Fit 4 Mom- Los Angeles

Helping moms make strides in fitness, motherhood and life

Busy Bag Break Down

on November 28, 2012
Thank you to everyone who made this year’s Plum Mom’s Club Busy Bag Exchange a huge success!  For more information on how to hold your own Busy Bag exchange click here.  Beth put together this handy breakdown of the activities.
Counting Cards
  • use small objects or your favorite snack to help your child learn to count
  • save this one for your next flight.  It’s perfect for an airplane tray table!
Velcro on Craft Sticks:
  • Use these to practice making shapes.  Our kits come with a square and a triangle.  Model making the shape for your child first.
  • Want to expand this busy bag?  Double up the shapes – that way you can have a model for your child to work from.  Want to expand it some more?  Make more shapes – a diamond or a rectangle would be good.  You could go hog wild and make them for learning letters as well!
Pipe Cleaner Fine Motor Practice:
  • This is great for fine motor skills.  Is your child too young to get the pipe cleaners in the tiny holes?  Open up the lid and talk about “in” and “out”.  As s/he gets old enough to put the pipe cleaner in the holes, notice that each colored pipe cleaner has a color coded hole to go into – now we’re learning colors, matching, AND fine motor skills!
Memory Match:
  • You can play this like a typical game of memory, keeping the cards face down and trying to find a match.  We start with just a few pairs and work our way up.  You can start with the cards face up and just ask your child to find a particular item or animal.  Then, when you find it’s match you can talk about how they’re the “same” and count them, “One elephant, two elephants!  We have TWO elephants!”.
  • Grow with your ideas: Have your child find a certain colored animal, write the name of the item on the card and start learning letter recognition and spelling!  In that same vein, make corresponding cards that only have the name of the item on it and your (much older!) child can find its matching picture!
Lego Match:
  • Legos are always fun to build with!  Now you can try matching the pictures up as well!
  • Grow with you ideas: Put a sticker on the two legos, so that half is on one and half is on the other (the bottom of the elephant on one, the top on the other), then carefully cut them apart.  Now you have trickier things to match.  Want to work on letter recognition?  You can make Legos pairs with capital and lower case, a blob of color and its word, the animal and the word… the list is never ending!  Did I mention that they’re still super fun to build with? 🙂
Discovery Water Bottle:
  • These are fun to shake up like a snow globe, or a maraca!  Roll them back and forth, move them around talking about prepositions (up, down, in, out, under, over).  Ask what your little one sees – colors, shapes?
  • Hints: If yours gets abused and starts leaking – all is not lost, simply cut the top off and pour the fun innards into a new bottle and glue again.  Whew! 🙂
  • Love this one and want another?  Try one with food coloring and half oil / half water for a lava lamp look.  Try one of the tiny kid sized water bottles for little hands!
Race Car Shapes:
  • Laney already included pretty awesome directions, but in case you lost yours:
  • The race car can be driven along the “highway” of each shape.
  • Included playdough can be rolled out and molded into each shape.
  • Use blocks, manipulatives, or household items such as cotton balls along each highway card!
  • Grow with you ideas: As always, you can add more complicated shapes as your child grows, or use letters and numbers as your race tracks.  Feeling really rambunctious?  Run fun tape (we use painters tape!) along 3-D surfaces of your house (couch cushions for example!) and the world is your race track!
Pom Pom Stuff It In:
  • As the name suggests, hours can be spent just… stuffing them in!
  • Want to “up” the game, sort by color!  Talk about “in” and “out”.
  • Helpful hint:  Need an easier hole for pudgy fingers?  Just cut a slit along the sides so it gives a little as the pom pom gets stuffed in.  No need to cut the whole circle!
Paper Clip Sort:
  • Match the colored clip to the colored card!
  • Little fingers will probably struggle to clip onto the card, so teach your child to lay the clip on the card as an alternative – older fingers will love practicing their dexterity!
  • Count the clips!
Play Dough Mats:
  • The game is imagination and the sky’s the limit – decorate the characters on the mats as the words suggest.  Make numbers, or shapes and learn about colors!  All out of play dough – then make your own!  We found a great no-cook recipe here:
