The very best thing about this gift is that it doesn’t add any more CLUTTER! You get to use the toys/items you already have to make these mats. And your child is learning visual discrimination (a cognitive process)…so it’s a win-win for everyone!
As Big Brother and I were looking at the book Can You See What I See? The Night Before Christmas today, I remembered I made these “I Spy” mats with my first graders and they LOVED them! And since the I Spy bottle we made several months ago has been a hit, I figured this would be too!
These mats would make for an excellent way to keep your little one busy while in the car or even while making dinner! Interacting with your child while looking at them would also be a great way to help increase your younger child’s language development. Ask your child to find how many sheep, zebras, and lions there are. Have him pick out the letters in his name. Ask her to point out the different colors she sees. The possibilities are endless!
So…here’s what you’ll need: a digital camera and a lot of small items (markers, puzzle pieces, small toys, etc). You can either print the pictures on an 8×10 piece of photo paper at home or send it to Walgreens, Walmart, Sam’s, etc. If running out of time, you could even just use the pictures I’ve already taken (though I think your little one would enjoy seeing their own “stuff”).
Basically, all you have to do is group the items, snap the picture, and print it out! I organized my photos by theme (transportation, learning, animals, and Christmas) and made some harder than others.
I would highly suggest laminating these as well! I bought this laminator from Amazon and we use it ALL THE TIME. Then I bought a package of 200 generic laminating pouches from Sam’s for $20, which is way cheaper than the name-brand! If you’re not looking to buy your own laminator, Office Max will laminate for just a few cents a foot.