Saturday, 3 May 2014

After school busy boxes

For a long time I've struggled with making dinner in the evenings. We all eat together at around 6pm when my husband arrives home from work, and so from around 5.15pm I need to be making lunchboxes and dinner. Both children are tired, getting hungry, and generally one of them is screaming. I find it all very stressful, and although things have improved over the last few months it's still a struggle. Harry would probably quite happily sit down and do something quietly, but Mia won't sit still and she's always interrupting what he's doing.

So I've put together five boxes, one for each weekday evening, packed with things that will hopefully keep them entertained while I'm busy. Each box is about the size of a shoebox, and they are all filled with things that we had around the house anyway, I didn't buy anything new. I collect activity books from restaurants and I put aside small things that they receive in party bags. Several of the boxes have a small Lego kit in which Harry has been given at some point.

after school busy box ideas


I do still need to be involved with helping them, for example filling up Aquadoodle pens or blowing up balloons, but there is usually something new to them in there that keeps them occupied, at least for a few minutes. I set a few rules - the boxes are to be played with on the kitchen table only, everything goes back in the box at dinnertime, no fighting over the contents and not too much input from me. I also only get one out if they are not occupied with anything else.

after school busy boxes


Here are some of the things that I've put in the boxes:

Aquadoodle mats and pens
Colouring books and small packs of crayons
Balloons
Bubbles
Mini highlighters
Small jigsaws
Golf tees
Mini activity books
Plasticine
PlayDoh
Letter and number flashcards
Stickers and coloured paper to stick on
Small Lego kits
Card games
Simple craft kits
Small bottles and dried pasta
Finger puppets
Beads and string

I have also kept a few things in reserve to add into the boxes to keep it fresh, and I'll probably also put some seasonal things in there too. It has worked really well, there is great excitement when I produce a box with some forgotten toys in, and it's a great way to rotate some of those smaller toys and activities.

I am absolutely thrilled to be short-listed for a Brilliance in Blogging Award in the Crafts category! If you would like to vote for me to reach the finals you can find the form here - BiBs Shortlist Voting Form - thank you so much :)

11 comments:

  1. I love the idea of this! I am going to have to do similar. And I really got to sort out both of my two's toys! Play room is a mess!

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    1. Thank you! I find that toy rotation works really well and this is a way of doing it with some of those smaller toys. They play much longer with things that they've not seen for a while.

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  2. This is a really great idea - You can be there but not needed the whole time and it's something 'new' to do! x

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    1. Thank you! Yes, they do still need me to be around to help with things, but for short periods it keeps them quite so I can get on with the cooking!

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  3. This is amazing! I will def be doing this x

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  4. What a great idea, that time of day is always stressful! x

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    1. Thank you! It's easily the worst time of day for me, I get so stressed and shouty when I'm trying to get on with dinner. This has helped a lot.

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  5. This is a great ide to get them entertained! X

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  6. Always loved busy boxes when they stopped taking naps.... And having something to keep them busy as you cook dinner, even when they are older, is so nice!

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