May 28, 2009

Build Your Own Busy Kit (Part 2: Play)

This is the second post for Build Your Own Busy Kit, a series of tips for assembling kids travel activities. Whether you are headed out on vacation, or just seeking things to do for quiet time, My Busy Kit makes combinations to encourage independent and creative play. We always include something for coloring, playing, creating & discovering. This post will elaborate on the second category, Play (i.e., characters and props to encourage imaginary or pretend play).

When I watch my two daughters, I can tell that playing is their job. They've got work to do, and they do it well. Ponies need hairbows, cars need garages, and rockets need to go to the moon. The stories that unfold are the product of lively imaginations, and the props are examples of resourcefulness. My job, as their mother, is to get out of the way as they get down to business on lazy weekend mornings. My job, as a busy kit builder, is to provide some portable tools so they can play on the road. Below is a selection of things we've included for pretend play in My Busy Kits, but one quick walk around the house and you'll find plenty of choices.

Finger puppets, action figures, bendi dolls, mini animals, vehicles, knights, ninjas, bugs, or even stretchy lizards can all be part of the mix. Any portable character, preferably with a buddy so there can be some sort of interchange, can work great for making up those stories. We especially love food shaped erasers for 'feeding' our characters, and craft sticks that can be colored into puppets.

But don't stop there. When you are sitting on the tarmac on a 3 hour layover (like we did last summer in Chicago) we combined the Color category with the Play category by using markers, tape, paper and scissors to cut out decorations for a Pony Parade across the tray tables. I think it was the most decorated seat row in airplane history, but it got us through the jam!

Do you have more ideas that work well for pretend play? We would love your read your comments, because ideas are what keep us busy!

Tune in for our next post in the series, which will cover "Create" (construction toys, crafts and manipulatives).

Lorraine Akemann / Co-founder / My Busy Kit


Tiffany T said...

How about a little dress silk scarf and a pair of sunglasses? My kids would laugh for hours with these two props alone.

I love the design hole punches that are included in your kits too. They are unique in that my kids can use them without difficulty and they make holes in different shapes than just "boring ole circles" as my 6-year old said.

Carolina said...

3 hours on the tarmack, ouch! Maybe the busy kits should include vodka for mom. Kidding (kinda!)

I agree with Tiffany, I like the hole punches, I would've never thought of that. My kiddo loved to take his trains along everywhere. There was a lot of choo-chooing on the plane.

amida said...

Hey I make these for my little girl, who has to do a lot of waiting while her brothers are in class. I find that pen and paper is a must have for her kits. Thanks for more ideas on what to fill her bags with!

Lorraine Akemann said...

Great ideas - we've put a silk scarf in one of the earlier versions and I think it would be a great idea to bring back. It's so open-ended. Also, a lot of what kids like doing is just wrapping things up, and unwrapping again. Scarves are perfect for that.

badgermama said...

Pipe cleaners are my favorite thing for this, because they can become almost any accessory. They can make rooms, clothes or crowns for other toys to wear, tools, swords, ropes for climbing, snakes...