Tip #6: Create Activity Kits

Make activity kits using supplies you already have to keep children busy during transitions (the time between one activity and the next) and other tricky times of the day.

True Story: Beverly used screens to entertain her 3-year-old daughter Binah during transitions and lulls in the day. She realized that if she had more organization and ready-to-go activities, she wouldn’t need to use screens. So she decided to make “activity kits,” containers that organize collections of toys and materials that she would have at her fingertips. Beverly went to a local shoe store and asked for some shoeboxes, which the store happily provided for free. She and Binah decorated the boxes and organized the toys and art supplies into the separate containers. Now, instead of reaching for a smartphone or tablet during transitions or downtimes, Beverly grabs an activity kit for Binah!

Outcome: Beverly says it was a challenge to get organized and sort all the toys, but that it was worth the effort. Since she has a system for switching the boxes so the same ones are not in use all the time, the activities stay fresh and fun for her daughter. Beverly notices that Binah plays more creatively now that these go-to activities replace screen time during the day. And Beverly feels like a more organized, confident parent.

Beverly says: “I found myself using screens with my daughter to get through periods of the day when I didn’t have a plan. Now, using toys and materials we already have, I’m able to easily provide enriching experiences for her at those times. It’s been totally life-changing for both of us.”

Did you know? Toys like puzzles, blocks, and shape games—great items for an activity kit—help children develop spatial skills, which are linked to success in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).1 

 

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1. Verdine, B.N., Golinkoff R.M., Hirsh-Pasek, K., & Newcombe, N.S. (2014). Finding the missing piece: Blocks, puzzles, and shapes fuel school readiness. Trends in Neuroscience and Education 3(1), 7-13.