Fun Friday {Busy Bags}

by Hope Sewell on January 27, 2012

in allergies, crafts, eos, kids

Happy Friday everybody!!

I have been a BLOGGING MACHINE this week!! I’m probably the corniest blogger ever with all of my fun titles for the days of the week.  But I can’t help it!!  Having a name helps give me some direction.  I’ll probably flop back and forth between Fun Friday and Frugal Friday…not totally sure.  😉

But this week it’s definitely FUN FRIDAY!!

  I promised on Tuesday that I’d show you how we stayed content throughout a long 4 hours in a doctor’s exam room last week. The trick was all in the bag…BUSY BAGS that is.I don’t remember exactly how I came across the whole idea of busy bags but I’m glad I did!!

What is a busy bag??  Well, it’s a small bag (of any sort) containing a simple toy or activity for your little one to do quietly and independently.

There is TONS of information and tons of ideas out there on this subject!!  Just do a google search or a search on Pinterest and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Before our trip, I knew how our doctor visit would be spent so I wanted to make sure that we had plenty of stuff to keep us occupied and happy.  So I bought several zipper pencil pouches and started putting some ideas together.
The colored pouches came from Dollar General for $1 each.  The clear zipper pouches came from Wal-Mart and they ran me .75 each.  And I actually like the clear ones better.  They are very sturdy and I like being able to see immediately what it contains.

I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on this project so I gathered things from around the house.  This idea is PERFECT for things that your child plays with but gets lost in the shuffle of all the other toy options.  I don’t know about you and yours but even though we try our best to be minimalists, our babes still have quite a few toys!!  And I’ve learned that when it comes to toys, less really is more.  It seems that the less there is available for them to play with, the more they play with the things they DO have.

So I went shopping in our toy boxes and school room and got to work.
1.  The Pattern Bag First, I pulled out some pattern blocks and I printed some pattern pages and laminated them with Con-Tact paper.These are so much fun!!  I printed them in color and picked some shapes that I thought would be easy for Lilly (3) but still challenging for Tobin (6).  She LOVED them and surprised me at her ability to put them together properly.2. The Paper Bag This bag was a big hit as well. Paper, coloring book, markers, stickers and rubber stamps.   Stickers are always fun but what got most of the attention was the rubber stamps.  We stamped up most of the paper on the exam table!  3.  The Play Doh bag!!  This is the only bag that I spent money on.  I bought these tiny play doh containers from the $ section at Target.  ( $1 for the whole set) We already had the tools.  It all fit perfectly in the bag and was the first one to be played with and I think it was the only one to be played with twice.4.  The Clothesline Bag.  This bag did not get played with while we were at the doctor but it has been played with at home.  There really wasn’t a good place to set it up right there.  It contains twine for the clothes line, pop up scotch tape to secure it, clothes pins and felt clothes.  So fun!!5. Lace Cards  These didn’t get pulled out at all.  I’m not sure why…I like them and think they are GREAT for fine motor skills but I guess they don’t stand a chance when pitted against rubber stamps and play-doh.6. Dinosaur Puzzles We got these several years ago from Usborne Books (which I love).  It’s a box of 6 four piece puzzles.  The pieces are large and perfect for little hands.  Plus they both LOVE dinosaurs.  I looked for these on their website and they must not carry them anymore…which is a tragedy!

7. Color Sorting I hot glued magnetic tape to large popsicle sticks.  Then I put in a lot of colored paper clips.  Sounds simple but they enjoyed sorting and playing with the magnets.

8. The Cutting Bag My peeps LOVE to cut!!  In fact, we had a some cutting drama go on this week!  Lilly’s new nickname is Edward Scissor Hands!  But this is the BEST thing for her!!  It was one of Tobin’s favorites as well!  I put scissors, paper, ribbon, straws, string and a piece of cotton rope in the bag and let them CUT LOOSE!!  And they cut everything to pieces!!!This was Tobin’s favorite bag!!9. Lacing Beads  This was another favorite.  It contained craft lace (you know…that plastic string) and pony beads.  I went ahead and cut some of the string and tied knots in the ends so they would be ready to go right out of the bag.  A few necklaces were made and very few beads were dropped! That equals success!These bags really did make our trip more fun and enjoyable.  I liked that we weren’t just sitting there the entire time watching a movie but that they were busy doing fun and beneficial activities.

You can go on and on with this busy bag idea!!  Turn them into busy boxes for quiet time at home.  A shoe box would allow bigger items.  Think a little more contained and they are perfect for Sunday mornings at church or road trips.  I’ve also heard of Busy Bag Swaps which is a GREAT idea for moms with little ones!!

Since we’ve returned home, Lilly has enjoyed them while R, T and I are working on school stuff.  She’s playing, learning, and contained for a moment or two.

Have you made any busy bags??  Got any ideas to share??

This post linked HERE!

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Lindsay Nicholls January 27, 2012 at 11:09 am


Hope Sewell January 27, 2012 at 5:16 pm


Sarah January 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Fantastic idea! {i have three boys!} Thanks for sharing at Dwell on Fridays!

Our House January 27, 2012 at 11:15 pm

This is perfect! A big THANK YOU! I have four children ages 11, 8, 7, and 2!

Hope Sewell January 28, 2012 at 7:56 am

Well my three have definitely loved them!! Thanks for stopping by!

Jan February 6, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Such a great post! I love most your honesty about the ones that the kids enjoyed better than others. I no longer have little ones, but am filing this away for the day that I have Grand-Little ones! Great Blog.

Hope Sewell February 6, 2012 at 8:38 pm

Thanks so much for the visit and sweet words!!

OneMommy February 7, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Love the idea of busy bags –
I usually have crayons and a small coloring book in my bag. At dr. appt. they color on the exam table paper all the time. I never would have thought of a cutting bag – but they both love to cut. Good idea!

Hope Sewell February 8, 2012 at 7:33 pm

The busy bags have definitely come in handy for us!! We used them again today. 😉 Thanks for stopping by.

Nabiha February 8, 2012 at 12:50 am

Love all of your ideas..they’re so simple and frugal, I’ve pinned this page. I dont live in the U.S. and I couldnt find a magnetic wand in the craft stores here…was wondering how I could make one myself…loved your idea of magnetic tape and jumbo craft sticks…was a duh moment for me! Thanks a lot! Nabiha

Hope Sewell February 8, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Thanks so much for the kind words and the visit!! Blessings!

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