I am looking for suggestions on creating a portable toy stash.
I am part of a new church plant and in charge of the nursery/younger children room. Right now I anticipate no more than 10 children probably from birth to first grade. Because of the nature of our temporary (read: 6 months) location, I will need to bring toys with me each service and cannot do anything messy like paints, play-doh, etc.
What I am trying to do is create two toy stashes - one for outside - I have access to a large shady and grassy area - and one for inside on nights weather doesn't permit. I am trying to make these stashes as open ended as possible, hopefully flexible enough to entertain a range of ages and to encourage creative play. What would you include?
I am also open to suggestions on games, activities, etc. Nothing need be Bible themed, we just want to create a safe, loving, and fun place for the little ones to enjoy while their parents worship. :-)
Our most popular play thing is definitely playsilks. You can buy these but for a large number of children it is much more economical to buy plain white scarves and dye them (if you don't care what they look like you can just buy what you can find at thrift stores). Anyway, I have an age range of 1 to sometimes as old as 10 and they all love the playsilks. Added benefit they take up very little room so they will be easy for you to transport.
Something to draw with - we have crayons and pencils and the pencils are the most popular. We have the nice big fat Lyra colored pencils. They don't break like other pencils and they last a long time. They are a great size and shape for the younger kids but well sharpened they are good for the moe detailed drawings the older kids like. For paper I get plain white sulphite paper from Discount School Supply.
I would say some kind of blocks, maybe some KEVA planks or Kapla Blocks. I think there are a few other brands of this type of simple plank block. The older kids do some elaborate stuff with them but even the littles can stack them or bang them around and so on.
Something my kids all really love are these little puzzle people, we got ours from Down to Earth Toys. They are little wooden figures with numbers on them and they can be used as a game, as a puzzle, as figures in block play...
Some balls - we have these awesome balls that are basically a fabric shell into which you can put a balloon. So they're really lightweight but if the balloon pops the pieces stay inside the fabric. Good for inside or out. I got ours at Nova Natural but I have seen them on Etsy too.
homemaker mama to and due in March
Maybe jump ropes for the bigger kids, beach balls (they could be deflated for space saving and would be okay to play with indoors. What about a felt board for indoors. With felt stories, finger puppets, hand puppets, bubbles for outside.