I found a post via Pinterest about a gal who made some activity bags for her toddler and then did a swap and I thought it was a fab idea. You can read all about hers (and get ideas) here.
I sent out an evite to friends with little ones and we had eight people participate in the swap. We followed the guidelines Jen used such as having the activities in zip lock bags so they were self contained and ready to grab when you need an activity to keep your little ones busy. Some could even be taken in the car, on a plane or into waiting rooms. My kids were very excited as they peeked in that the table was full of activities just for them!
I made a color and shape sorting board. I colored two sides of a poster board: one with colors and one with shapes. Then I cut out little shapes out of colored foam for the little ones to sort. I made a larger version when my son was two and he would spent many evenings sorting shapes and colors while I made dinner.
Julie made little stick puzzles. Easy and simple. I threw those in my purse to take on the go. I may even make a few more holiday related ones.
Amy brought magnetic dry erase boards complete with a magnetic alphabet. There are many possibilities with these items: letter recognition, colors, spelling, tracing, phonics, etc...
Rebecca brought little bugs, a magnifying glass, tweezers, a bug catcher and bug grabber all found at Oriental Trading. What kid wouldn't love this?
Samantha brought a little wooden box with jeweled shapes inside. My girl has already claimed this as her jewelry box and loves transferring the jewels in and out of the box. I think I'll let her paint the box one afternoon when it gets cold and we need an inside activity.
Dana colored some pasta and threw in some pipe cleaners and cucpake liners with numbers inside for sorting and counting.
Mary made everyone a button activity. The button is sewn onto a ribbon so they can practice buttoning through each piece of felt.
Liz made a pipe cleaner and bead activity. I added a few more colors and shapes to my bag of beads and keep this in my purse for restaurants. Perfect for fine motor skills and color matching!
I made a clothes line one for my kids the week before. I cut out clothing shapes from felt and bought some clothes line at the craft store. I had to explain the concept of a clothes line to them and had to laugh at some of the things my kids will never know existed. (Not that I've ever lived without a dryer! HA!) We tied clothes line to two chairs and they worked on their fine motor skills pinning the clothes onto the line with spring clothes pins and old school clothes pins my mom gave us.