Oh Busy bags! You just have to love them! Though I really don’t love the name, to be honest. Busy bags sound to me like they are about keeping kids busy. While that is all well and fine (and certainly can serve a purpose), I prefer to think of them as quiet time activities.
Quiet time activities let kids rest and encourage mindfulness. They serve the very same purpose of busy bags, but flip our thinking I believe. BUT … since I am trying to get over my mindset about the title Busy Bags, I bring you …
5 Busy Bags with ANY Deck of Cards!
Because other characteristics of Quiet Time Activities? They must be easy, low prep and fairly mess free. A deck of card definitely fits these needs.
So grab a deck of cards (or 5) and let’s get those little ones busy! Or quietly engaged and resting … either way.
Cut each card in half and pop them in a bag. Little ones can take them out and try to match them up! With 52 cards, this is bound to be a challenge. If your child is too young for this task, they can try to build a straight line as long as they can!
Match it up. For this busy bag, just pop all of the cards in a bag. Have your little one sort the cards in as many ways as they can. They can sort by colour, by number, or by suit. For older children, they can record how many cards were in each group. For little ones they can try to sort the cards into two piles: red and black.
Make a road. Add a few little toy cards and that deck of cards can become a long and winding road! Maybe bridges could even be constructed. You could add in some tape for some structural support.
Button Match. Throw oodles of buttons or beads inside the busy bag and have children count out the correct number of buttons for each card. The ten card would have ten buttons lined up below it. The two card would have two. Children can try to put them in order from smallest to largest. For Jack, Queen, and King maybe they could try to form the letters J, Q, and K from the buttons? Let them get creative!
Clothespin Clip. This one is similar to the previous suggestion, but is fabulous for strengthening those little hands. Pop a bunch of clothespins in the bag with the cards and children can clip 5 clothespins to the card with the number 5 on it. OR maybe they will build elaborate structures with the playing cards and clothespins. Anything goes when imaginations are allowed to run wild!
There you have them! Lots of fun ways to play with a single deck of cards. Whether you are after busy bags to keep those little ones occupied at an appointment or restaurant, or a quiet time activity to promote rest and mindfulness, these activities are for you!
Happy quiet time friends,
I love these. A nice upgrade from sliding cards through a slat in an old coffee tin (a favourite when she was 2)
Yes!! That is a perfect idea for those tiny little hands. Thank you for sharing that one here – I bet other Mamas will love you for it! Thanks Angela and I am glad you like these ideas too.
Caroline Sabourin says
Love your ideas. Keeps my 3 year old grandson busy when he comes over for weekends. I did try to purchase the A one year of educations quiet bins at 50% off but the link didn`t work 🙁
Hi Caroline, I am so glad my ideas are helpful to you and your little guy! I am sorry about the link. If it still has not worked for you, please email me at HowWeeLearn@gmail.com
Really love your ideas. My preschool class always look forward to new busy bags.
Thank you very much Alycia! What a lovely comment to read – I am so happy your little ones like my ideas.
Jessica Brantner says
Thank you so much for this share! I got extra scrappy and chose a deck from our collection that was already worn and missing a few a cards. I took out 8 sets of four cards that still matched and made a deck for Wish Solitaire (a game Bicycle recommends for 8+, but was pretty easy to teach my four year old! Another quiet time activity ?) Then took the rest, cut them in half and threw in clothespins as you recommended for a busy bag! Still plenty of cards to sort, match, clip and enjoy and a serious upcycle from an otherwise “lost” deck <3 I love not wasting and these ideas were a total score!
Love it Jessica! Awesome! And solitaire is a great game for kids! My 9 year old loves it, but I bet you are right and my younger ones could learn it also. Great suggetion!