With summer approaching and my kids outgrowing their afternoon nap, I decided I need to gather some independent activities so that I can maintain my sanity. I had heard people talk about quiet boxes or busy boxes, so I did a little research on Pinterest to get some ideas for mine. I wanted to make one set for Matthew and another for Caroline. I made a list of everything I could think of that was independent, rather small, and not messy! Then I went on a scavenger hunt around the house and in the garage where all my teaching materials are to gather supplies. I was surprised by how many things I found! I sorted the activities into categories: math, language, problem solving, art, skill, and fun. My plan was to put 4-5 activities in each box that all had a different focus.
At this point the only thing I was missing were the boxes to store everything in, so I made a quick trip to Wal-Mart and found some for less than $4 each. They had exactly ten, perfect! I put the boxes together and had exactly enough activities. I plan to switch things out every month, so I'll be looking for some additional activities at Target and the dollar store over the next few weeks. I also found several learning activities that I can make myself during my internet searching, so I'll be getting to work on those too. I was so excited to show the kids the boxes that I was actually hoping they wouldn't need a nap the next day! Well, Caroline did but Matthew was still awake after 20 minutes in his bed so I introduced him to his first box!
I showed him all the activities that were in his first box and showed him how to use each one. Most of them he was familiar with, but I wanted to make sure my expectations were clear for his activity time. This box had a dry erase board and markers (art), lacing cards (skill), pattern blocks and cards (math), and a set of rhyming picture flash cards (language). I thought for sure he would go for the dry erase board or pattern blocks first. When I went in his room to check on him a few minutes later he was totally engrossed in the rhyming cards! And of course, this is what my type A, meticulous, perfectionist, adorable son was doing.
Upon seeing his perfect piles of cards I asked him what he was doing. This is what he told me: "The middle one is the cards I haven't done yet, this one (right) is the ones I did, this one (left) is the ones I skipped because they were hard, and this one (bottom) is the one I'm working on right now. Gosh how I love that kid! He did end up playing with the pattern blocks as well before Caroline woke up and nap time ended. I'm excited to see how she likes hers this week!