I wish I had thought of this when my children were little, I would have done one every year just to see how big their handprints got over time!

You don’t have to use special materials if you don’t have them. You can just use regular paint on a t-shirt your child already has.

Best Ages for This Activity

Zero to five

How to Make It

You will need

  • A white t-shirt your child can wear.
  • Red fabric paint (fabric paint resists many washes so your child can wear their masterpiece on other occasions too. If you don’t have red fabric paint, or if you plan to wear the t-shirt just once for Canada Day, just use red paint instead which costs less, but remember that you cannot wash it!)

Let’s Get Started!

  • Invite your child to make their own t-shirts to wear on Canada Day. Show them how it would look like:

  • Tell them they can use their handprint instead for the leaf.
  • Start with the handprint: help your child paint their left hand red (they will love this part. You can talk about how the paint feels on their hand. This is a good sensory learning experience):

  • Help your child place their handprint in the top center of the white t-shirt. Talk about what the center is (the middle) and help them figure out how to ensure their handprint will be in the centre, rather than guiding their hand towards it. This will teach them mathematics.
  •  Once they make their handprint, ask them what else is missing to make the Canadian flag (assuming their handprint is the maple leaf).
  • Paint the two red strips on the side of the t-shirt, just like in the picture:

  • And voilà! Let it dry and wear it proudly all day.

Learning Opportunities

Children will learn S.T.E.M. while mathematically figuring out how to recreate the flag on their shirt. This activity also requires hand-eye coordination skills and fine motor skills, a precursor to writing. It is also a good sensory learning activity.

Doing this activity together also is a great opportunity for you and your child to connect and to learn about this holiday.  You can talk about Canada’s birthday, and share some of our country’s history.

Making their own “clothes” to wear and cleaning the workspace (and their very messy hand) afterwards are essential life skills.

Extended Learning Opportunities

Your child could make t-shirts for you to wear as well as for themselves, giving them an opportunity to contribute.

CEFA tip: Remember to let your child do as much of the process as they are capable of.

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