Every. Single. Day.
At breakfast. At lunch. And at dinners at the kitchen table (because the kitchen table is so less fancy than our totally fancy-schmancy dinner table).
It’s a seriously awesome party–reading, counting, talking about the states or dinosaurs or sea creatures or letters.
This happy Friday Quick Trick is pretty simple, really. It’s a Placemat Party that every parent can host with very little effort.
Here’s the skinny:
- Placemat Party: Okay, so it’s not really a party. It’s just breakfast. Or lunch or dinner. With cool placemats in the mix.
I have always used mealtime as a perfect opportunity for some sneaky-learning, and really that’s the premise here. I just use placemats to direct the learning as much as I can.
When Maddy, Owen, and Cora had begun arguing about who sat where at breakfast, I decided to throw a little wrench in their plan. I couldn’t handle starting our day this way, as the arguments soon escalated into much more than a seat decision. And because they all came down to the kitchen at different times, I really couldn’t have the person whose day it was choose, because what did I do for the second guy down?
Some days they read about dinosaurs. . .
So I pulled out some of our placemats–some old, and some new ones I picked up at our local toy store–and I began mixing them up each day.
I put a new placemat at each seat every single day. The only rule is that whoever gets there first can choose where they want to sit, and there’s no arguing. Period. When and if an argument starts, that person gets a plain-jane placemat. Nothing fun, nothing fancy, nothing exciting. Boring.
. . . and some days they talk multiplication.
And surprisingly, Maddy, Owen, and Cora started moving a little bit faster in the morning; they each wanted to be the first one to make it down to breakfast and the first one to choose a placemat.
Some placemats are letter-focused, some are math-focused, some are science focused, and some are just plain silly. I’ve collected them over the years–free giveaways at grocery stores, on the dollar racks at department stores, and at our toy store. They take up next to no room, and they clean up with a quick wipe.
I am totally and completely aware that this Placemat Par-tay may only last for a few weeks, until Maddy, Owen, and Cora grow tired of my placemat rotation, but I’ll take it for as long as it works. It’s all about keeping things fresh, trying something new, and keeping a few tricks in my parenting back pocket.
Just another Quick Trick that may or may not help your kiddos–happy reading (and eating!)!