Archive | March 4th, 2013

Top Five Toddler Games For Messy Play

Toddlers love playing and they enjoy this activity more when mess is involved. Messy play is a part of childhood and is also a great learning tool. Here are five toddler games you must include on your toddler’s next play date.

Mud Pies

On a bright sunny day, go outside and make your own mud pies. Provide plastic spades, trowels, watering cans and containers such as aluminum foil pie tins and terracotta pots (to shape the pies) and some beads, sticks, rocks, flowers, leaves and other natural items to decorate the mud pies. Let the toddlers mix sand, dirt, potting soil and water to make the mud. Once they are done decorating, set the finished mud pies in the sun to bake.

Finger Painting

This is a classic messy game every toddler will love. Not only is finger painting a fun game but it also stimulates a toddler’s sensory and creative abilities. Prepare non-toxic washable finger paints in every color, cut-up sponge, bits of cloth and papers. Let the toddlers go crazy mixing paint with lots of water and letting them wash it onto their desired canvas. The children can use their hands, fingers and even their feet to create a masterpiece. Show them how you can use these prints to make pictures and patterns. Hang their artworks to dry and ask each toddler to give a brief explanation of his work of art. When it is time to leave, let the toddlers take them home as a souvenir of a fun and messy play date.

Mystery Piñatas

Use brown paper bags or dark-colored plastic bags to make piñatas. Place a different mystery item (they can be wet or dry items such as confetti, whipped or shaving cream or popped popcorn) in every bag along with some small gift items (e.g. stickers, eraser, keychain, etc.) or wrapped treats such as candies and chocolates and hang them to a tree branch or pole. Blindfold one toddler and give him a tennis racket or a small bat to smack the bag. Turn him around to make him a bit disoriented and then tell the toddler to swing at the bag. Once the contents of the bag fall, let the others gather around to get their prizes. After that, you can hang another piñata and repeat the game until every toddler has had the chance to take a swing.

Shaving Foam

Place a big storage tub or an inflatable pool in your garden. Give each toddler a can of shaving foam and let them squirt shaving foam into the container. You can add a few drops of food coloring to change the color and give them large plastic spoons or spades and a pail to play with. Or, they can just use their hands to scoop the slime.

Spaghetti Tag

Provide cooked spaghetti and start the game by giving a toddler a bag of spaghetti in his hands. He must tag others by making a piece of spaghetti stick to the players. Toddlers who are tagged must take out the spaghetti from their body and tag someone else with it.

These games may cause mayhem in your home and in children but messy play is a great way for toddlers to have fun while developing skills that are beneficial for their development.

Posted in Playtime, Toddler GamesComments (0)

Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Croup In Children

Croup is an infection that causes inflammation in the trachea and voice cords. This illness is common in toddlers under the age of five. Here is some information that will help parents better understand croup in children.

What causes croup?

Croup in children is usually caused by a parainfluenza virus (a respiratory virus). But, it can also be caused by allergies, bacteria and inhaled irritants. Croup is transmittable and because children still have weak immune systems, close contact (through coughing, sneezing or holding something an infected person touched) with infected people can also trigger croup.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Symptoms of croup are very similar to common cold – a runny nose, sore throat, fever and irritability. But because croup causes swelling in the throat and voice box, it changes the sound of a toddler’s cough. It develops into a loud, harsh, barking cough (similar to a seal’s bark), a hoarse voice and noisy breathing (a high-pitched breathing sound called a stridor). Croup appears after a few days of cold symptoms and gets worse in the middle of the night and if a toddler is in distress.

How is it diagnosed?

Fortunately, it is easy to detect croup. The doctor can just listen to your toddler over the phone or examine your toddler and asking about the symptoms. In addition, the doctor may place a pulse oximeter on your toddler’s earlobe, finger or toe to assess if sufficient oxygen is reaching the blood.

How is croup treated?

Croup is worst the first 2 to 3 nights but the illness usually goes away within a week. Even though your toddler’s coughing can be alarming, home remedies can treat coup. The following remedies can help ease croup:

Breathing In Moist Air

Take your little one into the bathroom, run hot water in the bath tub or shower and sit in the room for 15 to 20 minutes. The warm moist air will help reduce inflammation in the airways and make breathing easier. You can also take your toddler out into the cool night air for 10 minutes. But be sure to dress your toddler in warm clothes to keep him from feeling cold which can exacerbate croup. In addition, using a cool-mist humidifier in your toddler’s bedroom can keep his room humid and help him sleep better at night.

