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Cookie sheets are an amazing addition to your family writing time rotation. If you don’t have any extra cookie sheets at home, you can pick them up at your local Dollar Store.
What makes cookie sheets good for writing time? Well…
- They’re magnetic.
- Since they’re flat they are easy to store.
- They’re inexpensive so you can get one for each child.
Once you have your cookie sheets, be sure to remove any labels on them. Now they’re ready to serve as a base for any of these activities.
What’s Family Writing Time?
I’ve used Family Writing Time as a strategy to grow my business while homeschooling my eight kids. I share all my tips and tricks for getting started, troubleshooting, and more in The Ultimate Guide to a Successful Family Writing Time ebook.
Since cookie sheets are magnetic, they’re the perfect work space for magnets. With an inexpensive set of alphabet magnets (aff link), you can let your child build words, experiment with invented spelling, and sort the letters.
Just store the magnets in a gallon sized Ziploc when you’re done and you’ll always have them when it’s time.
For this activity, you’ll need some large construction paper, that fits inside your cookie sheet. Let your child color a background on one piece. Encourage him to use the entire sheet of paper.
Then slide this onto the cookie sheet. If you have some of these adhesive magnets (aff. link), you can put one in each corner. Your child’s background will now stay put.
Next, turn your child loose with construction paper and basic art supplies to create characters to interact with their backgrounds. Or you can take a shortcut and print out coloring pages (I like this site) and have them color them and cut them out.
You can store the backgrounds in a large envelope or folder, along with the characters. Let your child make up as many as desired, and then everything can be mixed and matched.
My kids love making “crossover” stories. So they’ll make a My Little Pony background and bring in Pokemon characters or something. It keeps them busy, and they never complain about doing family writing time when they get to make up stories.
Magnetized Family Photos
My younger kids love looking at pictures of the family! It’s a great way for them to learn more about relationships, remember events of the past, and just engage with familiar faces.
To make these, I just throw some adhesive magnets on the backs of pictures. Then the kids can move them all around the cookie sheet to their heart’s content.
I’ve found one magnet on each picture is perfect for young hands to be able to use easily.
Just be sure that your child isn’t more interested in the magnet than the pictures. I have one child I can’t let use anything with those small magnets because they just pull them off and try to eat them.
So use larger pieces of magnetic tape if that’s a concern!
Make a Racetrack
My three year old son LOVES all things cars. So my oldest is making him this activity for a Christmas gift.
She’s taking a piece of construction paper and coloring a racetrack along it. I think we’re going to cover this one with clear plastic packing tape to give it a little more stability and protection before attaching magnets to the back.
To make it more literacy based, I asked her to make magnetic letter signs and bushes for him to decorate the track with. The letters are there so he can spell his name. Hey–recognizing your own name is an important goal!
So he can get his racetrack all set just how he likes it, and then use a couple of cars to race around.
We’ll just store the cars, background, and letter pieces in a large Ziploc bag and it’s ready to pull out for him. I think he’ll love it!
Make Your Own Set
My six- and eight-year olds love making sets together for family writing time. Recently they’ve made a chicken set, with a large chicken coop, several chickens, and eggs; a sheep set with a grassy fenced in field, and sheep of all sizes and colors.
But the problem is, they’re always loosing the pieces. It’s hard to keep track of small items in our house, especially with a son with Pica. They usually disappear down the hatch!
Magnet tape has been a solution. They can add tape to the back of everything, then store the pieces in a gallon sized bag. Now when a piece gets left out, it’s easily recognizable as not just a “scrap” of paper to be tossed in the fire or trash, but something to be saved.
They actually get to play with the sets they make!
What interests your child? Let her make a set and have all the pieces. Creative play is such an important part of storytelling and understanding how things go together.
Did your child just read a book? Let her create the pieces she needs to retell her favorite section. Then when family writing time is over, have everyone listen.
It’s a great way to encourage comprehension in a fun way!
We love cookie sheet activities!
Will you be adding any of these ideas to your family writing time rotations? I’d love to hear other ideas you have for using a cookie sheet for learning.
This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and make a purchase I get a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.
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