Homemade Father’s Day Present!

I often find Father’s Day one of the most difficult days to make special. What am I supposed to get a Dad who has every power tool, every tie, and every “Best Dad in the World” coffee mug?

I started to think about what I used to do for Father’s Day when I was a kid. First there came the crafts from daycare or preschool. This gradually evolved into presents made in art class, and eventually the store bought coffee cups, ties, and finally the dreaded set of golf balls that seemed to re-emerge every year as a last resort.

Thinking back over all the gifts that I have given, it made me realize that it was the homemade crafts that really made an impression on my father. It’s not golf balls that my father keeps in a drawer with all the gifts that mean the most to him. In fact, I’m sure he can’t tell which golf balls I gave him from the multitude of golf balls he found in the bush while looking for the wayward shot he took.

I can remember how happy I was making those crafts for my dad, and I can remember how it made me feel when I saw his face as he opened them. It is the gifts that come from the heart that are often the most memorable.

Here is a Father’s Day craft that comes straight from the heart. All you will need to make this unforgettable Father’s Day gift with your child is:

  • Popsicle sticks or craft sticks – at least 8
  • Markers
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • White paper – thicker paper works best

Directions:

  1. Color the Popsicle sticks with the markers – if you are using paint complete step 2 first.
  2. Glue the Popsicle sticks together using the hot glue gun to form a square frame.  You will want to make two individual frames. *Note: If you would like to make your frame thicker you can place 2 Popsicle sticks side-by-side.
  3. Measure and cut a square piece from the white paper. You will want it to be big enough to be able to glue on the Popsicle stick frame.
  4. Get your child to draw a picture on the paper – it doesn’t have to be about Father’s Day. *Note: Writing a personal note to Dad on the back of the picture is a nice touch as well.
  5. Now it’s time to assemble the frame – you might want to double check that the picture will fit into the frame before you start gluing. Trim down the picture if needed.
  6. On the back of one frame, in each corner, place a dot of hot glue. Place your picture face up on the glue to attach it to the frame.
  7. Turn it over. On the back of the picture place another dot of hot glue in each of the corners and attach the second frame. Make sure the colored side of the second frame is facing outwards.
  8. The picture frame is now complete. Your dad will be able to hang it from either side.

Other suggestions:

  1. If you would like to hang up the picture frame on the fridge attach magnets to the backside of the frame. Only one Popsicle frame is needed for this purpose.
  2. You can glue a piece of thread on the back of the first frame – after you have attached the picture and before you attach the second frame – this will allow you to hang the photo up on either side. Please let us know how these crafts turned out and any other Father’s Day suggestions that you found worked for you!    

Searching for Signs

Doing this scavenger hunt will give you a chance to talk with your child about the print they see every time you go outside!

LET’S GO!

Go for a scavenger hunt—walk and look for signs.

DO IT TOGETHER!

When you go for a walk with your child, decide together what to look for along the way. It might be stop signs or signs with a picture of a truck on them—whatever your child is interested in looking for.

When you find the signs, talk about what you see. You can extend the activity when you get home by drawing pictures of what you saw on your scavenger hunt.

WHY?

This game helps your child notice the signs around them and gives you a chance to talk about what they mean. It will help your child understand that signs and the writing on them have meaning—one of the first steps in becoming a reader.

To get over 125 of the best activities to do with your children to boost and build key literacy skills from birth to 5 years, download the Centre for Family Literacy’s FREE Flit app (Families Learning and Interacting Together).

Click here for the iOS version.

Click here to download the Android version.

 

What Time is it Mr. Wolf?

Mr. Wolf introduces the idea of time and counting in this fun game!

LET’S GO!

What to do:

  1. Decide which player is going to be the wolf.
  2. All the other players line up in front of the wolf (have lots of space between the wolf and other players).
  3. The wolf turns around so his back is to the other players, and all the players ask together “What time is it Mr. Wolf?”
  4. The wolf picks a time and the players have to take that many steps (e.g. 2:00 is 2 steps).
  5. This repeats until the wolf thinks (without looking) that the players are close enough to catch, and yells “lunchtime!”
  6. The wolf chases the other players and tries to touch as many as he can. One of the players caught becomes the wolf for the next round.

DO IT TOGETHER

Before the game, tell your children that when the wolf says the time, it’s like reading it on a clock. 

To start, you should be the wolf so your children see how the game is played.

When you are calling times, say how many steps that means until everyone understands. When it’s “lunchtime,” turn the catching into some tickling fun.

WHY?

This game helps introduce children to the idea of time.

They won’t understand it all, but it’s good for them to hear the words used to tell time.

Counting and time are both important numeracy skills needed in life.

