We’ve been super busy throughout the past few months with all sorts of holiday shenanigans (which is why I’m a little behind on the blog posts), and thanks to my wonderful husband, I am no longer using my phone to run the blog and we now have our very own domain name! To celebrate the launch of everydayalittlegrace.com I’ve decided to start a brand new series on the blog showcasing a new busy activity on the off week of our Tot School blog posts! Yes, I am currently working on updating the past several weeks of Tot School, so be on the look out for those posts to come!
So what exactly are those busy activities I’m referring too? Do a quick search on Pinterest and you may just fall down the rabbit hole like I did. There are literally thousands of different ideas for busy activities for toddlers out there, and this Mama may or may not have pinned or saved most of them! I am not joking when I say you need a separate email account for all the freebies you can get by just signing up for a blog’s email (most freebies require you do this). And apparently there is such a thing as busy bag exchange parties? Sign us up please! One thing you will notice while looking for these activities is the different variations for how these activities are stored…whether it be busy bags, busy bins, or even busy binders! Regardless of the organizational method what all these things have in common is this: all these activities are designed for little ones to tinker, explore, and learn independently (or with your assistance) by using different manipulatives, toys, printables, etc. Also, these activities are designed to be used at home, in the car, at the doctor’s office or wherever your little learner or you desires! Grace loves having something to do at all times and enjoys active and play based learning, so busy activities are right up her alley.
When considering the different types of organization for all those busy activities, we decided on bags, and zip bags within those bags to organize all the pieces. I snagged reusable shopping bags at our local Dollar Tree as well as some clear (so we could see the contents) zip bags to hold all our different activities. I also grabbed a pack of file folder labels to stick on the zip pouches also found in the office supply section of Dollar Tree. I sent off a good amount of printables to our local office supply store to print for me, and then I cut out all the pieces, laminated most (for durability’s sake) and got to work putting all the pieces together. I also gathered some manipulatives for the activities, such as clothespins, Velcro dots, buttons, pom poms, dry erase markers, pool noodles, Play-Doh, popsicle sticks, and dried beans. Any items I didn’t have on hand already were found at Dollar Tree, sans the buttons which were ordered on Amazon. Not going to lie, putting together these busy activities for Grace consumed a lot of my time, but now we have ready to grab busy bags for Letters, Numbers, Shapes, and Colors. The reusable bags I grabbed were also the perfect fit in our Tot School cabinet.
In addition to all the DIY activities within each bag, I have also included some books, puzzles, and games. My hope is that one day Grace will be able to grab a busy bag herself and choose which activity she would like to do or take along somewhere. While we have played with a few activities from our busy bags, we have yet to play with all, thus this blog series came to mind. This will be our version of an “unboxing” with a spotlight on a new busy activity on the off weeks a Tot School blog post isn’t published. We will detail how we put the activity together, link any printables used, and show you how we use the activity.
We are starting off the Busy Bag Series with a Clothespin Upper & Lower Case Match. This activity, while inspired by multiple different ideas on Pinterest, used some leftover bulletin board border, cardstock, stickers, clothespins, a hot glue gun, and our trusty little laminator. The idea was for Grace to be able to match up lower case letters to their upper case counterparts. We snagged this lower case alphabet border at Target on clearance a while back along with matching upper case letter stickers. I stuck the stickers to white cardstock then laminated and cut them out. Then I hot glued each upper case letter to a clothespin. I then cut down the border to smaller sections containing about 4 letters and laminated each piece as well. I grabbed a container we weren’t using and placed all the parts inside to keep them all contained within our Letters Busy Bag.
This activity could easily be done by simply writing your own letters (either upper or lower case) on paper, and then writing the corresponding letters (either upper or lower case) on the clothespins themselves. We just already had leftover border from our Tot School cabinet which is why I chose it for this project. Bonus: Clothespins are awesome for little fingers to manipulate and work on those fine motor skills!
We will be using this activity primarily to work on those fine motor skills at this particular time and will probably pull out one section at a time until Grace is able to recognize all of the upper and lower case letters in the alphabet. She hasn’t quite mastered a clothespin yet, but is trying really hard to figure it out. She can however recognize some lower case letters and their upper case matches. So for now, this is more of an assisted activity than an independent one for Grace. This is an awesome activity that will grow with Grace’s skills and can be used in a variety of different ways. I’m feeling a letter scavenger hunt in the future!
So there is our first Busy Bag activity! We have a new page up on the blog dedicated to a list of all our Busy Bag activities we will be showcasing, and as we blog about each one I’ll link them to that page for an easy reference. I hope you guys enjoyed and I wanted to say a big THANK YOU to all of the support on our blogging and Tot School endeavors. Here’s to a new year and new exciting things for everydayalittlegrace.com!
EVERYDAY a little Grace 🌷