Thursday, December 22, 2011

Busy Bags!!!

In case you aren't familiar with Busy Bags, they are fun little activities to keep stashed away and pull out for church, long car rides, restaurants, waiting rooms, etc. The idea is to rotate them so that they always seem new and exciting to your child. Typically they are quiet activities that will not make a mess and are often educational. Early learning ones (like for Jaxon) will focus on colors, shapes, letters, numbers, counting, and fine motor skills.

I got interested in the idea of busy bags a while back through Pinterest and I started googling more ideas this afternoon. There are not many activities that Jaxon can do at just 1 year, even with close supervision. But I got some ideas and started digging around my house trying to find materials to use. I even got into my first grade materials stashed in my attic (I knew I kept them for a reason)! I ended up making TWENTY busy bags for not a penny! I do still need to go to Dollar Tree to get zipper pouches because I do not like the ziplock bags and they will hold up better. I also have a few supplies that I need to buy to make the rest of my bags.

I started with the ideas I found online, but quickly started making my own. It got to where I would see something and think "How could I use that?" So here's what I came up with!

This is an "I Spy" bottle. I took pictures of the things inside and I am going to make a laminated card to go with it so that Jaxon will know what to look for.

Magnetic fishing game: I didn't make this. I found it in my attic.

Finger puppets: I already had these laying around.

One of my favorites - This jar has paperclips and pieces of pipe cleaner in it. I hot glued a magnet to the bottom of a plastic bear and when you rub the bear against the outside of the jar it picks up and moves the metal pieces around.

Cards with numbers and dots. Count the pennies out and match them for 1-1 correspondence.

Same type of thing but with buttons - one bag has 0-10 and one has 11-20.

Unifix cubes. I will use these for color matching or patterning.

Another favorite - I painted the bottoms of these jars and Jaxon will sort the colored objects by placing them into the correct jars.

Matching game with baby food lids

Sort the balls by which sport they're played with.

Pom-pom push. This is a formula container that a mod-podged and poked holes through the top with scissors. Push the poms through.

Stringing beads. I attached a pipe cleaner to the end to make it easier to thread the yarn through.

Scooping Practice

Another fave: ABC matching. There are wooden tiles with each letter on them. Then I found an object beginning with each letter to match up.

Push the pipe cleaners through the corresponding colored hole in the lid of this container.

This is a work in progress. Cardboard letters cut from boxes. Can be used for letter identification or, later, spelling.

This one is fun. It's an "open and close" box. Everything inside can be opened and closed in different ways and nothing is small enough to be a choking hazard so he can use it now!

I didn't make these of course, but flash cards are always great to grab-and-go!

For WAY later - These are spelling pattern dice with the wooden beginning letters to match up and create words!

Laminated paper dominoes. In first grade I used these for addition. 2 dots plus 5 dots equals 7 dots. But they could be for counting, or comparing numbers even (which side has less, more).

And I organized them into this neat little tub.

I created two more but I need my printer to print sorting mats and I *may* have broken it tonight and I'm waiting for Kevin to fix it...

I'm sure I will constantly be finding new ideas, but this is a great start. The ones I still want to make for the time being are:

1. Silly faces using foam pieces and goggly eyes
2. Create a pizza using felt pieces
3. Roads with felt pieces and little cars to drive on them
4. A mini dry erase board and marker
5. A small notepad and some stickers
6. Letter lacing
7. Another I Spy bottle
8. An I Spy bag using microfill beads
9. Nuts, bolts, and washers
10. Alphabet stamps
11. Glitter gel bags for drawing with fingers
12. Tangrams
13. Some sort of shape sort
14. Egg carton with plastic eggs and objects inside of them

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