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Just wanted to share something I learned this week . . .

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For the last several months, my three year old has been soooo difficult when I have tried to do one-on-one school with his older brothers. I was so fed up last week and I got really introspective and decided that it was my fault for not helping him find useful/fun/engaging things to do during school.


So I made up a bunch of activity bags--using random junk around the house; I didn't buy anything--and tried them out this week and, oh my, he's an entirely different child. And it isn't just during school--now that mama isn't frustrated by the time school is over, the entire emotional climate for the rest of the day (and for everyone in this house) is totally different. It feels like a different family--no joke. I have to be honest and say that my gut reaction to that child has changed from "I love him but he sure is going through a difficult phase" to "he's so sweeeeeet!"


Anyway. Just a thought for those of you struggling with littles. I'm once again aware of (1) how much power I wield as the mom of this small brood and (2) how a very small amount of effort upfront pays huge dividends later.


And, for anyone who is interested, here's the most popular activity bags:


(1) A few small plastic cups and old medicine droppers with an inch of water in one cup.


(2) A few cookie cutters with paper and pencil to trace around the shapes.


(3) A book from the friends of the library sale (one dollar!!) with five jigsaw puzzles in it


(4) A sheet of cardstock with foam alphabet letters (from any craft aisle) glued on it and a second copy of each letter to place on top of it.


(5) Matching cards--index cards cut in half with the same color/pattern stickers on both.


(6) A bunch of file folder games from an old book I had (you can find ff games to print out free online, too).


I'd love more ideas for activity bags if you have them.


Thanks for letting me share this small victory. :)

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Thank you so much for posting this! I'm going to work harder at keeping my littles entertained while I'm doing school with the older 2 kiddos. I love the dropper and cup idea, I know my ds will love that!

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My middle dd is a busy busy child. Once she began doing school work every day, the tone of the whole house changed. I also took stock and realized I needed to make sure there was something for my 3 yo to do while we're working. She plays with pattern blocks, trains, playdough, and dolls a lot. They're *job* though is wearing off quickly. I love you're ideas! :D Here I've been thinking I need to go spend oodles of money for more activities but your suggestions are right up my frugal alley! Thanks for posting!

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It's so great when we find something that works.


Another thing I did for my toddler at the time was to buy a container of plastic beads and a roll of plastic string (both at Walmart). They were big enough that she could string them, and the plastic string is easily untied to make new creations.


I also made a flannel board by wrapping flannel around corkboard and cutting several shapes out of felt. I made people and clothes and letters and I can't remember what else. She played with this for hours.


Also, if you can stand it :), I let her do my hair while I was working with the older two. This also kept her busy for long periods of time, and provided me with some pretty wacky hairdos.


Hope these help.



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