Elemental Kids: Kids in the kitchen

How did food swapping go?  Do you and your family have a new favorite food.  When I try new foods and I actually like what I tried, I get so excited because I have something new and different to eat.  We all know we can get bored with certain foods we constantly eat, so mixing it up can always be a wonderful option to go for in our lives.  

This week Emilie and I are going to share some tips on how to involve your children in the kitchen.  There are so many ways your whole family can be involved in the kitchen.  Try out some of these tips for this week and I promise you will see how easy it can be.  Remember children need guidance first then they can slowly begin to complete the task on their own.

 Try the I do, We do, you do approach.

- Laura

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Benefits of children cooking in the kitchen:

  1. A Meditative Experience- Your using all five senses when cooking, so when all senses are engaged you are naturally more mindful.  Have you ever been cooking an old family recipe and it brought you joy because it reminded you of memories you had with the people you cooked with? Senses are powerful.

    (Emilie’s Tip) Let your little ones interact with individual ingredients. Put salt in their hand and ask how it FEELS. They can even put a little bit on their tongue to explore the taste & texture.

    If you want to learn more on how to stay mindful in the kitchen then check out this wonderful article by Headspace on mindful cooking.

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2. Exercising our fine motor skills-   Next time you chop, pour, stir, flip, etc.. think about all the muscles you are using to do these tasks. For kids, when they complete these tasks it helps build those muscles they use for writing, cutting, independently opening a bag of chips at school, or picking up or holding something. For the little ones, let them help you stir or arrange food on a baking sheet.  Amazon has a variety of kid safe knives, kid cook books,  cooking sets, and many other accessories to allow your child to safely help you in the kitchen.  On a budget? No problem! Target dollar spot and the Dollar Tree have tons of kid friends kitchen utensils.

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3. Math and Science skills- Cooking is a great way to practice measuring, weighing, cooking time, converting temperature, changing quantities, and the reaction certain ingredients can have with each other to create something delicious and mesmerizing.  I struggled in these two subject areas, so becoming truly hands on with concepts I was learning helped me to fully grasp them. Also, I was having fun and learning!

4. “Feeding” our Creativity- Some are creative writers, drawers, painters, but some are creative in the kitchen.  Try a “chopped” challenge with your family (not as difficult ingredients of course :) and see what they create together.   Watching people cook can also spark creativity.

(Emilie’s Tip) Kids feel creative when their empowered to make choices! When I work with kids, I give them freedom to make up their own smoothie recipes and THEY LOVE IT. Give several ingredient options (nut butters, fruit, even cacao powder!) and make a rule - like their recipe must contain at least 1/4 cup of a veggie (spinach and cauliflower are my go-tos). They get to pick the quantities for everything else! They learn soooooo much about what they like/don’t like.

Here are a few more resources to help you and your family get started in the kitchen:   Kids Cooking Kits Monthly Subscription    Sur La Table Cooking Classes Calendar    Sur La Table Summer Cooking Camps   Cooking is a great way to bring ALL together. Leave Emilie and I a comment or a picture of what you and your family decided to try in the kitchen this week.  Yoga for ALL  Love for ALL  Cooking for ALL  Laura and Emilie


Here are a few more resources to help you and your family get started in the kitchen:

Kids Cooking Kits Monthly Subscription

Sur La Table Cooking Classes Calendar

Sur La Table Summer Cooking Camps

Cooking is a great way to bring ALL together. Leave Emilie and I a comment or a picture of what you and your family decided to try in the kitchen this week.

Yoga for ALL

Love for ALL

Cooking for ALL

Laura and Emilie


Elemental Kids: Food in the Home

Happy New Year to ALL.  We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season.  

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I started a New Year tradition and wrote about what I learned in 2018 then what my intentions will be 2019.  One intention I set was to cook more. Preparing a meal in the kitchen allows me to get out of my head, tap into my creative side, and overall makes me happy. Do you and your families want to mix it up in the kitchen?

For the next 5 weeks Emilie and I are coordinating to help the WHOLE family try new foods, discuss the benefits of cooking together, providing fun recipe ideas to try at home, and a few more ideas we want to keep a surprise for now.


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There are a variety of foods we ALL can try.  Choose my plate is a wonderful visual resource to remind the whole family of what is needed in our daily food intake to keep us feeling good mentally, physically, and emotionally. Check out my blog post on Back to School Mindset for more on the benefits food can have for the whole family.


