I know this is not rocket science but it has come in so useful to me over the past week that I thought it would be worth sharing.
whinged about mentioned in my last post, I've been pre-occupied and busy around our home the past few weeks packing for our upcoming big move and because of that I haven't had much crafting or activity time with my daughter while my son is at school. This never fails to make me feel guilty. I decided I needed a "grab & do" something. A something that involved no glue, no scissors and no box of craft supplies. I googled "Activity Sheets for 3 year olds", went to the first site on the list, "School Express", and began printing off multiple copies of the sheets I knew would interest her the most, and that had an educational slant (mainly to help with her numbers and sounds). I know there are literally hundreds of sites that offer the same thing but I didn't want to waste time searching and then become too bamboozled to make a choice. School Express has over 17,000 activity sheets (plus a whole host of other stuff that I didn't look at - again, I knew I would get sidetracked if I checked it all out) covering everything from Numbers, to Sounds, to Classifying, to Letters to Social Studies - exactly what I was after.
I made up a file to keep the sheets organised and close at hand. I found these very cute and colourful free binder cover templates at A Year of Many Firsts blog, which were perfect, and saved me from making them up myself. The only problem was the files weren't editable (unless you had PowerPoint) and I wanted an "Activity Sheets" cover, so here's how I got around it. And, by the way, if you know of a smarter way to do it, and I don't doubt there is, please make sure you let me in on the secret!
- I downloaded the binder cover I wanted as a PDF (if I had Powerpoint then it would've been easy to edit, but I don't)
- Saved it as a JPEG and closed it
- Opened it up in Paint
- Erased the existing binder title with the eraser tool
- Saved it so that I had a blank binder label (to use next time for something else)
- Opened Word and inserted it as a Picture
- Inserted a text box and typed in my Title
And because I couldn't find tabs that were visible under the plastic sheets, I made up some myself using patterned paper and clear adhesive labels from Avery. The tabs do stick out the side of the file but that doesn't bother me - a little jiggle when I pop it away makes the tabs slide back inside.
So now when my daughter starts to get irritable or bored because she's tired of Mummy packing like a crazy lady, I can easily grab a few sheets and sit down with her for 15 or 20 minutes. Not only has she been enjoying it, she's learning too and I'm spending one-on-one time with her with not a glue stick or paint pot in sight! It really has been very handy, and like this post title says, "it's not rocket science" but it's good, basic stuff which is readily available at your fingertips at no cost. It's the simple things ...