If your little ones are anything like mine, they NEED to stay occupied at all times, or they will run wild. Sigh. To each their own, but I do not believe in using screen time as a way to keep my kids busy. I’d rather have them manipulating items, creating something, or exploring. Of course that is not always possible when you are on the go so I looked around what I had at home and came up with a plan.
When I was in the classroom, I had workstations for my students. One of the stations were bins targeting a learning objective. Inside these bins, they had instructions and an activity they could do independently or with a partner. I took that idea and adapted it to fit the needs of my own babies.
MamiThinks is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com
The box I am sharing with you is originally supposed to be used to store photos, but it was perfect for the activities I needed to store, so I purchased it anyway. It is basically a large clear container with 16 smaller boxes inside. I cannot tell you enough good things about the box. It’s very lightweight, sleek, and convenient. They also sell a colorful one, but I love the clean look of the all clear. Of course you could personalize the outside, but for now, ours is blank. The box is super easy to travel with so it’s perfect for road trips, plane rides, or you can open it, pick out a couple individual boxes and use them at the restaurant or wherever you go!
Each little box has an activity that keeps my little ones entertained. Because there are several boxes, they can share the contents of one box or they can each have their own. I’m sure you are thinking “ok lady, but what am I supposed to use to fill 16 darn boxes?!” Honestly, I just went into my kids’ rooms and started picking stuff out that they already had! It was not hard at all and the boxes were filled in no time.
Below you will find the contents of each box and a picture. Remember, yours will look different depending on your children and what you have in your home.
These letters came off an old puzzle that was forgotten between all the toys. I discarded the board and just kept the letter puzzle pieces. They fit in the box perfectly and now my toddler is able to use the letters in different ways that keep him interested and busy.
I don’t know about your kids, but my son has cars EVERYWHERE! So, it wasn’t hard at all to reach for a couple and fill a box. He loves all his cars and he can play with them for a long time, so it definitely made sense to add some to the box.
My 11 month old’s favorite activity by far is the finger puppet box. They were very inexpensive and they’re small enough to fit the box and her tiny fingers.
Another thing my little one had lying around was a deck of cards. For now, all he knows is colors and some numbers, so there are not many games he can play, but the cards still keep him very occupied.
Chik-fil- a is wonderful when it comes to kid’s meal toys! I always look forward to the surprise inside the bag, ha, maybe a little more than my kid! These cute little lunchbox notes are perfect and a lot of fun. They are basically fun little conversation starters and questions. Of course my two year old cannot read, but this is an activity we can do together or when we are at a restaurant waiting for our food.
I have no idea where this mini puzzle came from, (maybe a birthday party favor?) but it was small enough to fit in the box so we added it to the collection. I’m glad we did because my son has used it several times now and loves it!
Chik-fil-a for the win again! These adorable little mini books came inside my kid’s meal bag and he absolutely loves them!!
I was hesitant to add stickers to the busy bins, mostly because my toddler is a sticker monster and my baby shoves them in her mouth, but I gave in, mostly because it keeps my son completely entertained and for a long time too! You can order stickers off Amazon or pick them up next time you’re at the dollar store. Simple and cheap!
Mess Free Markers
Crayola makes these super amazing mess-free markers that write only on a special paper. That makes it perfect for little ones because no matter where you go, you do not have to worry about them messing up clothing, walls, or furniture!
Colors and Shapes Flashcards
If you haven’t taken the time to browse the kid’s section at Dollar Tree, do yourself a favor and go! Splurge if you must! There are so many things you can purchase that your kids are sure to enjoy. These flashcards are perfect because there are different games your child can play either independently or with you.
Just like the flashcards mentioned above, these too are a hit! Of course if your child is older, you can pick up some flashcards that go beyond the Abc’s.
We haven’t really spent much time playing with the numbers flashcards, but my little one still enjoys looking through them and it keeps him busy for a little while!
No actual paint is used for this activity, but using a couple pieces of felt and some clothespins, I created this fun little activity for my son that helped him learn his colors. Honestly, you can play this any way you want it, the main objective is for you match the clothespin to the paint circle. Simple to make, yet it keeps the littles entertained for a good while!
Pretty similar to the paint activity except now it’s with a popsicle theme. Before I had purchased the container, this activity was lying around forgotten between all his toys in a Ziploc bag. Now that it is part of our box, my son is more attracted to it and enjoys it way more. I don’t know why, but he does!
Last but not least, crayons. No matter where we go, crayons are always a great tool to keep our babies entertained! Again, very inexpensive and you probably already have a box somewhere in your home.
I left one box empty in case we are on the go and want to add anything extra in there.
These busy bins were fun to make and serve their purpose wonderfully! They have saved our sanity more times than I care to admit! Take a look around your house and you’ll notice you have tons of options already available to you. Pom poms, pipe cleaners, straws, etc. you’d be surprised how much these small things can keep the kids entertained!