I always say I want to do something educational for the kids around the house (especially in the summer), but my follow-through isn't always, ahem, followed through on. But this time, I was a winner! I mean, the kids were winners because they got to play with something that their mom made herself. Why does that always make it better? They will always think that games or toys that Matt and I make up are far more fun than anything that comes out of a box. So, of course, I was willing to oblige.
What I made for them were busy bags. I know they are not a novel concept. A search on Pinterest is sure to bring up thousands upon thousands of busy bag ideas. The concept is usually to create small bags of activities that can be taken with you to keep a child busy when they need to sit still. You know, doctor's office, dentist's office, car repair shop, etc. I really didn't make them with that purpose in mind (can you imagine me taking all four of them with me to get my car serviced? I shudder ...). My intention was more to give them something educational to do when they were winding down in the afternoons or if we were faced with a rainy day.
They were all super-easy to make and I only had to make 2-3 (or 7) trips to the Dollar Store and Michael's to get everything I needed. Lots of stuff we already had around the house.
I focused a lot on games involving their upper and lowercase letters, counting, color sorting, and patterns. I also threw a few in there that worked on fine motor skills like cutting, threading, using tongs, and sorting small objects like beads and coins. I think I ended up with something like 14-15 different games/bags.
The kids LOVED them. They really could not get enough. Seriously, if you want a mommy confidence booster, make some of these for your kids. I'm so glad that they enjoy educational games and they get so excited when they figure something out and complete one of the tasks. I made the games so that they were easily adjustable for Luke (larger beads to thread, easier shapes to cut, etc.), but he can do most of the same activities that the triplets can.
Overall, it was a great use of time and resources. Inexpensive entertainment that just took a little time to plan and put together. The kids ask to play with the bags everyday, so I'm going to have to come up with some new bag ideas soon!
Anyone else create any busy bags or similar activities for your preschooler? I'd love to get some additional ideas or activities that you though were big hits.