Quiet Games for Toddlers: Pipe Cleaners

This past Spring I did some research on quiet books and ended up finding a lot of Montessori-inspired activities for my granddaughter. I put together about a dozen games. Some of them are more advanced than her development, but she’s growing into them.

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Now, there was one activity that I thought was really dumb, but it has ended up being a favorite. It’s very simple: give a child a colander and some pipe cleaners. Teach them to poke the pipe cleaners into the colander holes, and voila! Happy child!

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I honestly thought that sounded so boring, but it’s proven to be one of Lucy’s favorite games (at least, for now). She will play very happily for a lot longer than one might expect.

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I did create a variation of the game that is portable, used the lid from a spice container and the base from a container of decorating sprinkles, because I wanted a flip-up lid that couldn’t get lost.

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Speaking of lids, she decided on her own that she would close the lid after inserting a piece of pipe cleaner.


This activity was very affordable. I actually had all the supplies already, but I did buy some more pipe cleaners ($1).  When we first played this game, she was 18-months old. She wasn’t very good – I would put the pipe cleaner in for her, and she would push it. Now, she just goes for it. And, has started becoming imaginative with it, too.

It is beyond fun watching her grow. We know we are very blessed to have this time with our daughter and her family. Having them so close is a priceless gift. ❤



Penny Saver: Red Peppers

Right now, red peppers are $2.99 a pound in the market. That’s kind of ridiculous, yet red peppers are so healthy, add great flavor and color, and taste wonderful.  How can anyone resist them? I will buy the nicest one I can find, and make it stretch for as any meals as possible. (I’ll tell you below how to help a fresh pepper last as long as possible in your refrigerator.)

I also will shop the old produce rack, where the produce manager puts items that are over ripe or damaged. I recently found two bags of red peppers for only 79¢ a pound. Only one pepper had any spoiled spots; the rest  were just a little wrinkled.

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So, I rinsed them all and set them to dry.

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Then, I seeded them and sliced them. I laid them out on a cookie sheet covered with waxed paper, and placed them in the freezer.

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Once they were frozen solid, I layered them between waxed paper in a freezer container. If you don’t have a freezer container, any air-tight container or bag will do. If you use a plastic bag that isn’t for freezing (which means it is thicker plastic), just double bag it.

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Now, my peppers are ready to use. I’ve saved money, and I’ve saved time.

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“She is energetic, a hard worker, 
and watches for bargains.
She works far into the night!”
Proverbs 31:17-18 (TLB)



1. Cut and wash only the portion of the pepper you will use, leaving the stem and seeds intact.
2. Put the remaining pepper in a plastic bag or container, with a sheet of paper towel.

I have kept peppers this way for well over a week. I know nutritional value diminishes as produce ages, but there are always aesthetic and fiber-content benefits.