A budget busy book you can make in an afternoon

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These things. They’re all over Pinterest and it seems that everyone has made one at some point but…have you ever actually SEEN one in action? Probably not. My theory is that the reason we never see them in action is because they’re too fussy, too boring, too time consuming, or require skills that no one has.

I haven’t had one yet because I find them tedious. I don’t want to spend three months sewing a busy book or cutting up tiny felt shapes. Ain’t nobody got time fo dat.

My other hindrance is that a lot of these are academically based, which is not in alignment with Waldorf homeschooling for my child’s age. However, at this point, I’ve got a 4yo who knows his entire alphabet and is sight reading, who can count to twenty and do basic math, and knows all his colors and shapes. So I’m caught between Waldorf and unschooling in that I believe in child-lead learning, just as I myself learned. Having a special needs Gifted and Talented child is about balance.

I made my son a busy book because I run a lot of errands by myself with my new baby. Because I have limited time and resources, I hit up the Dollar Store and was pleasantly surprised to find many of the items I need to make a great little busy book. The rest of the supplies I foraged at Target, my local craft store, and my own home.

Here’s what I found:

IMG_20150718_184105128_HDRYou’ll notice I’ve got a 2in binder here- trust me and get a 3″ if you can find it. I also made use of some AWESOME clear zippered pencil case pouches from the dollar store. The dollar store is where I found this foam alphabet puzzle, which I liked because the letters don’t slip around and it’s flat. I took the letters all out and put them in a pouch so they don’t get lost in transport. The other pouch is another dollar store find- there are bright colored shoe laces and some foam shapes. The foam shapes are traced cookie cutters on foam, that I used a hole punch to cut holes in so the shapes can be laced. Sheet foam is pretty easy to find at craft stores if your dollar store doesn’t have it, or you can trace shapes on card stock or cereal boxes.

Homemade foam lacing: http://www.powerfulmothering.com/how-to-make-foam-lacing-shapes/

IMG_20150718_184255525These pouches are a little more advanced. In the first pouch, you’ll see some graphic cards that I printed off from another website. You can use duplos or legos to stack the pattern. For good measure, I included plenty of knock-off legos that I found in the dollar bin at Target. The cards were printed off and covered in clear contact paper. The second pouch was a garage find, and includes a screw, some washers, a wing nut, a rubber band, paper clip, regular clip, a lock and key, and some metal shower curtain rings. This one is actually the favorite.

Duplo tower cards: http://allourdays.com/2012/10/duplo-blocks-counting-tower-matching-busy-bag.html

IMG_20150718_184358169The first pouch here is more for sensory fulfillment. There’s the ever popular Silly Putty, and some dinosaurs that I found at the dollar store that stretch and change colors from the heat of your hand. They’re kinda gooey. You could also include some other sensory items, depending on what your kiddo likes, but I will probably continue to keep this simple because the “less is more” tactic works best with my kid. The second pouch is another printable. The shapes have numbers 1-5 on them, and I covered them in clear contact paper. The clothes pins have the corresponding number and color to clip to the graphic.

Shapes counting printable: http://www.powerfulmothering.com/shapes-counting-and-colors-busy-bag-with-printable/

IMG_20150718_184440069This next pouch will require you to go to a craft store. I got these pre-colored large popsicle sticks and velcro circles there, and I stuck the velcro to the ends, making one side soft and one side sticky. They’re used for making shapes and building things. The second pouch is an Ispy bag made from brown rice and random objects I had in my craft supplies. I put the objects on my scanner and printed off a color page as a “find it” list, then put it in a page protector.

Velcro dot craft sticks: http://www.powerfulmothering.com/velcro-dot-craft-sticks/

IMG_20150718_184511287My last activity is aimed specifically at my son’s learning curve with cutting. He struggles with writing and cutting, so I put these printables in a sleeve because they’ll stay in better. The safety scissors are on a retractable pin, which I got at the dollar store, along with the clear sleeves.

Scissor cutting pages: http://www.kidslearningstation.com/fine-motor-skills/scissor-skills.asp

Thank you to Powerful Mothering and their Ultimate Guide to Busy Bags!

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2 thoughts on “A budget busy book you can make in an afternoon

  1. This is really neat! Looks like hours of fun!

    You put rice in a zippered pouch?? Doesn’t your kid unzip it and get rice everywhere?

    My workplace is discarding over 100 3″ and 4″ binders! Email me your mailing address if you want me to send you some. I’ve got them stacked up in my office right now while I try to find enough places to donate all of them.

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