Sunday, March 18, 2012

Busy Bag - Memory / Matching Cards

One of the moms in my playgroup came up with the idea of doing a busy bag swap. If you're a parent on pinterest you've seen a few hundred different ideas for busy bags, or small activities to entertain your toddlers. The challenge is, who has the time to make them all, let alone the money to buy all of the different types of supplies etc...? So her idea was to get a group of twelve moms together who would each pick a busy bag and make 12 of the same project to swap right before spring break. We all make a project for our kid (plus 11 copies of that project) and walk away with 11 new ideas for entertaining and educational activities to keep them entertained in the car, on a plane, or even at home on a rainy day!

I picked the Memory/Matching Cards. My reasons we two fold 1. It looked easy and like something I could complete quickly, and 2. Andrew has some small books with pictures on the front and he was playing a seek and find type of game with his wonderful nanny where he looked for the one with the duck on the cover, then the one with the ball etc... I figured these cards would be a hit. Instead of using the images on the cards in the pin I decided to create my own. I used some images that Andrew loves and knows the words for (duck, ta-reee, cat, dog, ball...) so that he would catch on to the game quickly and be enthusiastic about playing. I also tried to mix up the colors so that later I can ask him to find the green things (the tree and the turtle etc...). I put these images together in a publisher file and then created a back with question marks for each card. I printed these up, on a single sheet of paper for each set of cards and laminated each sheet then cut the cards. (Ok, to be honest, I had a few issues with the laminating along the way... I don't even want to go into it here because the mistakes I made are too absurd to admit publicly, and my attempted solutions to the perceived problems are even more ridiculous! I'll just give you one small tip that should not have taken me more than 24 hours to figure out... be sure that your laminator is on the highest appropriate heat setting for the thickness of lamination sheet you are using, and maybe run it through twice to be sure it's all good.) So like I was saying, just ran them through the machine and trimmed them up, easy peasy. After trimming them into squares I found the corners to be a little too sharp, so I rounded all of the edges. I highly recommend this, I tried to tough it out but kept getting poked and the rounded edges really are so much nicer feeling and looking. Oh, and I recommend using higher quality paper (maybe even card stock) and springing for the higher weight laminating sheets. Makes for much stronger cards in the end.

Andrew and I have had a lot of fun playing different games with these and I feel like they have a lot of room to grow into more games. Right now I place them all out on the table face down and he flips them over and tells me what they are. Sometimes we match them (working on that) and other times we play a version of 52 card pick up he's invented that he calls "24 card toss on the floor and go find the duck"... his favorite of all of the cards :) I also have a solid sheet that I laminated but never cut that I lay out like a placemat and we match the cards to the "board." I think we're working our way toward the traditional memory game and as I mentioned before we can identify colors etc... as we get further down the road. I put the cards in little drawstring gift bags that I had leftover from my wedding favors (who's a hoarder??) and they are a great size to toss in my purse to take to a restaurant while waiting for our food or for him to play with in the car. I'm really happy with how this project has turned out and may be making more as we master the items in this set. I'm not sure how to make the images I used downloadable on this blog, but if you want me to e-mail you the file just shoot me a message and I'm glad to share.

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