To get over 120 of the best activities to do with your children to boost and build key literacy skills from birth to 5 years, download the Centre for Family Literacy’s FREE Flit app (Families Learning and Interacting Together).

Click here for the iOS version.

Click here to download the Android version.

Paper Plate Puzzles

Puzzles are full of early numeracy ideas and making one together makes it fun!

LET’S GO!

What you need:

  • Paper plate (plain or patterned)
  • Crayons, paints, or markers
  • Scissors
  • Magnetic tape (optional)

 

What to do:

  1. Decorate the paper plate. If using a patterned plate you can leave it if you like.
  2. Cut the plate apart into different shapes.
  3. If using magnetic tape, place a piece on the back of each piece.
  4. Put the puzzle back together. If you have used magnetic tape, you can do it on the fridge or a cookie sheet.

DO IT TOGETHER!

Let your child decide how they want to decorate the plate. Help them use the scissors to cut out different shapes—they don’t have to be the same.

Talk about how many pieces you want to have in the puzzle and whether you should cut them bigger or smaller.

When it’s done, let your child put the puzzle together. If they are having difficulty, help them complete it.

WHY?

Puzzles are a great way for your child to start thinking about shapes, sizes, colours, and matching. Making your own puzzle is easy and might mean more to your child since they made it.

To get over 120 of the best activities to do with your child to boost and build key literacy skills from birth to 5 years, download the Centre for Family Literacy’s FREE Flit app, (Families Learning and Interacting Together).

Click here for the iOS version.

Click here to download the Android version.

 

Writing in the Air

Big body movements are a fun way to do writing and help your child remember the shapes of letters, numbers and more!

LET’S GO!

What you need:

  • Piece of ribbon or string about 2 feet/60 centimetres in length
  • Wand (popsicle stick, twig, pencil, pen—whatever you have)
  • Masking or scotch tape

What to do:

  1. Tape one end of the ribbon or string to one end of the wand
  2. Let the other end of the string or ribbon hang free
  3. Wave the stick around so the ribbon or string follows it in the air

DO IT TOGETHER!

Help your child make their tracing wand. If you want, you can make one for yourself too.

Have your child try waving the tracing wand to make the shapes of letters or numbers. They may even want to try to spell out their name or phone number!

Have some fun with it by pretending to be magicians or fairies while you write in the air.

WHY?

Giving your child different ways to write makes it more interesting and fun to try. Air tracing is a physical activity that will help them practice the shapes of letters or numbers and remember what those shapes feel like.

To get over 120 of the best activities to do with your children to boost and build key literacy skills from birth to 5 years, download the Centre for Family Literacy’s FREE Flit app (Families Learning and Interacting Together).

Click here for the iOS version.

Click here to download the Android version.

 

Popsicle Puppets

Making puppets together to help act out a story is fun and a great way for your child to understand the story even more!

LET’S GO!

What you need:

  • Thick paper (construction or card stock)
  • Crayons or markers
  • Scissors
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Glue/tape
  1. Draw and colour the characters from your favourite book
  2. Cut them out
  3. Glue the popsicle stick to the back of the characters

DO IT TOGETHER

Draw the characters of the story you’ve chosen together. Don’t worry if they don’t look exactly like they do in the book.

Help your child use the scissors to cut out the drawings. Glue or tape the characters to the popsicle sticks.

Optional: add yarn for hair and buttons for eyes.

If using glue let it dry, then use the puppets to act out the story.

You can set it up like a puppet show, with the puppets performing on the back of the couch or chair while you hide behind, or just have the characters with you as you read the story.

WHY?

Books can provide the starting point for other fun activities that take the story further, such as acting it out. Puppets are a quick way to bring some of the characters to life.

To get over 120 of the best activities to do with your children to boost and build key literacy skills from birth to 5 years, download the Centre for Family Literacy’s FREE Flit app (Families Learning and Interacting Together).

Click here for the iOS version.

Click here to download the Android version.

 

7 Crazy Fun Family Games to Play Over the Holidays

Have you ever watched Minute to Win It types of games and thought it would be fun to play them with your family? Family games are a great way to bring everyone together over the holidays, or any time, to have a little fun! The games can be simple or complex, depending on the participants, and you can often use things you have around the house. Try to encourage all family members to play, no matter their age. Games are also a fun way to incorporate family literacy into your holiday activities by talking, following directions, counting, etc.
 
The Games:
 
Try to split everyone who would like to participate into two teams, trying to keep both sides as even as possible. The great thing about these games is that they only last for one minute, so participants only have to make it through 60 seconds.
 
img_2933-11. This first game involves stacking cups so they look like a tree. Remember you only have 60 seconds. To make this activity more difficult for adults, have them put one arm behind their back and use their non-dominant hand.

