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"Massage" Shirt and High Five Card- Father's Day Gifts

This week was a bit of a struggle, at least for completing daily educational activities. The morning activity concept was kind of swept away due to Papa's funky work schedule, Papa was home in the morning and gone until way after the kids were in bed.  Fortunately we are a highly adaptable crew so we still accomplished at least one activity everyday:

Monday- Number Magnet Books (we started this, but we were interrupted with a house showing right in the middle, so we finished at the playground counting and going over the numbers on the play equipment. )

Tuesday- Matching/ Identifying Picture Blocks  (3 year old; matching stacking, colors, 16 month old picture recognition, following directions, stacking)

Wednesday- Library Story Time (this unfortunately ended abruptly with an unusual tantrum, hopefully next week will go better)

Thursday- "Massage" Shirt for Papa (3 year old; following directions,  verbalization, imagination, 16 month old; he napped during this activity)

 Friday- 3 year old- Went to Work with Papa/ 16 month old- Tub of Rocks and Cups (3 year old; loves going to work with Papa, it should teach him about responsibility and all that other stuff, but he and Papa usually play, watch a movie and get pizza so he thinks Papa's work is really fun.  16 month old; his activity was with Momma out of town at our home inspection, he did wonderfully well with his box of rocks, driving cars in the rocks, pouring them from cup to cup, pretending to cook the rocks and sorting everything.)




Activity of the week: "Massage" Shirt



Pack of Fabric Markers

Plain white T-shirt


Cardboard (the width and length of the shirt)

2 or more small cars (best if they have some good chunky tires on them)


This creation was another pinterest find originally posted over at the blue basket . Her shirt has richer, deeper colors and thicker lines because she used fabric paint and traced her pattern, absolutely adorable but far too time consuming for our purposes.

Here is what we did:

First I spread out the shirt on our coffee table and ironed it while my 3 year old attempted to take pictures (those will not be added here) and my 16 month old watched with big tired eyes. While I was putting the iron up and completely out of the way to cool, my baby decided to grab the shirt and run around the house with it, stopping at the couch to spread it out and "iron" it with a book. After recovering the stolen shirt my 3 year old helped me put a flattened cardboard box into the shirt to help it retain its shape and keep the markers from bleeding through to the front. My baby once again attempted to high-jack the shirt. As I was wrestling it away from him it dawned on me that there wasn't going to be an easy way for him to actually help with this part of the project. I am not sure why I didn't realize this before hand, perhaps while I was buying the permanent ink fabric markers that require extreme vigilance while in the preschoolers hands, never mind someone so young that he cannot yet draw a line.  So with my newfound awareness we waited until my 16 month old was peacefully sleeping before breaking out the fabric markers.

Next came the fun part. I had mapped out a basic road design on some scrap paper and began sketching out the first part of the road with a pencil while my son traced over it with the black fabric marker, he quickly tired of his task, he had barely gotten the first stretch of road done before he was handing me the marker. I figured that if I had the marker I wasn't going to outline the road first and abandoned the pencil. After drawing around the first curve I sent my son to his room to fish out a toy car so we could see if I had left enough room for the car to turn. I let him drive the little track to test it out. My curve did not actually completely accommodate a standard toy car's turning radius, which is really ok since my kids aren't that great about staying in the line anyway and it gave my 3 year old a new job; he got to drive his car ahead of my marker so I was essentially building the road wherever he drove.  Now that was fun!

After we outlined a track with several open spaces to place different locations, my son and I started to talk about Papa. I let my son pick out what type of buildings/locations we added to our little city as long as they were places that Papa would go.  I would then draw whatever building he picked in whatever color he wanted. He helped color in the larger pictures and made grass all over the place. I loved hearing him describe what his Papa liked; fishing, shooting, Army stuff, going to the playground, church, the store, and school, he even wanted to have a picture of Papa jumping out of an airplane.      I did the best free hand drawings I could, but the quality of the art wasn't what this project was about. It was about creating a gift for Papa that shows how much he is loved by his boys (and his wife). One that was thoughtful, usable, inexpensive (I did have to buy fabric markers so the project cost me $8) and would give Papa and his boys more ways to play together.

When Papa opened his Father's Day gift my boys both beamed when they saw the card they had made (they did both make that one!) and then the shirt we had created together. Papa changed into it immediately while the boys piled couch pillows on the floor for Papa to lay on. Soon both boys were driving all over Papa (and sometimes jumping, crawling and rolling over Papa as well), while this Momma got to sit back and enjoy the show. Happy Father's Day!


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