So one day I took down all my cute toddler activity books, which had been gathering dust on the bookshelf. Started flipping through. Started jotting down page numbers. Of course all those books have lovely, adorable, developmentally appropriate, clever and oh-so-cute ideas. But I was looking very specifically for activities that require minimal-to-no adult instruction or supervision. Basically, things I can set the girls up with, and leave the room to nurse/pee/cry/collapse/stare blankly at the wall wondering what I came in here for/etc. You know, the usual.
The list became fairly long, so over the next few weeks I compiled them and typed them up into a booklet. While I was at it, also made a list of supplies needed for the activities and started collecting them into a plastic bin. I even unearthed my label maker and put everything in labeled bags and containers.While I was at it, I kept wondering, "Am I wasting my time? Will they go for it?" Most of the activities seemed appealing, but we had never done them before, so you never know.
I finished the box before Poppy was born, and kept it in my closet even after we came home. I wanted to put off needing it as long as possible, but I was also afraid to find out if my work was in vain. Because it embodied a hope, something to turn to when all else fails, and I couldn't quite face it being a failure, too.
But things got desperate and I got over that. Broke it out one afternoon while I was making dinner. The girls were intrigued. Excited. Almost every day they asked for a new activity, but I limited it to the most difficult time of day - late afternoon, while making dinner. Because that's the CRAZY time of day. When they're driving me CRAZY. When I do not have time or energy to think up an activity or hunt down supplies. I need it typed up, in a booklet, with labeled bags of everything I need, ready to go.Sharpening Pencils
Using tongs to move pom poms into ice cube trays
Moving colored water with eye droppers
Scrubbing coins with a toothbrush
These days, Hazel usually has homework in the afternoon, and we copy it so Ginger can do it too. We've done most of the Crazy Box activities so the novelty has worn off. But there are still some favorites they request on occasion so we keep it close by.