  • I think this would be perfect for sitting at the table waiting for a meal at home or at a restaurant!
Rainbow Rice:
  • This is great on a sensory table!  Don’t have a sensory table?  Dump it in a tupperware tub, or a mixing bowl and go to town.  Keep the colors separate at first, and then let your child mix them one at a time.  Rice is fun to scoop with measuring cups (liquid or dry), pour through funnels, stir with spoons and really anything else you can find in the kitchen to play with.
  • Helpful hint: spread an old sheet or blanket on the floor.  When your child is done playing, simply gather the blanket up and pour the spilled rice back into your container.
Button Snake:
  • Practice fine motor skills by fishing your button through the felt!
  • Have an expert on your hands, felt is cheap and easy to work with, simply make more!
    • Make more in matching colors – then your child can find all of the red to fish on.
    • Make different shapes to sort!
    • Make interesting patterns with the different colors and shapes!
    • Make the button holes easier or more difficult to push through.
  • Travel with a baggie or cup for the un-buttoned felt pieces 🙂
Pinchers and Pom Poms:
  • Can anyone say hours of entertainment?  Just pick the pom poms and paper clips up with the tongs and put them into a handy receptacle (bowl, cup, you name it)!
  • When your Little Miss or Mister needs more challenge, s/he can pick up just one color, or a certain number of them.
  • We saw a child online who likes picking the pom poms up with the paperclips – let them run wild! 🙂
  • When they get much older, whip out the chop sticks for practice!  Or maybe Mama can use the practice right now 🙂
Pizza Factory:
  • Why, oh why isn’t Charlotte old enough to play with this yet?  It’s so darn cute, the 11 year old I nanny for went bonkers over it!
  • Little ones can just have fun with the felt sticking to the felt
  • Bigger kids can follow the recipe cards and cook up a recipe just to your liking
  • Getting bored with the included recipes?  Make your own!  Getting bored with the toppings?  Felt’s super easy to cut – add some household favorites!
  • Have a budding math genius on your hands?  Make the cards math problems! (eg: Add 2 pepperoni, take 1 pepperoni away)
  • Work with colors: Make a pizza with only green toppings!
AaBbCc Spoons:
  • These spoons are super nifty.  Lay the clear-spooned lower-case letter on top of it’s white capitol letter, then you can see them both together!
  • Start with just a few letters.  Do you want to teach his or her name first?  Mom?  Stop?  Some other often-viewed word (one of my nanny charges’ first spelled words was GAP from the tag inside her play tent, I kid you not!)
  • Work up to more and more letters!
I Spy Bottles:
  • These bottles came with a card with a picture of each and every item that can be found buried in the bottle!
  • If your child isn’t old enough or patient enough to use the card, just take the card away and see what they can find on their own!  It’s a 3-D I Spy! 🙂
Heads and Tails:
  • The ring is just for storage purposes.  Take the cards off of the ring and start matching!
  • Start with the cards up, let your child match the front of the animals to the back.
  • Notice the awesome color and item labeling for learning!  (“Can you find the purple animal?  It’s a cat!  C-A-T!”)
  • Once your kiddo’s good at this, you can play it like the memory game with the cards face down.  Start with just a few cards and add more as your child progresses.
Coloring Fun:
  • Every kid likes to scribble away and play with stickers.
  • Keep this stocked with stickers (those free return address labels and fake stamps, anyone?!) crayons and the like for back seat fun for older kids and supervised fun for littler kids.
Pasta Sort:
  • Just like with the Rainbow Rice, you can play with this on the sensory table, but since it’s bigger there’s tons of other fun ways to play with this:
    • pull out some cups and sort by color, or shape!
    • String the noodles (fine motor skills anyone?)
    • Practice making patterns while stringing them
  • Helpful hints: if you’re able to leave these out of the bag for a few days, the alcohol smell will diminish, also, if your child gets these wet or in his or her mouth, the color will bleed.
Paper Clip In & Out:
  • babies can shake it up
  • little ones can put the clips in & out
  • preschoolers can link the clips together
  • sort them by color or create patterns
  • Count the clips!

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