Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Save it for a rainy day.

As I mentioned back in my pom popper post, this past summer my entire family embarked on an epic road trip to the backwoods of Wisconsin - in the extreme northwest.  We stayed in a cabin on a private island in the middle of a small lake.  There was no air conditioning.  And worse - no cable.  Which meant that when there was inside time - for instance if it rained (and let's face it, it's Wisco.  Which means it's not a matter of IF it rains, but WHEN) - the kids would need diversions.  Something to keep them busy.  Something to beat the boredom.  Stuff they could (theoretically) do on their own OR with each other.  

I set out to create the Rainy Day Box.  And in the coming months, a lot of us could probably use a "Snowy Day" Box - or up here in the frozen tundra, even a "35 Below 0, Freeze Any Bare Skin in 3.5 Seconds" Box.  So I'm gonna show you

Ok, obviously this isn't rocket science.  There are a lot of ideas out there, I just want to share this very compact, travel friendly version.  You could easily take this on a plane or car ride (or a boat or train!) It's quick to throw together, has multiple time occupiers, and can be catered to the needs and interests of your kid!

Let's take a peek, shall we?  
I painted the kids' names on top - each in a different color.  The color part is really important - remember how I mentioned the color coding back in the post?  It was pretty essential to keeping the peace between the four kiddos.  
Each kid had a main color that was the same across their items and toys - red, yellow, green and blue. I made a few items out of fabric (shown below) and for those items, there was one print of coordinating fabric for each child - puppies, giraffe, cats, flowers.  The kids always knew for sure which was theirs and there was less fighting this way.

Let's take a look inside, shall we?
I purchased the blue boxes at the dollar store.  They weren't super big, but still large enough for us to pack everything in.  

To begin with, each of the kids got a little felt pouch - left over from these valentine's day cards.  

(I didn't have yellow, so Zoe got pink.  But the rest of the kids got the right color.)  Inside the pouch, each kid got three "magic grow" capsules.  (You put them in water and the capsule dissolves and the inside expands into these spongy animals.)  I got them at the dollar store.

Under the capsules, there was a special drawstring bag.  Sort of like the bags from my fort kit post.  I used the patterned fabric unique for each kid and made long "cords" out of knit in each of the main colors.  Inside the draw string bag was an entire army of... well, an army.  Each army was a different color, so the kids could tell their soldiers apart.  They waged epic pom pom battles.  Well, Zoe didn't.  Hers just talked to each other.  I got the soldiers in different colors at the dollar store - they have green, gray, dark blue and red.

Next up, I made a little "garage" for each kid out of their color.  It's a simple pouch that is divided into three sections, with a band around the top that has velcro closures above each compartment.  Each child got three hot wheels cars - and since I couldn't really color code the cars (not enough of each color - amazingly) I drew their first initial on the bottom of the cars in their specific color.  When they started fighting over the "cool cars" I just reminded them to check for their letter.

Finally, I sewed crayon rolls.  I'd never sewn a crayon roll before, and I just made it up as I went... the next time I make one, I'd for sure base mine on A Girl and A Glue Gun's  (or even this cute one with the built in section for a small memo pad) since she's the authority on crayon rolls.  Seriously.  But, oh well.  It worked.  And kudos of you noticed the outside is the kid's color and the inside is the kid's print.

Phew!  That was four tiny pouches with clips, four drawstring bags, four "garage" pouches, and four crayon rolls - all color coded. 

There was also room in the little boxes to add a few more things that I didn't make.  They got a mini puzzle (again, most were color coordinated - a red crab, a green turtle, etc) and I wrote their name on the back in their color just in case.  They came in a four pack at the dollar store. 

Each kid got a baggie with flash cards inside (because by that point I was sewn out and totally uncreative.)  They each got flash cards that I thought would match their interests... though I could totally have been wrong.  Zoe got these alphabet cards, Ezra got outer space cards, Kaia got animals and Gabe got dinosaurs.  I got them all long ago in the Target dollar section and have been hoarding saving them.
I found binoculars and "creatures" at the dollar store.  I wrote their name on the side of the binoculars in the right color (since Zoe can't read yet, the color system was handy) and put them in the box with a few "creatures" - mainly frogs, crickets and bats - that we could hide around the house and have them "explore" with their binoculars to find them.
They each got a giant bouncy balloon in their color and two lacing cards each.  

Amazingly, even with all of that, I still had room to include the pom poppers and pom poms.

See them all stacked up?

The first rainy day we had the kids still went outside for a while.  But toward dinner time when they were getting hungry and restless, I whipped out the boxes and showed them each their treasures.  They had enormous fun with the balloons.
(Some of them had a little too much fun, ahem.)

And mini particular liked having conversations with her "little dolls."

There was a lot of excitement over the spongy animals - everyone sitting around the bowl guessing what each one would be...

Fortunately, I had packed some coloring books in the "art kit" so the kids put their crayon rolls to good use as well.  (The art kit I packed was a "communal" art tote for everyone to use.  It included four coloring books, white paper, a little construction paper, tape, double sided tape, scissors, glue stick, brown paper bags, craft sticks, pipe cleaners, paint with water books and brushes, and some Color Wonder paint which I actually ended up throwing away.  I swear, that stuff is messier than actual paint.)  We got a lot of use out of this kit, along with the rainy day boxes.

That kept them busy!  For a total of 20 minutes...

*Be sure to check the right sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!

1 comment:

lisbonlioness said...

Nothing short of genius.
They must have felt like it was a mini- version of Christmas day when they unpacked all that cool stuff. Heck, I myself would have loved to receive one of those boxes, but then again, I'm only 34, so that's totally cool with me.
I love that Zoe had her army 'round for group therapy... makes me smile to think that the best she could do with soldiers was have a good, in- depth chat. Gotta adore that girl. And a girl who loves yellow is a superstar anyway!

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