Have you noticed that I write a TON about quiet time activities in this space, but not a lot about busy bags? There is a reason for that!
Quiet time in our home is about resting and allowing little ones some mindful time. Quiet time is FAR more than simply keeping little ones busy.
I write all about Quiet Time, as well as offer you my favourite quiet time activities in this freebie: The Best Quiet Time Activities – please grab it!
But busy bags also have there place in a childhood I have learned. To me busy bags are different than quiet time activities. Busy bags are for times when little ones need to be kept busy for a few moments: waiting at an appointment, when Mama needs to make a call, or even out at a restaurant.
Busy bags in our home have saved me from flipping on the screens! That is something that definitely is worth it’s weight in gold.
So today I wanted to share with you some …
Mama Approved Busy Bags
Busy Bags for Babies and Toddlers
Pompom Hockey. Little ones love to use straws to blow pompoms! Add some nets and you have a bust bag perfect for toddlers.
Puppet Making Busy Bags. Create a puppet or two ahead of time so very young toddlers can enjoy some imaginative play. Older toddlers and preschoolers can create their own puppets.
Fabric Reveal Busy Bag, By The Playful Learner – Watch baby pull out, explore and hide behind different textured fabrics. It sounds like baby heaven! Here The Playful Learner shares three more easy and adorable busy bags for babies.
Lacing Cards, By Making Danish – This activity is an engaging and rich learning experience for preschoolers and young kids: it exercises hand-eye coordination, can increase focus, strengthens their pincer grip and much more! Wow!
Sensory Busy Bags, By Must Have Mama – Must Have Mama suggests stashing some busy bags for mama’s sick days. How brilliant! Engage preschoolers by asking them to poke all the red dots or separate five beads into a corner.
Pom-pom Push, By Busy Toddler – Babies and toddlers love poking pom-poms through little holes and watching them disappear. Pop this busy bag (or busy box) into a diaper bag and strengthen fine motor skills on the go!
Straw and Cardboard Tube Threading, By Laughing Kids Learn – Straws are a great sturdy option for babies and toddlers new to threading. Practice golf balls can be used if you are worried about your cardboard tubes getting crushed.
Button Flowers, By Kindred Inspirations – These button flowers are a great way for little once to practice and strengthen their button fastening abilities. Kindred Inspirations shares three additional no-sew felt busy bag ideas here.
Pipecleaner Spice Jar Push, By Fun and Engaging Activities for Toddlers – Improve hand-eye co-ordination and strengthen fine motor skills with this inexpensive busy bag. You can use cotton swaps if you don’t have pipe-cleaners on hand.
Velcro Sticks, By Powerful Mothering – I just love when busy bags can be used in so many creative ways. Toddlers, preschoolers and young kids will love making letters, color sorting or even creating little worlds with these velcro sticks.
Egg Carton Building Blocks, By The Pinterested Parent – Raid your fridge or recycling bin for this craft supply and grab yourself some paint – VOILA – a busy bag! These blocks are safe and fun to use for kids of all ages and will certainly encourage creative building!
Cookie-Cutter Match, By Glued to My Crafts – These brightly-colored plastic cookie cutters are a great chunky item to use in matching busy bags for babies and toddlers. You can create a similar activity by replacing the cookie cutters with small toys or foam shapes.
Busy Bags for Preschoolers
Name Puzzles. Using popsicle sticks have little ones colour pictures, designs or their names! They can then use these as busy bags – it’s tougher than it looks.
Sling Shot Busy Bag. If you have a little one not too keen on independent play, or a challenge to engage, this busy bag is for you!
Shape Puzzle, By Teach Me Mommy – Use cardboard, foam or felt to cut shapes into smaller pieces and create this simple learning puzzle on the go.
Paperclips Busy Bag, By Powerful Mothering – Who knew that there were so many fun ways to play and learn with paperclips? Sorting colors and making letter is only the beginning! In addition, all of these paperclip activities strengthen fine motor skills! Yay!
Button Felt Chain, By A Crafty Living – This busy bag activity gets your kiddos to practice their buttoning skills or create fun patterns. Once their chain is done, they can use it to measure things or bend them to form different shapes!
Nuts and Bolts Busy Bag, By Preschool Powol Packets – Get your child thinking analytically while practicing their fine motor skills with this simple busy bag.
