If your family is anything like mine, dinner is a busy time of day. Maybe even the BUSIEST time of day. You can usually find me running from the refrigerator to the stove and back again trying to whip something together before my two boys lose interest in whatever they happen to be doing and decide they cannot wait another second before eating.
Believe it or not, as busy as the end of the day can be, it’s a perfect chance for you to give your child a little literacy practice (and buy yourself a few minutes of prep time too). Print out the Place Mats download (right). I uploaded them as a Word document so that you can insert your child’s name into the name mat (like the one above). Choose one mat and set it aside.
Cut a piece of clear contact paper that is large enough to cover the paper completely and leave a thick border. Lay the placemat you selected face down on the sticky side of the contact paper. (You are attaching the mat to the contact paper.) Press down the edges so that they seal firmly to the table.
As you prepare dinner, invite your child to use a basic Crayola marker or (if you don’t mind stained hands) a Vis-a-Vis pen to work on his new snack mat. When he’s finished working, clean off his mat using a damp paper towel or baby wipe.