Friday, June 14, 2013

Busy Bags - Post 1

As many of you know, we are expecting baby number 6 in about a month or so!  With this, we will be taking a summer break from schooling, so that I can recoup, spend precious time with the baby, adjusting our family, and preparing for the next stage of our life.  By the end of August, we will have a 10 yo, 7 yo, 6 yo, 4 yo, 2yo, and newborn, whew!  The three oldest will be doing school, while the 4 yo does preschool and I still have to keep the 2 yo occupied and honestly, out of trouble!  He's a mischievous active little fellow!!!  Enter in: busy bags!

Over the last few days I have been researching various Busy Bags.  For those that do not know, busy bags are essentially just that - a bag that contains an activity, craft, or something of the like, that will keep the child entertained and quiet for a period of time.  Over the last year or so I have either made or been given some.  Some have worked fantastic and others, not so much for our crew.  My goal is to post a picture, description of how to make it (and posting links if I can, to where to go to print it), and if it worked for our family.  I'm going to start with ones that we already own, and as I get some made, I'll post those as well.  Ready????  Here we go :)

Animal Match




This one is a winner!  We made two copies of it, laminated both, cut up one, and put magnets on the back of the small pieces.  S (4 yo) plays with it on a cookie sheet and finds the one that matches, and puts it on top.  B (2 yo) is starting to play with it now too.

Heads and Tails


This one honestly does not get pulled out very often.  I think S gets bored with it.  I'm hoping B starts to take an interest in it soon!  The idea is to match the back half with the front half of the animals.

Foam Lacing Shapes


Another winner as far as the kids are concerned, but not as far as Momma is concerned!  My kids LOVE lacing projects!  They feel very accomplished when they finish!  Momma's complaint is tat they tear easily.  Confessions of a Homeschooler has some printouts on her blog that you can laminate and punch holes in, that work much better.  We also own Melissa and Doug's wooden lacing cards.  My opinion is that the laminated cards and the wooden ones are a much better investment, as they do not tear like the this foam ones will.

Pom Pom Sorting



This one is a winner!!!  The ice cube tray has half of it painted with colors and the other half has numbers (1 through 8) painted on the bottom.  The child uses the tweezers to either put the pom poms in the right color, or if you are doing the number side, they put the right amount in the ice cube tray corresponding to the number.  I especially like the usage of the tweezers!  The ones we were given with this activity are larger plastic ones, that teaches coordination, not to mention the "strength" it takes to close the tweezers.

Shape Sticks


This one frustrates my younger children!  Part of the issue is the stickers keep getting rubbed off, so they are not certain which one goes with which.  Another issue is the velcro gets stuck and it semi difficult for them to pull apart.  I like the concept/idea, so I think I may try making a set with colored popsicle sticks and magnets.  I'll let you know if/when I do and how it turns out in their opinion :)

Go Fishing Game


My kiddos have never played with this one!  We were given it along with a dowel rod with a string and magnet hooked to it.  The idea is to "fish and catch" the different letters, numbers, or animals.  My thoughts on it - the paper clips seem to come off pretty easy and the foam shapes are actually stickers, so the backs come off.  I might actually turn it into a sticker bus bag and let them put the foam stickers on a large sheet of foam or a regular piece of paper.

Matching color shades


Definite winner!  Basically you get two of the same color paint strips, cut pieces off of one and glue them to clothespins.  The child then matches the shades of color with the paint strip.  They have a little issue with working the clothespins, but overall, the kids seem to love it!

Animal Sorting


So far we have not put this one in a folder as suggested, but rather have left it as a busy bag.  S absolutely loves this one!  Eventually I may put magnets on the back.

Clothesline Busy Bag

Definite winner, but tedious to make!  Basically out of different colors of felt I cut out pants, shorts, shirts, and dresses.  I tie the clothesline between two chairs and the child clothespins the clothing to the clothesline.  S has also washed the clothing in water to hang them to dry.  She enjoys this one!

Frog Counting


This one, though I think it is cute, doesn't get played with very often :(  I bought the frogs from Walmart and printed the cards out from somewhere - I'll try to find them, and then laminated them.  The child is to put the right number of frogs on the cards.  I think I might try to make it more appealing by cutting out lilly pads from felt or craft foam.

Pasta Sort and String


Surprisingly, this one has never been played with yet, either.  We were given this one with directions to either a) sort the pasta by color or shape or b) to string on the pasta in a pattern.

Matching Colors


This one has A LOT of cards, but is greatly loved!  S enjoys doing this one on a regular basis.

And that is it for now.  I'll try to post more here soon :)  Questions and/or comments are always welcome :)