They dove in and they loved them. 

Here's what I didn't tell them, these chips are made from real vegetables and whole grains. You know how you can look at the ingredient list on many snack foods and recoil from the sheer number of chemicals listed? Not the case here. The number one ingredient in both chips is whole grain corn flour followed by sunflower oil. The next ingredients listed are dried vegetables, honest-to-goodness vegetables, not some strange vegetable flavoring. 

Yummy right? These Green Giant chips aren't the only foods you can feel good about giving your kids for a shack. Here are a few more fabulous choices: 

Healthy Snack Ideas
dried cranberries
apple slices
carrot & celery sticks
cheese slices
fresh fruit
trail mix
nuts & seeds
hummus with veggie dippers

What do your kids like to snack on?

Thank you Green Giant for letting me try your new product! Now that you've heard all about Green's Giant's giant surprise: veggie chips, Green Giant wants to know if you have any surprise talents. (I have none, unless you count fooling my kids with chips that were actually good for them!) Share your surprise talents at their Facebook link here or view some of the surprise talents already shared on their YouTube channel.

Thank you to The Green Giant™ for being a sponsor. Show the Giant your surprise talent at

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Color Wheel Painting

A simple and effective way to learn the basics of a color wheel is to make your own. The girls and I recently did an easy art project while learning about primary and secondary colors.

Supplies Needed:
Water color paper
Black permanent marker
Liquid water color (or acrylic paint) in red, yellow, and blue

Before painting, draw a large circle on your paper. We just traced around the edge of a small plate. Next draw the lines to divide your circle in six equal sections. Trace all your lines with a black permanent marker.

Now it's time to paint. We started with our primary colors (red, yellow, and blue), talking about each as we painted. You will be painting each wedge a different color. Each primary color will need a blank wedge next to it.

After painting our primary colors we moved on to our secondary colors. I used an empty ice cube tray to hold our paint so we would have plenty of sections for mixing colors. We looked at our blank wedges and decided what color they needed to be. The wedge in between red and yellow needed to be orange. The girls mixed up some orange paint for that wedge. They did the same with purple and with green. Soon, they had completed color wheels that we plan on hanging in our art room for inspiration and reference.

We've now spent several days talking about color. We went on a COLORful scavenger hunt, read books about color, played in a color mixing lab, and now created beautiful color wheel artwork.

What is your favorite way to play with color?

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Color Mixing Lab

What do you get when you combine science and art? A color mixing lab! We continued our study of color by performing some experiments to find out what happens when you mix color.

We used two basic forms of color: colored water and colored ice cubes. I prepped the ice a few hours earlier by adding a couple of drops of food coloring to the water in an ice cube tray. I only made the primary colors: red, yellow, and blue. When it was time to experiment, I also made three cups of primary colored water using food coloring again.

I set up the lab with the ice cubes, water, and a pile of white coffee filters. I showed the girls how they could dip the filters into the water to dye them.

The experiments began in earnest. We'd dip in blue and then use a yellow ice cube to color over it. Suddenly we had green! We tried red and blue and got purple. It wasn't long before we had a pile of colorful coffee filters and a couple of girls wondering what would happen if they dipped a coffee filter in all of the colors? The result, a "beautiful" brown coffee filter!

When we ran out of coffee filters, we took our experiments one step further. It was time to mix the water and the ice cubes. We dropped the yellow cubes into the blue water and watched as the water quickly turned from blue to green. Drop, drop, drop, and suddenly our primary colors turned into secondary colors. So much fun!

Experimenting with color is a fun and vibrant way to mix a little art and science together. Set up your own color mixing lab; it's fun for preschoolers and school-aged kids!

What is your favorite way to experiment with color?

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Story Time: Great Books About Color

Let's learn about colors through books! You've probably read Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, but there are so many more to choose from. Here are some more fun books about color. Some you may have heard of and others may be new to you. But, hopefully, you'll find one that your kids will love.

Fun for Babies and Toddlers
Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton: Ever since they were babies, my girls have loved Sandra Boynton books. This is a fun choice to introduce your little ones to color and get them giggling along the way.
Freight Train Board Book Donald Crews: This simply illustrated book is another great introduction to color. Donald Crews introduces both trains and color to your little ones while they enjoy a train journey. You can get this in a board book format too, so that it's perfect for the youngest kids.
Cat's Colors by Jane Cabrera: Your little ones can come along with cat while he explores all the colors of his world. The lively illustrations and simple text will definitely keep your toddler's attention.
Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh: This is another book that my girls loved when they were little. Read along as three mice discover three jars of primary colored paint and discover all the amazing colors they can make. While I do recommend this one for toddlers, it is also a great choice for preschoolers.

For Preschoolers and Beyond
Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert: Celebrate gardens and flowers while learning about colors. The illustrations are beautiful, as is typical in Lois Ehlert books. This is a fun book to explore while learning about flowers and all the many colors they come in. Planting a Rainbow has long been a favorite in our house.
A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni: Come along with chameleon while he tries to find a beautiful color that is all of his own. Does he find his color? You'll have to read to find out.
Dog's Colorful Day: A Messy Story About Colors and Counting by Emma Dodd: Dog is messy. He's very, very mess. Your kids will enjoy following along with dog as he goes from a white dog to a very messy and very colorful dog.
White Rabbit's Color Book by Alan Baker: This is another fabulous choice for introducing the concept of color mixing. Come along while rabbit discovers a few buckets of paint and starts mixing. This is a simple book that your preschoolers will love and so will your younger kids!
White Is for Blueberry by George Shannon: I love this book because it takes an unexpected look at color. Are blueberries white? Sometimes they are. Are crows pink? Yes, sometimes they are. Choose this book to learn about all the times nature can fool us.
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin: If you were to ask my girls what their favorite book was in this list, they would both choose Pete the Cat. Pete's a groovy guy who teaches all about color in this fun and lively book.

Now you've heard my favorite books about color. Do you have any books you would add to this list?

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

A COLORful Scavenger Hunt

There are so many fun and playful ways to learn about colors. We've done several versions of a color scavenger hunt in the past, but I think our latest version is one of my favorites.

I chose several sheets of construction paper: red, yellow, green, and blue. You can use as many colors as you want. Then I sent the girls on their quest. They needed the find items of these colors and the items must be small enough to fit on a piece of paper. It turns out our house is full of small items in primary colors! Who knew?

The girls found puzzle pieces, Duplos, crayons, card games, craft supplies, game pieces, play food, and more. It was so much fun to see what they came up with. 

This was a simple game that got the girls thinking and moving. It was perfect for some indoor fun on a cold winter's day!

Do you kids like to go on scavenger hunts? It's a favorite game at our house!

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