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Updated: Jan 16, 2023

It has been quite a while since we had pre-schoolers around our table but today when I was in our local dollar store, I was reminded of a few activities that I created for our kiddos when they were little. So, I'm going to share a couple with you here.


So here was the first little thing I saw in the discount store that took me riiiiiiiiiight back to those days of setting up pre-schooling 'busy boxes' for my little ones. I used to have little activity boxes that the pre-schoolers could grab when the older kiddos were sitting down to do maths in the mornings. You can read more about PRESCHOOL IDEAS HERE and HERE .

Years ago I bought 4 of these mini metal buckets. I thought they were so cute. At that time, there was a different discount store in our town and they stocked some colourful magnets. I put one magnet (each a different colour) on the front of each bucket.

If you couldn't get the colourful magnets, you could maybe use star stickers like these?

And then the idea is that you also have a little container with a heap of colourful things (obviously not an activity for little ones who like to put things in their mouths although you could do an edible version with colourful berries, lollies or nuts depending on the stage your child is at) and then your kiddo will sort the items (pom poms, buttons, colouful mini pegs) by colour into each bucket.

Ideas of what can go into the container to be sorted into buckets:

I'm really big on using what you already have so look first at your button collection for big buttons that might match the colours of the magnets/stickers on your buckets. From home you could think about using lego pieces, plastic counting bears if you own them or any other little thing that can fit into the mini bucket. As I said, use caution with supervision depending on the age and ability of your own child.


For more of a challenge for your little one, add in a pair of mini tongs that you can also get usually at a discount store in the kitchen aisle. These are always fun for them to use and great for building dexterity and fine motor skills. If they can master the use of tongs, see if they can pick up the little items from the container and transfer them into the mini bucket with tweezers.


If you think your kiddo isn't quite at the stage of managing the buckets, they can still do some colour matching using strips of card.


Over the years we've had a big make and do box and smaller ones too at different times.


Some of the other things we've had in our 'busy' boxes have included the following:

Cuisenaire Rods to build with

Jigsaw Puzzles (in the basket in ziplock bags)


Sometimes trying to get a child to a playgroup (with older homeschooling kiddos in tow) can be tricky! But there is a way around it (wish I'd had this option when my little ones were that age!)

Here are a few Outschool classes you might like to have a look at:

I really liked the sound of this one. I have copied directly from the class description:

Examples of each subject are listed below: English Language Arts: Tracing letters, practising letter sounds, reading comprehension, puppet shows Health & Science: Brushing our teeth, digestion, skeletal system, animal classification (note: Ms. Sara LOVES biology so you’ll become brilliant biologists!) Math: Counting, patterns, number recognition, addition and subtraction, sorting Show & Tell: Foster friendships and understanding through show and tell, social games and getting to know each other Life Skills: Tying laces, measuring, recycling, respect, manners, mindfulness

Happy learning friends! More soon,

Lusi x

* As you will know by now, I am a very proud ambassador for Outschool. I love the connectedness it offers our kiddos and it is one way we can help encourage their creativity and interests through safe, intentional screen time. I only ever endorse products that I believe in and would use in our home.

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