A toddler or pre-schooler is more independent than a baby, but also more restless when it comes to staying in one place for extended durations. And trust me, my 3 years old is relatively patient and cooperative but quiet time can be tough even for her. Since I work from home, I encourage independent playing as much as I can and a ready busy-bag/box can be handy at such times.
A busy bag is basically a bag full of items and activities which children can undertake during quiet time. This ready bag keeps me from worrying too much about what activity to give her when I want her to.
My little girl loves books, so books have to be a part of her bag, mostly easy to read books with lots of pictures and little text. We keep rotating the books.
Children love coloring and a small drawing notebook and a pack of crayons, pencil colors or paints can engage them for a good time.
Stickers/ activity books
Some stickers or activity books which have stickers can provide entertainment for a long time to children.
Small and light-weight cardboard puzzles in your child’s favourite theme are inexpensive and easy to carry. Choose something which your child likes like dinosaurs, cars, animals, birds etc. Also, make sure that the puzzles are age-appropriate. For three to five years old, puzzles with three to six pieces are apt.
Beads and string
A string and plenty of color beads is a very versatile toy. Children can make bangles, necklaces etc. using these. This is a great activity for developing fine motor skills. You can also give pasta or cut-up straws in place of beads.
A coin box/ plastic box with a hole on top
Children love to push stuff into boxes and taking them out. Give them plastic discs and a box and see them enjoying their time for a good hour or so. Take care the pieces are big enough not to cause choking risk.
Puzzles/ teasers activity
Simple puzzles/ activities like circle the odd one out. You can download few from ShishuWorld funzone.
Odds and Ends
I carry some open-ended stuff which I leave to her imagination to play with. Stuff like ice-cream sticks, small pack of rubber-bands and few straws.
A sturdy bag/box
Use a sturdy bag or a box, ideally transparent to store all these. This will ensure child is happy to see and explore the contents inside.