If you’re a parent with a child that was supposed to start kindergarten but unable to do so due to the prolonged MCO and the rising Covid cases, likely, your child won’t be enrolling any time soon. I know how our child’s safety is very much concerned during the pandemic; therefore, I’m sure parents, especially parents with no experience of child education, would be very concerned about their child development, skills, and progress. I’m not going to go through the stages of child development in this post, but suggesting an idea to keep your child entertained at home, so they ask for less screen time.
With us parents being occupied with Work From Home (WFH), we tend to give the easy solution to keep our child busy, but we also know that it’s not okay. Stress from work and probable inexperience in taking care of a child the whole day can cause stress and eventually lead to burnout. I’ve been through that, and I know how it feels. The guilt and how you can’t help feeling sorry for your child slowly kill you, so I took some steps and made some changes. I worked on a timetable and a plan to spend some of my time focusing on my child each day. At first, I used toys, but after a while, it got boring for my child and eventually, he started to ask for more screen time again, which made me feel hopeless as I’m neither good at creating fun activities at home. Honestly, I’m just clueless. Then I came across busy books / quiet books, so I started exploring that.
What Are Busy Books?
Busy books are interactive books, also known as quiet books, that are great for toddlers and preschoolers as these books encourage them to solve activities using their hands and minds. These books are full of colours with tons of pictures and also removable pieces too. Busy books come in various types to help develop certain skills such as matching, tracing, cutting, colouring, writing, etc. The idea of busy books are limitless, and the good part is that you can easily purchase them online as Busy Books are actually a thing nowadays.
What Are The Advantages of Busy Books?
Busy books are known to be a great solution to keep your child from spending too much screen time and at the same time help develop your child’s full potential with learning. You can consider busy books as baby steps of homeschooling if parents work on it with their child. Below are the benefits of what busy books offer to a child:
- Fine motor skills development
- Aid in visual discrimination
- Improves hand-eye coordination
- Allows kids to practise their reasoning skills
- Improves their number recognition and alphabet recognition
- Strengthens their grasping movements
- It helps them with their language development
Where To Get Busy Books?
As I mentioned above, busy books can be easily bought online. Ready-made busy books are available to purchase on Shopee, Lazada, and even on Instagram & Tiktok. Most busy books available online (usually the best ones) are from mothers themselves as they prepare them for their children, and then it becomes a side business. There are just so many topics and activities a busy book can cover.
Below are some sellers that sell ready-made busy books that are available to purchase on Shopee:
By looking through these sellers, you’ll find so many different kinds of busy books offered. However, it gets pricey if you’re relying on ready-made busy books all year round. Besides, children tend to get bored doing the same thing every day easily, so of course, you’ll be wanting to change the busy books you’re giving your child every day. That way, they’ll always be curious and more focused. However, it might be hard for parents to keep up in cost, but that wouldn’t be a major issue if you DIY your own Busy Books.
How To DIY Busy Books At Home
Do it yourself is always a better option if you want to cut costs and have satisfaction in anything you do. As I mentioned above, busy books are limitless, so there are just so many types of books you can make, and the best part is that it could also follow your child’s progress. You can prepare it with ease, and it’ll also be a fun project for you as parents. However, every great start requires some investment initially, as there are a few things you are required to own to start making your own busy books. Below is the list of what you need and some suggestions in terms of where you can get them online.
If you don’t have a printer, look for inkjet printers because you’ll probably want a way to minimize cost in ink too in the long run. I don’t have suggestions of what brand of printer to buy, but it should be fine as long it’s an inkjet printer. Why? Because there are a lot of hacks on the internet on how you can save the printing cost with inkjet printers as you’ll be printing a lot if you’re preparing busy books. If you opt for black & white, it won’t do much good for child development because colours are needed for stimulation. Hence colours are crucial for busy books. So the best way you can reduce cost in buying ink is using DIY refill inks, which you can easily purchase online for less than RM30:
You’ll be needing a laminator to laminate the papers so that they won’t be torn easily and it’s also easier for children to handle. You can get cheap laminators online below RM100 that gives the same results as professional ones. However, I can’t guarantee that it’ll last long, but as long as it does its job, I’m fine with that. Below are suggestions of cheap laminators with good reviews online, and it’s included with a paper cutter on top, which certainly would come in handy.
Don’t forget to purchase lamination films as well
3. Dot Velcro Tapes
For the busy books to become an activity book, you’ll be needing these dot velcro tapes so that your child could do activities like matching and filling in images. Velcro tapes are the best option as it’s neat, less messy instead of using glue and could be used repeatedly. My suggestion is to get transparent velcro tapes which are less than RM20 for 1000 pieces.
4. Printable Busy Books PDF
Unless you’re planning to create busy books designs from scratch, buying ready to print PDF Busy Books online saves you so much time. As low as RM2, you can get 100 pages of printable busy book sheets to print. Some sellers sell bundles of 600 – 1000 activity pages that’s less than RM10. Do note that these sellers mostly take free templates online and resell them, but it’s worth paying for me than searching all of the free ones yourself because it saves a lot of time. Plus, free templates are usually found in single sheets and needed to be edited again. Buying ready-made compilations from mothers are usually the best because they have already organized the sheets according to child development. That will make things easier for parents who are pretty much clueless.
5. Additional Tools
This is not mandatory to make a busy book work, but it’ll be advantageous if you look into getting additional tools for your child’s busy book. These additional tools will help in developing more skills for your child.
Suggestions are as below:
- Pipe Cleansers : https://shp.ee/wmv68uf
- Wooden Clips : https://shp.ee/t4ksj3x
- Plastic Hooks: https://shp.ee/8e573tf
- Dot Markers: https://shp.ee/7t8g3p7
- Mini markers: https://shp.ee/z5sj93p
- Dotted Stickers: https://shp.ee/a7pt83x
- Storage Folder (To store tools) : https://shp.ee/2g7fd87
Below are ideas on how you can apply additional tools to your busy book.
Do note that the above are just suggestions of products you can get to enhance activities for your busy book. There are so many other options that you can include; the options are limitless; you just need to be a bit creative. You can refer to parenting blogs, Pinterest and even social media to get ideas.
Of course, to make it as a book, you’ll need a binder to compile all the sheets together. Instead of going for a professional bind, you can just buy a puncher and compile them with a file folder or rings. These are available in stationery stores, or you can buy them online on Shopee and Lazada. My suggestion is to go for file folders so you can divide topics easily. Make them colourful too so your child would be keener to reach them.
From my experience and experiences from other mothers I know, busy books certainly can keep the child busy for hours, especially newly activities they have not tried. So it’s a good step if you want to try to lessen your child’s screen time at home. I know it might sound a bit costly to start but think of it as a long-run investment. Besides, the tools you’re purchasing is not only meant to make busy books as you’ll definitely be using them for other things too.
Have any of you tried busy books for your child before? Let me know your experience in the comments below.
P/S: This post contains affiliate links to which the author may earn a small portion of income through direct purchases made.
SuriModen is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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