A dear friend of mine is pregnant with her third child, and I couldn’t be happier for her. That said, I remember how difficult it was to entertain LittleMan quietly when SunnyGirl was still a newborn. So, in lieu of being geographically close enough to take the kids off her hands a few hours here and there, I’ve made these lap desks for her children. I believe similar lap desks would also make a good gift to give a child going on a summer road trip or even just a nice back to school present.
When giving gifts to a family with siblings, I like to be as “even stevens” as possible, however with her daughter in early elementary school and her son a preschooler, there were some slight differences between the lap desks.
For both lap desks I started with a basic Sterilite storage container (6.2 quarts) with a locking lid and I velcroed a clipboard to the lid. Because the clipboard is held on by velcro, it can easily be removed and stored inside the container. The clipboards were plain when I bought them, I painted the top portion with chalkboard paint, separated it from the bottom with a strip of scrapbook paper, on bottom of both clipboards is an alphabet chart in cursive and a hundreds chart.
If you remove the lids you can see I got a bit carried away filling the desks with activities. Both children have two folders of fun (slightly educational) worksheets, coloring pages, and activity books. I scoured the internet for these items and was able to find everything for free, I will link all of these free resources as I mention them. Both children also have 3 plastic soap boxes with little self-contained activities similar to toddler busy bags but more appropriate for their age range. I included as well some basic school supplies and some small toys.
Because these lap desks are being given as new big sibling gifts, I did include one baby themed item for each child: baby bottle i-spies.
For the girl I put small pink trinkets into a pink baby bottle, filled 3/4s of the way with rock salt, added pink glitter, and glued the lid on. For the boy I did the same with blue. I took pictures of the trinkets before adding them to the bottles and used a simple paint program to add text to the images. “Can you find….bead, butterfly, sword, etc..”
Besides the baby bottle i-spies, I tried to keep the desks mostly focused on the individual interests and developmental level of each child.
For the older one I included in her folders a Dr Who coloring and activity book, coloring pages of famous art (which I paper clipped together by artist and included a small note card with the very base information about the artist), dot-to-dot, kids Sudoku, mad libs, and a notebook which I taped a list of creative writing prompts inside of.
For the preschooler I also included a Dr Who coloring and activity book, alphabet coloring pages, and various Star Wars worksheets and activities from these two printable packs: from Homeschool Creations and from 3 Dinosaurs.
In the girl’s 3 soap boxes I included:
– mini notebooks, memo pads, and a pencil sharpener to encourage writing
– a deck of cards and dice for playing various math games
– a set of classic tanagram puzzles (purchased from Dollar Tree and consisting of plain cardstock)
In the boy’s 3 soap boxes I included:
– a set of beginner tanagram puzzles (homemade from wooden blocks and laminated cardstock)
– a paint swatch color matching activity similar to one I had previously posted about
– a learn your name kit with the letters of the child’s name on lego blocks, beads, foam letters, cardstock letters, and nuts on a bolt
And last but not least both children both have a paddle ball, techdeck skateboard, rubix cube, cup and ball, magnetic doodle pad, and a mini tin with a puzzle. Most all of these can be found at Party City, Dollar Tree, or the under $5 toy aisle at Walmart.
I’ll be mailing these lap desks out to the mom along with a TARDIS diaper cake later this week. With any luck the children will find them interesting enough to let the new baby (and their mom) take a nap or two.
In the mean time, LittleMan has shown such an interest in them that I’m considering making him his own to use during quiet time.