Friday, April 13, 2012

Inspiration from The Toddler's Busy Book {Busy Boxes}

I remember when having a whole 30 minutes to clean the kitchen, or tidy the house, or cook supper was a rarity! That was back when I had a 1 year-old and a 3 year-old. :-) It's just so amazing to me how much time and energy and work our little ones take! Anyway, my little guys are a little bit bigger now (2 1/2 and 5), and let me tell's MUCH easier as they get older. They can actually entertain themselves more now. They play together or I can send them in the back yard to play (that is HUGE in and of itself).

But maybe you're still in that stage where it's almost impossible to complete the never-ending amount of work that comes with running a home. Two pieces of advice: 1) cut yourself some slack and realize that while things do have to get done (eventually) around the house, everything doesn't have to be perfect (really, it doesn't!); and 2) get a bigger chunk of time for yourself (or the house) by using BUSY BOXES or buckets or baskets or whatever.

That's what I did at the suggestion of a friend who was trying out the same idea. This friend recommended The Toddler's Busy Book: 365 Creative Games and Activities to Keep Your 1 1/2 to 3-Year-Old Busy.

I just have to say that this book is AMAZING. Truly. Go buy it; or like I did, check it out from the library. It really has so many great ideas. There's also a book for preschoolers, but I haven't felt the same need for that age group as I did when I had a toddler in the house.

Anyway, reading this book inspired me to set up little busy buckets. Basically, you fill a bucket, box, or basket with different activities. Mine had coloring books/colors, stickers, play-dough, etc., and usually an extra special activity I got from The Toddler's Busy Book. I also had picture books and puzzles as part of their busy box time. The point is to fill the buckets with fun things that will keep your child busy for as long as possible. My older child would actually sit for a whole hour and play with his bucket! He really loved the entire idea! I was doing good to get 30 minutes from my toddler, but that's enough time to get some stuff done. I would seat my boys at the kitchen table, strap them in their booster chairs, and let them have at their buckets. Then I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher and cleaned off the counters as fast as I could! :-)

Here's a short post of what I thought at the time I was using these busy buckets:

I am really enjoying reading and getting ideas from this book! I have set up several "busy boxes" on my old tv stand (which, by the way, I am LOVING not having the tv in the living room anymore). These boxes will have new stuff in them each day to keep my boys occupied during certain parts of the day. I think I will set up the day's new schedule as follows:

1) morning routine (wake up, eat, dress, devotion, chores)
2) morning busy box
3) free play
4) lunch/cleanup
5) outing/physical activity
6) rest time/quiet busy box
7) prepare for supper/daddy coming home
8) evening routine

So, I got the little baskets from Deals--$1 each. I've filled them with some new stuff (new markers, stickers, play-dough, etc) and some old stuff (puzzles, books), and some re-purposed stuff (muffin pan, sponges, etc.--ideas from the book). Daniel is super excited about the busy boxes! He wanted to look in them first thing this morning! My plan is to get as much of my cleaning stuff done while they play with the boxes. I'm interested to see how long they will play (especially Gideon). One idea from the book I am using today includes putting little balls in a muffin pan and letting Gid move them around from hole to hole. I am also modifying an idea to include water play with sponges in aluminum cake pans. There are so many neat ideas to use and change for my own purposes. I also want to do some cooking with Daniel today. Anyway, there's the short version of some things I'm getting from The Toddler's Busy Book! :)

Hope this idea helps you, dear momma! And remember, don't let the world's message have any kind of hold on your heart--what you do every day IS hard work. It matters. I could even argue that it's the most important job on the planet. :-)

1 comment:

  1. This is a good one, Audrey! I WILL be checking it out at the library!