MassHOPE 2022

Thank you for choosing this MassHOPE Busy Bag. Inside you’ll find four projects which can be used in a variety of ways to stimulate your child’s mind and allow them to practice basic life skills, such as hand-eye coordination, color and shape recognition, pattern following and fine motor skills. Here is a roundup of the included projects and our favorite alternative ways to use them.

Velcro Letter Sticks

Use your sticks to make shapes, letters, color patterns, or even counting sticks.

Use index cards cut in half to create an assortment of colorful shapes and letter cards for your child to recreate on their own. In this way they can practice the letters in their name and follow patterns.

Write the name of the shape below the shape on the card, and your child will also begin the association between that shape and the word for it.

Write numbers on the sticks and have your child put them in numerical order. You can also write ordinal numbers (first, second, third, etc.) in order to introduce your child to this concept.

Alternately, you can use these as a language learning tool by writing articles, nouns and verbs on the sticks and allowing your child to practice making sentences by fastening the sticks in the right order. Use both sides of the sticks to allow for a greater variety of sentence structure.

Shoelace Beading

Give your child the shoelace and the straw pieces. At first, demonstrate how to thread the shoelace through the straw. Later you can begin a pattern of colored pieces and ask them to continue the pattern.

Once your child has mastered the straw pieces, you might want to include large “pony” style beads in the mix (beware of choking hazards) and allow them to experiment with different colors, styles and patterns.

Create patterns on index cards to keep in your busy bag with assorted patterns for the child to follow on their own.

Allow your child to thread different pasta or cereal shapes and colors on to their string. Continue to practice shape, color and pattern recognition.

Egg Pattern Matching

This game highlights color and pattern recognition as well as hand/eye coordination. Choose a card and try to put together the egg combination shown. Color your own combinations on the back. Use the cards in a row to practice pattern recognition.

Another option for older children would be to write math problems on one half the egg and answers on the other in order to put together math facts, or even timed drills.

Younger children might enjoy matching dots on one half of the egg to a written number on the other half, or matching number words to number digits.

If you wish to use this as a language lesson tool, you can write letters or blends on one half of each egg and the final letters on the other in order to practice phonics.

Pompom Pick Up Game

This game helps with color recognition, hand/eye coordination, sorting, counting and fine motor skills. Use the tweezers to sort the poms into cups. Muffin tins or egg cartons with colored cups or paper tubes also make great containers and can be customized to allow sorting by color.

Alternately, using markers or a pen, mark your die with colorful dots (coordinated with your pom-pom colors) or numbers.

When the die is rolled, the child can choose that many or that color pom-pom to add to their pile. The game ends when all the pom-poms are chosen and the winner is the player with the most pom-poms.

Printable coloring pages can be customized in any number of ways to allow practice placing pom poms precisely while also sorting by color. Click here for a free set of printable letter and number pages or take inspiration from these images and make your own.

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