While preparing for our vacation to New York, I started gathering ideas for a busy box. I found some activities that others had put together in pinterest but I also wanted to make some changes to make it more quiet, easier to travel with, as well as make new activities that would cater better to Riley’s likes.
I also always try to find ways to make learning games for Riley. It’s one thing for kids to play with toys but another when you engage. Pointing out the shape of objects, naming objects, asking the color of objects or numbers of something are all ways to engage a child through play.
The first activity I made was after remembering one of her favorite activities from playgroup where I made a magnetic fishing game. I wanted to make a miniature version of it so I made a felt piece with a little pond and made some felt fish with a magnet inside. Then on a popsicle stick I added a sting and magnet to make a little fishing pole. This was one of Riley’s favorite games. She loved fishing and naming the colors of the fish that she captured.
I continued to make a couple games dealing with shapes where she can make a forrest scene and MISC shapes to play with on a felt surface. One game that I made that honestly I didn’t expect much from but it quickly became her favorite was I made a set of shapes with a hole in them. Then I made her a string that she could use to string the shapes just like making a necklace. She was amused with this game for a good 30 mins on the flights and even asked for this game at the hotel so she could play it during quiet time. Since getting home she is also always asking us for it so she can make necklaces. I might have a future jewelry maker on my hands.
I also included a small thing of play doh, post it notes to stick around the plane, a bunch of stickers, stamps, and a notebook. I also had color pencils and crayons so that she could color and place the stickers somewhere. I also put in some magnetic blocks so she could build stuff on the metal tin. These while a bit on the pricey side is definitely one of the best things I put in there.
Riley’s favorite toy at home is her play kitchen. She spends hours making us things to eat so I had to figure out a way to bring some of this creativity onto a plane. I decided on Pizza, and cupcakes. For the Pizza set, I made two circles and then an assortment of toppings that she can put on it and give to us. For the cupcakes I made a bunch of colorful sprinkles so she can decorate them. She had a blast making pizzas for us and still plays with these from time to time. She did keep saying she wanted to make a sandwich so when I got back from our trip, I also made a sandwich kit.
For Riley’s busy box I made a road that went around the box and some extra cut outs so she could drive a little car around. I ended up finding this was kind of card. So when I got home I made a new felt platform and more roads that the kids can build their own roads. It is totally big enough for people to bring a favorite car to put in the box and drive on, or I included two felt cars that they can pretend to drive around the roadways.
Another activity I made trying to blend food and colors together was I made these rainbow popsicles. You can make this into a matching game where you need to match the colors or the kids can play and mix the popsicles. Either way it is one of the fun little learning games inside.
While posting about the making of her box and seeing it in action on the plane, I thought it would be a great way to help parents who are flying with their toddlers as well as activities for home. I plan to keep making more activities for home and for use in the busy boxes.
If you have ideas for more games you want to see, please comment below! Also tell me which game you think your kids would like the most!
If you want to get a hold of your own busy box, please head over to my Etsy page! I also sell the items separately too so you don’t need to buy a full box.