It doesn’t have to be just gold fish, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and, cookies.  Food fuels our body and mind. Some foods(packaged and processed) just don’t do that for us.  They may taste amazing, but they can leave us feeling tired, upset stomach, headaches, and affect our overall health in the long run.

 I completely understand children and even ourselves can be PICKY when it comes to eating, but I promise it is possible to provide yourself and your family with delicious, quick, easy, inexpensive, and nutritious meals .

Have each person in the family try one new food a week to add in their lunch or to the family dinner menu.

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Here are a few food swap ideas:

Kid-approved energy bites!

Kid-approved energy bites!

  • Slices of cheese instead of goldfish

    • (Emilie’s Tip!) try a good quality brand, like Apple Gate. White cheddar & muenster are both known for their probiotic qualities, so let the little ones try them both. If they are picky - avoid letting them see the package before their first taste :)

  • Energy bites for cookies( i just made some energy bites with peanut butter, honey, oats, chocolate chips, and chia seeds… they taste like a dessert! And I don’t joke about desserts!

  • Peanut butter/banana or honey sandwich for peanut butter/jelly sandwich

    • (Emilie’s Tip) Snag the small packets of different nut butters & have your kiddo(s) sample the various flavors. Cashew butter is a creamy treat and sunflower butter is super decadent & sweet, while almond butter is a bit more savory. Kids LOVE to make their own choices.


Again, I know it can be difficult to have your children and even yourself try a new food(I am a preschool teacher by day,so trust me I get it), but I promise food swaps can be simple. Go back to the basics and build from there.

Leave Emilie and I a comment below and we will be happy to help you and your families any way we can.

Yoga for ALL

Love for ALL

Food for ALL

Laura

Elemental Kids: Mindful Holiday Season

“It's the hap-happiest season of all. With those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings. When friends come to call. It's the hap-happiest season of all.”

For me, the holiday season truly is the HAP-HAPPIEST season of all. But, it can be hard for us all to stay present during this busy time of year. I would like to share some ideas of how to stay mindful throughout this holiday season.

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It all starts with Presence

Take time as a family to put away ALL technology throughout the holidays. The holiday season is about community and connection. Connection can’t happen with distractions and everyone not being truly PRESENT.

I understand there are many tasks to complete during the Holiday season and giving your child a tablet, phone, or TV to sit in front of is easier. You can involve your children in the process of decorating, cooking, and wrapping presents. These tasks will help build connection, language, fine motor, math, and science skills.

Now, I know there are moments we all need to take a break from the holiday season to-do list. So, how can you keep your children engaged and present throughout the holiday season.

Yoga is a great way for the whole family to take a break from the busy mind and move into the body and heart. Here are a few class options…

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  • Christmas Break fun @thearthousebhm for 3-7year olds with ME doing yoga and my sweet friend Meagan doing art. Click here to sign up.

  • Yoga and the Holidays: December Friday mornings. Hosted by The Fearless OM and Villager Yoga

    *Great class for parents to have some “ME” time.

  • Villager Yoga has variety of classes for the whole family :).

Holiday gift remix

My mom loved creating new ways to give us our gifts. One year she put one letter of the alphabet on every Christmas gift instead of “TO: Bob From: Mom.” Each letter represented a person and she was the only one who had the list of who went with each letter. Before we opened each gift, we all made a guess of who the gift was for.

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Holiday Scavenger Hunt

Another Christmas to remember, was when my mom hid all of our presents around the house. We started at the Christmas tree with our first clue, then each gift we found had another clue of where the next gift could be found.

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Baking Memories

One of my favorite holiday traditions was to create our own Christmas cookies using Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough and cookie cutters we have collected throughout my mom, sister, brother, and I’s childhood. Also, I would have my mom film me and pretend I had my own cooking show :).

Donate food, clothes, books, and toys

Christmas is a time for giving. Teaching our children to give to those in need can help them grow empathy and compassion toward others. Here are a few ways to start:

  1. Start small. Learning how to give to others can start as young as 3. In my 3K Preschool classroom, we do a book drive, food drive, and recycle drive. Also, I have them decorate cards for Veterans and Nursing homes.

  2. Remind your child they do not need money to give. It can be as simple as helping in a food kitchen or volunteering at Children’s Hospital.

  3. Involve and guide your child in selecting gifts.

  4. Be a role model for them. Be the light that guides them throughout their days beyond the holiday season. Be a role model of presence.

