The New Year organizing bug has hit my home (better late than never, right?) and I find myself just looking for ways to get rid of “stuff” we have laying around. One thing I have a difficult time letting go of is old magazines. I hate just getting rid of them! That got me thinking about all kinds of ways they could be used with my toddler, as well as older children.
Tearing – Tearing is a great (and really fun!) fine motor skill for toddlers. Pull out some pages and let them tear to their heart’s content. Or, if you are confident they won’t transfer this skill to their storybooks, let them help tear the pages out. (I’ll be honest – my toddler couldn’t handle that yet. We’ll stick to tearing up pages I give her!)
Vocabulary – This one is great for at home or for when you are stuck in a waiting room with an antsy toddler. Pictures in magazines are a great way to talk about household items, food, emotions, weather, or people (mommy, daddy, policeman, etc.), as well as many cultural or regional things your toddler may not get to see locally. Store them in a mini coupon expandable folder that your toddler will love putting them in and taking them out of.
“Hidden Objects” – Remember the hidden object pages from Highlights Magazines where you have to find different items camouflaged in the image? Play your own simpler version, asking your toddler to find different objects in the picture.
Shape or Color Hunt – Use the images as an opportunity to expose your little one to shape and color vocabulary. “Can you find something that is red?” “Do you see any circles?”
Glueing Fun – Cut out pictures for your child to glue onto another piece of paper. My daughter loves glue sticks, but you could also let them use their finger, a qtip or paint brush with some liquid glue to experience this important skill.
PRESCHOOLERS or OLDER CHILDREN
Cutting Practice – Let your preschooler try their hand at cutting out interesting pictures, or if you are just getting started, let them just cut the page to pieces.
Letter Scavenger Hunt – Let them hunt through the pages for letters they know. Can they find five A’s on the page? What about a lowercase t? They can circle letters they find, or for even more fun let them use a highlighter.
Story Starters – Find an interesting picture that could trigger an imaginative story for your child. Start by asking them questions to get their imaginations flowing, and then allow them to take over making up a fun story about what happens next. Or you can go back and forth, each taking a turn adding more to the story.
Role Playing – Pretend you are the people in the picture. What would you say to each other based on what is going on? This is a great way to practice handling difficult situations in a safe and comfortable way (for example, an image of a kid who is sad on the playground – What could your child to do cheer them up? Or what if they were the sad child?)
Sight Word Search – If your child is beginning to learn sight words, let them search the pages for how many times they can find a particular word. Or let them see how many different sight words they can find in a certain amount of time.
Sight Word or Spelling Word “Ransom Note” – Looking for a fun way to practice spelling words with an elementary child? Let them cut out letters and spell out their words ransom note style – with different fonts and colors.
I’m sure there are plenty more ways you and your child can come up with as well. So snag one or two old magazines from your recycling pile to use as a quick, inexpensive activity the next time you’re stuck inside or need to practice a skill in a fun, new way!
Written by Alicia