05 June 2012

Busy Bag #1: Chalkboard

Last summer, as you probably know, my husband, our two-year-old, and I made the long drive from Oklahoma to northern California to relocate.  Well, this summer we'll be making the same drive, in the opposite direction, with a three-year-old. With possibly a week-long road trip vacation up the coast thrown in for good measure.  That is a lot of driving.

I was pretty organized for it last year: I packed Lucy's favorite books, got a car charger for my laptop so we could watch movies, brought some post-it notes and a few toys she hadn't seen before.  But there was still way too much whining and even some crying.  Yuck.  But she was two.

Now she's three.  Her attention span has increased exponentially in the last year.  She can draw, she can manipulate things a lot better, and perhaps most importantly, she finally got big enough that we had to turn her car seat to face forward.  She seems to enjoy car rides a lot more now (and incidentally, now that she can see what we're doing, has taken a keen interest in all things driving and car related).

With all that in mind, this seemed like a great time to stretch my creative and thrifty muscles a bit and make her some busy bags (also called "quiet bags", and closely related to "busy books" or "quiet books").  I'll be sharing them here one at a time as I get them done.

I started by searching Pinterest for "busy books".  I don't actually have a Pinterest account -- it's not something I think I need or would want to keep up with -- but I do find Pinterest very useful for finding all the best ideas in a particular category all in one place (the pinners have done all the work for me!).

I found a ton of really cute ideas.  Some were too young for Lucy, and some were too results-based.  I found myself really gravitating toward the ideas that were open-ended, not ones where the kid has to complete some task and that's all it does.  It was harder to find good ideas that fit that criterion.

All that to say.... Here is the first one!  I started out simple. :-)

I went to the Dollar Tree to find lots of stuff for this project.  One of the things I picked up was a cookie sheet.  It's going to come up a lot as I go through all the busy bags I have planned.  I'd also been keeping an eye out for pencil pouches.  They are the "bag" part of all the busy bags I'm making.  I found about half at garage sales and thrift stores, and I bought more at the Dollar Tree.

::drumroll::  It's a chalkboard!

Cookie sheet -- Dollar Tree
Colored classroom chalk -- garage sale
Pencil pouch -- garage sale
Denim fabric (erasers) -- part of an old skirt
Chalkboard contact paper (!!) -- Christmas present from my dear husband

I cut the contact paper to size and stuck it to the back of the cookie sheet.  The stuff works like a dream!  Very smooth, and wipes off easily, though that probably also has something to do with the chalk.

Should be fun for her!  A little messy, but a dry mess. And isn't that what's really important?

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