Crafts incorporate different learning styles, and are hands-on activities that build fine motor skills. By giving your child a project that can be worked on together until completion, you are also working on setting goals and building confidence and self-esteem.
On the Alberta Prairie C.O.W. Bus, we have a variety of simple crafts you can do at home – all geared towards early learning and literacy.
One such craft is a do-it-yourself playmat. Try it in conjunction with your child’s favourite book. One of our favourite children’s books is I Went Walking, by Sue Williams and Julie Vivas, and it goes especially well with this project. This book is about a little boy who goes on a walk and sees many different animals along the way. It is simple, repetitive, rhyming and entertaining,
I went walking.
What did you see?
I saw a black cat
Looking at me.
The following is just an example of what you can do. Tailor it to your own child’s interests. You might even want to make up your own story to go with your mat!
When the playmat is finished, you can use it with toys you already have at home.
You will need:
• Plain cloth placemat or
other material such as pillowcase or tablecloth (the possibilities are endless)
• Felt of various colours
• Hot glue or fabric glue
• Paper and pencil for sketching
Foam or felt letters to spell the title
- Sketch out the setting on a piece of paper
- Cut out your felt pieces that go with the story
- Glue felt pieces onto placemat, then cut out and glue a path winding its way through the setting.
- Decorate with more felt as desired.
Draw, trace or print out play pieces from the story, then colour, cut and laminate (or use packing tape or contact paper). You might want to add Velcro to the backs of these pieces so they stick to the felt on the play-mat.
You want this to be a positive experience, so try to start simple. Don’t stress; have fun instead!