Our local YMCA presented a parenting panoply this weekend with its annual health fair. Tri-weekly my youngest two kids and I make our way through the Y in search of a healthy outlet, so we’re well familiar with the place. But on Saturday it had undergone a transformation, its halls having been extraordinarily adorned with a variety of displays and activities for children. One room was set up to look like a camping area and included a canoe, fake evergreen trees and an area for roasting marshmallows to make S’mores (what a nice reminder of the upcoming summer). Our local zoo was represented in another room with a variety of small animals that children could either gaze upon or pet (see below). And in between those two larger displays were booths offering everything from an “I Spy” treasure hunt to stamping and other activities. Gym and pool areas also were open for business, and the Y’s new Xerzone, an area full of computer games like DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) designed to get kids moving and grooving also was highlighted.
Truth be told, I missed out on fully exploring the plethora of offerings. My main mission of the day was to help young fair participants fashion hats from newspapers as part of the booth representing The Forum . In part, it was a chance for us Tuesday parenting columnists to connect with other parents and help spread the word about the paper’s new “Parenting Perspectives” section, and to give the kids something else to bring home from the event.
Consider now that I am one of those parents who, when her small child approaches her with a clean sheet of paper and requests she make a paper airplane, must truthfully say, “Sorry, I don’t know how. You’ll have to ask your brother.” (Pretty lame, I know, but creating paper airplanes that actually fly is something I’ve yet to master, and you can’t teach an old dog…) After some laborious practice over lunch one day with Forum deputy editor Mary Jo Hotzler, I did in fact learn the fine art of creating newspaper hats, and I have to say, they look pretty cute on little ones (and the few parents who dared to wear them when their tykes turned down the chance). Not only that, but I have been reminded of yet another use for all those old newspapers.
And now you, too, can try out this twist on newspaper recycling. Younger kids might need help with creasing and keeping things even, but older kids should be fine on their own. As for parents, if I could figure it out, trust me, so can you.
How to make a paper hat
1. With the paper folded in half (open end at the bottom), fold top corners into the center so they meet in the middle, then crease.
2. Fold bottom edges up about three inches and crease on each side (this will be the brim of the hat).
3. Staple or tape together ends so hat stays together.
4. Open your hat and wear it!