#264: Teach Your Pet a Trick or a New Trick

Do you have a cat or a dog? Teach them a trick, or if they already know tricks, teach them a new one.

Whoa! Did I say teach your cat a trick? I did. Even cats can learn tricks. I taught my cat to jump through a hoop, sit on a chair, roll over, shake a paw, sit up, and lie down.

Hint: Be gentle and patient and treat them with their favorite treat. It may take a few weeks of training for your pet to learn one trick. It helps to give the pet a hand command (point to the floor if you want them to lie down) as well as a verbal command (say, "lie down").

Make this a family activity: Get together and decide what tricks should be taught.

This activity promotes animal-human bonds and can lead to animal stewardship.


#263: Beading

Make jewelry, key chains, bags and much more by weaving or stringing beads together.

Make this a family activity: Do this craft with your family.

This activity promotes fine motor skills, pattern awareness (which promotes math skills).


#262: Make a Cheerleading Routine

Get some friends together and make a cheerleading routine.

If you need pompoms, make your own from plastic shopping bags. Smooth out the bag, then grab its bottom. Scrunch a bit of the bottom together in your hand to make a handle for your pompom. Roll tape around your handle. Using scissors, cut the rest of the bag into strips, leading up to the handle, being careful not to cut the strips off the pompom. Coloured bags can make nice pompoms.

Make this a family activity: Show off your routine for your family, or have them join in.

This activity promotes team spirit, teamwork, creativity, physical activity, and coordination.


#261: Click Your Heels

Can you jump in the air and click your heels together? Give it a try.

Make this a family activity: Everyone jump up and click your heels!

This activity promotes coordination.


#260: Make or Decorate a Picture Frame

You can make or decorate your own picture frame.

If you are decorating one, find a frame (garage sales, dollar stores and second hand stores are good places to look for inexpensive frames) that you can paint, colour or decorate with markers or cover with cloth.

Some ideas: Use paint or markers to color your frame. Glue items like pictures, bits of fabric, sea shells, pine cones, string, ribbon or other interesting things to the picture frame.

To make your own frame, you can glue Popsicle sticks together and use some of the decorating ideas from above.

This is a great gift idea.

Make this a family activity: Have the family work together to build and decorate a frame as a gift for someone.

This activity promotes creativity.


#259: Alphabet License Plate Game

Going to be spending some time in the car? Play the alphabet license plate game.

Most license plates have numbers and letters. Watch license plates and 'collect' all the letters from the alphabet. Start by looking for the letter ‘a’. Once you have found that, go on to ‘b’, and on through the whole alphabet.

Make it challenging: Take only one letter from each license plate. In other words, you can’t take the letters ‘a’ and ‘b’ from the same license plate.

Make this a family activity: Everyone can work together to find the letters, or you can play with teams.

This activity promotes visual identification skills as well as literacy.


#258: Make a Muscial Instrument

Make your own musical instruments.

An upside down pail can be a drum. A shoebox can be a guitar: stretch rubber bands over the opening. A flute can be made from an empty paper towel roll. What else can you make?

These cymbals were made from the can lids from Boy Scout's popcorn cans. A piece of foam was cut into handle-sized pieces and taped onto the backs of the lids.

Make this a family activity: Each family member makes an instrument to play in the family band.

This activity promotes musical skills and creativity.