Saturday, January 21, 2012

Busy Boxes...Or Whatever You Want to Call Them!

Busy boxes.  Quiet time bins.  What do I do now? containers.  Whatever you want to call them, they all serve the same purpose.  I initially came across this idea at The View from 5'5" and I was in love at first sight!  The original idea is that these boxes will serve as "quiet" activities for the littles during times of the day where quiet is needed:  during a naptime that is transitioning into awake time, during the time before nap, during the time before bed, etc.  However, I am using it for a different purpose.

My daughter is 20 months old and always looking for something new to do.  Frankly, I often run out of ideas.  I mean, I can only color, play with HotWheels cars, roll on the rug, and make her dollies dance for so long.  I came across the quiet time bins idea and thought, "Bingo!".   When I can't think of something to do, I will just go to her Busy Box of the day and pick an activity to do!  Initially, I tried to incorporate 5 categories into each box:  Practical Life, Learning, Fine Motor, Creative Play, Problem Solving.  As I put the boxes together, it was taking me forever to decide on all 5 categories for each box so I figured, hey, I'll just put at least 4 categories in each box!  For reference, the majority of materials I had on hand at home.  If I didn't have something I wanted, I purchased it from The Dollar Tree.  In the end, I probably spent about $12 to create these boxes (I purchased the actual bins from The Dollar Tree, too!).  Also, I came up with some ideas on my own and some ideas were gathered elsewhere.  If I got the idea from someone else, I've provided a link, so just click on it!  So, without further adieu.....

I have a bin for each day, Monday through Friday.  If I am ever at a lull point in the day, I will reach for that day's bin and pick an activity to do.  By the way, I keep these bins out of my daughter's play area.


MONDAY'S BIN:
2 washcloths for folding practice, first words flashcards, stamps & stamp pads, a puzzle, Coke bottle game (she won't get it, but it will be good for fine motor practice).

TUESDAY'S BIN:
Color matching felt squares (she has colored blocks that we can organize according to color), spaghetti noodles in a cheese shaker jar (for fine motor skill practice), hot glue crayon rubbing plates,  table setting (cup, fork, spoon, napkin, plate, place mat)


WEDNESDAY'S BIN:
Tinfoil (just for creative fun), hygiene kit (brush, loofah, toothpaste - hot glued shut, toothbrush) for practical life play, shape flashcards, puzzle, clothespins (for fine motor - to pin on edge of Tupperware container)


THURSDAY'S BIN:
Peg board strip & golf tees (fine motor), felt shape pieces, child safe scissors (only cut paper) with a magazine (to practice cutting), Etch-A-Sketch


FRIDAY'S BIN:
Color flashcards, mini containers of playdoh, flowers for flower vase arranging, pom poms with a spoon (transferring from one bin to another for fine motor practice)


After a month, I plan on switching out some of the activities to add some newness/variety.  I haven't yet used these with Olive, but I think she will like it.  Given that she only gets to see each activity once a week, I think that it will help to keep her attention longer than a normal everyday activity might.

3 comments:

  1. Very cool idea, Natalie! I need to step it up over here! ;-)

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  2. This is the coolest, thanks for the tips as I have three children all under five years of age! Again thanks so much.

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