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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Busy Bag Bargain

So, this is an idea I got from Pinterest (imagine that) and I decided to see if our MOMS Club ladies would give it a go. Basically, you each make something to keep your kiddo "busy". You make the same thing for how many kids are signed up for the swap.You can grab these bags to take to doctor appointments, church ... etc.

We had 13 kids signed up, so we each went home with 13 busy bags!! All the moms came up with great ideas and my daughter, Aubree, loves each and every bag (I do too 'cause it keeps her busy while learning some great skills).

The reason I'm calling this a bargain is because I only spent $20 - $30 and ended up with endless fun for my toddler. Worth EVERY penny!

#1 - Pipe Cleaner Bead Threading

This is the one I made... I folded a small piece of white duct tape at the top of the pipe cleaners. I added different colored star stickers on the tape so kids can match up the color of the beads with the pipe cleaners.

To make it interesting, I mixed up different types of beads (some looked like trains and cars) with buttons. Just be careful if you make this one for younger kids because of the potential choking hazard!

 I think this is a good task for hand eye coordination!

#2 - Heads or Tails (plus more)

One of the Moms made these cute printouts. You may recognize the pictures from a favorite children's book. She made several different "games" for this busy bag...

Heads and tails matching game. My two-year-old daughter LOVED this! 

 Brown Bear size sequencing

1-2-3...Count With Me!

I think the original idea came from here ... you can download the printables and see more great busy bag ideas from the "Toddler Times" blog!!

#3 - Cloud Dough

This is a great outdoor idea and it kept my girl busy for hours! She was able to build sand castles and hide small toys in the dough.

Here's the recipe --8 cups of flour and 1 cup baby oil ... that's it! Easy Peasy!

My only warning ... it makes you want another baby in the house -- the baby oil smells soooo good!

 I suggest getting a bigger tub -- I hated losing some of the cloud dough!

#4 - Numbers Wheel

This is an easy and inexpensive way to learn numbers in English and Spanish (or whatever language you want to add). It's made of a sturdy paper plate, stickers with numbers/words, pins with a little bling bling and button decorations in the middle.

I love how the stickers have English, Spanish and the actual number!

#5 - Name Threading

This is a great way to teach your toddler hand eye coordination and his/her name at the same time! I didn't make this one, but I think the letters were bought at a craft store. You punch the holes and cut some string. The end of the string has clear tape wrapped around it to make it easier for younger kids to thread.

#6 - Popsicle Puzzle

This busy bag came with three puzzles! This Mommy printed out pictures of see saws, bunnies and kid friendly things and animals.

The pictures were glued to the sticks and then cut.

These puzzles are actually harder to do than you think (hence the reason you see only one put together for the picture ... ha ha!).

(By the way, I have tried this one before and used colored sticks from the craft store which was NOT a good idea because my daughter put them in her mouth and the colors rubbed off on her mouth and hands. I suggest using the plain sticks like the ones you see below!)

#7 - Velcro Popsicle Shapes

This is a great way to learn shapes! I believe this Mommy spray painted popsicle sticks and added velcro to the ends to overlap the sticks. What a simple way to educate!

#8 - Uppercase Lowercase Spoons

This is another great learning tool that can be fun at the same time! This Mommy wrote the UPPERCASE alphabet on the white spoons and the lowercase letters on the clear spoon. Be sure to put the lowercase letters a little lower so your kiddo can see both when stacked!

#9 - Make and Decorate a Cupcake

I have tested this one out on my toddler daughter, three-year-old nephew and eight-year-old niece and they ALL love the cupcake maker!

They can build and switch around cupcakes, liners and icing. But, the best part is the decorating with cherries, hearts, chocolate chips and sprinkles! I'm getting hungry just thinking about that!

The FREE pattern came from  here ... thank you ""!

Aubree is putting on the final touches! So cute!

#10 - Color Wheel

I'm trying to work on colors with Aubree, so I'm pretty excited about this busy bag! It's a handmade color wheel (laminated too) with clothes pins. The pins have the colors and the color names which is good for learning how to spell later on down the road.

#11 - Find My Match

My daughter is a big fan of this swap too. It's felt (or something like that) with buttons (hearts, starts, circles and flowers). All you have to do is trace the shapes!

#12 - Button Snake

All you need to make this project is a button, ribbon, felt, thread/needle and scissors! The idea is to have your kiddos thread the felt pieces on and off the button snake for hours of entertainment!

This Mommy got the idea from  here ... click and enjoy!

Each felt square has a slit the size of the button.

It takes a little sewing skills to attach the button and last felt piece.

#13 - Pom Poms and Pipe Cleaners

I have seen different variations of this one. Here, a hole was cut out of an empty cottage cheese tub. My daughter loves stuffing the pom poms and pipe cleaners inside. I know it doesn't sound like loads of thrills, but she doesn't mind the work!

I also added an empty and clean plastic parmesan canister to add extra shapes for the stuffing! I have read some kids like the sound of the short pipe cleaners hitting the bottom.

So, that's it for this busy bag swap! I hope this blog has encouraged you to make inexpensive busy bags for your lil ones too! I'm all for spending less and sharing ideas to help other parents do the same!

A year later, I ended up doing another swap ... click here for NINE more busy bag ideas!



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1 comment:

  1. Hi Kathryn,

    I'm an editorial assistant at Parents working on a story about DIY busy bags. Our editors loved the felt/button snake busy bag you created (, and I'm hoping you can give me some more information about it, so that we might be able to include it in the story. First, I'd like to make sure that this was your original idea. Second, we'd like to get your permission to recreate your idea for Parents magazine. If you agree and your idea is chosen for the piece, we will recreate the craft, photograph it in our NYC studio, and you and your blog will receive a credit on the page. If you're up for it, I will send you more information. I'd love it if you could get back to me by EOD tomorrow (Wednesday, Jan. 29).

    Thanks so much!

    Rheanna O'Neil Bellomo
    Editorial Assistant | Parents Magazine
    805 Third Avenue 24th Floor | NY, NY 10022
    Phone 212.499.2049 | Fax 212.499.2083