We are going to be traveling a lot this summer, which means lots of time with small children in confined spaces. Which means, I’ve been brainstorming busy-books. You know, activities to keep little minds and hands occupied. I love reusable sticker books, but often the stickers aren’t as reusable as I’d like. My kids are all excited to get started, and then their favorite sticker gets stuck to a page and tears—and there goes everyone’s peace and sanity. So I started trying to think through how I could make my own DIY reusable sticker books. These turned out so cool that I had to share! They aren’t Etsy-quality; I’m not going into business anytime soon. But if you want a simple craft that keeps your babe busy, then try these reusable sticker books.
Reusable Sticker books:
I made good use of my laminator and binder, but you could easily use contact paper and bind it with yarn or brads or a clip. The only other supply you will need is the internet and removable double-sided tape. (Make sure it is “removable” and not “permanent” tape.)
I searched the internet for coloring pages as the backgrounds for my book, shrinking them to a half page size (google: “free coloring pages table” or “free coloring pages basketball hoop”). I figured by leaving them black and white, the kids could color with dry erase markers or dry erase crayons, changing the scenes and prolonging the entertainment.
For the “stickers,” I searched the internet for public domain clip art (google: “public domain clip art cupcake” or “public domain clip art basketball”). I laminated the clip art and some of our own stickers and cut them out as squares or circles. Then, I simply applied the double-sided tape to the pieces.
Middlest’s book has a cupcake to decorate, a tea party to set up, a bedroom to decorate, and a house to embellish with flowers and butterflies. Oldest wanted a sports theme with a baseball diamond, a basketball court, and a football field with players and other pieces to set up his games. I also gave him a jungle scene with wild animals.
The kids had tons of fun helping me make these and did a lot of the cutting for me, which saved a lot of time and kept them busy. And if my stickers start showing some wear, I can always apply new tape!
To make my own, I made a list of all the activities that I had for Middlest to do—play do, lacing cards, threading beads, scissor skills, even playing with Littlest. Then, I pulled out my colorful popsicle sticks and my sharpie. I wrote the activities on each popsicle stick. Then, I took three plain sticks (in other words, the original kind without all the bright color) and wrote “activity stix” on them. (I know, I’m confusing the child’s spelling. But she can’t read yet, and it looked so much more exciting!) I’ll use the plain ones for her workbox pockets.
The idea is that she can trade in her plain stick for an activity, up to three each day. She’ll hand the colored stick to me, and at the end of the week, I’ll add them all back into the jar. That way, she won’t be repeating the activities throughout the week.
It’s a fantastic idea to add an element of surprise to the day without a lot of extra effort on my part.
It’s a constant challenge for me to keep my preschooler occupied while I work with my son, even though she does fairly well with independent work. I sometimes get absolutely stumped—what do I give her to do next? And it’s not as though I don’t have a wealth of activities for her! Maybe it’s the pregnancy-brain. Maybe it’s just that time of year. But I will admit that my hardest days with her are the ones when I have neglected to fill her pockets with activities.
Then, my mom gave me the most brilliant piece of advice: let her fill her own pockets! Ah! What a magnificent change that has made!
So, my three year old and I sat down and made an agreement. She willingly completes the 3 or 4 things I have for her, and she may fill the other 7 or so pockets with whatever she chooses. The result? Not only is she more willing to do what I give her to do, but she contentedly works through her pockets without disturbing my time with my kindergartener. Oh, I can’t tell you the blessed relief that has filled our school room.
Here are a few of the activities she’s done this week—some of my choosing (the academic-looking ones) and most of her choosing.
Other activities included a coloring book, a note for Daddy, a coloring page, and some of her own flashcards.
I can’t wait to see what else she decides to put in her pockets. And it certainly takes a load off of me. And just in case you need a few more ideas, here’s a link to Erica’s blog where she relates some activities for her toddler/preschooler.