Recently, I had the awesome opportunity to participate in a Busy Bag Exchange through my local twins club. At a play group this spring, as our then 15-month-old twins played, my mom friends and I discussed (as much as one can discuss while wrangling two at a time) our latest Pinterest pins. The conversation soon led to busy bags, at which point my friend had the brilliant idea of organizing an exchange.
Fast forward about 5 months when we finally brought the topic up again (yes, you could say we got a bit distracted chasing our toddlers around this summer) and found the motivation to actually get it organized and done. We thought there might be enough interest in our twins club, and we put out an invite. We quickly realized there was a huge interest – an interest which led to an awesome exchange with 20 moms participating. In the end, we each took home a big bag full of fantastically creative and engaging busy bags for our toddlers. To be honest, I’m still not sure who is more excited about the exchange, the toddlers or the moms.
Part I: What is a Busy Bag?
To begin this three part series, let’s first start with a simple definition.
Busy Bag (n): A toddler friendly activity (that fits in a bag) designed to keep little hands and minds “busy.”
Busy bags are great for your kid(s) when you need a few minutes to prep dinner, clean up, or pass out on the couch. (Ok, so the last one is perhaps not recommended, but we all know how lovely it can be to watch your children happily playing and learning independently.) Many of these activity bags also provide wonderful opportunities for some parent-child interactive learning as well. (This is especially true if you have young toddlers as they will definitely need instruction and “demos” in order to play safely on their own.) Of course, supervision is recommended with all busy bags as some have smaller parts, and the bags themselves are typically not part of the activity, just for storage.
Here are some examples to get you started. (Please follow any links for tutorials and other resources for each activity.)
1. Paint Sample Color Matching – This activity is great for color recognition as well as for working on fine motor skills.
2. I Spy Fish – If you’re handy with a sewing machine, this makes for a great road trip game.
3. Popsicle Stick Puzzles – Print out some toddler friendly images, cut them up, glue them to some sticks and you have instant puzzles.
4. Number Boards – Good for little fingers, number recognition, and emerging counting skills.
5. Noodle Stringing – Simply store some fun noodle shapes and a string in a container, and you have a great on-the-go activity great for impatient little ones at a dinner out.
6. Worms in the Grass – Another great motor-skill builder as little ones will love using the “birdie” to get the “worms.”
7. Flippin’ Cookies – Younger toddlers can have fun just flippin’ cookies while older ones can work on matching and memory.
8. Pom Pom Color Match – Color code an ice cube tray with construction paper circles, then let your little ones match the corresponding colored pom pom balls.
9. Cups and Straws – With some varying sized straws and a few strategically drilled holes in a plastic cup, you have an awesome fine motor skill activity for little hands. (How many times are they more interested in playing with the straw than drinking from the juice box, anyway?)
10. Homemade Playdough and Noodles – Some easy homemade playdough combined with a variety of noodle sizes are sure to lead to some fun creations.
(For Ideas #11-20, click here.)
Looking for more busy bag ideas? Follow along (via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Blogger) or visit Part II: Busy Bag Inspiration and Resources for #11-20 and additional websites with busy bag ideas.
Thanks for visiting!
For more on Busy Bags Ideas, see:
Shared with: Mom on Timeout, The Epic Adventures of a Modern Mom, Two-in-Diapers, Little Becky Homemade, Six Sisters Stuff, For the Kids Fridays, Cheerios and Lattes, I Can Teach My Child, Healthy Mommy, Healthy Baby, Kids Co-op