Today's Snack: If you cut a carrot into disks, some
restaurants will call them "coins." So for today's snack, cut up a bunch of
carrot "coins" and let your child dip them into low-fat ranch dressing.
Nothing's as fun to hold in your
hand as shiny coins! But they get dirty so fast. Here's your chance to
reinforce the importance of hand-washing with a small child. Even though we
can't see it, dead skin cells from our hands are falling off all the time onto
the things we touch and handle. There are oils that our skin secretes, and that
gets on the coins, too. Then there's the whole universe of bacteria, germs and
dirt that can get on coins in any number of ways.
These can discolor coins rather quickly. If they can
discolor coins, you KNOW they are going to make your hands dirty. So anytime,
but especially when you handle coins that have transferred from who knows how
many people into your hands, you need to wash your hands afterwards!
Another teaching moment: make sure
your child knows never, ever to put a coin in his or her mouth. Not only are
there germs and dirt on the coin's surface that can make your child sick or
taste gross. But there's also a high risk that your child might accidentally
swallow a coin. It could get stuck in your child's airway, or pass through and
cause a bowel obstruction that could really hurt and even necessitate a trip to
the emergency room. So - make sure your child gets in the habit of putting only
FOOD in his or her mouth, never objects that AREN'T food, such as coins.
For this activity, simply pour a few
drops of dish soap into a bowl with some lukewarm water, and let your child
brush the coins with the toothbrush and the soap solution.
Then put a small amount of salt and
vinegar in another bowl and drop the coins in. Watch the tarnish fade! Tell the
child that what's happening is a chemical
reaction. The vinegar is an acid
that tends to eat away at the surface of the coin and clean away the dirt and
grime. Salt does that, too, and the little salt crystals act as an astringent, rubbing and cleaning the
Your child can scrub the coins with the toothbrush and vinegar-salt
solution, too, but watch out that none of it gets into your child's eyes!
When clean, your child can rinse
with clear water and dry them.
Now your child will have extra-shiny
pennies to throw into the next wishing well!