Keep-the-3-Year-Old-Busy Gift Bag
Our friends’ baby recently had surgery. Everything went well and the baby is doing fine, but our sweet, amazing, great-parent friends have a house full of other kids and are Tired. With the recovery, there has been little sleep going around, which is challenging on its own.
But they have a 3 year old.
I'm sure they are handling it all beautifully. I just simply cannot imagine having my Ms. 3 Year Old in that situation. I would lose my mind. Three is so darling and fun. It is also busy, busy, busy.
It's just so helpless, knowing of people struggling. They are too far away for us to watch the kids and there's just not a whole lot we can do.
As we put together dinner for them, the kids and I had a great idea; we made them a Keep Sam Busy Bag. Because according to my very scientific research, the amount of hours spent in front of screens is directly proportional to the amount of nuts in my children when screen time has ended. That being said, my 5 yr old is currently sick and tv-watching his life away. FYI.
Inspired by the easy activities by @busytoddler on Instagram, we created a bunch of simple activities for their 3 year old to work on when mom needed a few minute breather. All of this was gathered from our supplies here at the house and didn't cost us anything. The idea here is that the bag would be kept up and the child handed an activity one at a time.
Sam really loves Batman so the boys and I created some projects that used that theme. This is the start of the 9 yr old's Batman Paper Doll. I'm so mad I didn't get a shot of the final product because it turned out so cute!
The 8 year old created a Batman Giant Coloring Page, with Batman pictures to color. He later went over it with a black sharpie and erased his pencil.
The 5 year old made a Paper Dog for Sam to play with and even made it its own Batman mask. Hilarious!
My contributions weren't as cute.
I swear the kids come up with the best stuff if I can just back off enough to let them do their thing. Why is that so hard for me?
* Build a Road: Use a stack of small post its to create a road for the cars to drive on.
* Make an Ocean Scene: Draw an ocean scene on blue paper and use the foam sea creatures stickers to decorate it.
* Stick People Puppets: Draw people on the large popsicle sticks and glue on the googly eyes. Then put on a puppet show.
* Batman Scene: Use the chalk and draw a Batman scene on the black card stock.
* Little Line Up: Put little stickers all along the lines. I drew different curvy or jagged lines on colored index cards
* Letter Find: Match letter stickers on the rolled paper. I just wrote the letters to his name on a sheet of dot stickers and wrote the letters on a piece of card stock which I taped to make it the same shape as a paper towel roll.
* Dog Memory: The 8 year old punched 18 circles out of card stock with my circle hole punch and then used 9 sets of stickers to create an easy memory game.
* Truck Sticker Scene: Put the truck stickers on the road and construction sites. I quickly drew some roads and a construction scene.
* Decorate a Box: Glue the baggy full of shapes onto a box. I wish I had a box to include but didn't. I also stuck in a glue stick.
* Batman Sort: Sort the stickers by character. This sticker book had 7 characters with a billion stickers of each. So I slapped one of each character at the top of a half sheet and turned this into a sorting activity (put all the Batman stickers on one sheet, all the Wonder Woman on another, etc)
* Star Match: Match the star stickers to the paper.
Most of these activities I did involve him using stickers because that's what I had and I'm not nearly as creative as my kids.
The boys also made a few Batman puzzles out of card stock, bagging them up separately. We also included an adult coloring book for his older sisters to share, along with a set of markers.
I'm not going to lie, this was super fun and we loved doing it, but it did take a while to do; I suspect that if I had done this without helpers it would have been much faster though. But that's the story of my life. And hopefully Sam's the type of kid that would like this, because I know interests are very different. That's a reason why we included so many activities- hoping we'd get at least a few winners. At the very least, they know we were thinking of them!
This seems like the kind of thing that would be great to bring to a new mom with a preschooler. I know I would have LOVED something like this with a newborn. Heck, I'd love something like this right now! This would also make a cute birthday or Christmas gift or even a great idea for a family that's moving to keep the 2-4 year old busy while packing/unpacking.