Monday, April 2, 2012

Naturally Curious Activity Bags

Inspired by a gift idea for my nephew, I came up with an idea for a set of travel activity bags.  My sister in law and her family are taking a plane trip in a few months and for my nephew these bags are meant to entertain him on the 6 hour flight.  O takes a backpack in with him whenever we go to a restaurant or a place that we know there won't be any toys or many child friendly things to engage with and now his it's filled with his own set of activity bags that he plays with until our food arrives.   

After receiving some positive feedback about the idea, I decided to go ahead with plans of selling the activity bags to fellow parents who are looking for new and fun ways of keeping their little ones entertained while outside their home.  These bags can be tossed individually into a diaper bag or kept together as a set in a toddler sized backpack.  

Below are some examples of the bags that are already completed.  

1. Chalkboard and chalk - the board was made by me and the chalk is Crayola

2. Blocks - 1 inch square all natural building blocks, 10 in this bag.

3. Cars - 3 different wooden cars

4. Beading - This bag can contain large round beads or small square beads, for now.  Also included is 3 pipe cleaners which is a great tool for learning how to bead.

The following are action shots of O with his bags at breakfast one morning.

Beading with the large circle beads and a pipe cleaner.

Drawing furiously with chalk.

Building with blocks.

Stacking with spools.

Putting the spools away.

He loves putting things back into the bags.

Driving his cars.

Right now, I'm looking for testers for these bags.  Kids like different things and not all parents want their kids driving cars across the table in a restaurant so I need some help on what people are looking for, what works and what doesn't.  I will most likely be setting up listings in an Etsy shop for the tester sets but if you're interested upon reading this post just let me know.  I'm still unsure of the price but it will be affordable.  There will be an additional $5 charge that I will refund when I receive a completed questionnaire from you based on your experiences with the bags.

Currently, I have supplies to make more Build, Drive, Draw (crayons and notepad), Chalk, Beads, and Stack (spools) bags with some possible others.  The sets will be best suited for 18 months to 2.5 years but there may be some exceptions in either direction based on your child's fine motor skills and their experiences in places like restaurants.  We can certainly chat about it and decide if it's right for you.

The bags will always contain activities that will encourage development in areas such as fine motor and cognitive skills.  I will also include ideas on ways to use the items in different ways and to enhance the skill level or to focus on a certain developmental domain.  

I am currently researching wholesale websites where I can order all natural art materials like Clementine products, eco friendly and/or natural toys and other items.  I'd love to hear ideas and requests.  

So, again, if you are interested in being a tester keep an eye out for the Etsy shop OR get in touch with me now by commenting on this post with your email address, commenting or messaging me through Facebook, or sending an email to  


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Making Rainbow Shaky Bottles

We had a request for shaky bottles from O's Aunt for his cousin T.  He loved O's set when he was at our house so for his birthday we got to work.  

O helped pour the water.  Yes, some of it made it in the bottle.  

But, this happened too.

I added the food coloring to the water and O was in charge of shaking it up.

Getting fancy, two at one time!

The complete set.

Packing them up in the gift bag, also made by O.

And the birthday boy opening his gift!

(In this picture you can also see O flirting with one of the older girls at the party)

Most people look at these and say "What are those?"  Well, they are really anything that your little one wants them to be.  In our house they are used for shaking, stacking, putting into and taking out of things like baskets and bags, looking through to see the world in a different color and catching the light from the window, lining up on a shelf, counting, color labeling, and much more.  As an infant I made O sensory bottles that had noodles, beans, and buttons that he could grab and shake, shake, shake to hear the different sounds.  He still uses those with his musical instruments (I'll add a photo soon).  

As a teacher I've made them with styrofoam peanuts, glitter both in water and alone in the bottle, bells, all kinds of dry foods, baby oil, natural materials like pebbles, sticks and acorns.  You can really add anything you can think of!