Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Our Activity Cabinet For Children

We started our first official day of school on Monday. I still have some things to tweak in our schedule, mainly how to fit it all in and still get a nap!

Before we started school I made sure that I got our activity cabinet all straightened up. This is where I store things that I don't want the children having instant access to, as we all know that children love to mix pieces of games. These are reserved for times when Mama really needs to get something done, so I'll pull a new activity out of the cabinet. It doesn't always work, but having variety of some kind is nice.

I swiped, oops, I mean politely asked my husband for the use of this cabinet. :) He was using it in his cabinet shop but he graciously emptied it for me and put his screws and drawer glides on something different. It's just a big plastic shelf with doors. I think it's made more for a garage but it fit just right at the back of my laundry room, which is off of our dining room where we do school.

No, you may NOT see the rest of my laundry room right now! ;)

At the very top I store our GeoSafari. Growing up we had a GeoSafari and I was determined to find one for my children. We have some early phonics type games and geography games. We are working on learning all of our states this year so the USA game cards will be used a lot. My oldest is seven, and I still pretty much have to sit and supervise this game, but that's ok! I enjoy playing it with him. :)

On the first shelf I have a tub of magnext which is a popular item around here! My boys just love to play with these and I've been amazed over some of the neat creations they have built with them.

Then we have playdough (does anyone else have a love/hate relationship with playdough?) a flannel book that was mine when I was little, doodle boards, and a clothesline game in a bag that I recently made for my three and five year old to play with.

The second shelf holds our magnet boards. My Mom found these and she always would bring them along when we were running errands for the children to play with construction magnets or farm magnets. I have paint and markers (can I confess to seldom, if ever using paint around here? We love our crayons, and they don't make a mess!), a Melissa and Doug wooden Hangman game, and the capital ABC Magnatab. I purchased the Magnatab several months ago after reading about it on Timberdoodle. I have been requiring my five year old to sit on the couch when I need to work with the others and practice writing his letters with the magnetic pencil stylus. It pulls up little beads as you write, then you can use your finger to write the letter as you push them back down. Overall I like this a lot, my only complaint is that the magnetic stylus is really strong so it pulls up the magnets almost to quick. Or maybe that's my husband's complaint with it. :) They now have the lowercase and the number board out, so I may have to get those as well! My three year old daughter uses this also.
The third shelf stores a wooden puzzle. Yes, one little wooden puzzle. I finally decided that lots of the wooden puzzles for infants were driving me batty as the pieces would be dumped out and left to scatter everywhere. I purged all but one, and normally just pull it out when Olivia is sitting at the table in her booster seat.

On the rest of the shelf is our board games, which consist of Blurt, ZooLogic, Blokus (love that game!), Hot Dots Jr. (for my 3 year old) Brain Box (again, love it!), Uno, and Connect 4.

The fourth shelf holds our Rush Hour game (I found at a used book sale a few months back), Pattern Blocks and cards to build designs with, the game Trouble, and Fantacolor Junior.
And on the last shelf is our Wedgits and our Lauri Number puzzle with pegs. We go in spurts with our Wedgits, honestly right now the child who enjoys it the most is our 18 month old! She really likes stacking the blocks together, and gets the concept of how they work really well. My five year old son also likes to play with these. My three year old daughter - not so much. :) They have a lot of chunky blocks upstairs in their room so that might be part of it though. I do pull them out a lot of my youngest though. Anything to keep her happy and busy during school time is great!

I'd love to hear what activities you use to keep your little ones busy during school hours!

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At July 13, 2011 at 7:57 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's great! Thanks for sharing. I've been wanting to get something similar organized. Some games with little pieces are constantly getting lost in the toy box, and I want to be able to have things I pull out for my 3 yr old to keep him occupied throughout the day.

At July 13, 2011 at 10:19 AM , Blogger Rachel E. said...

This sounds like an awesome cabinet to have. If I were a kid, I would be so excited to play with things from there. Thanks for sharing, and no, I won't ask to see you laundry room.

At July 13, 2011 at 12:26 PM , Blogger Amanda said...

Geo safari. We had one of those when was a kid. I need to call my mom and see if she still has it. I loved that thing. We are organizing our school this week too.

At July 13, 2011 at 12:28 PM , Blogger Jessi @ Candle in the Night said...

Very nice, Caroline! You have so many neat games for them! Thanks for sharing! I may have to have you come over and organize Hannah's room someday. :) But really, I do love the idea of keeping all those games and toys with pieces in a cabinet of their own. I will have to do that. Even though Hannah is only 14 months, it would be totally worth it to keep things like puzzles, blocks, and other toys with many pieces out of reach and save them for "special" times. Not to mention, they wouldn't get lost so easily!

At July 13, 2011 at 12:34 PM , Blogger Caroline said...


Most of them I found at garage sales, used homeschool book sales, or Grandparents gifted them. I bought a handful of things new, but not much! And if you really need help with organization, Jennifer is the one to ask over, not me! I struggle with organizing things like this!

At July 21, 2011 at 7:51 AM , Blogger Tracey said...

I love how you have everything so organized! We have a closet in our laundry area that holds all of our art supplies, games, and other activities that the children can reach themselves. It's the "go-to" spot when they need something to occupy their time.

Have a nice day!


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