Thursday, February 23, 2012

Busy Bags

Do any of you use Busy Bags with your kids?  Last October I hosted a Busy Bag swap after reading so much about them on the internet.  Basically, I asked a bunch of friends if they'd be interested in participating and about 15 of them were.  So we each made 15 of the same activity and put each one in a gallon-sized baggie.  At the swap, we (you guessed it) traded them out.  It felt a lot like Valentine's Day -- everyone had a grocery bag and we just set them up and went around the room, giving one of our homemade Busy Bags to each person.  At the end, we each had 15 different games or activities to take home with us.  It was a lot of fun!

Anyway, I have to confess, I've been keeping the Busy Bags in my bedroom, out of the way, so that the kids don't make a giant mess with them.  But recently I realized that I only take them out every once in awhile and that kind of defeats the purpose of having them.  Also, this week I reorganized our playroom, so I decided it was time for the Busy Bags to make an official appearance.  Out they came.

I cleaned the box that they were in and slapped on a label.  Then I made a little spot for them on the bookshelf in our playroom:

The verdict?  Success!  They both love them, but I think Natalie especially likes having access to them (a lot of the activities are a little too old for Daniel, I think).  They'll just pull the box out a little bit, dig through the bags, find one that they like, and take the activity to the table to work on it.  It's kind of fun.  Makes me feel like I teach preschool again.

Today, I snapped a few pictures of Natalie working on a counting activity:

The activity was very simple, and took her all of five minutes to finish it.  There are five cups, each with a numeral (1-5) written on it, along with the corresponding number of dots.  Also in the bag were a couple of handfuls of dry pasta (some were dyed with food coloring).  Natalie's job was to count out enough pasta pieces to put the correct amount in each cup.

The activity works well because it's so simple that she can almost do it by herself and it doesn't take long to complete.  If it was more complex, she definitely would have lost focus before finishing.  As you can see, she was pretty into it.

The activity also had a little makeshift fishing rod.  I wasn't terribly sure what to do with that... maybe the kid is supposed to grab a piece of pasta with that instead of using their hands?  That seemed way too hard for me, so I tossed it aside and just let Nat Nat use her hands.

Yay for Nat Nat!  She did it :)

The Busy Bags seem to be so popular around here that I'm thinking about adding in some more.  Most of the ones that we have right now focus on math and readiness skills (colors, shapes, etc.).  I don't think any of them teach letter recognition.  Natalie knows all of her letters, but she's still learning to recognize the lower case alphabet, and Daniel still needs to learn most of his.  So I'm going to work on some sort of activity that would let them work on letters... I'll post when I come up with something.

Thanks for reading!


  1. I love busy bags. I tried to host a swap but it ended up not being able to happen. I did make a bunch for my daughter and she loves them. :) They can be so inexpensive to make too! I got some paint chips at Lowe's and did a matching game with them. :) Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier. I'm excited to check out yours. ~ Megan

    1. We have a paint chip bag, too...sounds like it might be the same kind of thing. Thanks for following!

  2. Hiya Sarah...great idea, wish I'd known about something like that when my girls were smaller. Thanks for your sweet comment at my blog :)
    Cas x

    1. They are pretty amazing... the wonders of the internet. I find so many good ideas online. Thanks for following!

  3. Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my changeable frame! I love this idea of a busy bag party! I think I'm going to do this! Thanks! Jill


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