Your child will make a placemat decorated with photos of familiar people and objects. Using a personalized placement at mealtimes can promote conversation about family members, familiar places, and favorite activities.
Learning Area(s):Language and Communication, Social and Emotional
- Construction or scrapbook paper (11” X 17” or 12” x 12”)
- Printed family photos
- Magazine pictures of favorite foods or activities
- Glue stick
- Contact paper
Show your child photos of family and friends or familiar places. Let your child choose which ones to arrange on the paper to make a placemat. You can use photos printed on photo paper or regular paper, as available. Using glue sticks, attach the photos to the paper. Laminate the paper or cover with clear contact paper to make it waterproof. At mealtimes, your child can use his placemat and name the people in the photos and talk about them with you.
- The placemat can be decorated further with bits of ribbon, magazine pictures of favorite foods or activities, etc. Talk with your child about these items as well.
- To keep a toddler interested during mealtimes, you might play a finding game with him with his placement. For example, you might say, “Can you find a picture with grandpa in it?”, “Can you find someone wearing a hat?”, or “Can you find all the pictures of YOU?”
- To keep a preschooler interested during mealtimes, you might ask him to retell a story about the family member, place, or activity on his placemat. Or you can ask more open-ended questions that allow your child to respond with more than a yes, no, or one-word answer. For example, you might say, “Tell me about your favorite things to do with grandpa” or “What kinds of things do you like to do at this park?”
- You might want to make several different placemats with your child that can be rotated. For example, one might have magazine pictures of his favorite foods, another could have photos of family members, another could have magazine pictures of his favorite things (cars, sports, animals, etc.).