Staying Upright

Keep your toddler in an upright position. Have him sit on a chair or add some extra pillows to keep your toddler’s head elevated during sleep making it easier for your little one to breathe.


Make sure your toddler is getting plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. You may offer your toddler water, chamomile tea with honey, clear soups, crushed ice drinks and popsicles frequently throughout the day.

Pain Reliever

If your doctor approves, you can give your toddler acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce the fever and lessen the swelling in the throat. Never give him antibiotics and cough medicine as these will be ineffective.

Keep Your Toddler Comfortable

It is very important to keep your toddler calm. Do not panic. Keep your little one relaxed by reading him stories, singing songs, cuddling and sleeping. The lesser he cries, the better he can breathe.

Croup in children is not as dangerous as it was once. But, if you notice signs of dehydration, drooling, retractions and a high fever, call 911 immediately.

Posted in Child Health Issues, HealthComments (0)

Foods That Are Good For Toddler Teeth

Daily brushing, flossing and regular dental check-ups are a big part of keeping toddler teeth healthy and strong. But, what a child eats can also affect the teeth. Here are some tooth-friendly foods to serve to toddlers.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Raw foods are great for the teeth. Chewing raw foods massages the gums which helps clean the teeth. Offer fruits and vegetables that create more gnawing and those that have high water content such as apple, cranberry, orange, pear, strawberry, watermelon, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber and sweet potatoes. However, fruits do contain natural sugars that can cause cavities so make sure your toddler brushes his teeth after eating them. Also, try to reduce your toddler’s banana and raisin consumption and avoid canned fruits since they are packed with added sugars and preservatives that are harmful to your toddler’s teeth.

Grill vegetables, make a bowl of fresh fruit salad, spread a small amount of your toddler’s favorite spread (e.g. peanut butter or jelly) or offer low-sugar dips to make fruits and vegetables tastier for your toddler’s palate.


Cheese contains casein – a protein found in milk that is helpful for strengthening the tooth’s surface, phosphate which balances the pH content in the mouth, making it a less welcoming place for the bacteria to cause cavities and calcium, which helps keep tooth enamel strong.

Make this finger food more appetizing for your little one by adding it into his favorite grilled chicken sandwich, cutting it into fun shapes with a cookie cutter or make kebabs with fruits. Stick to aged cheeses such as cheddar, Gouda and Swiss which helps stimulate the flow of saliva to cleanse food particles from teeth.


Just like cheese, yogurt also contains calcium, casein and phosphate that replenish the depleted mineral contents of the teeth. Since toddlers like the taste of yogurt, you will not have a hard time feeding this to your little one. You can offer low-sugar yogurt for breakfast or as a snack and add some nuts or cereal to make it more enticing.

Whole Grains

Whole grains are healthy carbohydrates that will not cause dental problems unlike unhealthy carbohydrates (e.g. white bread and baked goods) that contain high sugar which can coat the teeth and cause cavities and tooth decay. Plus, they are also full of fiber, vitamins and minerals which helps make your toddler’s teeth healthy and strong.

Some examples of whole grains your toddler will surely love are whole grain bread, cereals, crackers, oatmeal, rice and pasta.


Nuts are unprocessed foods which are good for the teeth. Eating nuts entail plenty of chewing causing the mouth to salivate more which helps reduce acids. Nuts are also loaded with calcium, magnesium and phosphate all of which promote healthy teeth and gums. Almonds, cashews, peanuts and walnuts are all excellent choices for snacks.


You may think this is a no-brainer but did you know water is the last beverage children will drink if they are given a choice of drink? Unlike milk, juice and smoothies, water has no decay-causing sugars. It washes off food particles that get caught between the teeth. In addition, tap water contains fluoride which fortifies tooth enamel.

Give your toddler a cute sippy cup with a curly straw or add a few drops of lemon juice to a glass of water to up the appeal of H2O.

A nutritious diet should not just focus on your toddler’s growing body, but it should also include those small pearly whites. Make sure to add these good food choices to his daily diet for a healthy smile.

Posted in Health, Toddler Dental CareComments (0)

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