July 27, 2012

Busy Bag Swapping Party #1

I'm not sure about anyone else, but I had a great time at our first party!  It was amazing to see the creativity come out in so many people as they took an idea, adapted it, and created an amazing game for our toddlers and preschoolers to play.  Here are the few activities we got to take home to our kiddos.
Animal lacing cards.
Paper plate and clothes pin matching (upper and lower case).
Popsicle stick picture puzzles.
Shapes matching game.

Popsicle stick matching game (colors and language variations).
Magnetic fishing game.
Various shape race car road mats.
Popsicle stick shapes. 
Letter learning and spelling cards.
Number wheel.
Sequencing (with number, colors, or both)
Play-doh mats (numbers 1-10 and other activities)
Spin and spell.
Stoplight activities (multiple game instructions included).

July 1, 2012

Toddler Fun Has Begun!

About a year ago I started trying to find ways to help my little girl develop her fine motor skills a little bit better.  In the meantime, I had signed up for a Pinterest account and started seeing a lot of toddler activities.  I saw on one blog these fun homemade games they would put in a bag and take with them to doctor’s appointments, to church, and even on long car rides.  Genius!  Then I realized this was actually a pretty common thing and most people referred to them as “Busy Bags.”  I saw one blog where a group of mothers made different kinds of busy bags and swapped them so their kids would have more to play with.  Extra Genius!!!  In fact, I thought it was such a great idea that I started an every 6-8 week Busy Bag swap with ladies in my area.  It’s actually much easier than you would think.  And here’s how I did it.

1.  Advertise to anyone and everyone who you think might even possibly be interested (and make sure to explain what a busy bag is).
Busy bags are reusable, homemade activities to entertain your toddler/preschooler.  They are usually learning focused and all of their components fit inside a ziplock bag which makes it easy to pull out (and easy to clean up). 

2.  Create a way for everyone to sign up so you don’t get a lot of the same stuff (and make sure to set a limit for the number of people who can participate). 
For you it may be easier just to do this the old fashioned way on a sheet of paper or even through an email chain; however, I’m a big fan of Google Documents. I love Google docs because everyone can sign up on their own and it updates automatically without the need for anyone to maintain it.  Just to save time for others I usually write out possible ideas for the busy bags and attach a link to the instructions if I have found it online.  This actually takes a lot of work, so unless you really enjoy it (like I do) or you just have a ton of extra time on your hands you might just want the other ladies to do their own research.  When I send out the link to the Google document I also make sure to assign a signup deadline (unless all the spots are filled prior to that date).

3.  Make your own bags!  Depending on the final number of people who signed up to participate, you should purchase the supplies and completely prepare that number of the exact same busy bag (so if 12 people total sign up you would make 12 of the exact same bag).  The bags would include all the components needed, as well as the instructions. Place them in gallon, quart, or sandwich size ziplock bag and label it. Here are some additional basic rules we use in my swaps.
  • When buying supplies for all your bags, you should try not to spend more than $20 (so that it ends up being  $1 a bag or less.
  • You do not have to laminate any items unless it is vital to the practicality of the specific game (i.e. play-doh mats).  If anyone would like to laminate other game components they can do their own.
  • Put together the kind of bag you would want to receive in return. This is really important to remember! Quality! Quality!  Quality!

4.  Have a Swapping Party!  I usually host at my house but I’ve heard some groups meet at a coffee shop even a mall food court.  Make sure to set a day and time that works for everyone.

This is such a great way to use your creative skills, love your kiddos by getting inexpensive games, and to meet or grow in your relationships with others.  Let me know if you end up having a party of your own and how it goes!Toddler Fun Has Begunhttp://teachingtrainingandtantrums.blogspot.com/p/toddler-time_6554.html

Here we go!!!

Welcome to Teaching, Training and Tantrums!  I decided to start a blog because I love being a stay at home wife and mom.  I have the most amazing husband and the two cutest kids in the whole world which keep me busy, busy, busy.  I enjoy having fun, being creative, and organizing just about anything.  I like to learn as I go along, so thanks for joining me on the journey!

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