Using LEGO Bricks and other tools for on-the-go fun

Keeping preschoolers occupied in a public place during downtime can be a challenge. Whether you’re waiting for the server to show up with the pancakes or all of you are parked in a waiting room, happy children engaged in a task means less stress for you!

In the past, you might have handed them your phone; if you have, no shame — most of us have done this! But if you want something a little brainier and more engaging for your kids, why not pull together a few homemade activity packs to help them pass the time?

Remember to reserve these only for outings to keep them special. You may have some small pieces to pick up before you leave, but that’s a small price to pay for a little activity (and a lot of learning).

Geoboard

Get out the rubber bands and start making shapes and patterns or even a few crude representations with a geoboard.

Studies have shown this is a useful tool to teach geometry concepts to school-age children, but it’s also a great tool to teach preschoolers about shapes. According to one study, geoboards have many advantages for smaller hands. For example, children who find it hard to draw will have an easier time creating, exploring and altering shapes with a geoboard.

On the whole, geoboards are inexpensive. The blog Left Brain, Craft Brain even has a DIY version you can fashion from a CD jewel case and some glued parts. And it’s portable. Just snap the rubber bands in storage and you are ready for some on-the-go shape play.

Portable LEGO Bricks kit

As we’ve discussed in past blogs, building with LEGO Bricks and other construction toys has important brain-building effects that will give your young child a good foundation for learning math skills. Keep a special building kit at the ready, and they can do a little free-form creative building while you wait. (Better yet, they may make a new friend or two in the process.)

Blogger Mama.Papa.Bubba. walks you through the steps of making your own take-anywhere LEGO fun. Simply take a metal lunch box, glue a fitted building plate on the inside lid and you’re good to go. (Felt lining is a nice addition to keep the noise down.)

Activity binder

It’s pretty easy to take that restaurant place mat to a more imaginative level when you put together an entire activity binder. In it, you can pack everything your child could need to keep their hands and minds busy for a good stretch of time.

All you need is a three-ring binder, and in it, you can store:

  • A LEGO Bricks building plate, glued to the back cover
  • Coloring books
  • Sticker sheets
  • Worksheets for handwriting practice
  • Zipper pouches with loose art supplies and LEGO Bricks

As blogger My Moxietude points out, you can swap out old materials for new to keep the activities a surprise that ages with them.

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