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    Set up a store with your child, and tape prices onto the items in your store. Take turns with your child playing the customer and the cashier, and use pretend paper money. If your child is old enough to play with money safely, then use bills and coins and make change. An old silverware tray makes for a great cash box.

    This is excellent for reinforcing math skills.


    lose yourself in literature

    With your child’s help, round up a stack of books. Choose the books each of you will read from. Take turns—"Your turn," "My turn." Even if your child is not yet a reader, with the help of the book he or she is certain to tell a terrific story.


    fleece tie blanket

    Years ago, we had been given a hand-made fleece blanket and I thought it was cool, so we made several last year as gifts. Kids can help, under your supervision, with the cutting of the fleece and with the tying.

    You will need fleece for either side of the blanket. The yardage you require depends upon the size of the blanket you want to create. For a sofa-sized throw, I suggest two 60"x60" pieces of fleece (one for either side of the blanket). It is fun to pick color-coordinated patterns for each side (as in the photo below). Or, you can have a color on one side and a pattern on the other.

    You will also need sharp scissors. I suggest washing and drying the fleece before you start cutting.

    Your first step is to match corresponding sides (each side of the blanket) together. From this point on, all cutting is done through both sides of blanket.

    Cut off any frayed edges or factory markings first. Then, cut out the four corners. Each corner piece you cut out should be 5"x5". Then, start cutting strips approximately 1" wide and 4"-5" deep all around the outside of the blanket. I say approximately because as you get closer to the corners you may want to vary the width so that you won't have an odd corner strip size.

    Once all the strips have been cut, make sure they are all lined up. Then, start tying, first a simple crossover and through, and then a knot. Do not tie the knot too tightly and cinch the sides up. You can always go back around and tie the knots tighter.

    Enjoy your creation!


    dry bones

    You will need to obtain the song "Dry Bones" and a large cut-out skeleton (the life-size one people put on their doors). Carefully cut up the skeleton to make a puzzle out of it.

    Play the song and dance with your child, making sure to point to the parts of the body referenced by the song. Your child may want to play the song many times.

    Take turns with your child piecing the skeleton together. Discuss the bones as you piece them together. Talk about how to keep them strong and healthy. Share any "broken bone" stories you might have.



    Talk about the 5-7-5 syllable rule for haikus. Have your child practice reciting haikus following this rule. With your help, have your child write out and illustrate their favorite haiku.

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