My Latest Obsession: Busy Bags

If you’ve not heard of them before, “busy bags” are gallon-size resealable bags that contain activities that can keep a preschooler busy while on-the-go (church, doctor’s offices, traveling) or during quiet times at home. As I think about boarding a plane for an inhumanely long flight with two preschoolers, who don’t know us, who don’t speak English, who probably have never seen a plane before, who have unknown language, mathematical, and fine motor skills, who will likely not understand that silly seatbelt light, I think: “Perhaps we need to have some fun activities on hand.”

The basics of busy bags are:

  • The contents must fit easily into a gallon-size resealable bag. The flatter, the better, in my opinion.
  • The activities should not be messy or contain many small parts that can’t be lost.
  • The activities must be relatively quiet.
  • The activities must be reusable.
  • The activities should cost around $1 or less.

Creativity and using what you have on hand is key. Sounds great to me!

There are hundreds of ideas for busy bags online, and I’ve been wading through great suggestions like:

shower curtain playmat

Playmats! Add in a matchbox car and some small plastic animals, and let the fun begin! Ken has already been given the task of creating a couple of these on the fabric from my never-ending fabric stash, or even an old bread cloth would work. Ken’s quite an artist, so I’m really looking forward to these!

lacing cards

Lacing cards. Some cardstock, or even a cereal box, some shoestring, and a hole punch: magic.

Felt board with shapes. Where can I get small amounts of felt for cheap, by the way?

I spy bags, which contain small objects hidden in the beads or rice that kids must find. This could also be done with a clear plastic bottle. Glued shut, of course.

The button snake. Cut holes in the center of felt squares, and slide the pieces over a button onto a ribbon.

Even better? A linky party with hundreds of ideas here!

As I’ve been sorting through tons of ideas, I’ve realized that it might be easier to create lots of the same type of bag, and then swap with others in a “Busy Bag Swap.” In fact, momblogiverse posts frequently of such swaps, so I know they work. For instance, 15 people create 15 bags each, and then everyone swaps so that each participant ends up with 15 different types of Busy Bags.

Would anyone be interested in Busy Bag Swapping with a group of people, including me? Or, if I were to use my crafting time over the next few weeks to create massive numbers of these, would anyone be interested in purchasing sets of 15 different Busy Bags? Do you have any Busy Bag ideas that you love?


6 thoughts on “My Latest Obsession: Busy Bags

  1. I would definitely be down for this! With a three year old around sometimes we will need items like this. And I also have a niece and nephew that I could use something like this. I will have to let my family know too.

  2. Pingback: The Missing Smiles « Where in the World Are Our Kids?

  3. Not sure this would be allowed on an aircraft (I haven’t flown since ’99) but those magnets that stick to each other and yet can be manipulated into different shapes. That would be mesmerizing for them! 🙂

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