 

 

 

 
 

 

img_2936-22. This game requires mini marshmallows, straws, and cups (or other containers). Using the straw, you must get as many marshmallows into the cup as you can in one minute. To make this game harder for adults or older kids, do not allow them to hold the straw with their hands.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Our next game requires two pairs of pantyhose with the toes cut out and a hole for your face, as you will be making antlers on your head. This game takes great team effort as balloons are stuffed into the pantyhose legs. An option can be that the winner is whoever finishes first, instead of having a one minute time limit.

 

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img_2955-94. This game is about making a Christmas Tree. We used long ribbon, however you could use toilet paper and make a snowman, or wrapping paper to wrap a present (the entire person). Once again you could time the teams or just judge them after the first one is done.

 

 

 

 
 

 

5. Starting to get hungry after all this work? How about a cookie challenge? Place a cookie over one eye and try to get it into your mouth. For the younger kids, if the cookie falls off they could pick it up and try again. For adults and older kids, I suggest no hands and if they fail then another player from their team has to try until at least one person is successful.
 
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6. On to some full body movements you will need two more pairs of pantyhose without holes, two tennis balls (or heavy balls) and some targets to knock over. Putting the nylons on your head with the ball in each leg, try knocking down as many of the targets as you can. We used paper cups but water bottles or pop cans work too.
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img_2969-87. Lastly we have the candy cane pick up. Stack up a bunch of candy canes, and putting one in your mouth, hook as many candy canes as you can and transfer them into a cup. For little fingers, just let them use their hands instead of putting the candy cane in their mouth.

 

 

 

 
These are just a few of the hundreds of games available on the internet, so grab your family and friends, be creative, and have a great time!
 
Find more game ideas, as I did, with these sites:
 
 
 
 

 

Laundry Toss

We all have to do laundry, so why not get your child involved with the sorting and matching—both early numeracy ideas!

LET’S GO!

Make doing laundry a fun thing for your child to help with.

DO IT TOGETHER!

When it’s time to do laundry, give your child a job. Depending on their age, they can:

  • count how many there are of different pieces of clothing
  • put the same colours together
  • find all the socks after you unload the dryer
  • roll the clean socks into a ball and see if they can throw them into the basket

WHY?

Counting, sorting, matching, and colours are all part of early math (numeracy). These ideas can be worked into everyday routines to help you get things done and let your child feel like they are helping, while supporting learning in a fun way!

 

To get over 120 of the best activities to do with your children to boost and build key literacy skills from birth to 5 years, download the Centre for Family Literacy’s FREE Flit app, (Families Learning and Interacting Together).

Click here for the iOS version.

Click here to download the Android version.

Play Dough Snake Letters

Have fun rolling out play dough into long snakes with your child, then see what you can make them into together – letters, numbers, shapes, and more!

LET’S GO!

Use play dough to make letters, numbers, shapes, or words.

DO IT TOGETHER!

Together, roll out pieces of play dough into long snakes. Bend the snakes, or connect them, to make letters, words, shapes, or numbers. Spell out your child’s name using your snakes and let them copy it if they want to.

WHY?

Writing can happen in many different ways. By using something like play dough, your child can physically move and change pieces, which can help them remember the shapes of letters more easily. It’s also a fun way to do writing together.

To get over 120 of the best activities to do with your children to boost and build key literacy skills from birth to 5 years, download the Centre for Family Literacy’s FREE Flit app, (Families Learning and Interacting Together).

Click here for the iOS version.

Click here to download the Android version.

Making Playdough

Making and playing with playdough together is fun and can lead to many conversations and creative moments!

LET’S GO!

What you need: 

  • 1 c salt
  • 1 3/4 c flour
  • 1 c cold water
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 tbsp. corn starch
  • food colouring

What to do:

  1. In a bowl, mix together salt, water, oil, and food colouring (enough to make a bright colour).
  2. Add flour and corn starch.
  3. Knead the dough with your hands. Gradually add more flour if it’s too sticky, or oil if it isn’t sticking together.
  4. Store in a sealed bag in the fridge for up to 2 months.

 

DO IT TOGETHER!

Let your child help you measure and mix the ingredients. Show them the recipe and talk about how you know how much you need.

Use the playdough to make whatever you want—maybe letters, shapes, or something from a favourite book or song.

Talk about what you are doing and ask your child what they are making.

 

WHY?

Reading recipes is something that often happens in a home and not always just for cooking! Letting your child get involved will help them see how reading is used differently. Doing it together and using the end product is a great reward!

To get over 120 of the best activities to do with your children to boost and build key literacy skills from birth to 5 years, download the Centre for Family Literacy’s FREE Flit app, (Families Learning and Interacting Together).

Click here for the iOS version.

Click here to download the Android version.