Placemats for Easy to Make Centers

Sometimes I need a center or an early finisher activity that is specific to a certain skill... well, not just sometimes... all the time. But sometimes what I need for a particular group or class may be unique and not what I already have.

And I will usually turn to TpT, of course, to remedy this issue.

But occasionally I am in a rush and don't have time to print, laminate and cut a cute new center.... and when that happens this is what I do.....

I make a quick center...usually seasonal.

Here is the one I am going to show you today:

I just made this. I have a ton of upper and lower case letter recognition and matching activities for September. But typically we simmer it down in October usually, moving on to sounds and other skills. This group needs more practice recognizing letters... so I needed a quick fix.

I buy random placemats like these whenever I see them on sale....yep, that is a placemat.

I think I got this one last year... probably on November 1....and it gets thrown in my October drawer. I also will buy themed plates or really anything that is on clearance that I think I can use later.

So could this be any easier?

Here are all my materials: placemat, clothespins and a Sharpie:

I see how many clothespins I can fit... in this case it worked to get 26, which was perfect!
And then we are ready to write... and yes, I realize it isn't 100% equally spaced and some of my letters aren't perfect.....but what is perfect is the part where it took me only ten minutes to make an engaging center my littles NEED and will love!

I tell the kids to leave it just like this when they are finished:

As for me, I will put those clothespins in a Ziploc and clip that onto the placemat. And once in a while I will raffle these off for one friend to take home... usually strategically chosen to be a friend who still needs practice. And I only do that if I don't think I have the room to store it and it won't be needed year after year.

I use placemats for math centers and other literacy skills.... anything where matching happens will work!

So the next time you see some holiday themed placemats on sale...grab them! 

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