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Busy Bags Kids Will Love

Preschool age is one of my favorite age groups to work with. First of all, they are curious, every little thing becomes a learning opportunity, and they LOVE pretty much everything. 

Keeping them occupied can be a predicament though. Because attention spans are short on those in the five and under crowd. Finding activities that keep kids learning, little hands busy, and make life easier for the parents – well, that’s a definite win in my book. 

My friend Sara, from Happy Brown House, recently wrote a book that does all three of those things. Busy Bags Kids Will Love is full of quiet boxes, bags, and bins (52 to be exact) that can be made ahead and brought along to play with in the van, at doctor’s visits, church – anywhere really! 

Why Busy Bags? 

The name ‘busy bags’ can be deceiving. Busy bags are more like educational activity kits that parents (or teachers) put together for children to play with either in moments a parent may need a little break (maybe you’re helping another child or trying to cook dinner) or when a quiet activity is needed. 

Busy bags also take on many different forms – from items in an actual bag, to bins full of fun, or even a box packed with learning supplies. In essence though, they are intended to keep the attention of little ones while providing something educational and fun

Creating Your Own Busy Bags

In her book Busy Bags Kids Will Love, Sara shares 52 activities that are easy to put together and focus on several specific learning areas:

  • math
  • fine motor skills
  • literacy
  • and just plain ol’ fun.

While we don’t have preschoolers in this house at the moment, we do have nieces and nephews that visit, so we’ll be making up some of these ideas and also sharing them with the grandparents. Between visiting kids and games our girls grab when babysitting, these are goldmines!

Each activity includes skills that are targeted, materials needed to create, and detailed directions to make the activity with full color pictures. She really makes it very simple! 

The bulk of the materials used are ones you can find in your own closet or inexpensively at the dollar store. There are some that require very little prep, while a few may need a little more time, BUT they are all easy enough for you to make. 

What I love most about these activities is the full intent for LEARNING that is packed into them. Yes, they will keep little hands occupied, but as they are busy, they will also be taking in and processing key information for this early stage: 1:1 counting, matching colors, identifying numbers, matching ABCs and so much more! 

In addition, Sara also shares 100 things children should know or be able to do before entering kindergarten. Sometimes it’s not all just about the alphabet and numbers. Overall, the book is truly a fabulous resource for any family with young children or those who work with them.

Grab a copy for your home or school from these sellers: 

Win a Copy!

To celebrate the release of her new book, Sara has generously offered to give a copy to one of my readers. Follow the directions in the Rafflecopter widget below. Giveaway is open to those with a US mailing address and ends on Sunday, June 25th at midnight. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Gingerbread Baby Lapbook and Printables

Gingerbread Baby Printable Pack Button

I’ll be sharing more later this week about our Gingerbread Baby Preschool Pack to go along with the book Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett. I figured that the sooner I could get it to you all, the better! We’ll be putting this all into a lapbook folder, but there are some extra pieces to go along with it too. While we’re using the book by Jan Brett {I love her books!}, much of the Gingerbread Baby Preschool Pack can also go along with other gingerbread men books.

This just came along spur of the moment, so I’m still printing things off and gathering ideas too, but here’s a little peek at some of the 26 pages of printables in the pack. I’m printing many of the pieces off onto cardstock and laminating the worksheets to use again {I love my Scotch laminator}.

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Download the Gingerbread Baby Preschool Pack here.

If you are looking for some other great preschool Christmas printables, be sure to visit Carisa’s Christmas Fun page and also see Erica’s Christmas activities too.


Fruit and Vegetable Matching Cards {Preschool Printables}

Before I have a mutiny on my hands, I AM going to be posting number cards soon!! I did pay attention to the poll results…but since I already had these partially completed {and they were so pretty}, I’m going to post them first.

Will you forgive me? {grins}

Here’s a little thumbnail glimpse at what they look like.

The cards can be used as a memory game, for matching to like objects, grouping by colors, etc…It’s up to you! You can also use the picture cards to practice identifying fruits and vegetables with your child {or sort by what they like and dislike…you never know!}.

Word cards are also provided for each of the fruits and vegetables pictured. Let your child sound out the words and find the word card that matches the picture card. But have fun!! Click on the thumbnail to print off the cards ~ it’s that easy!


Tot School Planning Form

I mentioned a few weeks back in one of my Tot School posts that I had pulled together a form to help me plan out my ‘school time’ with Kaleb. My theory being if I actually have an ‘official form’ staring me in the face I would be more consistent and have some better activities for Kaleb to do each day.

My goal is to plan at least 3 intentional activities to do with Kaleb each day. I also made room for additional ideas{songs/fingerplays, gross and fine motor, or lapbooks}. The form can be printed off front and back and I’ve been tacking it up on our fridge so that I can see the week at a glance too ~ and it is helping me out! In case you are interested in using it too, you can click on the thumbnail image below and print off your own copy.

If you’d like more information on Tot School, visit Carisa at 1+1+1=1 and join in the fun!


Paper Clip Color Matching Game

I promise you that you can put this together in under 5 minutes.

You can probably make it in less time than it took me to write the directions for this post.

I found a pack of 5″ x 8″ foam sheets and colored paper clips at the Dollar Tree ~ so under $2 for the little color matching tool and you will have sheets of foam left over as well as a plethora of paper clips.

1. Cut a 1″ x 5″ strip from each foam sheet that you want to use {I picked red, orange, yellow, green and blue}

2. Stack the foam strips on each other and pierce through the stack on one end with a brad.

3. Match 3 to 4 paper clips with each strip.

4. Play.

See? It really is that easy! Be sure to check out Carissa’s Tools for Tots page for some more great homemade ideas as well as the Totally Tots Simply Made posts.


Beginning Consonant Cards

Our printer has been on the fritz lately and I really wanted to try these out before posting them…but since I’m pretty sure they will be fun, I figured I’d share them even before I get to play along myself at home!

These are beginning consonant cards to use with your tot/preschooler and are designed to help identify the beginning consonant sound in words. There are 3 pictures provided for each consonant (with the exception of ‘x’ – go figure). I do have them printed off and am going to laminate them to make them a little more sturdy

Match the pictures to their beginning letter sound. You can also use the picture cards to practice identifying objects with your child.

You can download and print the pdf by clicking here for the printable. Be sure to download the long and short vowel cards that I posted as well!