Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Activity for Maine

I try not to depend on the tv too much for entertainment. But it has its helpful times and big rugrat does have her regular shows that she watches. And on rainy days when I am at my wits end it saves me! However, up in Maine Jon's family does not have a tv. We are bringing are portable dvd player but I don't want to pull it out too often. And it is supposed to be yucky rainy weather. And cool. All. Weekend. Long. And while the place is a good size, we will have 11 people there all weekend long. Five of them are under 7.

So what is a mom to do?

I am trying to come up with activities that will travel well, pack easily and won't be hugely dissapointing if we lose pieces. One thing I did was to make a magnetic play set for big rugrat. I got the idea from Chasing Cheerios when she made a magnetic tangram set for her daughter. I created a different activity, but her post gave me the idea.

To make this you need foam pieces (you can use construction paper but it should be laminated for durability), a cookie tray and magnet tape.
I bought a new cookie tray at Target for $5 but you could use one you have around the house. I had the foam pieces and magnets so it was an inexpensive project.
You can cut out different shapes from foam, or do what I did and simply use precut pieces. The pieces I have are insects (ladybugs, dragonflies, butterflies, catterpillars), shapes (squares, circles, triangles, hearts) and farm animals. You them simply affix the magnet to the back, I used magnet that has a sticky side. The shapes stick to the cookies sheet and there you have it. I also stuck some magnet to craft sticks and googly eyes. I think I spend about 15 minutes sticking the magnet to different foam pieces yesterday. In addition I have a set of letter and number magnets that came with big rugrats easel. Currently all magnets are in a plastic ziplock bag, but I am hoping to find something a little more permanent today or tomorrow at the dollar store.

I have several ideas for this set:
Sorting shapes by size and color
Sorting insects by type and color
Using shapes to make pictures and then telling a story
spelling her name
finding letters
Whatever big rugrat would like to do

Over time I want to make more magnets for this board if it is popular with her (I don't want to put in the time to make more pieces if she doesn't like it). I can make pieces out of foam or construction paper that I laminate. It can travel easily and I also plan to use with her preschool in the fall. I have seen this idea used in classrooms before with spelling and learning letter sounds. For now it will just be fun and it is something she can use in the car or up in Maine. And if she loses a magnet or two it isn't a huge loss.

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