Healthy Veggie Christmas Tree Share Platter. Cooking with Kids.

Dec 23, 2015


This year we thought that we'd come up with a healthy Christmas share platter, bound to stand out amongst all the sweets and treats that usually adorn the Christmas party table.

This fruit (my kids wanted to point out that some of the ingredients we use are technically fruits) and vegetable Christmas tree share platter would be perfect for taking along to a class party or family get together and is simple enough to get the kids involved in the preparation. I've found over the years that having children regularly involved in cooking and food preparation, makes them more inclined to try new things and gives them the information needed for making future choices for themselves based on their knowledge of foods, our needs and healthy living.

Healthy Veggie Christmas Tree Share Platter

Ingredients: (we used)
  • Celery 
  • Cucumber
  • Snow peas
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Red and Yellow Capsicum (peppers)
  • Red and yellow cherry tomatoes
  • Olives (black and green stuffed)
  • Carrot
  • Cheese (cheddar cheese slices) Optional- leave out for dairy free option

Materials:
  • Knife
  • Chopping board
  • Peeler
  • Star cookie cutter (optional)
  • Large platter
Don't forget, before you start any food preparation you need to wash your hands.

Chop your carrot, celery and cucumber into sticks around the same size and length. Depending on your child's knife skills, you might want to help them with this part.
Older children can assist with the peeling and chopping of the harder vegetables.
Younger children will enjoy cutting stars out of slices of real cheese.
Halve your cherry tomatoes, olives and cut thin slices of capsicum to decorate the tree.
With your ingredients prepped, you are ready to build your tree! Children of all ages can help with this part.
Use the carrot sticks for the base and your cucumber and celery sticks to build the shape of the tree.
Layer your snow peas and sugar snap peas over and in your tree.
Arrange your capsicum strips on top of the tree for tinsel.
Decorate all over the tree with your tomatoes and olives.
For the finishing touches, add your star shaped cheese. For a dairy free option, you could cut stars from yellow capsicum.
Serve your tree fresh with your favourite dips and watch it disappear.

We really enjoyed creating this Veggie Christmas Tree and got to practice many kitchen skills, fine-motor skills and talk about different foods and healthy eating along the way. The kids (and I) were really impressed with the results at the end and it was hard to photograph before my kids wanted to dig in!

Here are some more Christmas Recipe ideas you may want to try with the kids:

Happy creating,
Debs :)


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DIY Disney inspired Christmas Gift-Tags for Kids

Dec 21, 2015



Christmas always ends up being such a crafty, creative time for my kids and I. We love hand-making Christmas cards, making fun Christmas food, playing with Christmas playdough and so much more! It's always fun jazzing up the gifts with our own wrapping paper, ribbons or gift-tags and what I love about it the most, is creating those magical Christmas moments together that will become precious memories over time.

To get the kids excited in creating our Christmas gift-tags, we decided they would feature our favourite Disney Junior characters. Mickey and Minnie Mouse, (classic favourites) and Doc McStuffins, who we love for her healthy living messages and kind, caring nature.

Making the gift-tags ourselves allowed for the children to practice fine-motor skills, (it's not easy to trace and work with small items), cutting skills (this part was especially good for the younger kids) and even some reading and writing skills, in order to label the gift-tags. Younger children may need some assistance with the writing, or you could provide stickers or stamps that they could use instead.

Materials:
  • Blank gift tags or gift tag template and coloured cardboard (here is a free printable gift-tag template)
  • Scissors
  • Hole-punch
  • Marker
  • Glue
  • Ribbon
  • Fave Disney character pictures (we just printed some off the Disney Junior Website or you could always buy some stickers)
Either print our your gift-tags on the coloured card of your choice, or trace a plain template onto some coloured card. As we were using a few different characters, the kids wanted to match the colours of each character to the cardboard colour.
Cut out your gift tag.
Cut out your character picture.
Glue next to the pointed end of the gift-tag
Write or draw any greeting on your gift tag. You will also want to label who it is for and who it is from. You can put this on the front or the back.
Punch a hole near the point at the end of the gift-tag and then tie some ribbon through the hole.
Children can play around with the text and format for their gift-tag. It's a good idea to first provide children with a blank gift-tag so that they can practice their wording and the sizing of their text. Often trial and error works best for this.
When your gift-tags are done, coordinate them with matching coloured ribbons or bows and pop them on the presents for the lucky recipients.
There's just something about that homemade touch that makes them more special!

