Busy Boxes: Homestead Style

I’ve used some form or fashion of busy box/bag for my kiddos for years! But the older kiddos are beginning to weary of my playdough and flash cards. So, in addition to growing the content of the boxes to their ages and skill levels, I’m also putting together some other things for them to build valuable life skills, such as carpentry, and sewing.

For my oldest daughter, I just put together her first sewing kit.

Like every good Southern mama, I repurposed a Danish butter cookies tin.

Inside I put the following:

  • Scrap fabric squares of assorted sizes
  • Whimsical buttons
  • Polyester thread
  • A book of needles of assorted sizes
  • Some embroidery floss of various variegated shades of pink and purple
  • A seam ripper

My goal for my daughter in this is mostly exploration. I have shown her some basic stitches: running stitch, straight stitch, back stitch, and whip stitch. And I tried to only give her things that I know she’ll love (hence the abundance of pink and purple)

My hope is that she will begin as I did, practicing sewing on buttons. Once I mastered that, my Grandma set me to stitching squares together for a small doll quilt, which she then finished for me. That was one of the most rewarding projects I ever made as a little girl, and I wish I still had it.

I know my grandma would be so proud of my Boo Bear and her love for making things beautiful. I want to honor both my daughters and my grandmother by carrying on her seamstress legacy. There is so much I wish Grandma was still here to teach me. And there is so much that I’m still learning and perfecting. But I can begin with the basics and help my girls to become masters in the craft, and to have something of which they can be proud.

For my oldest son, our current project together is a sandbox. Unfortunately for him, pregnancy carpel tunnel and weaker than usual upper body has me extra prone to stripping screws and ruining drill bits. I’ve sought to remedy both of those issues by focusing on anti-inflammatory foods for me, and extra drill bits, and pilot holes galore!!

Extra bits for the impact driver

There are times however when he’d prefer to work independently of dear ol’ mom. So I have stashed and saved a bunch of Home Depot building kits from my dad for my son to work on outside in the nice weather (hammering is loud) during nap/quiet time.

I have the kits stored in a box in the garage. My son was given a first toolbox for Christmas, which he has done surprisingly well at keeping together and orderly (I’m actually really surprised!) And he enjoys the freedom of getting to do a project on his own.

Many times, I go a little brain-dead and blank on activities for my littles. It helps in those times to ask other moms what they’ve done in the past for their littles. It still amazes me the use they can derive from a large box and some sticks. I so enjoyed watching them play boxcar children last week.

I’ve also become a huge fan of presentation notebooks. Essentially, they’re pre-bound sheet protectors. I’ve been filling several with recipes and getting my kitchen and home-management documents/info organized, but I’ve also put one together for my kiddos that is to be used for quiet time. Inside, I’ve got sheets for tracing names, address, shapes, color words, and Bible verses. My daughter loves to write, but gets frustrated as she’s still working on letter formation and has trouble remembering the difference between b, d, p, q, g.

My motivation is development of skills and mind, rather than purely entertainment based activities. Hopefully they don’t see through my attempts to sell it as “fun.”

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