When J was about two and a half I thought it would be cool to make her some kind of board where we could talk about today’s upcoming activities and events. She was obsessed with knowing exactly what we were going to do (and still is!) and I thought if she had something visual it would make it easier for her to understand. Since she was at the age where she could actually participate in activities and she was an only child at this point, our days were jam packed with stuff. We had ice skating lessons, swim lessons, music class, art class, gymnastics, playgroup…no wonder the poor kid couldn’t keep it straight!
I started looking online for some ideas. I knew for sure I wanted to include an “activity” space–a list of things that we were going to do that day. And since some stuff was just J and I, some was J and Hubby and some was all 3 of us I wanted a place for who was going to be doing the activity. I also wanted a space for the day of the week. Preschools use this type of thing all the time, but I didn’t want to go into specific details, like the month and date. I did like the idea of including the weather though.
I wanted to include one more thing. I decided to go with emotions–how was J feeling? I thought it would be a good introduction to understanding emotions. She never really comprehended that one, which I’m not surprised. She liked to just put random things up there…really whatever picture she liked the best that particular morning. But that’s okay, it was still an introduction! And the rest of the magnet board was a HUGE hit.
I knew I wanted to use magnets. After talking it over with Hubby we decided the best thing to do was get a large picture frame and then add a piece of galvanized metal behind the glass to make the magnets stick. I found an 16×20 inch frame in the clearance section in Michaels for 5 bucks…perfect! Hubby picked up a sheet of metal from Lowes. If I remember correctly he had to cut it to size? Sorry…we made this board about a year and a half ago and I really can’t remember!
I wanted to jazz the metal up a bit since you’d be able to see it. First I divided it up into the different sections: the day of the week, emotions, the weather and the activities. I painted each rectangle a different color with acrylic paint. Then I painted over the entire thing with some glitter paint, knowing that J would love that it was sparkly. Since the categories were going to be static I glued them in place right onto the metal. I figured I would cross the bridge of changing out J’s name for future children when I got there a few years down the road. Then Hubby slid the metal into the frame, closed it up and gave it back to me. He loves projects where he’s involved just a teeny tiny bit like this 😉
I had recently acquired my brand new Silhouette Cameo and I put it to good use with this project. First I worked on the days of the week. I simply typed all of the words onto my Silhouette program, put white cardstock in the machine and let it do its magic. I cut rectangles out of different colored cardstock and then glued the letters down. Easy.
The weather was next. I checked out some of the pictures that came preloaded with my machine and picked out anything weather-related. Whatever I didn’t already have I found by doing a Google Images search, saving it to my desktop and then opening up in the Silhouette program. I have windy, raining, thunderstorms, sunny, partly cloudy and snowing. I typed up the weather words (I also have “warm” somewhere too…that one appears to be missing right now…) and used the super awesome “print and cut” feature on the Silhouette. It prints the document from your regular printer and then you feed it into the Silhouette and it knows where to cut. LOVE IT!!!!
Emotions were next. I decided what ones I wanted and then found corresponding pictures of J showing the specific emotion. In order from left to right: angry, happy, excited, hungry, surprised, sad, scared and tired. Sorry the quality on them isn’t so great. They got wet somehow and since we no longer use the board I haven’t bothered to replace them yet. And I just realized that one on the bottom right is actually supposed to go in the “activity” category–it’s “going to a restaurant”. Whoops.
I opened each photo into my Silhouette program, scaled them all to the same size, printed them off and cut around them. Done!
I picked out my favorite pictures to use for the “who” category: one of J and I, one of all 3 of us and one of Jeff and J. I repeated the same process I used for the emotion pictures.
Then the activities. This one took me awhile since we had so many things going on! The pictures were either found on my Silhouette program, my personal photos, or saved from a Google Images search.. Here’s the activity listing: ice skating, going for a bike ride, swim lessons, going for a long car ride (2+ hours), going to the gym, visit to the library, art class, sled riding, shopping, park, taking the dogs in the car somewhere…
…playgroup, doctor’s appointment, going to Pappy’s house, the babysitter is coming over, going to the post office, gymnastics and going to an indoor playground.
There we go! All of my pieces were complete. The next step was to make them sturdy. I had cut all of the pieces out of cardstock (well my machine did 😉 ) but I figured they wouldn’t last long with little toddler hands grabbing at them constantly. I decided to laminate them. I knew there were going to be a lot of projects like this in my future so I hopped on Amazon and purchased this cute little laminator for $30. That was a year and a half ago and it still works awesome. No complaints at all! I shoved each piece into the provided pouches, laminated them and cut them out around the edges.
Next they needed magnets. Since the glass was pretty thick on the picture frame I needed some heavier magnets. I purchased these ones off of Amazon. I just hot glued them onto the back of each laminated piece. That, however, didn’t work so well. A few months after making the board all of the magnets started to fall off. So I used some trusty E6000 to adhere them. And that actually didn’t work so well either…better than the hot glue but a bunch of the magnets have still fallen off. Since we’re not currently using the board I haven’t tried anything else yet. If anyone finds a solution that actually works let me know! I’m going to have to revamp it when C gets old enough to appreciate it.
The board was working great and I loved it. I discovered that the closet organizer in her room was made from metal so we stuck all of the pieces on the lower shelves so she could reach them. Every morning after J woke up we’d discuss what we were doing and she’d find the corresponding magnets. As it became necessary to add more and more “things to do” it was really cramped. So I headed back to Lowes and picked up two more skinny pieces of galvanized metal and Hubby screwed them onto each side of one of her dressers. Perfect!
It is a wonderful tool for a 2-3 year old! We used it just about every single day for a year or so. She’s a bit old for it now, but the beauty of it is all I have to do is print out some new pieces, replace J’s name with C’s and voila, it’s good to go for the next child!