Sensory play to keep little people busy

Home-made play dough, DIY busy boxes, and all things to keep little people busy

Busy Boxes for rainy days

ALL ABOUT BUSY BOXES We started making Busy Boxes in the early fall, when the days started getting shorter and the weather colder. The idea is to make (ahead of time) five boxes of quiet activities or crafts that are ready to pop in front of your toddler when you both need a time-out – for us that’s after daycare while I’m making dinner, or when our youngest is napping and I’d rather not turn on the TV as a…

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Busy Boxes: Valentine’s Week

Well, it’s been an indoor kind of week. Isla’s been home from playschool with a cold, we got a huge dump of snow that’s made leaving the house tricky, and it’s been consistently in the -20s out. So … Busy Boxes are back! With Valentine’s Day coming up, I decided to make our boxes themed. To read about my first week, and for background on how busy boxes work, visit my intro post. And check out what we did in…

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Play dough cookies

It was a home-from daycare sick day today, so we decided to make pretend Valentine’s Day cookies and practice our rolling. I whipped up a batch of this super easy, silky soft two-ingredient dough recipe, that’s just two parts corn starch to one part hair conditioner (and then food colouring if you want): The dough looked amazing – just like pink frosting, and smelled fantastic. To see how to make it, check out my post on two-ingredient play dough. Once…

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Busy Boxes: Week 3

Week 3 of Busy Boxes, and Isla is now requesting to play with them when we are not at home (maybe I need on-the-go boxes!). To read about my first week, and for background on how busy boxes work, visit my intro post. And check out what we did in week 2. Here are the busy boxes we made this week: BOX 1 You’ll need: – Paper with large letters, numbers or words on it – Small stickers (try the…

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Busy Boxes: Week 2

Last week I posted about my experiment using Busy Boxes – one for each day of the work week – to help keep my preschooler quiet and occupied when she comes home from playschool, or on non-playschool days when she and I both need a breather. The idea is that they all contain activities she can play with unsupervised, and are challenging or stimulating enough that – ideally – they occupy her attention long enough for her to decompress, or…

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Busy Boxes: Week 1

Five days of busy boxes Let me introduce you to a little life saver I’ve discovered, called the Busy Box. Busy boxes are saving my life on preschool days. They are saving my life on non-preschool days. They are slowly restoring calm and peace to our crazy household one little plastic box at a time. Here’s how: My three year old is a high-energy, high-intensity, go go kid. When she comes home from preschool she is wired, and often struggles…

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Sparkle calm-down bottles

Calm down bottles are a mesmerizing and relaxing way to help someone of any age (including myself) hit the reset button. You can use them as timer for timeouts, teeth brushing, or even just to help a worked up little person settle down. There are lots of different ways to make glitter bottles, but I found this recipe to have the fewest ingredients and steps, and the outcome was still stunning. This is what you’ll need: Step 1: Remove the…

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Rainbow rice

For ages: 1+ Adult involvement: Limited to none for preschoolers, hands-on for babies and toddlers Messiness factor (on a scale of 1-3): 2 My daughter loves sensory bins: anything she can put her hands in and scoop, pour, squish and mould. This easy to make, three-ingredient rainbow rice will keep her entertained longer than any other sensory activity I’ve made. You’ll need: – Uncooked rice (any variety) – White vinegar – Liquid food colouring – Sandwich bags or tupperware containers…

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Shaving cream rain clouds

With the weather starting to get cooler, we are in need of more indoor activities that don’t involve turning on the TV or iPad. I found this sweet science experiment sensory activity on Pinterest, and my preschooler loved it. For ages: 2.5+ Adult involvement: Hands-on Messiness factor (on a scale of 1-3): 3   You will need: – Clear cups or jars (I used dollar store cups) – Shaving cream – Liquid food colouring – Small containers for the food…

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Easy peasy play dough recipe

Play dough is so cheap and easy to buy, I never understood why parents would want to make their own. That is, until my daughter’s stash dried up and she wanted more, and I wanted to not have to leave my house. This recipe was so easy to make, and is so much softer than the store-bought stuff, I’ll never go back. Bonus: if you buy the right type of cornstarch, it’s gluten free. Downside: it’s not taste-safe, so not…

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