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busy baskets for a gifted 5 year old?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

our 5 year old must be part border collie, she needs a "job." staying busy makes her happy and keeps her from doing dangerous and crazy things.... 


she loves hands on activities, but i have trouble finding enough stuff to keep her really busy. my MIL gave me a bag of craft "projects" from the dollar store to "save for a rainy day." she did all six projects in one morning before 8 am. nut.gif


i see these "busy bags" for toddlers on pinterest, but could use more ideas for a bright and hyper almost 6 year old. she doesn't really read yet, but likes writing, coloring, cutting, gluing, painting, sensory activities, etc. i need things she can do by herself or with a friend without making a hugh mess, will keep her interested but not be *too* challenging, as she is impatient. (but will focus on the right kind of project)



post #2 of 16

She may be a bit too young for this, but maybe not . . . what about those pot holder weaving looms?  My daughter could do the weaving at age six, and now at age seven, she can also finish off the sides with the crochet hook.  It is so fun to design the potholders and select colors, and it's a great mom and daughter project.  In fact, my daughter is going to be selling some of her potholders at a local craft fair in Sept.


The loops can get pricey, but at your daughter's age, it will probably take her a couple of hours or more to complete each pot holder. 


Just an idea!

post #3 of 16

Have you ever showed her how to make snowflakes?  (I'm thinking of the simple kind where you fold a square piece of paper in half 3 times and then cut shapes around the edges.)  That does make a mess, but it's just paper, not anything that will require scrubbing to clean up.


And how about simple sudoku puzzles like this?  You can find kids' sudoku books if you want to avoid screen time.  If you're okay with screen time, you could also show her how to use Paint or let her type things in Word.

post #4 of 16

Sudoku, word searches, origami, finger-knitting, hoop-knitting, or just plain knitting, a deck of cards for simple games of solitaire (at that age my kids even enjoyed playing games of War or Crazy 8's with themselves), Greatest Dot-to-Dot books, Mindware coloring books, Speed Stacks cups, tangrams, Rush Hour game, cats cradle string games. 





post #5 of 16

We order Puzzle Buzz from Highlights for our daughter (6.5) and she loves it.  It has lots of various puzzles and games and sticker activities.  What about a sketch book with various drawing media, modeling clay, geoboards and strings, an origami book with paper, ThinkFun games (like Rush Hour, Shape-by-Shape), Set ... ?  My daughter loves to draw and make crafts herself, so white cardstock, scissors, glue, and markers can keep her occupied for an hour.

post #6 of 16
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 

thanks for all the ideas mamas! i will have to check out the stuff i am not familiar with. 


i wish i could tell what level those preschool activities in a bag are. i have a feeling my DD might be beyond them. 

post #8 of 16

Click on the Sample button on that page and you can see a table of contents for the activities. They also have other activity bags kits worth checking out as well.

post #9 of 16

Jigsaw puzzles? Origami? Lego kits?

post #10 of 16

Perplexus: http://www.amazon.com/Perplexus-Maze-Game-PlaSmart-Inc/dp/B002NPBT50

post #11 of 16

I have the same question!  I was looking today at some "logic" games, like Tangoes Jr., Castle Logix, and Cat and Mouse GoGetter,  I only noticed those ones because they are on sale from Zulily today.


 Beading seems to work rather well for ds.  We have pony beads and some wooden beads and I just got "fuse beads" which are even smaller. So far he just strings them and make patterns and stuff.  I want to see if in the next year we could try making different patterns where you have two threads and you go back and forth to make a picture.  Like this.


I laminate mazes and pages from Kumon workbooks for him to complete with dry erase markers.


He's done some sewing with burlap or plastic canvas.


We have pattern blocks and pattern block cards (you can find a lot of the pattern block cards for free online).

post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 

i found this on pinterest. there is some stuff here that is too easy and some that is just right! i'm excited. and she can help me make some of them. 



post #13 of 16

I HS my 4 yro and 6 yro, but sometimes need extra time to work with my oldest and have to keep the 4 yro busy. Enter busy basket - filled with tangram puzzles, 'play' dough and tools, puzzles, stickers / sticker books, stamps / stamp pads, beads, dry erase markers (for coloring on windows or mirrors), special markers, chalk and mini-chalk board, patterned hole punches, patterned edge scissors, and paper. I rotate items so there is generally something new(ish) in the basket, and it is only to be played with when I am working with my older kiddo (keeping it fun). If your kiddo likes puzzles, the tangram are the best!  

post #14 of 16

Something that I have found to control the mess of crafts, games, etc. is to put it on a tray at the kitchen table. Each child has their own tray. Play-doh, painting, gluing, cutting, etc. It keeps the mess pretty much contained. Hope that helps.

post #15 of 16

A few thoughts, based on my own very, very busy and gifted 5yo girl.  ;)


- We have one of those loop-loom things.  She is absolutely able to use it.  Her first project needed a lot of my help, but the further she got along with it the more independent she was.  Same story with latch hooking and spool knitting.  We're starting to work on 'real' knitting but that's still a challenge for her.


- Open-ended toys rather than closed projects.  For example, a big tub of lego, that she can construct into whatever she wants.  Or a big marble drop toy -- assemble it in dozens of different ways, and then spend hours dropping marbles through it, deconstructing and reconstructing.  Tinkertoys.  Play kitchens.  Dolls and doll clothes and doll beds.  Playsilks and a 'tickle trunk' of costumes.  A tray of watercolour paints and a stack of paper.  A bunch of cans of playdoh.  Of course closed craft projects are great too, but as you've learned, once they're done, they're done.  Open-ended toys are only limited by the child's own imagination.


- Doesn't have to all be crafts and toys.  She's old enough for chores, and in fact it's a great age for doing chores.  My daughter today, ALL HER OWN IDEA, decided to clean the bathroom.  Just because she wanted to act like a grownup and "be a cleaner".  She sorted out all the toothbrushes (old and new), tidied the counter (which was really quite cluttered and messy), washed the sink, etc etc.  And proudly came and got me to show me what she had done.  Then she went to work in MY room -- didn't have much time, but she put all the dirty laundry in the hamper.  Small but significant cleaning tasks really help a 5yo feel 'grownup' and a valuable, contributing member of the family.  She also said she plans to clean the stairwell walls tomorrow.  She also loves to help me cook.  There are only a few kitchen tasks that she really can't do -- most she can do with supervision, and many she can even do completely independently.  Basically, if a child wants to do "jobs" all the time -- then give them real jobs. We don't have to always 'dumb it down' and assume that a child should only have 'toys' and never do "real" work!

post #16 of 16

My 4 yo loves doing mazes, so I print out a bunch from KrazyDad.com - awesome site, he has sudoku for kids too, and many other puzzles.  Also, I made a geoboard (idea from this blog: http://www.filthwizardry.com/2010/01/giant-homemade-geoboard.html)  and my son loves it....he enjoyed making it as much as playing with it.  We also get rolls of paper from IKEA and put down long sheets on the floor ... he draws stores and roads (stickers and crayons)... and we also put long sheets of paper on the wall, and both he and my almost 2yo love putting stickers on them.  I buy tons of stickers at Michaels, Target, dollar stores.  That keeps them busy for a while.

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