Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cheap and Easy Travel Toys

Before I get to the cheap and easy travel toy, I have a confession: I spent $50 on laminate for the purpose of laminating 100 numbered ships. Abi's daycare teacher Miss Beth suggested counting our days on the ship using a numbered picture to mark each day. This would culminate in a 100 days party. This is a magnificent activity that will give a sense of routine to our days. However, ship policy dictates we can't stick our boats up with tape, so I'm turning them into magnets. The laminate will save us from having to put several pieces of magnet on each ship.
Laminating 100 ships takes a loooong time people, so I spent a lot of time thinking of the wonders of laminate.
Abi loves writing with dry erase markers. Her dad made a chore chart out of an old binder cover with a pocket on the front.
There is a piece of paper with some clip art, checkboxes, and simple chore descriptions behind the clear sleve. The pocket on the back can be used to hold a pen. Abi carries the chart around like an inspector as she puts things away. She loves marking off each task as complete, and seems to have a special sense of ownership over what might otherwise be a mundane task. We can wipe and reuse the chart every day. The total cost of this project was pennies, as we already had all of the components lying around.

Is it just me or shouldn't this idea already be invented and in Wal-Mart stores everywhere? If you have an old binder with a clear cover, the possibilities are endless:
  • Print out simple clip art shapes for "complete the picture" activities -- a circle that can be turned into a silly face over and over again, or a square that can be made into a house.
  • Put worksheets behind the sleeve so your child can "practice" a few times before making the final fill-in.
  • Put maze, connect the dot, and matching activities behind the sleeve so your child can redo a fun maze several times.
  • Put a map behind the sleeve and practice filling in the names of countries.

All these activities could be hole-punched and included in a three-ring binder, rotating them as desired. For example, if you were studying "under the sea", you could include several fun activities related to aquatic life and your child could use the binder throughout the week, repeating activities as desired. With the addition of a pocket for an erasing rag and some dry erase pens, this could be a really fun, innexpensive, and quiet activity to take on a long trip!

1 comment:

Durr Family said...

Good ideas. I can't wait until my Abby is old enough.