Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday (Vol. 3): Activity Bag Exchange II: Our Official Exchange

Too often I find myself too busy and distracted to follow up on great ideas I have for learning and exploration with the kids, and, sometimes even to prepare impromptu activities. (Although the kids have a way of creating such activities themselves, getting me back on track, whether I like it or not!) That’s why activities in a bag work for me!
Since this week I have been thinking a lot about activity bags while preparing for a current exchange and looking back at old ones, I thought I would post about the second exchange we participated in this past year. It was organized by an incredible homeschooling mom of eight who helps run a local Catholic homeschooling group we are a part of – the Our Lady Queen of Saints group .
The exchange was based on official materials from  with each mom choosing to make one or two types of bags from a given list as instructed. I ended up making the 123 Trail and Number and Shape Puzzle, which was somewhat tedious with all the contact papering and cutting en masse, but still worthwhile, as we thoroughly enjoyed the exchange day and came away with two bags full of activities for both Luke and Nina to enjoy.
Unfortunately, I did not take pictures of all the activities that we received during this eschange and have disassembled some to repurpose their contents for activities which appeal more to Luke and Nina’s ages and interests,while storing away others away in my tutoring supplies as well as in the recesses of our basement until we complete our Order in the Home quest, so I can’t post pictures here. But, I can list some of the activity titles so you can check out descriptions of them in the sample pages at Activity Bags. They were:
  • 123 Trail
  • B or D?
  • Alpha Spoons
  • Boredom Busters
  • Can You Remember 
  • Fabric Pattern Cards 
  • Hidden Treasure 
  • Number-N-Shape Puzzles 
  • Ring Toss 
  • Sewing Board
Of these, my children’s favorite by far was “Hidden Treasure”. The bottles of rice with small objects to find in them have become an almost permanent fixture in our car as the kids so love shaking them up to discover things during long car rides. And, although Luke and Nina weren’t too keen on them, some of my tutoring students loved the Alpha Spoons and the B or D activities. (I will try to post more about this and about an extension M or N activity I did later in the week.)

 Finally, I would like to say what really worked for me with this particular activity bag exchange was the exchange day itself! The mom who organized the exchange hosted a tea which we all brought our bags to. Then, moms chatted while kids played. What a nice break from our regular activities! The tea was a much-appreciated afternoon of Moms-with-Moms conversation and kids-of-many-ages fun! If I ever host a local exchange, I definitely want to include a special time like this as part of the fun and sharing.

So, yep, activity bags and afternoon tea-talk-n-play times certainly work for me!  I would love to hear about any you have been a part of. What activities were your kids’ biggest hits? What did you find most beneficial about the exchange? Please leave me a comment or a link below. And, if you want to see more about our past exchanges, please check out our Montessori in a Bag pictures and descriptions here and our Fun and Learning in a Bag post here.

 Also, of course, to read about what works for other folks, please go to We Are THAT Family and click on the links.


Trudie said...

Love this activity in a bag idea! Thanks for the links, will check them out!

Niki Jolene said...

Hi there! Niki here, stopping over from WFMW. I just wanted to pop in and check out your blog. I like what I see so far.

Stop by my blog, Free 2 Be Frugal, when you get a chance!

Love this activity bag idea. I do something similar in my preschool class with dish tubs. The bags are a great idea for at home!


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