Well, I have jumped on the busy box bandwagon! For those that may not be aware of the wonderful world of busy boxes, they are simply genius little activities that kids can do without the need of guidance or direction. These are particularly helpful for times when Mom needs a moment of peace, such as to cook, or research…or pee. (They always find me.) I believe the ideal busy bag is one in which the kids are actively thinking and working on some skill, one they can do on their own, one that is not messy or difficult for them to take out, use and put away, and one that is reusable. The girls and I have spent the greater half of our day making and trying out various busy bags for our new busy box. I would love for this to be a quiet box, but the likelihood of that is minimal. The girls will also definitely need to work on staying in their own spaces, as it didn’t matter who had what, they often wanted to get into the middle of what the others had going on…particularly Sweet Pea, who only seemed to have interest in anything if one of the other girls was specifically using it at the moment. All-in-all, though, it seems as though the concept is a hit with my brood. I can also see how making these bags can be a bit addictive, for me, too. Even now, my mind is spinning with various ideas for future bags. But, for starters, this is what we churned out using things we already had lying around the house…the best way to make a busy bag, in my opinion.
I got several of my ideas from Pinterest, such as this first one. It is a simple activity where I took an old Puffs container and punched some holes in the lid and put color-coded stickers around the holes. I then cut some coordinating pipe cleaners to push through the holes. Viola! Color matching and fine motor skills practice with instant clean-up! It doesn’t get much simpler than that.
Tater Tot made a pipe cleaner candy cane and decided it made a good “straw” for her pretend drink.
We had a wooden lacing set that we picked up for pennies a couple of years ago at a homeschool used curriculum sale. I figure this is a good busy time activity the girls can do on their own. We also decided to make a couple more lacing activities, one with foam shapes and one with wooden beads. The lacing was well-liked by the older girls.
Tater Tot decided there should be a “free bag” made up of random things that they could just be imaginative and creative with. It currently includes pom-poms, foam beads, foam sticks and pipe cleaners.
By far the favorite of all three girls was the “Pom-pom Pickup”. Boo Bear, in particular, really seemed to enjoy this. It is simply made of four different colored plastic shot glasses (purchased a few years ago from the Dollar Tree for a Tiki-themed party), matching colored pom-poms and foam beads of various shapes and sizes, and a pair of sugar cube tongs. The only other requirement is a flat surface. The girls practiced fine motor skills while they used the tongs to pick up the items and place them into the narrow openings of the coordinating glasses. This one was a big hit!
I made the egg letter recognition activity that I’ve seen floating around the homeschool websites. Tater Tot did an excellent job putting together all the eggs, and was quite proud of herself. We opted to ditch the egg carton since we were using all 26 letters of the alphabet and they couldn’t all fit, obviously.
I pulled out some flash cards numbered one through ten that we had lying around and punched a hole in each of them , adding page reinforcements for well, reinforcement. The girls were then able to string the correct amount of paper clips onto each card. They seemed to have a lot of fun with this one, too.
This is another simple one also using pom-poms. It is another activity for color-matching making use of more flash cards we had (and never used as such). Sweet Pea enjoyed digging into the snack cup I used to hold the pom-poms and pulling them out one by one.
We have numerous building things in our playroom, so I relocated these two to the busy box.
I’ve been hanging onto these boards knowing I wanted to do something cool with them. They are what was leftover once I punched all the Bingo game pieces out of them. I still think I will repurpose them into something else in the future, but for now they make another good fine motor skills practice/color matching activity by requiring the user to attach a colored link to its matching board.
Can’t wait to make some more of these. We welcome any ideas you might have for us!