I recently relocated to my son's home to care for my two grandchildren (ages 13 and 7) while my daughter-in-law recovered from brain surgery. I soon discovered that waiting times were the worst for them so I now have a tote bag filled with dollar store items and pens, paper, and pencils to keep them occupied while we "wait". I have found that a monthly trip to the dollar store or even garage sales can economically provide fun and entertainment for them. There is no arguing and plenty of quiet when we are in the offices waiting on Mom to be seen. I take this tote everywhere with us!
When you get tired of hearing "how far is it now" pull this kit out to entertain them for a while longer. You can personalize it to suit your children or grandchildren.
Approximate Time: varies
plastic tub with a lid
acrylic paints in various colors
pencils, eraser, sharpener
colored Sharpie paint pen
snack size bags
piece of corrugated cardboard
Make a pattern of the inside shape of the box. Then use this pattern to cut your cardboard and magnetic sheet.
Paint the cardboard with the chalkboard paint. Apply three coats on each side letting each coat dry.
Brush the opposite way with each following coat.
After both sides are painted and dried thoroughly rub a piece of chalk over the entire surface to condition it. Use a soft cloth like the sock to clean it.
Lay the chalkboard aside for now.
Divide the magnetic sheet into 1 inch rows both directions and paint a grid. Across one end paint "start" in the first row of squares and "finish" in the other end squares.
In random squares paint things like sing a song, tell a joke, recite a nursery rhyme and paint one or more that say FREE.
I left a few blank for the kids to make up their own things for their brother and sister to do for them.
I printed out a picture of my three grandchildren and stuck them to the magnets after peeling the paper from the magnet; the third I left blank for a guest or mom or dad to use.
Peel off the paper from the back of the sheet and press it into the bottom of your container. I added a set of dice and bagged the magnets with the dice.
On the lid I glued 1 inch squares into a tic tac toe board and bagged 5 gray and 5 white buttons for the tokens.
For the game around the outside rim on the inside of the lid, I glued squares around 1 inch wide made from different colors of felt. I put a different color in each of the four corners. Then I painted four shank buttons to match the corners, drew an arrow showing them the direction in which to play, and bagged the buttons again adding a set of dice.
With all of the bags with buttons, I put a label on them telling which game they went with.
Decorate the lid however you want.
I also added a personal note and directions to some of the games taped to the inside of the lid.
I always loved stringing buttons so I chose to add some large buttons and a length of all-purpose string which I ran over some wax to stiffen. I tied a shank button on one end and enclosed all in a bag. I made two of these just in case a fight ensued.
I stuck in a set of flash cards and some pages from a coloring book, you can add anything your little ones like. It is really easy to personalize this activity kit and a great way to entertain them when their batteries go dead on all of the electronic gadgets kids have or don't have.
You might even stick in a second set of batteries. Have fun making the kit.
Keep an "activity box" on hand. Organizing one day, I took a big cardboard box and filled it with the things that I had available for children to play with. I was surprised at the crayons, coloring books, chalk, jump ropes, etc. that I had amassed.
I was pretty pleased that it was all organized, but when the children came by they shot directly to the box to get their activities going. It was a great time of play for them and a great time of wonderful, uninterrupted conversation for the adults! My sister nicknamed it the "sanity box"!
Thank you for another good idea. There will be several kids with autism there. It would take a little guidance for them, maybe, but the experience, body movement, color, and making things change through an activity, would be good. Thanks so much. M. O.