You guys, parenting is hard. It's wonderful, but it's hard. I feel like I'm constantly trying to figure this little guy out and can never tell how to entertain him, what to feed him, what toys to get him, how to play with him etc. but we are trying to figure that out! I've been talking with friends and testing out new ideas and slowly but surely I think I'm figuring out how to entertain him (I don't know that I'll ever figure out the whole feeding thing. He is the weirdest picky eater.) Of course as soon as I figure it out though he'll be ready for new things. The adventure of parenthood.
Emmet has been loving playing with this little plastic animals lately. He dumps them out of the basket and fills it back up over and over. So as I walked around my floors covered in plastic animals and I started to think... "how could we make this educational and a game so that I don't go completely crazy?" And I decided it would be super fun to make a sorting game! I won't like to you and say that Emmet gets it yet. It is still probably a little out there for an 18 month old. But we are starting to talk about and play with animals and I figured we can work together on this one. Instead of sorting the animals in these photos, being his first time seeing this new game/toy, he played with the berry baskets. The ever so classic give a child a toy and they play with the box scenario.
This game is super easy to make though AND it comes with a free printable of illustrations by yours truly! Enjoy!
One Sheet of White Cardstock
Corner Rounder Tool
4 Single Sided Laminating Sheets
Terra Wild Animals
-First, download and print out the free printable flash cards. A paper cutter is nice for getting perfect squares, but not entirely necessary! There are grey lines to follow if you just want to cut with scissors.
-Use a corner rounder tool to clip all four corners of each flash card. Sharp corners = "Owies"
-CAREFULLY read the directions on your single sided laminating sheets. I did not and ended up wasting two sheets plus having to reprint the entire page of animal flashcards. I would also recommend making these while said un-entertainable toddler is sleeping or elsewhere as they require patience and focus. I was able to fit 6 flashcards on my sheet. I first stuck them down to the top of one sheet (while trying to not leave any finger prints OR drop any hairs from my head) equally spacing them out so that you have room to cut them out between (and leave a little trim around the flash card).
-Then CAREFULLY place another sheet, sticky side down on top (this is where the patience comes in handy), as long as all six flash cards are covered and there wasn't a ton of bubbles, I called it a win. I smoothed them out and pressed the bubbles out before cutting them out and trimming the corners again.
-Once all of the flash cards are cut out you are ready to play/learn! Simply place one flashcard at the bottom of each berry basket and help your child to sort their plastic animals.
My favorite thing about these baskets and this flash card system is that you can also use pictures from the internet or color swatches to play other matching games too! You could print out pictures of different types of cars, etc and practice learning that vocabulary instead. Or you could make flashcards of the different colors and spray paint the animals to match, and sort and learn your colors while you play. The options are endless.