Life is busy and hectic. Whether you have one kid or six, it can be an overwhelming task to keep your baby entertained and still be productive as a parent. I am over at Lemon Lime Adventures today, sharing…
10 Baby Busy Box Ideas. Click here to to read the full posts.
As a homeschooling mom of three children, I know the feeling of being stretched thin. There are days that I have to help one child learn to sound out words, teach another about multiplication and cook dinner; all while making sure that their 10 month old sister is nurtured, encouraged to grow and is kept safe.
Today, I want to share with you how Busy Boxes can be a life saver, whether you are a busy mom, or just a parent looking for educational and developmentally appropriate ways to engage your little ones.
What is a Busy Box?
A busy box is any container filled with materials or items your child can use independently. While one on one time with your baby is encouraged, it is not always realistic. Busy boxes allow you the extra 5 minutes you might need to give a sibling attention, make dinner or fold laundry. Busy boxes for babies can provide benefits such as fine motor skills, cognitive reasoning, and language development.
5 simple Tips for Successful Busy Boxes for babies
1. Keep it simple: Limit each basket to 5-10 items. Babies can get easily overwhelmed and clean up will be kept at a minimum for later. One of my daughter’s favorite busy box is match and build soft blocks. She can stack, shake, and bang as she investigates her busy box.
2. Keep it Safe: When choosing your items for your baby’s busy boxes, keep in mind simple safety guidelines. Most babies still put everything in their mouths, so you will want to make sure each item is safe and large enough that it isn’t a danger. For example, in your busy box of balls you would want to use baby-safe balls that are larger than the opening in a toilet paper tube. No marble.
3. Switch It Up: I have found that a successful busy box system is a rotating one. Switching out the toys frequently will allow your baby to work on new skills, learn new vocabulary, and will keep your baby engaged longer (which mean more time for you to cook that dinner).
4. Model Play: Babies at this age are still learning ever day. They do not automatically know how to play with each busy box. Each time you introduce a new toy or a new box, it is helpful to spend one on one time teaching your baby how to play. This might mean playing a game of hide and go seek with the counting crocodile under the fabric scraps. Or it might mean playing a game of “Shake Shake Shake” with the musical instruments.
5. Encourage Sibling Play: I can not count the number of times one of my boys (ages 6 & 8) have entertained their sister while I work with the other one. Not only does it buy me some time, it encourages my boys to be independence and teach their sister skills. Since all of the toys in the busy bin are simple, it gives the older children some authority and allows them to take pride in helping out.
In short, busy boxes for babies can be fun, educational and a little bit of piece of mind for busy parents. They can be easy to set up and even easier to manage. Try one out today, I can’t wait to hear how you and your little one enjoy your next busy box!
Related Busy Box Resources:
Featured Busy Box Materials from Melissa and Doug
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Dayna is a National Board Certified teacher with over 12 years of experience in the primary classroom. She recently began homeschooling her 3 children against her will. She writes at Lemon Lime Adventures, where she writes about the trials, successes and errors of their life, life living as a blended family, and dealing with a son with Sensory Processing Disorder. You can find Dayna rockin’ it over on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and G+!