Category Archives: Busy Bag

When The Quiet Activity Bag Doesn’t Work

Well, today was just one of those days.  I took the kids to music lessons.  I sat down with the two toddlers to play simple activities from their activity bag in an attempt to keep them quiet, and nothing worked.  They were anything but quiet.

Yeah, I know what you are thinking.  Her kids?  She just told us how well the activity bag worked to keep them quiet, and now she is telling us it didn’t work?  Well, what can I say?  It did not work today.

The two year old jumped across the room like a kangaroo.
The three year old argued over the puzzle she wanted even though the two year old or six year old had it first.
The two year old took his lacing activity and used it as a kite.  It consisted of two large buttons with multiple holes and a long shoe lace.  Only instead of it flying up high, it hit every chair and wall and person in its path.  He loved the sound it made as it banged into things.  Did I mention we were supposed to play quietly?
The three year old and six year old decided to color and fought over the 100 crayons in the bag.  Even if there were three or four of each color, they still wouldn’t share. 

And these kinds of problems continued to happen as quick as I could get one problem resolved.

I was exhasperated trying to keep them quiet today.  Nothing was working.  If anything, they got louder and louder as the minutes ticked by.

I decided I had to remove them from the false expectation that they could be quiet.  They just couldn’t be quiet today.

So I left the two older boys inside for the remainder of their lesson, let the six year old continue to color, and I brought the toddlers outside.

We turned our failure to be quiet into a success to jump, and play, and explore.

He must have done this fifty times before he tuckered out.  He just had this high level of energy and wanted to jump!  Could it be testosterone?  I don’t know, maybe. 

Stuff like this gets me thinking. 

Could this boundless energy that is not given the opportunity to express itself, be the trouble with our public school system that is plagued by an overwhelming amount of children on medications, because they can’t sit still or be quiet and do their school work?

On days like today, I am so glad I homeschool.  Kids sometimes just can’t sit still no matter how hard they try.  Especially toddlers, but also any early elementary child.  They need the freedom to wiggle, explore, and move about.  Homeschooling offers me the freedom to let them do just that.  If we have a day where we need to be flexible and change how we approach things, then we are free to do so.  I can take a deep breath,  breath out, and go with the flow.

Success or failure is all in how you look at a situation. 

Some questions to ask ourselves when things aren’t going quite the way we want:

    What expectations are we setting for our kids, and how do we help them be successful to meet our 

    Are we willing to be flexible if our expectations are wrong? 

    Are we able to see an unmet need in a situation, and change our expectation, and 
    provide an opportunity for our children to succeed?

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Puzzle Matching Quiet Time

The older two boys are taking guitar lessons and the younger three children and I sit in the back of the room and listen.  I needed something to keep them quiet, and in one place, for an hour, so that we don’t disturb the music instructor.  I decided to make a busy bag, and I will post a story about it here

One of the items in our busy bag are these foam puzzles from the Dollar Tree Store.  These were each $1.  I purchased a capital letter set, a lower case letter set, a number set, and a clock set. 

These puzzles have been a great activity for quiet busy work! I will also be using these in our workboxes at home.  We have successfully used them for 3 of these quiet one hour music lessons so far!  It takes the children about 20 to 30 minutes to work their way through all four puzzles.

First, my toddlers poked out the foam puzzle pieces.

This is a lot of fun to push out the pieces and gather them into a pile. 

Then the process of matching up the shape of each letter to its corresponding spot got under way. 

I was really impressed that even though they don’t know their letters, or the alphabetic order, they were more than able to match up the shapes of every single piece.  Who knew a toddler could do this? 

They are two and three years old, and I truly thought when I bought these puzzles, that I would be explaining each and every letter and where to place them.  And that learning experience will still come in a different setting.  But in this setting, where we were required to be quiet, I just let them play with the puzzles, somewhat expecting to have a mixed up mess on my hands when we were done.  But that is not what happened at all. 

The kids took their time, and worked quietly with each piece until they found the exact spot it belonged.  Wow!

When they were done with one puzzle, they rotated and got the next puzzle. 

They worked completely independently.  They worked quietly.  Wow!

Are you a mom who has rowdy toddlers, and you are afraid to take them into situations where they must be quiet? 

Give this experiment a try!  Build a busy bag with fun quiet activities, using items like these foam puzzles.
I think you might be amazed, as I was, just how quiet the children can be.

These puzzles are colorful, educational, and great skill builders.  During this quiet time the kids worked on eye hand coordination, sorting, matching, fine motor movements, sensory of touching the shapes of the letters and numbers, and strengthening.

If you don’t have to keep quiet, then you can also discuss the colors of the puzzle, match the capitals with the lower case, spell their name, match the pieces to a printable with letters, trace the letters, put them in alphabetical order, numerical order, and so much more. 

But we had to be quiet, and this worked out perfectly.

What activities do you do with toddlers to keep them quite?  Leave your comments and have a great time discovering what works for you.

Be Blessed!

This post will be linked up with:
Link & Learn
ABC and 123
Sharing Time

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