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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Toddler Busy Box

I wanted to make an activity box for my nephew.  In a few short months, he will have a little sister who will be nursing.  Jackson already knows how to play alone but I wanted to give him some new activities to do so he won't be restless.  I started researching "busy boxes" online. Many of the ideas I found were a little more advanced but I tried to adapt them to a 21 month year old.  As with making anything for Jackie safety is first! I adapted many of the ideas from:
1. Color sort with clothes pins:
Take a the cardboard from a frozen pizza.  Brush off crumbs.  Draw lines to create a "pie."  Color in like the color wheel.  I used crayon.  Then, I printed out the colors using my label maker. I laminated one side with clear contact paper. I took eight clothes pins and colored them with the same colors.  The toddler will "sort" by clipping the clothespins to the corresponding color.
 2. Pipe cleaner color sort:
I traced another pizza cardboard on a piece of chalkboard paper. (You can use any type of paper.)  I then punched holes in the cardboard using a regular hole puncher.  I then took paper reinforcements and colored them the same colors as my pipe cleaners.  The toddler will again push the correct color then the hole. 
 3.  Interactive family/sorting books:
At our local World of Value outlet, I found chipboard 9 X 9" scrapbooks with o-rings for $1.99. (Now I am kicking myself for not getting more!) All I had to do was use a glue stick to adhere the pre-cut paper to the hole-punched chipboard. Then, you use an metal "book ring" through the pre-punched holes.  Anyway, I wanted to make Jackson more books with pictures of him, the family, and animals.  (Next time, I will do trucks.)  For his first year, my sister took a monthly picture of him wearing his age.  So we have "Just Born" to "11 Months."  These are really great to see the progression of our boy from an infant to a runner.  I already made a great set of magnets that he loves to play with on the refrigerator.  So I printed these out, laminated them, and then used Velcro to attach them to the book.  I also used stickers to put the age in the corner of the page so Jackson can "match up" his age with the number.  Let's face it, Velcro is a lot of fun to rip off.
I also used stickers from Aunt Patty as embellishments.  Thanks!  I then made a second book which is a school them to do more family, dog, and farm animal pictures to "match up."  I also added some smelly stickers in the pockets.  I hope he doesn't try to eat them.

 4. Hole punch fish to thread yarn through:
I used my Pet Shop Cricut cartridge to cut some fish images.  I glued the fish to cereal box chipboard and cut out with scissor. Then, I punched holes all around the fish.  I laminated them with contact paper and re-punched the holes.  On one, I used the paper reinforcements but I don't think they are really needed.  I tied a scrap piece of yarn around one end.  I don't know if a toddler could do them but I figured he can at least unstring it.  I didn't make the yarn too long for safety reasons.
 5. Pom-pom push container:
I also tried to make some simple "pom-pom push" things from recycled containers.  I just cut a coin size slit in the lids and put some colored pom-poms in the container. 
 Finally, I found an old briefcase in my garage. I washed it out. Then, make a sign, laminated it, and used rainbow duct tape to attach.  I also added big crayons, Crayola markers, coloring sheets, watercolors, an apron, and even some baby paper dolls.  I don't know if Jackson will like this.  He really likes to be throwing balls but is starting to color and use Playdoh.  I am going to keep searching for ideas.