#304: Create Your Own Placemat or Coaster

To make your own placement or coaster, you will need: paper and pens, markers or paint.

You can make a placemat or coaster (sits under a cup so it doesn't wreck the coffee table) on ordinary paper with crayons, paints, pens or pencil crayons. You can also stick stickers, glue pictures or other things to your placemat. If you laminate (sealed in plastic) your placemat at an office supply store, you can wipe it if you spill on it.

Hint: Try and keep your placemat thin. If it is too thick, you won’t be able to laminate it.

P.S. These can make a great gift.

Make this a family activity: Get the family together to make their own placemat or coaster. You can make them with a theme for special occasions like birthdays, Christmas, or simply because it's the weekend!

This activity promotes creativity and fine motor skills.


#303: Tracing

There are many different things you can trace and many different ways to trace them. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Trace your hands or feet. Place your foot or hand on a piece of paper, then move your pencil along the edge of your hand, drawing it's shape on the paper.

Trace a picture. Place a blank piece of paper over the picture you want to trace, then hold both against a window so light shows through the picture as well as your paper so you can see the lines of the picture you want to trace. Now, go over the picture's lines on your piece of paper. (Keeping your picture and paper to the window.)

Chalk Tracers. Take a dark piece of construction paper and place a plastic tracer toy on it (you can also use things you may find around the house like coins or pieces of cardstock (firm paper used for making cards) cut into different shapes). Using chalk, colour the top of the tracer. Then, gently use a facial tissue to carefully wipe the chalk off the tracer and onto the paper to make streaks in the shape of the tracer. (See picture below.)

Make this a family activity: Trace everyone's hands and see how different they are.

This activity promotes shape awareness and fine motor skills.


#302: Make a Centerpiece

Happy Thanksgiving to the Americans out there.

A centerpiece is something you place in the middle of a table for decoration. There are hundreds of different ideas and types of centerpieces. What do you think would look nice? Something made of flowers? Pine cones? Wood? Paper? Be creative. If you need ideas or designs, try craft books at your local library.

To make this turkey centerpiece, you will need a half Styrofoam ball, white glue, yarn, feathers, scissors, red and orange pipe cleaners, and googly eyes.

Cut the yarn into strips--they must be long enough to fit over the round part of the ball and reach the flat part on opposite ends. You will need about 40 strips. Lay the strips of yarn in a pile. Take one strand and tie it around the middle of the pile of yarn, holding the strands together. Cover the Styrofoam with glue (but not the flat bottom). Lay the yarn over the glue, spreading the strands out to cover the Styrofoam. Stick the feathers in the Styrofoam, these will be tail feathers. Glue the googly eyes on. The orange pipe cleaner will be a beak for your turkey. Cut the pipe cleaner to be about an inch long. Fold it in half and stick the two ends into the Styrofoam to make a small beak. Then, cut a small piece off the red to be the turkey's funny bit of skin that hangs down under its beak. Stick in into the Styrofoam under the beak and you are done.

Very nice!

Make this a family activity: Get everyone to make a turkey to sit in front of their plate at Thanksgiving.

This activity promotes creativity.


#301: Spend a Million Dollars

Come on, I know you wanna. How far does a million dollars go? Can you spend a million dollars ($1, 000, 000)?

Get out a calculator, a few catalogues (for prices and ideas) and see how much you could buy if you had a million dollars. Is it hard? Is it easy?

Hmmm... how much does a swimming pool and a convertible cost?

Make this a family activity: See what everyone buys.

This activity promotes math skills.


#300: Blow Bubbles in Your Drink

Grab a straw and something to drink. Blow through your straw to make bubbles. How many bubbles can you make? Can you make the bubbles come all the way up to the top of your glass?

Hint: Milk makes great bubbles.

Make this a family activity: Give everyone a straw and blow crazy bubbles.

This activity promotes breath control.


#299: Puppet Show

Put on a puppet show. A puppet show is a play or story with puppets telling or acting out the story.

Make this a family activity: put your puppet show on for your family, or get them involved.

This activity promotes oratory skills.


#298: Indoor Climbing Wall

It's time to get out of the house and get active. Do you like to climb things? How about an indoor climbing wall? They are a good place to learn to climb safely and often have lessons available as well as equipment to rent. Plus, it doesn't matter if it is cold, windy, snowy, or rainy outside, because you'll be inside!

Make this a family activity: The more people climbing, the merrier.

This activity promotes responsibility (when belaying for others) as well as strength and courage.