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My kids, like pretty much every other kid I know, just love drawing and coloring.
We just got back the other day from a fantastic visit with family and friends in the United States. Before we left, a friend of mine requested some of my children’s artwork to hang on her refrigerator as a gift. She has a little girl herself and so, knowing how much kids love magnets, I thought that a useful and fun way to give fridge artwork would be to make colored letter magnets that are fridge artwork in and of themselves!
This was a great project to do together as a family and my kids loved making these, as well as playing with them afterwards. (And they were a big hit with my friend’s daughter, too!) Want some for yourself? Well then read on to find out how to make them!
You will need a laminator to do this project as I’ve done it, however you could also just glue the letters onto flimsy freebie magnets (like I did with our super simple sticker magnets) and then cut them out. I have a Xyron 510 Creative Station laminating machine* which I use pretty often (for example to make animal and Christmas magnets from children’s drawings) and really is not that expensive. It is hand-cranked and you can switch out the cartidges for different applications. There’s the usual double-sided lamination*, but also refills that attach a sticker backing* or, my personal favorite and what is used in this tutorial, a magnetic backing*. This machine is so much fun to use with kids and I highly recommend it.
Once you’ve figured out how to magnetize your letters, download the free letter template that I created from my Free Downloads page. Just find the Letter Magnets on the list, click “PDF file” and download the 2-page file.
Print out the pages and set your kids to coloring! My daughter was very careful about drawing pictures and designs inside the letters.
My 3-year-old just loved scrawling color all over the place. A nice thing about this project is that you don’t have to worry about coloring carefully inside the lines because it will just get cut off!
I, of course, couldn’t resist getting in on the fun, too, so I colored a bunch, as well. We made two batches, one for us, and one for our friends, and I also decided to include our names inside some letters, too.
I designed the letters so that the pages could get cut into strips and fed through my 5″ laminator with the least amount of wasted cartridge lamination. Three rows fit through perfectly.
Unfortunately, a whole length of A4 paper was apparently too much and would tend to wrinkle inside the laminator. Once they were cut out, it wasn’t such a big deal, however it was still a shame, so afterwards I cut up the paper into shorter pieces before feeding it through the machine.
Once you’ve laminated all your letters, get out some scissors and start cutting them out! Believe it or not, this was actually pretty fun to do with the kids. My daughter used a pair of kid’s scissors, I used regular ones, and my son was busy “organizing” the letters that we’d cut out!
You could just leave the centers of the closed letters as they are (and we did for some of them that we’d drawn inside of), however I preferred cutting them out with a sharp X-ACTO knife* on a self-healing cutting mat*. This made the letters my son had colored look a whole lot nicer.
Then it’s time to have fun! Kids love using their spelling knowledge to write out names and short messages. Another thing that my daughter used to love, before she could read, was to put together random letters and ask me what it said. The bizarre words just cracked her up! (Pardon the pencil lines. This was the part of our magnetic door with the least amount of drawing on it!)
I packed up my friend’s set in a used box from the wonderful Altromercato fair trade teas and a bit of twine.
When the kids got tired of using the magnets, I had my own fun with them, getting all philosophical…
…and then a bit less so. (Not that you can be really serious with pig, Angry Birds and Minion letters…) Fun for the whole family to both make and use!
Interested in other fun and creative activities to do with your kids? Then check out the Cucicucicoo Toys & Play archive!
*This post contains affiliate links.
Question of the day: What toys, games, etc. do you take with you on vacation for your kids?
When we go to visit my family in the United States, we only bring one or two small things to use on the plane because there are so many things to do and use when we arrive there. But when we go anywhere else, we always bring an array of small toys, paper and coloring/activity books, and a baggie full of colored pencils (usually one of the drawstring sacks that I sewed years ago for party favors, which can be seen in the first picture of this post). In June we went to Agropoli, in the ever-fabulous Cilento, and stayed at the lovely La Luna nella Mano B&B, which is where you can see my kids coloring in the pictures above. (It is incidentally also the same place where I took the finished picture of my beach umbrella carry bag.) It was a perfect place to color magnet letters!