What you need:
- magnetic strips from craft store
- 4-inch squares of cardboard (at least four squares)
- family photos
What to do:
- Cut 2-inch strips of magnet and let your child glue them to the back of each cardboard square.
- Glue photos onto the front of one square and corresponding names onto another. (If your child is old enough, invite her to do the writing.) Then help your child write her name clearly on another square. Make matching cards for Mom, Dad, the dog, the cat — anyone your child would like to match. (For young children, start with two names and two pictures. For older children, add more.)
- Together, stick the name and picture magnets to the refrigerator (or any metal surface) at child height.
Ways to play:
- Invite your child to mix the pictures and names into random order on the refrigerator door. Then, encourage her to match them once again. As children become proficient at matching, make more matching sets from magazine pictures or photos of familiar objects and people.
- Place a square of magnetic tape on the front of each card so that both sides of the picture cards and word cards are magnetic. Turn all the cards face down on the fridge door, and play a matching game.
- With your older child, create magnetic squares with familiar objects — dog, doll, tree, baby, dish, house, and so on. Help your child write the name of the item under the picture. Turn the squares upside down, then invite your child to choose two. The squares she turns over will create a new word or phrase — dollhouse or dog dish, for instance. But the real fun comes when the new word or phrase is not something you would find in the dictionary. What is a "tree dish" or "dish tree"? A "house baby" or "baby house"? Encourage her creativity by asking her to draw pictures or make up stories using these new words.
- Find photos of family members (including your child) when they were younger. Share them with your child ("This is Daddy when he was your age"), then create name and picture magnets. Invite your child to match the name with the (younger) relative in the photos.