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Thank you for staying present with me throughout my blog posts. I enjoy sharing my voice with each of your families. Happy Holidays from my heart to yours.

Yoga for ALL

Love for ALL

Presence for ALL

Laura

Lastly, I wanted to share a beautiful song by Celine Dion. I heard the song while writing this post. I believe it captures the idea of presence throughout the holidays and beyond the holiday season.

Elemental Kids: Inhale Love Exhale Gratitude

We made it to November. November/Thanksgiving is one of my top three favorite holidays because it is a beautiful time for us to sit, take a breath, and remember what we are grateful for. I’m going to share a few ways to practice gratitude this month and throughout the whole year.

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  1. Gratitude list

  • Each day or week create a list of 5-10 things you are thankful for.

  • They can be big or small moments. For example: I am thankful for my comfy bed I sleep in each night.

  • When your having a bad day, you can come back to your list, and inhale love and exhale gratitude.

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2. Gratitude Picture Album

  • Take pictures of what you are thankful for or scroll through your phone, social media, computer, or camera and create a digital or “old school” photo album.

    *I personally love “old school” photo albums because, you can visually see the picture and hold that special moment you captured directly in your hands.

  • Print and frame your top five pictures then place them around your house or create a gratitude wall that you can add to throughout the year.

3. Write a thank you note

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  • Go to the dollar tree or dollar spot at Target to find your favorite Thank You card pack.

  • If you want to be really “fancy” you could grab some fun stickers and colorful pens to decorate your card.

  • Write short sweet notes to the ones you love to just tell them THANK YOU.

    *My mom and grandmother continue to write sweet notes to me, other family members and friends. It brings me so much joy!

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4. Thankful Jar

  • Have everyone in your family write what they are thankful for on slips of paper. (Write as many as you would like)

  • Fold each paper in half then fill the jar.

  • Each day, week, or when your family needs a joyful moment someone can pull and read one of the pieces of paper.

5. Share gratitude moments

  • Last "Friendsgiving” my friends and I went around in a circle and shared one thing we were thankful for.

  • I can remember this moment vividly because I could feel the grateful energy in the room.

Incorporating all of these gratitude practices together could bring anyone so much love and joy! To speak, see, write, and practice gratitude can help you cultivate an attitude with gratitude.

I am thankful for everyone who takes the time to read my blog posts. I hope you and your families have a Thanksgiving full of gratitude and love. I would love to hear what you and your family are thankful for. Share your gratitude with us!!

Yoga for All

Love for All

Gratitude for All

Laura

Elemental Kids - Fall Fun Favorites

Happy Fall Everyone! Here in Alabama the weather likes to tease us. One day it is hot and then BAM! it feels like a cool Fall day. To help us enjoy this Fall season, I would like to share my top three Fall Fun Favorites for the whole family to enjoy.

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1.Nature Walk

What will I need?

  • Comfy clothes and shoes

  • Nature walk check-list( great for children)

  • Binoculars

  • Water

  • Blanket and snacks for a little picnic

What to do?

  • Walking meditation(Walking quietly together for five minutes or more then discuss what you saw, smelled, heard, felt, or maybe tasted.)

Price? FREE!

Where? Top Ten Parks to visit in Birmingham.

Why? Our bodies can crave to be outside. The smell of the crisp air, the sound of the birds, the views all around, being able to move our body, and the feeling of the cool Fall breeze on our skin can be healing for the soul. Go outside and listen, feel, smell, and see what nature has to offer for you and your family.

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2. Pumpkin Carving

What will I need?

  • Pumpkins

  • Pumpkin Carving Kit

  • Carve outside for easy clean up OR put a bunch of newspapers, magazines, old sheet, or small tarp down.

  • Bowl to keep the seeds for a yummy snack.

What to do?

  • BE CREATIVE! and HAVE FUN!

  • I understand if you might need some inspiration. I know I do at times :)

For Who? ALL AGES

Why? Embracing our inner child and creativity is refreshing.

3. Cooking Sweet Treats

What will I need?

  • Your families favorite Fall sweet treat recipe. My favorite is candy apples.

  • Don’t forget to add a pinch of love, is what my mom always says :)

  • Utensils(Kid safe)

  • Music to cook and dance to

  • Aprons

    Why? Because who doesn’t love sweet treats!!!! :)

    But really, cooking can be fun, creative, relaxing, and bring everyone together.

I shared my top three Fall Fun Favorites, now share yours with us!

Yoga for All
Love for All,

Laura