Winter Solutions: Keeping Kids Entertained Indoors with a Busy Box

Some days I feel like such a bad mom.  I let my kids watch too much TV in the winter, mostly because it is not safe for them to venture out in the weather we've been having (10 degrees for the high.)  I know that it takes time to put things together for them to do, but I can't always supervise, and when they are done with their homework, it's too easy to say "go play video games."

I decided to create the ultimate "winter solution" by putting together a "busy box."  This box had to be affordable, provide activities for all age ranges, and wouldn't require much (if any) supervision.  Here is what I did.

I took each activity and made it self-contained within a Great Value Freezer Bag.  I used Gallon Bags for larger activities, Quart Bags for smaller ones.  I then put all the activities for a particular age range in one plastic shoe-box   As the kids grew bored, they could ask me, and I'd let them choose an activity.  They were responsible for finding a clean place to do their work, and they had to clean up their mess, as well as put the empty bag (along with any reusable supplies) in the back of the shoe-box.

Idea #1: Letter Activities

We have a set of letter tiles that I broke up into letter "groups."  I then put in a few slips of paper with some word suggestions that can be made from the letters.  These were appropriate for my beginning readers/spellers.  The older the child, the more complicated the word groupings would be (and fewer word examples I would provide.)

Idea #2: Foam Pieces to Glue

We already enjoyed creating one art project with the Glitter Foam sheets and letters available at Walmart.  I loved this project so much, I did a few more, but kept the pieces loose in the bag.  Here is a foam rocket ship I cut out, along with the letters "R, O, C, K, E, T" so that the kids can label the rocket.  I also included a slip of paper with the word "rocket" on it, so they wouldn't have to come ask me how to spell it.

The older children like foam project that they can use glue for.  I included a tube of glue in the project for the older kids.

Idea #3: Stickers and Paper

My toddler doesn't care what the stickers are actually of; he loves putting them on pieces of paper and can do so for many minutes.  I keep all the stickers I receive in my junk mail, for product reviews, and when I find school supplies on clearance.  I pair them with scrap paper, 3 x 5 index cards, or little notepads for my son to "stick them" on!

Idea #4: Puzzles

The small 100 piece puzzles are a great activity for my 6-year-old to do.  He sometimes lets his toddler brother help him.  We look for puzzles to put in the bag, then clip the picture of the puzzle to put inside.  It takes up less room than the original box, and it gives us one more activity to put into the Busy Box!

My toddler squealed when he saw the finished "Busy Box."  STICKERS!! He was so excited to grab the first bag and start working.  Here is he doing the stickers, while his 6-year-old brother works on a foam rocket ship.

What do you think? Would a "busy box" keep your kids entertained and away from the TV for a few more minutes each day this winter?  What activities would you include?

(Included in Show & Share Saturday)

As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I've received compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.