Tag: holidays

Red, White, and Blue Busy Box for Kids

Red, White, and Blue Busy Box for Kids

Are you looking for quiet activities for your toddler or preschooler this summer? Our red, white, and blue busy box might be just the thing for your family!

If you’ve been around the Rolling Prairie Readers community for any length of time, you know I’m a big fan of learning through play. I also talk a lot about creating invitations to play for our little ones.

Open-ended play is important for children because it builds independence, creativity, executive function skills, and — most importantly — attention spans. It’s easy for kids to focus on the things they want to do, and putting together a busy box gives children a buffet of options to choose from.

Red, White, and Blue Busy Box for Kids

How to make a red, white, and blue busy box:

  • First, grab a shoe box or small container.
  • Walk around the house and grab red and blue objects.
  • Set the box in a place where your kiddo is likely to find it.

Everyone’s busy box will look different, based on what toys you have available at home. Personally, I like to choose objects that mix and match nicely and build fine motor skills.


See our must-have toys for learning at home!


 

For this red, white, and blue busy box, I grabbed:

  • pom poms
  • tweezers
  • silicone cupcake liners
  • Velcro craft sticks
  • one-inch foam cubes
  • straw pieces and a Parmesan cheese container
  • dyed noodles and a shoelace
  • red and blue UNO cards (0-9 only)
  • Unifix cubes
  • linking rings

My tactile learner has been very active with this busy box already. I’ve found her stringing noodles, putting the UNO cards in numerical order, and dropping straw pieces in the cheese container. She often plays with the items during read-aloud time because having something small in her hands helps her listen better.

The red, white, and blue busy box also came with us when we traveled to visit with family a few weeks ago. I don’t typically like to bring a lot of toys with us when we stay in a hotel, but this box fit easily in our trunk and kept her occupied when we needed it.


See 100 more tactile ideas for kids.


If you try a busy box for your kids, I would love to see it! Snap a picture and send it to me on Instagram. For more summer fun, be sure to check out our list of patriotic books and learning activities.

You can also grab our Summer Survival Kit, which features more than 200 hands-on learning activities and our sensational summer schedule template!

Earth Day Activities and Books for Kids

Earth Day Activities and Books for Kids

Spring is here! What a fun time to teach our children about science in a creative, hands-on way. Whether you go on a nature walk, pick up trash at a local park, or start a garden, children can learn to care for the environment with these fun Earth Day activities and books!

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Simple Earth Day Activities for Kids

Simple Earth Day Activities for Kids

(Just a reminder that Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links, at no additional cost to you. You can read our full disclosure policy here.)

  • We celebrate the beginning of spring with weekly walks around our neighborhood. We look for budding trees, nesting birds, and the arrival of daffodils and tulips in neighbors’ yards. This year, we’ll be starting a family nature journal to document all the changes we see.
  • We’ll also be working in our vegetable garden in our yard. We have a raised garden bed on our back deck, right off the kitchen, which makes it easy for the kids to prune and harvest each day.
  • Visiting the botanical gardens every year is a fun family field trip to celebrate the changes that spring brings!
  • Now that the snow is melting, our family is excited to get back to geocaching, one of our favorite ways to explore nature near and far. We use the Geocaching app to find hidden treasures wherever our travels take us: from the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Headquarters and Visitor Center in Omaha, Nebraska to Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin to Lighthouse Ann Arbor Park in Menominee, Michigan!
  • This year, we’ll also be watching our Extraordinary Earth DVD from Rachel and the Treeschoolers. You can watch a clip of it below:

 


Earth Day Busy Box

Our Earth Day busy box is filled with green and blue toys found around the house! You can watch the video to see what I included or scroll down for a full list:

 


Earth Day books for kids

9 Earth Day Books for Kids

Picking up seasonal books from the library and placing them in a basket by the couch is another fun way to introduce a holiday like Earth Day to your kids! Here are some that we found at our library:

  • Earth Day by Emma Carlson Berne

  • Earth Day by Clara Cella

  • We are Extremely Very Good Recyclers by Lauren Child

  • The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle : A Story about Recycling by Alison Inches

  • Our House is Round by Yolanda Kondonassis

  • Katie Saves the Earth by Fran Manushkin

  • Why Should I Recycle? by Susan Meredith

  • Earth Day – Hooray! by Stuart J. Murphy

  • The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

Click here to see more of our favorite spring books for kids.


Earth Day Family Activity Guide

Want even more Earth Day activities for kids?

Check out our Earth Day Family Activity Guide, now available in The Play School Club!

How to Make an Awesome Christmas Busy Box for Kids!

How to Make an Awesome Christmas Busy Box for Kids!

Winter is coming, and you’re looking for simple play ideas to keep your toddlers and preschoolers learning at home. Between cold weather, rainy days, and lots of holidays preparations that keep parents busy, having a few educational activities set aside for your little ones is a smart idea! Read on to learn how to make a Christmas busy box for your kids. How to Make a Christmas Busy Box for Kids

Note: This busy box can be repurposed for a variety of seasons and holidays. The only thing “Christmasy” about it are the colors I chose — but you could easily make a similar quiet time activities using other colors and symbols!

In case you haven’t heard about busy bags or boxes before, they are simple learning activities that are typically self-contained and set aside for travel, waiting rooms, or quiet time. This Christmas busy box is similar, pulling together a group of open-ended materials that can be used in a variety ways. Toddlers and preschoolers can mix and match their toys for hours of creative play!

Best of all, these materials all fit in one small box, so they can easily travel to a relative’s house or holiday party all season long.

(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you. You can see our full disclosure policy here.)

How to Make a Christmas Busy Box:

Making a busy bag or box doesn’t have to be complicated! Think of learning skills you want to target with your toddler or preschooler and gather related toys.   This Christmas busy box that I put together focuses on fine motor and counting skills. Put all your materials in a small shoe box!

Christmas Busy Box for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Click here to see a short video explaining how to use these materials in a variety of fun activities!

Recommended Materials for Your Christmas Busy Box:

You can use ANY learning toys you have around your house–these are just a few recommendations that are both quiet and easily transportable.

  • UNO cards (specifically the red and green number cards 0-9)
  • ice cube tray
  • red, green, and white pom poms
  • tweezers
  • red and green foam blocks (1 inch cubes)
  • “velcro sticks” (red and green craft sticks with velco dots on the ends)
  • red and green pegs
  • tree cookie cutter
  • green LEGOs
  • empty (clean) Parmesan cheese container
  • red and green straw pieces
  • shoelace

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Christmas Busy Box and Activity Ideas