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Styrofoam trays make perfect craft material. (Trish McAlaster/The Globe and Mail)
Styrofoam trays make perfect craft material. (Trish McAlaster/The Globe and Mail)

Looking to get crafty with your kids? Turn Styrofoam into shrinky dinks Add to ...

Each week, Child’s Play offers an activity guaranteed to combat the summer-break blahs.

I’ve always felt that most of the craft projects I read about in the mommy media (btw, why is it always addressed to the mommy? Can’t daddy do crafts?) require a PhD in art or a full day’s labour, with the dexterity, materials and money of Martha Stewart. Here’s one for us normal parents.

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Collect a few flat, white Styrofoam trays – the kind you get from buying meat or vegetables. (Talk to the kids about why reusing old Styrofoam is environmentally friendly.) Wash the Styrofoam well and dry it. Get as many different coloured markers as possible. Permanent markers work best. Get the kids to decorate the Styrofoam with the markers. They can also cut it into fun shapes. Then bake in 325 F oven for 5 to 10 minutes, till they’ve shrunk. Bear in mind they’re going to shrink dramatically (almost 50 per cent). Also, get the kids to think in advance about what they’re making. To make a pendant for a necklace, poke a big hole in it before decorating (big because the hole will shrink too). Or make tokens for a game … or plaques with inspirational quotes.

Joanne Kates is the director of Camp Arowhon in Algonquin Park

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