Friday, December 14, 2012

Gift Idea for a Second-Time Mom - The Busy Box

One of the things I struggled with most after we brought Graham home from the hospital (aside from his constant crying for nearly five months) was how to keep Harrison occupied while baby brother was nursing.  At 19 months old, Harrison was constantly on the move!  He wasn't yet old enough to be unmonitored or play by himself, to understand why Mommy couldn't play with him, or to sit still for 20-30 minutes at a time.  Who am I kidding?  Graham took 45 minutes to nurse!  And that was a-okay with me because it was one of the few times he was actually quiet!  But it caused frustration for Harrison and, in turn, me as I tried to balance the needs of each of my sons simultaneously.

Watching videos helped but Graham nursed roughly eight times a day and Harrison had zero interest in watching that much television.  Snacks helped too but I couldn't always coordinate Graham's feeding times with Harrison's snack times. 

Finally, a friend suggested putting together some "special toys" for Harrison that were only allowed to come out when Mommy was nursing.  Further, she recommended purchasing a variety of things and to rotate them so that the activities/toys stayed new and exciting.  I went to the dollar store and to Target's dollar spot and stocked up on inexpensive things that I hoped would keep him occupied and out of mischief while I nursed Graham.

In the end, Harrison enjoyed his "special nursing toys" and it made feeding times so much easier for me!

One of my friends is currently pregnant with her second baby, due in January.  Her first-born son is a busy, busy boy!  I thought she might like to have a box of items in her arsenal for those times she just needs her sweet ball of energy to occupy himself for a moment or two, so I put together a Busy Box for her.

It included some store-bought items:
A basket full of darling finger puppets, purchased at Ikea. 
The Moon Shines Down by Margaret Wise Brown
Ribbon-wrapped burp cloths for baby.

Then I added some items I made at home.

 This plastic container began it's life housing cashews from Costco.  I simply wrapped it in green and white paper to make it a bit prettier.  Now it holds large star erasers which can be used to dump out and put back again. 

They are fantastic for stacking - see how high you can build your tower!  They are great for counting - let's make piles of five!  The are fun for playing hide and seek - hide five of them around the living room and let your child find them.  Then they can hide five for you to find.

And the kid-friendly tweezers are awesome for developing fine motor skills - let's see if we can pick up the stars with the tweezers!  (The star erasers were bought online from Oriental Trading Company and the tweezers are Learning Resources brand, purchased online at Amazon).

 Another sheet of coordinating green and white paper covered this hot cocoa tin.  Now it stores sheets of paper and a variety of stickers.  What kid doesn't love using stickers?!  Often kids (my sons included) tend to stick them everywhere except the paper, but let's not forget the point of the Busy Box...I was just happy Harrison was keeping himself occupied.  I honestly didn't care that I had to peel stickers off the hardwood floors later. 

This is simply a paint tray and pony beads.  (Purchased at Target and the Dollar Tree, respectively).  Dump some beads into the center of the tray and they can be used to sort colors.  They can also be used for counting.  An older child could string them, too. 

This was formerly a McCormick's Taco Seasoning container.  I filled it with straws and two types of chenille stems - regular and fuzzy.  Simply dump out the contents, replace the lid, and try to put everything back inside through the holes in the lid.  Again, this is good for developing those fine motor skills.  The straws are much easier to get into the holes than the pipe cleaners, so there's some problem solving skills involved here too. 

So now my friend has at least five new activities to pull off the shelf when the occasion calls for it!  An inexpensive, yet meaningful and functional gift!

1 comment:

April said...

Those are such good ideas, Rachel! I wish I had those ideas earlier in my baby nursing life. Still, I think I may put a busy box together now, because I can see how it would be useful during dinner prep time, to keep those little hands busy. I will definitely keep this in mind as a gift for future second time moms. Thanks Rach! You are so creative! Love you!