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The Nanny's Knapsack: Classic Activities To Do With Children While On The Go

We have places to go and people to see! Having young people in tow should not deter us from participating in events like going out for dinner, or going to the doctors. The time may not be how we planned it, but being prepared for these unplanned times will make all the difference when our children become antsy. Depending on the age and the special needs of the child the more time that passes by while waiting can cause unwanted behavior problems. Being prepared on outings helps us to show children how to learn to be patient, how to adapt to changes that were unforeseen, and to know how to plan ahead.   

Have you ever witnessed a toddler that became impatient, because things were taking too long while you were on an outing? "Yes", you say? Me too! I can remember the teary eyes, and the look of hunger while waiting on the food quite vividly. I vowed I would never put them in another situation like that again, and let's face it, we as parents have a difficult time enjoying our meal when melt downs happen. I decided I would create a bag that would have some fun activities inside to do that would distract them from thinking about how hungry they were, and make the time an impromptu learning moment. I put together the Nanny's Knapsack that I keep in my van so that I can always be prepared while out with young children. I never leave home without the Nanny's Knapsack!


After we have repeated the activities for some time I replace the activities for newer ones, this helps to add a element of excitement during the time of waiting too.   


The Knapsack is easy to prepare and the cost for these activities was just $1.00. I already had all of the other supplies. I was able to put together 5 activities with just the materials above. These activities work well for children as young as two years old and can still stimulate an older child.

   Find the Ball 

When I saw this cup and ball set I was instantly reminded of the game Find the Ball. I really like that the cups are toddler size. I found this at my local Family Dollar in the aisle where they sale paper products. 

This classic game is sure to keep their attention. To play Find the Ball you hide the ball under one of the cups and then switch them around. After the cups have been shuffled around it becomes someone's turn to guess which cup the ball is under. There are many levels to this game. You can use two cups for the younger child, and even 2 balls and 3 cups. You can make it even more challenging for an older child. This activity is a wonderful way to improve our observation and concentration skills. 

      Stack the Cups
So much focused attention can go on while stacking cups. I used the index cards, to go along with it. 

My two year old friend gave it a go. I knew when the tongue came out it was a winner! This activity fosters focused attention.   

Build a Bridge For Your Friends 
Keep them building! Building a bridge for our friends is so much fun with toddler sized cups, craft sticks and peg people. This activity also involves dramatic play talk. I overheard a child while doing this activity saying "Be careful we don't want our friends to fall into the water!". Love it!
Sensorial Fun With Peg People

With the peg people you can line them up, order them by size, or count them. Sensorial experiences are very important for young children to be able to engage in. This is an awesome way to sneak beginning math concepts in.

    Make A Plastic Cup Telephone

I premade holes in some of the cups so that it would be easy to make a telephone if we were out and about. My friend Tre enjoyed spending time with me while I put the Nanny's Knapsack together. Exploring with sound is so much fun for kids of all ages. It did take him a minute to understand how the plastic cup telephone worked, but after he grasped the concept he was happy to engage in conversations with me. We practiced our inside voices. ☺

With just a few well planned inexpensive activities available for immediate use we can ease the trials that we may go through when we are not in control of how long our planned outings may take. You can store it in anything that isn't too bulky, and convenient for you to carry. I added the stick, because we were going on a nature walk as well, and there were kids in different age ranges so taking a seat at a picnic table and engaging in these activities work well for those who couldn't keep up with the crowd.  

What has worked for you when you found yourself with a child that was not so happy about the wait? Please share in the comments, I would love to read all about it.

Happy Playing!

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