Build-a-Bug Busy Bag, By Teach me Mommy – Your little ones can enjoy some creative play on-the-go with this easy-to-make busy bag. Simply cut-out a few shapes in various colours and toss in some googly eyes. They might even make more than just bugs!
Busy Bag Tic-Tac-Toe, By Simply Play Ideas – I can see this being a perfect busy bag to pull out on long car rides or during some downtime at the cottage. Kids will love inviting everyone from siblings to grama to play a little game with them.
Donut Sprinkle Game, By Glued to My Crafts – Your child must roll the dice and add the rolled number of sprinkles to play the game. Alternatively, toppings can be added to a pizza, or pretend candy toppings can be added to a cake.
Picture Matching Cards, By Little Learning Club – Depending on the pictures you cut-out, you can create matching cards of different themes. Have your preschooler sort fruits and vegetables, farm animals and jungle animals, trucks versus boats etc. You can add a card for counting and one for color sorting to be used with the same pictures.
Geoboard Busy Bag, By More Than ABC and 123 – Geoboards are great for improving coordination and fine motor skills and they can keep kiddos focussed for a LONG time! Here are some ideas if you want to make your own. Kids Activities Blog uses map pins and a foam board, securing the pins with modge podge. My Baba creates one with nails and wood. The one we have shown above uses peg board, nuts and bolts.
Tracing Lines, By Happy Brown House – These line tracing printables are perfect for your preschooler to practice their pre-writing skills on-the-go. Use the same idea for practicing letters, sight words, numbers or shapes. Warning: this could be a frustrating experience in a moving car, so maybe don’t pull them out then.
Story Stones Busy Bag, By Preschool Inspirations – Children can use story stones to guide the creation of an oral storytelling. Preschool Inspirations has provided a free printable with images you can paste onto stones with Modge Podge. You can also paint or draw directly on to stones with an older child. If the stones are too heavy for travel, natural wood slices could work well too.
Busy Bags for Kids
Quiet Moments in a Jar. I created this post for when we need 10-20 minutes of quiet. I have realised that ALL of the ideas in this post make fabulous bust bags! Best of all — NO prep!
Learning to Read Busy Bags. If you have a new reader, or a child just on the verge of reading, you will love these ideas!
LEGO and Art Travel Box, By Repeat Crafter Me – You can easily grab two staples of a creative childhood and take them on the go: LEGO and drawing. These are perfect for road trips or long waits at appointments.
Rhyming Words Busy Bag, By Happy Brown House – This little set is perfect for pre-readers and can be played independently or as a game.
Word Building Busy Box, By i heart crafty things – This busy bag really is as easy as it looks. Kids can play independently or as a reading game with a partner. This activity can be simplified for preschoolers learning their letters.
Tangram Busy Bag – By One Mama’s Daily Drama – Apart from being plain ol’ fun, tangrams are perfect for strengthening problem solving, logical thinking and visual-spatial awareness. What a mouthful of benefits! Use wooden tangrams or the free printables provided in the link.
Letter Sounds Busy Bag, By Fun with Mama – This busy bag for kids can easily be made by with pictures of objects or small toys you have one hand. Write the letters on a small piece of cardstock and you’re all set.
Color Sudoku, By All Our Days – Sudoku is a wonderful game for developing logic and memory skills, but it can be challenging for young children. This Color Sudoku game is a great way to introduce your child to this fun game.
Wikki Stix, – Wikki Stix are made from “food grade wax and hand knitting yarn” making them a delightfully unique material for endless creations. They are an easy, mess-free to bring creativity on the go.
Yarn Weave Busy Bag, By Hello Wonderful – I am still relishing at the sheer beauty of these yarn weaves! They can be beautiful mini-projects that your child creates over multiple occasions and looks forward to completing. Add beads and different textured yarns for cool effects.
Road Trip Printables, By 123Homeschool4Me – These printables are amazing for roadtrips and will engage kids of all ages. A few of these pages, including the ABC I-Spy game, can be modified for any trip. If you are out for dinner, kids can search for items that start with each letter within the restaurant.
Card Game Busy Bags. If you have one pack of cards (any cards!) you have everything you meed for these 5 different busy bag ideas!
I hope these busy bag ideas are just what you were after for your toddlers, preschoolers, and kids of all ages! I have a new found love for busy bags friends – I hope you do too!
Busy bags are great for building fine motor skills, increasing attention, and independence too. Now, they are not quite up there with all of the benefits of quiet time, but there is definitely a place for busy bags after all.
Thank you so much for reading friends!