Blogging has connected me to so many wonderful women, and one friend in particular -- Justine from Full Hands Full Heart -- has been such a wealth of helpful advice to me. She is a mom to four with their fifth baby on the way in just a few short weeks! She recommended to me the idea of the "busy box" for toddlers, giving mama just a little more time to tend to the newborn when needed. A few days ago during naptime, I put together three boxes for Camille and thought I'd share them here.
I decided to keep these simple and inexpensive ... all materials came from one store (Dollar Tree) and cost just $13. I put them together over one 1-hr nap of Camille's, so it was not a labor-intensive project.
Each box has a few different elements to it, and Camille can select a box and then pick out an activity or two from that day's special box.
The contents include board books, coloring books, play-doh, stickers, and some toys. I made sure not to put in anything that would require too much help from me or that would be small enough to be a choking hazard. Also, crayons aren't in these boxes ... we are still working on making sure that crayons color ONLY on paper, so they are kept up high unless they are actively in use. :)
Now, to help Camille select a box, I decided to go with a simple color scheme to label them. She's gotten pretty good at colors, so I borrowed some of her construction paper and traced two circles from three different colors (using a plastic Easter egg as the circle template!) and then taped the circles to the interior of the box using clear packing tape.
Camille will now be able to choose the green, yellow, or pink box (and man oh man, she loves a CHOICE these days and gets so much joy out of choosing her snack, her pajamas, her shoes, et cetera!) and then she can select an activity.
So, you can get as elaborate or as simple as you'd like with these boxes, and don't forget to rotate out the toys and activities from time to time to keep the boxes fresh! I'm excited to see these in action and hope that they help her stay excited during times that I will need to be devoting a little more attention to the new baby.
Have you tried an activity like this for your toddler? I'd love to hear what you filled your boxes with!