Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Activity Kits

Whenever we go on a trip whether it be overseas or to a restaurant or the doctor's office, I create activity kits to keep James occupied. These are basically games and toys separated into individual zipper bags (which I found at a dollar store).

The fact that the objects are kept in their own bags makes them easy to grab while we're en route, handy to carry around and simple to clean up. I choose things that I know will intrigue and entertain James. I always make these kits well in advance and then hide them until the trip so they're new and interesting.

Below is a collection of kits I've created for past trips. You can click here to see some others I've made when James was younger. Note, we don't bring along ALL of these on each trip. The contents change as James does. :)

Memory game. I purchased this beautiful handmade game here.

Matching numbers to pictures.

Animals. James loves these Toob animals and goes off into his own world whenever he plays with them. :)

CVC cards.

Linkable shapes to sort by color or shape.

Fruit & vegetable matching game.

Math in a bag.

ASL cards. I found these on abcteach.

Modeling beeswax. This is a nice, time consuming activity because you really have to warm the wax up in your hands before it becomes malleable.

Playdough & a few cutters. As you all know, I prefer homemade playdough, but it doesn't keep well during travel, so I opt for the teeny-tiny jars of Play-Doh.

Lacing number beads.

Peg games.

Open and close items.

Stickers and a little "sticker book" - just a bunch of scrap paper stapled together. (Samson is my friend's son's name - I created some activity kits for her to take on a trip.)

Lacing shapes.

Peg stackers - we love these! You can find them here.

Clothespins - an excellent fine motor activity. James can try to match the pins to the holes or to the numbers on the card.

Counting/number puzzle - I found this somewhere on the island, but it's available here.

Big bag of sorting fun! This is an oldie, but goodie - James just loves it. He can sort these things either by color or object.

Color cards. These would go well with the above-mentioned sorting bag.

Lock and key.

Constellation matching - these are the same cards we used during our space unit.

Other activity ideas:
:: Small books
:: Crayons in a handy-dandy crayon roll
:: Mini Mudpuppy sticker scenes.
:: Three part cards
:: Nomenclature cards (family cards are great, if you're getting ready to visit relatives)
:: A few drawers from the alphabet box
:: Spinny speller
:: Brain Quest deck
:: Paper people

~Thank you for your comments~


Angela said...

Awesome idea!

Gidget Girl Reading said...

great stuff you would love activities in a bag too

love all the activities

have safe travels and a great time!

tracey (aka rainbowmummy) said...

As always I love all of your ideas!! These are great for everything, I think they would be great if you were going out for a meal.

I have an idea which might be handy, the non slip mats you get for your car dashboard, perhaps you could take a piece of that for James to do his activities on. I have never used the stuff so I don't know if it would work or not, but if it did it would save any rolling onto the floor.

Wishing you all a wonderful time away xx

Karen said...

I love those Mari-Ann!! I prepared a long time ago, some activites here:
But I think now, the activities wasn't too cool!!lol

Zonnah said...

Have fun!

Анна said...

With all those kits you'll surely have a nice trip! Comfortable for everyone:) Great ideas, thank you!

Anonymous said...

yaya love these. I will have to make some of these for our trip to the beach in September! I hope you guys have a great trip! Wave if you fly over Virginia :-)

The Activity Mom said...

those are awesome!!!! =)

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

I love all of your ideas and will use some during our own travel. Have a very safe journey!

(V.Kerr) School Time Adventures said...

I love the sound sorting! What a super idea to keep everything organized so all you have to do is pull out a few letters, and you are good to go!

Anonymous said...

What great ideas! The #1 place I was needing "help" to keep my kids calmed down, is at a sit down restaurant. I think we only went 1-2 times in the past year or two because they just get so crazy and coloring was just not cutting it for them. Now this would totally do the trick!

angelina said...

good planning ahead mama, airplanes and kids can be daunting...stickers have

maiDerin said...

so creative!

jo said...

Hi, great ideas!
You have been featured on The Montessori Goldmine, please pop over and have a look, if you are not happy with the post please let me know, I will happily remove it. If you are happy, please help me spread the word, help yourself to a badge and tell all your friends. Thanks,

Lilymm04 said...

Thanks for sharing im going to add this to my to do list

Mariel Torres said...

such a great idea! better than video games and movies. i will follow your example one day :)

Anonymous said...

Great ideas x

Have been given your address for a postcard swap - have sent them over the weekend.

Lou x

Leptir (Nataša) said...

Great idea Mari-Ann! So interesting activities :-)
Have a great posting break!

Emy said...

Oh what an awesome idea! :-)
I usually make activity kits aswell but yours are way better then mine and I will definitely use this idea for our up coming trip to Spain! :-)

Erin Laughpaintcreate said...

