Since discovering Pinterest I have been obsessed with the concept of Busy Boxes and Busy Bags. My teaching position was cut to part-time this year which means my daughter only attends preschool for half of the day. Although most of the teaching does happen in the morning when she’s there I felt that I needed to supplement our time at home with some educational and fun activities.
The Busy Bag/Box concept works so well for a number of reasons. #1- They don’t take up a lot of space. With one of my goals for 2012 being purging and organizing, the thought of bring more into our home really worried me. But by breaking the activities down into related categories (i.e. Letters, Fine Motor Skills, Play-Doh, Stickers/Writing, etc.) all the small items associated with each area can easily be confined to a plastic storage bag or plastic shoe tote with lid. Plus, they stack easily into our playroom’s book case! #2- They are relatively inexpensive. By utilizing what we already had around the house, Target’s “Dollar Spot,” and Family Dollar stores, I’ve been able to offer Avery a variety of learning opportunities that are masked as “games” with little effect on my wallet (this is a double plus because of having my salary cut in half!). And reason #3- They travel well. It’s so easy to grab a bag or a box to take in the car for road trips, to my school when I have meetings that I bring Avery to, restaurants, etc. We are also taking a trip to Arizona in February and the portability will be great for packing in a carry-on bag for the Philly-Phoenix flight.
I will continue to post about specific busy boxes/bags, but here are some ideas I got started with.
Memory/Matching from scrapbook paper scraps. I cut white card stock down to 2X2 inch squares and the scrap book paper to 1.5X1.5 squares, glued, laminated and volia! Instantly portable matching game. Great for restaurants!
My Family Dollar finds! I was able to break this down into 3 different activities. The foam counting blocks can be used for stacking, making patterns, counting practice, etc. The Mickey puzzle pieces can help with those fine motor skills and number sequencing and Avery love the Bingo dabbers for creating art work. Later on we will work on letter tracing with those dabbers, too!
This activity is for letter recognition/name spelling. At Avery’s school they are working on the children spelling their names accurately. While Avery does great with saying the letters, identifying them has been a little more difficult. During bath time she enjoys spelling her name and her friends’ names with her tub letters. This is a dry version of that activity! I had a bunch of extra scrap booking letter stickers. I laminated different colors of fat stacks card stock and cut them down into various sizes. Affix a letter and you are good to go. We will be sorting letters and placing them into Elkonin boxes to spell her name. I also bought a packet of sticker dots at Target and wrote the letters of her name on different stickers. She can also sort these or unpeel them to practice spelling her name.
By the way, these are great little storage boxes for within each busy box. I picked them up at our Michael’s craft store when scrap booking storage and organization were 50%. I only paid 74 cents for each of them. Originally I only bought 4, but when they rang up for half price I cleaned out their stock! The possibilities are endless! They are designed to hold 4X6 photos, but they are perfect for all these little sticker and paper things!
This is the first felt busy bag I made… Cupcakes! Avery loves cupcakes… baking them and especially eating them! This version is a little healthier 🙂 Here’s the link for the patterns http://moneysavingmom.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/cupcake-busy-bag-final.pdf
For those of you who aren’t familiar with working with felt, it sticks to itself. So there is no adhesive required.
Well… that’s the first post about busy boxes and bags. I will continue to add more as I create them.