Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tot School: B's Felt Box

Tot School
B is 28 months old.

I've been thinking about creating a felt board for B for quite a while now, but I just couldn't decide how I wanted to make it. I saw countless fantastic ideas all over the Web, but what would be the right kind for us? Did I want a large, sturdy board to prop up against the wall? A roll-up version to use on the go? A hinged board that stands on its own? One that is permanently mounted? Something that hangs on a hook or doorknob? Individual sets that fit in Ziploc bags? And what about storing the pieces? What would be the best way to keep everything together?

As happens often with me, I became a little overwhelmed with all the choices. I decided to let the project simmer for a while and see what happened. Then, one day when I was browsing the aisles of Target, the pot "boiled over" so to speak. I saw this:

It's a plastic storage bin that measures approximately 10" x 15" x 5" with a recessed lid. (I couldn't find the same thing online to link to, but it was in the children's bedroom/toy organization aisle at the store.) The moment I saw it, I knew it would be the perfect solution for my felt "board" dilemma!

I cut out three felt pieces of different colors to fit inside the recessed lid and to act as interchangeable backgrounds. I ended up making four different play sets, stored in plastic sandwich bags inside the box itself:

Top left: three background pieces in white, gray, and dark blue.
Inside box (clockwise from top left): geometric shapes set, snowman set, bear and bees set, and apple tree/basket set.

Here's the snowman set (inspired by this post),

the shape set (which B especially likes to stack in same-shape or same-color piles),

the bear and bees (from a book called Felt Board Fingerplays, which we've used to go along with a rhyme called "Here is the Beehive", for counting to five and subtracting back to zero, and practicing spatial relationships like "on", "under", "over", "beside", etc.),

and an action shot of the apple tree (also inspired by Felt Board Fingerplays), which includes ten apples with the numbers 1-10, ten small baskets (not shown) with numbers 1-10 for matching, and one large basket (also not shown).

So far, B doesn't have a very long attention span for this activity, but he does seem to enjoy it for a short time. This is one that his older siblings really like doing with him, too! I do plan on making more felt sets in the future to go in the box, but this has definitely been a great start.


Mama to 3 Blessings said...

wow - very nice! I love all your felt ideas! I use felt w/ my boys too - I just stocked up on it over the weekend too! you have such nice ideas! 1st time visiting your blog - very nice! :)

Debbie said...

I LOVE this idea!!! Thanks for sharing! Now if I can only find a tub like that here in England...

Dawn said...

Very neat! My little guy isn't too interested in felt activities yet, but I love the way you fit that into the box lid.

Did you design the felt pieces yourself? That's a lot of cutting! Wow!

Rebecca said...

Those are all so cute!

Tarasine said...

Thanks everyone for your comments and encouragement! Dawn, I got the ideas from blog posts and a felt activities book but, yes, I did do all the cutting. I just spaced it out over a few weeks and used some really sharp detail scissors. To be honest, I found it kind of relaxing. :)

Kate said...

Wow, I love your felt box. Thanks for sharing the links for the other felt boards too. This is one of those things I'm planning to do, Xander isn't ready for this activity yet so I have time to plan. Like you I am undecided as to what type to make. So many choices. I'll have to see if our library has that book, looks like some great activities.

April Mitchell said...

Wow! I am feeling inspired to break out our felt board and run to the craft store.

Ashley said...

Such wonderful felt ideas. Thanks for sharing.