I saw an idea on Pinterest about making daily totes to keep your kiddos busy and learning each day and I thought it was pure genius. I wanted to make Henry some before his baby sister came and soaked up a part of my time and energy, so I'm glad I finished them before she got here. :)
Most of these ideas came from Pinterest, my brilliant sister Laiken, and a few of them I made up myself. I thought I'd share these ideas for any other mamas of young toddlers (as in before age 2, my son is 19 months!) to help them keep their little ones busy and learning at the same time.
First things first, I went to Walmart and bought 5 totes, one for Monday-Friday. I liked this larger size because a full size of paper could fit in it without being folded, and the height was nice to fill it with more options! Next, I wrote out daily labels for the top and sides of each tote.
Here is what is in each one:
Coloring book and crayons, a learning book (Let's Count to Ten), a toy that teaches shapes (what do you call those things.. shape toys? shape puzzles?) a bag of "fuzzies" as we call them, a plastic ice tray, two paper cups and a toy spoon. The fuzzies are fun because I can help Henry color sort them, or help him count them using the ice tray. They are also fun for fine motor skills development as the kiddos move them from cup to cup using the toy spoon or their fingers. We're at a pretty basic level of learning right now seeing as how Henry won't be 2 until September, but these activities create a great base for the learning subjects ahead!
Blocks, a learning book (Colors), Pasta Practice (colored pasta noodles that Henry can put in the cut out holes in the cardboard box- fine motor skills), ABC cut outs he can trace with his finger, and contact paper with fun little things he can put on it. (in the ziplock baggie)
Balls, (gross motor skills) quiet book, animal shape and sound puzzle, learning book (Animals), and popcicle stick matching. (Demonstrated in the two pictures below. The first picture is still quite above Henry, but the second picture is totally his current pace. He LOVES matching the "fuzzies.")
Sponge blocks, musical toys, learning book (baby beep beep!) play dough with tiny plastic animals uncooked spaghetti noodles and cheerios. He can work on fine motor skills or just have fun squishing things in play dough.
Magnetic felt fishing (made by my sister!), fine motor skill practice with the Parmesan cheese container filled with straws, cotton balls and fuzzies, a learning book (How do you wear it?) and sensory play with ziplock bags of beans and rice. Henry loves hiding tiny plastic animals in the beans/rice or using a toy spoon to fill a paper cup of them.
I also added 3 song options on the back of each lid. I chose one fun song, one fun primary song, and then a reverent primary song.
I love these boxes because now it only takes minimal effort to give Henry something exciting and different to do each day that will also help him learn. Winning all around!