The nesting compulsions are in full effect chez Wright, and Pinterest only fuels the fire when it comes to providing endless lists, ideas, and pictures for ways to clean, organize, sort & store, recipes, etc. My latest Pinterest-inspired “project” has been whipping together some Busy Boxes to keep Ben occupied while I am nursing the baby (due to arrive in T-10 days!). Rather than plop him in front of the tv for 20 hours a day, I thought it might be better to give him some constructive activities to keep him occupied.
If you search Pinterest, there are one millliiiioon ideas floating around out there for Busy Boxes. Really, you can use anything from Ziploc storage bags, baskets, shoe boxes, to old wipes containers for these. I have also read that they work great for toddlers who no longer nap- and just need a bit of independent quiet time. The idea is to just fill the boxes with little, cheap items that will keep your wee one entertained long enough for Mommy to…oh, I don’t know…whip up dinner? “Savor” a cup of coffee? Fire off a couple of e-mails? Or, in my case, feed a newborn. The boxes are only intended to be brought out on such occasions (i.e. keep them out of plain sight or accessibility), so they remain somewhat “special” and your little one gets excited when they get to use them. You can switch the items out every one in a while to keep things extra interesting :)
I bought these boxes at Michaels for $1.66 each. I thought decorating the boxes could (hopefully) be an activity in itself. I spent about $25 TOTAL on items for these boxes…thanks to lots of suggestions from friends and good ol’ Pinterest!
Here are some of ideas that were recommended to me, I stumbled across on my rigorous Pinterest research, or I came up with up:
- Construction paper and stickers
- Pipe cleaners, pom-poms, pieces of felt, and feathers
- Mini Etch-A-Sketch or other small game
- Flashcards or “matching” games (check out the homemade game I made…NERD ALERT!) There are lots of sites for free printables online
- Mini coloring books/notebook and crayons
- Stamps and stamp pad with paper
- Small book
- Toddler scissors and construction paper
- Lacing cards
- Yarn/String and large beads OR dyed, uncooked pasta (I even saw one suggesting of a pool noodle cut into slices for lacing)
- Mini puzzles
- Popsicle sticks with velcro attached to the ends for making shapes
- Materials for this pasta sort game
- Empty egg carton and plastic eggs for sorting and matching
- Empty ice cube tray, tongs, and pom-poms (or other small object) for sorting and working on fine motor skills
- Glow sticks (the kind that connect together, make bracelets, necklaces, etc.)
….AND, I would be lying if I didn’t mention that I did sneak in one Elmo DVD ;) The poor kid’s world is about to be forever changed; let him have a little extra Elmo!!
If you’re truly desperate for a Mom’s Night Out- I even saw lots of pins about “Busy Bag Exchange Parties” (check this one or this one out, for an example). Really, it sounds like more of an excuse to get together and drink wine with other mothers…which I have never been opposed to ;)
Any other suggestions?
DISCLAIMER: No, I don’t have too much time on my hands; I’m just suffering from pregnancy insomnia ;)