Weave a Bajau Mat

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This interesting craft idea from Travis’s Welcome issue of Highlights magazine not only teaches a little about an interesting culture, but was also Travis’s first introduction to weaving. Although a bit advanced for him, it was a neat activity to work through together.

For a little background on the mat, it’s technically called a banig, a mat woven from plant leaves by the Bajau people, who live in Southeast Asia. Traditionally, they have lived in wooden houses on stilts above the sea, and so the zigzag pattern on the mats resembles ocean waves. Neat! We wanted a turn.

Instead of leaves, you’ll be using poster board and cardstock. Highlights recommended using a full 11×22-inch piece of poster board, but I knew that would be too big a canvas for Travis’s attention span.

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Instead we cut a piece of poster board to about half that, at 10×11-inches. He liked doing the measuring!

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Cut the poster board into strips about 1/2-inch wide, leaving a border about 1 inch long at the top. Great scissor practice.

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Now fold two sheets of colored cardstock in half, and then in half again. Travis was my expert creaser.

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Cut these cardstock pages on the diagonal into strips, then unfold; you’ll now have a zigzag.

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Working with one strip at a time, weave into the poster board, alternating under and over. Push the first zigzag up to the top, then repeat with the remaining strips. Travis did tire out, but watched as I finished up the weaving.

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Cover the edges of the mat with duct tape to secure and voila! A beautiful homemade mat. Ours was too small to really be a floor covering, of course, but it quickly became a prop for Travis’s action figures in his games.

Grocery Store Scavenger Hunt

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As an expansion to our French-themed Raddish Kit, Travis and I headed off with a scavenger hunt card to discover some of the most common ingredients in French cooking.

On the way there, I gave Travis a quick lesson on French food shopping. Having spent time in the country, I eagerly told Travis how different types of ingredients were sold in different markets. So although we were headed to a big grocery store, we still shopped department by department!

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First up was the produce, or what might be found in a village marche (farmers’ market). Travis was very proud finding mushrooms, the first item on our list.

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We also picked up a number of spices, including fresh tarragon, rosemary, and thyme. Take the time to savor the smell of these!

Bread would have been purchased at the boulangerie of course, and Travis loved pulling a long baguette from the bread counter. And although we didn’t buy it, he had fun stopping by the cheese counter (fromagerie), since we’ve never paused to look at such a display together.

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He was so proud holding up our list once everything had been checked off!

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