Ideas for Busy Bins
Children are a gift from the LORD;
they are a reward from him.
One of the true joys of homeschooling is having all our kids learning together!
But keeping your littlest learners busy and engaged can sometimes be a challenge!
Our younger kiddos seemed to have a much happier day when they had some one on one mommy time before I began teaching our other children. Put that Mommy time into your morning routine. After we’d play together a bit, I’d pull out our Busy Basket to keep my sweet toddler happy.
(For our toddlers 2-3 year olds)
Grab a basket, or a soft bin and fill it with a few favorite or new toys – not too many. I used a laundry basket! Stuffed animals, blocks, books and baby dolls. Toys that your child can play with unassisted. Paint, markers or playdough probably wouldn’t be the best to use here. If you can, purchase a few new toys, and borrow a few of their favorites and re-home them in the Busy Basket.
And here’s the trick – the Busy Basket ONLY COMES OUT DURING SCHOOL TIME.
Your child can be playing on the floor, being happy they’re near you while you teach. Afterwards, the Busy Basket goes away until the next school day. Make it a very special toy basket!
Busy Bins –
(for our Preschoolers/Pre-Kindergarten 4-5 year olds)
Create some quiet learning bins that can be pulled out and used by your littles while they’re sitting at the table with the family. They can “do school” right along with you!
Any small bin would work. Plastic or glass containers with lids work well.
Ideas for Busy bins: (all of these were purchased at Dollar Tree!)
Colored puff balls – sort puffs by color with large, kid-sized tweezers
Stickers & paper
Pattern Blocks with a few design cards.
(for Kindergarten & 1st Grade 5-7 year olds)
I love to use trays for teaching! I used them DAILY in my Kindergarten and 1st grade classrooms for Center Learning. Whenever I saw large plastic trays on sale I’d buy them. Ikea, the Dollar Store, WalMart and Michael’s often have the best trays! (My favorites are from Ikea, on sale for $2 each!)
Giving a child their own tray with just a handful of blocks, cubes or cars & trucks works like a charm! It’s PERFECT for play dough!! The tray provides them a fun play area, but also gives them some boundaries for their toys.
If mom needs some extra time to work with another child, prepare a few different trays and stack them up. Little hands stay busy and happy a bit longer!
With a little planning and prep, you can have some Busy Baskets, Busy Bins or Teaching Trays ready to go for your school day, and ready to teach and entertain your sweet ones!