Tag Archives: craft

Lunchbox Trivia

16 Jul

We’re at the halfway point in the summer and I swear, when I look at the kids I can practically see their brains starting to turn to mush.  The enthusiasm for my summer reading challenge has waned, interest in math games is lukewarm at best, and they’re onto my efforts to trick them into writing and spelling.  The standard response to the suggestion of any activity is to squint and look me square in the eyes, trying to determine whether there might be any subversive learning lurking behind the activity.

Guess what?  There is.

To combat the mid-summer learning slump, I decided to make up a new game that relies heavily on two facts:

  1. If there is a LAFFY TAFFY JOKE or FORTUNE COOKIE around, a kid will read it.  Even when they don’t quite get the jokes or when the fortune is too confusing, they’ll still read it.  They read it to themselves, share it with me, and run off to show it to another kid.  Every. Single. Time.  So if short bits of information in a sharable way is what they like?  We can do that.
  2. Kids love a scratch-off game.  There’s a tiny thrill in that moment before the reveal.  Very tiny, but still, it’s there.

This week we’re combining both of those facts into scratch-off trivia cards.  Each morning, the kids will choose a trivia card to place in their lunchbox.  At lunchtime, they can scratch the top of the card to reveal the question, then the bottom half to discover the answer.  In order to qualify for a new card the next day, they need to bring the card home to read it to me.  Simple idea and not very hard to make, I think the kids are going to like them.  Even if they don’t find all of the facts interesting or don’t know many of the answers, I can guarantee that they will like scratching off the ticket each day to reveal that day’s questions and answers.

To make your own lunchbox trivia cards, you’ll need:

  • A list of questions and answers
  • Lunchbox Trivia Cards Printable sheet
  • Colored cardstock (cut into 2.25″ x 3.75″ rectangles)
  • Clear packing tape
  • Pen
  • Acrylic metallic paint
  • Dish soap
  • Paintbrush

To start, I made a list of questions that I thought would be age-appropriate, that would interest my kids, or that I thought they should know.  Not every card will hit the mark perfectly, but that’s the beauty of providing info in this way.  Don’t care who invented the cotton gin?  Try again tomorrow!

Once you have a list of questions and answers, print the trivia card sheet and add your own information.  Cut out each card and adhere it to the construction paper rectangles using packing tape.  Most packing tape is just under 2″ wide which will cover the entire surface of the trivia card, with enough room to adhere it onto the colored backing.  Center it if you can and smooth out any wrinkles with your fingernail.

According to Martha Stewart, to create perfect scratch-off paint, mix 2 parts metallic paint with 1 part dish soap.  Not one to argue, I did exactly that and it worked out fine.  Apply the paint mixture over the question and answer on each card.  I applied 2 coats on each one, letting it dry between each layer (about 30-45 minutes drying time with each layer).  I tried both thick and thin layers and found that it didn’t matter much.  You’ll need to keep applying layers or paint until the words are covered, so give each a try and do whatever works best for you.

Print it: Lunchbox Trivia Cards (15 per sheet)

P.S. If you decide to make these cards and find that about halfway through you feel like you are a chump for doing the project and I am a double-chump for suggesting it, try watching an episode of The Vampire Diaries while you complete the project.  It helps, trust me.

Crayon Hearts

10 Feb

In some ways, I’m very much like my parents.  Often, my mom and I will say the exact same thing at the same time.  For the most part it is alright, but when we’re in public it is rather embarrassing.  One person yelling, “Hey, nice hit!” sounds encouraging while two people shouting it in accidental unison sounds weird.  The similarity between dad and me is less obvious unless you happen to stumble upon it; when we think something is unnecessary, we would rather avoid it altogether than go along with the flow.  You only have to be with my dad when a waitress asks to see his ID to know that he’d rather die of thirst than show his driver’s license to prove that he’s over 21.  For me, it is the birthday party goody bags.  I can’t seem to get on board with the bags of treats and treasures that apparently everybody gives at the end of a birthday party.  I realize that admitting this pretty much makes me the parent scrooge – to you, and definitely to my children.  Each year, we go through a series of long-winded speeches to state our respective positions that would rival anything you hear on C-SPAN.  In the end, we usually land on a compromise that includes one item that we make, and a handful of candy.  After all, nothing says “thanks for coming to my party” like a bag full of sugar to take to your very own home.

Over the years we’ve made a few great items for the goody bag – mixed CD, customized temporary tattoos, and my very favorite – crayon hearts.  They were super easy to make and would be perfect for a goody bag or for Valentines.  Plus, it has the added bonus of using up all the crayons that no one wants to use once they have left their pristine, first-time-use state.

For this project, you’ll need the following:
– Silicone tray with heart shapes (any shape will do, but shapes with few pointy parts seem to work best)
– Crayon bits
– An oven, pre-heated to 200 degrees F
– Some children you can talk into doing the project with you

STEP 1:  Collect broken bits of crayons and peel off the wrappers.

STEP TWO: Break them into small pieces and place them into the tray.  We found that the best results were those that had some similar colors in the tray with one or two contrasting colors.

STEP THREE: Place the silicone tray on a baking sheet and put in the oven until they are good and melty.  We like the way they look when some of the crayon shapes are still visible on one side, smooth on the silicone side.

After they have completely cooled, pop them out of the tray.  Craft over.  Goody bag war over for one more year.