King Features Syndicate

Dance away mud, grit and grime from your shoes and boots with a whimsical doormat. Your family can paint it together and then use it every time you walk through the door during this wet and muddy season.

So, why is it so much fun? The design is actually a set of four painted footprints arranged in such a way that your kids can follow them to do basic "cha-cha-cha" dance steps. Once they get the hang of the moves, you won't have to nag them the next time they walk through the door. Instead of asking "Did you wipe your feet?" for the umpteenth time, simply ask, "Did you do the cha-cha-cha?"

Here's the stuff you'll need to make your own cha-cha-cha doormat in three easy steps:

1 sturdy, plain-colored fiber doormat or large carpet sample

A sheet of newspaper



Acrylic paint in two colors

Sponge brush

Here's the fun: Draw a pattern of a shoe shape on a sheet of newspaper. (I used an old iron that doesn't work anymore as a clever pattern.) Cut out the paper shape. Make four.

Tape the patterns onto the doormat in a "cha-cha-cha" step pattern. Two patterns should be next to each other at the top half of the doormat and the other two directly underneath.

Outline each shape with a marker, remove the patterns and fill in the outline with paint. Also paint connecting dots between the two sets of shoe shapes. Let dry. Set it at your front or back door.

Teach your kids the basic "cha-cha-cha" steps and practice using the "footprints" as a guide. This might be a good time to ask a grandparent, aunt or uncle to step in and share his or her dancing skills with the kids. Who knows? Your child might be just baby steps away from "Dancing With the Stars" —- and your floors will stay relatively clean to boot!

Extra tip: If your kids have plain, solid-color rubber rain boots, personalize and brighten them with a few dabs of paint. Apply acrylic paint in squeeze bottles directly on the outside of clean, dry boots to make designs and patterns.

Donna Erickson's new award-winning television series "Donna's Day" is airing on public television nationwide. Visit to find out when it airs on your local PBS station and to sign up for Donna's e-newsletter. Her latest book is "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families." © Donna Erickson

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