Christmas is just around the corner, and we've got some fun ideas in store for you! We've done our share of Christmas play activities and this Jingle Bell Sorting activity is just one way to play and learn with a Christmas theme. We're joining a bunch of other bloggers in a busy bag series where each month, we'll bring you a busy bag activity to keep the kids busy and occupied (and learning!)
This post contains affiliate links. See our full disclosure here.
What is a busy bag?
We've done quite a few "busy" time of activities on this blog. These are the activities that kids can do on their own or with a little set up and explanation. They are kept busy and learning, creating, or exploring on their own. Busy bag activities are perfect for times when caregivers need to focus on other children, dinner preparation, or while waiting. Modern day busy activities might be smart phone apps for some kids, as they "busy themselves" as they wait in a restaurant or doctor's office. A busy bag activity that is easy to set up might be something as simple as manipulating small items, or sorting sugar packets by color.
Independent learning in children
Independent learning is important to a child's development. When a child is learning on their own, they are able to come up with questions and ideas independently. They develop problem solving skills, and exploring during the process of the activity. When a child has an adult participating in an activity with them, they often times focus on the end product or goal rather than the process of the task. Children become aware of their own strengths and weaknesses during independent play and can gain a sense of satisfaction when they do a task on their own. Busy bags are great for independent learning!
To make our jingle bell sorting activity:
We started with a recycled egg carton. Technically, this isn't a busy BAG since we made our activity in an egg carton...but it is a busy activity, and I love that it can fold up and stow away with the sorting material inside the carton.
The cardboard type was needed for this activity, in order to get the paint to "stick". I painted the sections of the egg carton in four colors. I LOVE these poster paints for their bold colors.
Little Sister (age 3) helped me paint the sections, and we let them dry overnight...because when Little Sister helps, a lot of paint is used.
The next day, we were ready for our jingle bell sorting activity. We used jingle bells that we received from our friends at www.craftprojectideas.com (Thanks so much!!) I poured the bells into the top section of the egg carton, and showed Little Sister how to sort them.
This is such a great activity for color identification, fine motor skills, scanning, hand-eye coordination, and early math.
The colors are so bright and the jingle of the bells gives a great sensory input to this activity. Little Sister sorted and sorted while I changed diapers, swept the floor, and watched her sort.
One of the cousins came over one day and these two three year olds had fun sorting together.
I showed them how to extend the play by counting the number of bells in each section.
I love this activity for it's fine motor aspect, too. Managing the jingle bells as they picked them up and sorted them into the sections works on many skills. You can encourage your child to pick up a few bells at a time and pocket them into the palm of the hand as they sort the bells one at a time.
Picking up several bells works on in-hand manipulation, specifically the skill of translation. Moving the bell from finger tips to palm as they "squirrel away" bells into their palm is a difficult task for many kids. This is a task needed in order to manage coins or other small items.
Placing the bells into the sections requires the child to use in-hand manipulation to move the bells from the palm to the finger tips. This is also the skill of translation and is needed for pushing coins into a piggy bank or vending machine, or managing small items like marbles.
Translation is a complex task requiring strength and dexterity of the intrinsic muscles of the hand. It's fun to watch these skills develop in an activity like this one!
We'll be saving our painted egg carton for long after the holidays to sort lots of different items: crafting pom poms, paper clips, paper, dyed pumpkin seeds, and more! With this activity and any other on our blog, please be sure to supervise your children when small items are involved. If your child is one who puts items into their mouth, you may want to hold off on this activity for a while. Use caution with this activity as it involves small parts.
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:
Gingerbread Man Shape Matching Busy Bag // Powerful Mothering
Christmas Counting Busy Bag // Coffee Cups and Crayons
Decorate a Play Dough Christmas Tree Play Kit // Mama. Papa. Bubba.
Gingerbread Button Counting Busy Bag // Wildflower Ramblings
Snowman Busy Bag // Frogs, Snails and Puppy Dog Tails
Reusable Christmas Sticker Busy Bag // Still Playing School
Christmas Posting Busy Bag // Adventures of Adam
Christmas Tree Busy Bag // The Pleasantest Thing
Christmas Jingle Bells Fine Motor Busy Bag // Sugar Aunts
Printable Mix and Match Christmas Puzzles // Itsy Bitsy Fun
Christmas Chocolate Maker Busy Bag // Best Toys 4 Toddlers
Printable Q-tip Snowflakes // Playdough to Plato
Candy Cane Stripe Counting // Preschool Inspirations
An Early Reader Christmas Busy Bag // The Educators' Spin on It
You can see all of our posts in one place on our Pinterest boards: