I’m Lauren, a wife, mummy and former Deputy Headteacher. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to be at home with my three children since my eldest son was born five years ago. It is this experience that led me to create Busy Brains Activity Packs, which launched at the end of 2019.
After returning to work following my first maternity leave, I began to realise just how difficult juggling being a mummy and a full-time teacher was going to be. I adored my work but, like many working parents, I felt uneasy that my dedication to the job and long hours meant I wasn't able to give my daughter enough of my attention. Despite this, I continued to juggle the demands of my work and motherhood for a couple of years until my second child was born.
We quickly learned that he had been born with severe hearing loss. At the time, we were unsure whether his hearing loss would affect his development and, after being warned that he might not be able to develop spoken language at all, we started learning sign language. I was determined that I would use my knowledge and skills to help him as much as I could. So, with a mixture of sadness and excitement, I decided to take some time away from the classroom and threw myself into life as a stay-at-home-mum.
Being at home had its own challenges of course. Going from a busy work environment surrounded by people, to suddenly being alone with the kids all day took some getting used to but we soon found our rhythm. Still thinking very much like a teacher, we got into a routine of baby classes, playdates and activities at home. It was equally hard (if not harder!) work, but the benefit to my children soon became apparent. As my son started to talk, his vocabulary grew and grew, and we soon realised that he was coping just fine with his hearing loss. In fact, both of the children were making huge progress.
At weekends, when my husband was home from work, he would offer to do something with the children so I could have a few minutes to myself. He is an amazing daddy and loves to play with the children but would be the first to admit that he sometimes struggles to think of what to do with them. Not wanting to switch on screens to entertain them, I'd help him find things to do with them, but in doing so, I often forfeited my child-free moments!
After he'd spend time setting up games that they had little interest in, he was the one who noticed how the children were more interested in the play I set up because I was choosing things that were developmentally appropriate for them. I was naturally using my knowledge and understanding of how children learn, my background in teaching and my love of learning, to create activities that sustained their attention and were fun.
So the idea of creating a resource to support parents was born! I spent the next two years researching and writing to ensure every pack contained enough ideas and information to arm parents with the skills, confidence and inspiration they would need to create fun, playful moments at home for themselves. I wanted to do more than simply share play ideas to replicate, I wanted to explain why or how each one is beneficial as I believe this is the key to creating playful moments that are ideally suited to your child. My aim has always been to help parents, like my husband, gain the understanding of how children learn so they can use my ideas as a starting point and then adapt them to help, support and nurture their individual children.
I wanted to make the cards accessible to as many people as possible, whether you're a parent, grandparent, childminder, babysitter or teacher looking for inspiration. So the activities don't require families to buy expensive new toys or lots of additional items. I was conscious of the fact that some parents have time to prepare activities in advance, whilst others want something that they can pick up and do on the go - so I included a mix of both.
I also wanted to make sure there was a range of different types of play in every pack (creative, physical, musical, literacy, numeracy, social and scientific) to ensure that all areas of the brain were stimulated and the activities link to the Early Years Curriculum. I've poured all of my knowledge and experience into the creation of the cards so you are free to enjoy your play knowing your child is learning AND having fun!
I really hope you enjoy the packs. Please feel free to leave a review on this site or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any feedback you have. Thank you.