Disney Junior The Channel is where magical storytelling comes to life and is available on Foxtel, channel 709 and Fetch. I love that the Disney Junior characters and stories cover learning areas from early language and maths skills to healthy living and social and emotional development. You can use this inspiration for recreating your own Magical Christmas Moment with your little ones and share these with friends and family. Disney Junior Australia and New Zealand would love to see your ideas so be sure to tag in @DisneyJuniorAUNZ and #DJMagical Moments.

I've found that watching shows with familiar and trusted characters, that are promoting the same messages and values that we teach at home, can be very useful in helping children consolidate the knowledge and entice them to want to recreate the behaviours. 


Happy creating,
Debs :)

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10 Super Cool Dinosaur Activities

Dec 14, 2015

This post is sponsored by Nuffnang and The Walt Disney Company Australia & New Zealand

There are not many children that I know, that aren't fascinated by dinosaurs in some way. (Or adults, come to think of it). These incredible creatures, larger and more interesting than we can really imagine, that lived on this earth long before we arrived! The idea of dinosaurs walking where we walk is something that stretches the imagination and boggles the mind, but what if it were a reality? What if dinosaurs never became extinct?

Disney Pixar's new film, The Good Dinosaur" asks that exact question. In cinemas Boxing Day in Australia and December 31 in New Zealand, "The Good Dinosaur" follows the story of Arlo, the Apatosaurus who makes an unlikely human friend. In this epic adventure into the fascinating world of dinosaurs, Arlo learns the power of friendship and what he is truly capable of by confronting his fears.

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Mickey and Minnie Mouse Washi Tape Christmas Cards

Dec 11, 2015



One of the things that I love about making Christmas crafts with my kids is creating memories together. We still giggle about a big glitter spill we had a couple of years ago with our Christmas Decoration Creation Station and we love rediscovering ornaments we've made over the years, when it comes to decorating time.

Whenever possible, we make our own greeting cards, as the process is full of learning and practicing various skills. We also love the individualised end results we get by making them by hand. They're just that little bit more special!

Inspired by Disney Junior's Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, we made some cute Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse inspired Christmas cards, using a fun process to make our own stickers out of washi tape!

Materials:
  • Washi tape (black, red and pink)
  • Grease-proof paper (baking paper)
  • Pen (thin permanent marker works well)
  • Recycled cardboard (to make a template)
  • Scissors
  • Blank cards
  • White paper
  • Holepunch
  • Gluestick
  • Letter stickers (optional)
Use a scrap of recycled cardboard to make a Mickey Mouse silhouette template and use it to trace an outline on some grease-proof paper. To make a Mickey Mouse silhouette, children can look for circular objects that would be the right size to trace or alternatively, there are many copies of the image online that you could use to print a template.
Stick strips of the washi tape on the grease-proof paper over your design, starting from the bottom. Children can rip the lengths of tape as it doesn't matter if the edges aren't straight.
Overlap your tape with each new piece put on. Children can work on the spacing and overlapping of the tape, attempting to get it straight. It's not a big deal if the tape isn't straight, so long as it overlaps the piece below it. 
For the Mickey and Minnie Mouse design, cover the bottom half with either red (Mickey) or pink (Minnie) and then the top half in black.
When your whole design is covered, flip it over and cut out around the line.  Depending on your child's scissor skills, you may want to help them with this part.
Now your washi tape sticker is ready! Peel off the backing paper just like you would on a regular sticker and stick into place on your blank card.
For the white dots, we punched a few holes from some white paper and then stuck them down with a little bit of glue.
Add any text you'd like on your card, and voila! All done! I love using letter stickers or stamps for this part. Plenty of great literacy learning involved with finding and placing the correct letters. Handwriting is generally practiced inside the card when writing the message.
Use the same process to make the Minnie Mouse card, using pink instead of red. Add extra dots to the bottom half and a little bow made from the pink tape.

You can use this same method to make all sorts of great designs. Older kids will enjoy making their own designs and trying out different washi tape combinations and patterns.

Disney Junior The Channel is where magical storytelling comes to life and is available on Foxtel, channel 709 and Fetch (or SKY and channel 105 in New Zealand). We are fans of many of the characters and I love that the stories cover various learning areas from early language and maths skills to healthy living and social and emotional development. You can use this inspiration for recreating your own Magical Christmas Moment with your little ones and share these with friends and family. Disney Junior Australia and New Zealand would love to see your ideas so be sure to tag in @DisneyJuniorAUNZ and #DJMagical Moments.

We really enjoyed creating these fun cards together and I can see us using the same method for many different designs in the future.

What magical Christmas Moments have you created with your children?


Happy playing,
Debs :)



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