Have you made busy bags for your child(ren)? If you have, then you know how much of a lifesaver they can be when you need to keep your toddler or young child entertained for a chunk of time. But you also know how they can sometimes take more time to set up than the amount of time your child plays with them. I’ve become very selective with the types of busy bags I put together for Pooky. Here is one I came up with that I feel was a huge success!
I was struck with inspiration the other morning when, as I was readying myself for the day, my daughter started playing with some of my hair products. I noticed her twisting the lid on and off of a bottle and realized this was a newly developing skill for her. I immediately decided I should create more opportunities for her to work on this. And the following busy bag idea was born!
Later that day when I had a couple minutes, I ran around the house collecting a handful of empty plastic containers and their lids. This didn’t take me long since I have a habit of washing out and saving containers. Even if I don’t have a use for them in mind at the moment, I know they’ll come in handy for something eventually. If you’re not a hoarder like me, you could still find almost empty containers to quickly wash out (check your fridge and pantry). You can also empty the contents of desired containers into other things like baggies. I did this with a small jar of white glitter and a jar of toothpicks.
Remove the lids from the clean empty containers and throw them all into a large plastic baggie. Et voila! You have yourself a busy bag!
This one kept Pooky busy for at least a half hour.
The idea was that she had to match the lids to their containers. She was able to do this 100% correctly, but it required a lot of concentration.
There was much celebration when she completed her task!
I was excited to see that this busy bag led to so many other forms of play that I hadn’t predicted.
She named the colors of the lids (repeatedly).
She stacked them to make a “great big tower.”
She used them as drums to make “music.”
She decided to find out how many pieces she could fit into the largest jar.
When I thought she was winding down with her play ideas, I asked her to help me order the containers from biggest to smallest (a new skill we’re currently working on). She could immediately order the three largest containers, but we worked together on the rest of the line-up.
Then chaos ensued! I had predicted this part, which is why I chose to fill this busy bag with all plastic containers.
I love it when I see this kind of fun, creativity, and learning come together in one activity. That’s the beauty of open ended play. Pooky worked on so many skills; naming colors, sorting, matching, and ordering, as well as fine motor skills. That’s why I call this quick busy bag a resounding success! I think other toddlers would find it fun too.
What busy bag ideas have you had success with? I’m looking for ideas to add to my busy bag board on Pinterest. In fact, I’d like to open it up to others, so I can get even more great suggestions. If you’d like to pin to the board, just follow me on Pinterest, and then send me a message asking to be added to the group board.
Check out our other fun and fast to put together busy bag activities.