Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog

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Toddler Activities: Busy Bag Ideas

I was very excited to have a second Busy Bag exchange with a group of awesome moms.  I am part of a mom group through and one of the organizers in the group hosted a Busy Bag Swap party, the second one of the year.  These parties are great!  Each mom picks a simple craft activity and makes one for each mom attending the party.  At the party, each mom shares their toddler craft.  So you go with let’s say 12 Button Snakes and you leave with 12 different activities!  How cool is that!  I have slowly been pulling out the activities and adding them to our Montessori shelf.  I like that these activities were educational, simple to make and cheap.  I made the Button Snake and was excited to discover I had most of the material already.  I recommend having a Busy Bag swap with your friends!

A few of the Busy Bag activities: 














Here are links to several of the activities we received at the Busy Bag party:

Money Saving MomButton Snake

Some What Simple – Wacky Sacks 

The Rigneys – Felt Board and several other ideas!

Intrepid Murmurings – Pasta Sorting

Fun & Engaging Activities for Toddlers – Texture Boards 

Playful Learning – Chalk Blocks

Wise Bread – Moon Sand

Here are some other Montessori activities we have on our shelf this week, including a holiday activity.  On the top shelf we have two small puzzles, an empty feta cheese container filled with puff balls, a plastic dish filled with holiday mini-clothes pins, several heart shaped cookie cutters, and a block of flower arrangement foam with golf tees and a hammer to stick in the foam.  On the second shelf we have a basket of large foam letters, an old chai container with a hole on top for sticking in q-tips, more puff balls to place in a water color tray, and an empty Odwalla jug with red popsicle sticks to be placed inside.  The bottom shelf has art (a fireman to color), a shape sorting box (Ikea), and blocks.  Whew!

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I enjoy doing shelf work with B.  We sit together on the rug and talk about the activities.  He is very careful to take work down and put it back.  B is 20 months and often does not want to do what I think he should do with the activity – or at least what I had planned.  It’s tough to keep my mouth shut!  I show him the activity and then try and keep quiet.  I try and let him play and explore the material however he wants.  This is as much a learning process for me as for him!  I can NEVER guess what he will find interesting.  That’s also what makes it interesting and challenging for me!

Another favorite activity these days is taking pictures and videos so that B can see himself.  He laughs at himself and asks to see pictures of Nana and Papa (Grandma and Grandpa) on the phone!

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Busy Bag Ideas – Easy to Make Toddler Toys

Last week I attended my first Busy Bag party!  It’s a great idea.  One mom hosted the party at her house and the other moms brought homemade toddler/baby toy for all the other moms.  So, I made 8 puff ball containers – one for each mom at the party.  Each mom presented their toys to the group and then passed them out.  I left the party with 7 new toddler/baby handmade toys.  Pretty cool!  All the moms were REALLY proud of their toys and we all loved sharing what we had made.  We plan to do it again and use new toy ideas.  There are lots of ideas online.  Below are two that we have enjoyed so far.  I made the first one – the puff ball container.  I always save all my yogurt and butter containers, so I actually had 10 of them in the cupboard.  I knew they would come in handy at some point.  Baby B loves it!!  The second one is cut up pool noodles on a rope!  Baby B loves to pull them off but hasn’t figured how to put them back on the rope.  He’s only 14 months 🙂  You should be careful about your baby or toddler eating either the foam noodle or the small puff balls.  They shouldn’t be left alone with the toys.  You can use these toys to teach numbers, colors, and math concepts like adding and subtracting.  Have fun!



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