Make them a busy bin!
Spring Break is here, or very close to coming, but unfortunately, it seems like all of those play dates, excursions and beach days we had planned are postponed until further notice. However, your child’s energy level and attention span didn’t get the memo! How do you keep them busy, engaged and learning? Busy bins is one of the many arts and crafts ideas that could pull you out of this rut.
Below are the steps I follow when building my own busy bins:
Pick a skill or knowledge base you want to review or introduce. Keep the idea broad to give yourself plenty of flexibility. Some ideas can be: numbers, fine motor skills, letters, gross motor skills, dinosaurs, sensory development, colors, etc.
Buy a bin. Simple enough, but there are some things you’ll want to keep in mind. Make sure the bin is:
Plastic, your child will drop it.
Machine washable, things will get messy.
It has a top, the last thing you want to invest your time in is picking up 200 beads from the floor.
The right size for your child, a bin that’s too big is uncomfortable and a bin that is too small doesn’t let them explore.
Get the material you want to fill the bin with. This is not the objects that will help you teach your objective; this is the material your child will be digging through to find the objects. This can be water, slime, sand, beads, feathers, pom-poms, or any other material that offers an interesting texture and is small enough to not get in their way.
Fill the bin. Easy right! Just keep in mind that you want enough material to submerge the items you want your child to find, but don’t overfill it. This is for your own sanity, no one wants to have to individually pick up a bunch of pom-poms.
Hide the objects you will be using to reinforce a concept. In the case of this busy bin, I want to review colors, therefore, I will be hiding different colored eggs into the beads. Keep the size of your bin in mind. You don’t want to jam too many objects into the bin, the objective is to dig around and explore. If you properly match the size of the bin with your child, this will be simple. The size of the bin should grow with the child which will complement the level of complexity and attention span your child has. A small child will be trying to find less objects than a bigger one.
Think of a way to make the bin interactive. You can have your child yell out the color or letter. Describe the texture of an object, say a word that starts with a particular letter, etc. For us, this is a color review activity. I wrote the names of colors on a dice, my daughter will roll the dice and have to dig and pull out the correct color, placing the incorrect color back in the bin, until the egg carton is full.
Quick note: you will most likely have to purchase materials to create your bins, please remember to wipe everything down and have your child wash their hands before they play with the bin to keep the materials as sanitized as possible.
Good luck to all you caregivers!