I just found your blog! I LOVE this idea! 5 hours to my parents house would go much quicker with these fun ideas! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to let you know that your post inspired me to trow a "kit" together at the last minute before leaving on a trip last weekend. Though my kit was mosly coloring stuff, it still worked like a charm to keep the kids busy for the drive. And I wrote a post about it and linked back to you! (I'll still have to make some kits like yours so I'm better prepared next time :)

Unknown said...

These are so great. I'm starring this post in Google Reader because I'd like to remember to put some together to have waiting for things like doctors' appointments, etc. I always want to bring something but am usually in too big of a hurry to manage to actually bring something. It would be so convenient to have a few of these ready to go.

Nicole {tired, need sleep} said...

This is how behind I am in reading blogs - I'm about two weeks late. :) Anyway, I just wanted to wish you safe and fun traveling. And I love all of these activities - especially the sorting one! And I know Matthew would love the locks and keys! I've made some mini sticker books by inserting colored paper or small scenes cut from magazines into one of those small purse albums... Matthew can make scenes and then rearrange them too because the stickers come off of the plastic so nicely.

Take care! I look forward to seeing you back here blogging, but I sure hope you are having a great time in the meanwhile! :)

joetroyer said...

Great idea Mari-Ann! So interesting activities .Thanks for sharing.

Gioacchina said...

Hi, I'm Gioacchina and am italian, excuse me for my English. I've two children: Andrè (6 years old) and Aurora (4). Andrè has a big problem with the language (Disturbo dello spettro autistico- Autistic disorder).
Your blog is fantastic. I take some idea for my child. Many many thanks! Bye Gioacchina

Kelly said...

I have done something just like this except we put our stuff in a basket!
See here.

Great Minds think a like! :)

Confessions Of A Homeschooler said...

Those are awesome ideas! Thanks!

Mommy Moment said...

I will be using some of these ideas for our upcoming flight with the girls!

You are so wonderful Mari-Ann!


MommyLydia said...

We have those vehicles and pegs! I got them for our Christmas trip and tried to keep them hidden away for trips, etc. But my son recently found them and insists on playing with them nearly every day! How can I resist when he's having so much fun?

BTW, he sorts the pegs by color too. And gives every member of the family a different color vehicle. And tries to put the same color pegs on the proper color vehicle, etc.

Mama to 5 said...

what an awesome idea! Thank you!

Insightful Brain said...

This is such a great idea! You have such wonderful activities in each one.

Amanda said...

Love it!! My kids are heading overseas with their dad in a few weeks. Can I ask where did you get the bags themselves from?

Marla said...

This is just such a great idea!! I am adding this to my list of things to do!!

Jessie, The Education Of Ours said...

I love it! I think every awesome mother out there has a purse/diaper bag that resembles Mary Poppins' bag. Full of surprises and adventure...

Chris said...

I wonder if you could tell me where your fruit & vegetable cards and colour cards are from
Thanks for sharing your ideas
Many thanks
Chris x

Counting Coconuts said...

Hi all, thanks so much for your comments!

Several of you have commented or emailed me asking where I purchased certain things. Some items, like the linkable shapes and the contents of the sorting bag are items I've had for ages and have collected here and there. For other items I linked to the stores if I could find them online. The rest of the items (like the color, fruit & veggie cards) I purchased here on the island at either our local teacher's supply store, thrift store, or dollar store. I'm afraid I have no links for these things.


Gigi said...

Just wonderful! I started doing this after I saw you post it the first time. I have some for my 5 and 7 year old. I put it in my diaper bag and it is just perfect at restaurants and waiting times!

Their favorite is crayons and the small fun pads.

bkerr said...

I am wondering if you remember where you found your linkable shapes? I have googled and can't find anything close. Thanks for any help

bkerr said...

I just asked where you got your linkable shapes....just saw where you commented on that so don't worry about a reply...Thanks for the ideas.

Melissa said...

What an amazing blog! Thanks so much for your ideas! Already, my "pinterest" homeschooling board is covered in pictures of your ideas. Than you sooooo much for sharing!

Unknown said...

These ideas are such fun! You have a wide variety of ideas that should keep things fun for a long time.

karincro said...

I really like this - but where in the world can I get little bags like that?? I've searched the internet but can't find anything even similar. :(

karincro said...

Love this idea, but where can I find little bags like that? Can't find anything like it on the internet... :(

Julia said...

Can you share where you got the dry erase alphabet cards? I have found many that are just too cutsey...I want something more simple. Thank you.

Counting Coconuts said...

Thanks for your kind comments, everyone!

Karincro: I found the bags locally at our teacher's supply store. Perhaps you could look to your local dollar store or Target?
Julia: If you hover over the caption below the photo you'll see a link to the exact cards I purchased.


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