January 27, 2012

Toddler Busy Bag Swap

A "busy bag" is a ziploc bag containing an activity (can be educational) you can give your kiddo to keep them busy, on their own or with minimal help. Each activity should be:
  • Self-contained. Something that you can grab and go, no added materials required. Great for home or on the go (doctor appointments, airplanes, restaraunts, etc)
  • Convenient. No major set-up or clean-up required (no paint, liquids, sand, dirt, etc).
  • Re-Usable. Should be able to play with many times without added materials, use lamination if needed.
  • Inexpensive. Aim for under $1/bag to keep this budget-friendly (brainstorm about re-using materials you already have or recycling containers, etc).
  • Easy to Make. Should not take hours to make.
  • Toddler-appropriate. Avoid small choking hazards like tiny beads. 
This is a toddler busy bag swap so all activities should be appropriate for toddlers ages 12-35 months. This is a wide-range so young toddlers may need supervision with some activities.

Each person will choose one activity and make 15-20 sets of that activity. I will update you with the exact number depending on how many kiddos we have, but will cap it at 20. If you have twins (or two toddlers) and want a duplicate set of busy bags, you should sign up to make two activities (or three if you want three full sets). Some activities use similar materials so you can make it easier on yourself if you like.

See below for a list of suggested activities. You can make one of these or feel free to google or Pinterest "busy bag ideas" and find your own. (As people sign up, I will cross out the activities that are already chosen)

I will host a dessert get-together for the swap (details to follow). If you can't make it that day, I'll make arrangements with you.

Want to join this swap?
Comment on this post with  a) the number of complete busy bag sets you want and b) what activity/ies you will make and c) your email address.
Please comment to sign up by next Wednesday (February 1st). I will send you a confirmation email to give you the exact number of bags to make and other additional details. We will swap on or around February 15th.

Suggested Activities:

1. Button Snake  (Emily)
2. Mini Reversible Felt Board (Jill)
3. Matching/Memory Game (Natalie K)
4. Plastic Egg Carton (Kelly)
5. Pool Noodle Stringing
6. Pom Pom Stuff it In (Nicole)
7. Color Sorting Pipe Cleaners
8. Sponge Lacing  (Marki)
9. Color Wheel (Shoshana)
10. Cupcake Magnetic Puzzle
11. Pom Pom Bottles (Ashley)
12. Laminated Flip Book
13. I Spy Bottle (Marki)
14. Wooden Bead Lacing (Tricia, w/ pasta)
15. Popsicle Matching (Natalie S)
16. Clothespin Drop (Erin)
17. Homemade Playdough'
18. Colorful Flowers (Bec)

Have additional questions? Feel free to email me.


  1. What a great idea! I had never heard of this busy bag idea before. Count me in with my 2 twins. I have to think about what we will make as I have never done this before. I will make 2 different busy bags and I am open to make as many as necessary to get as many in return!

  2. Put me down for 1 set. I'll take #1 on your list, the Button Snake! -Emily

  3. I'm in too, think this is a fantastic idea! I'll do the egg carton one (matching eggs - #4) if its still open, and assuming I can get my hands on plastic eggs (they have easter candy in the stores already, they should have plastic eggs too, right :)?)...and just one set of everything even with the 3 kiddos, we'll rotate...thanks for organizing!

  4. Kelly - I saw plastic eggs for cheap on Oriental Trading's website if you can't get them in stores.

  5. Hi Natalie,
    I sent you an email, but if it's still available, I'll do the felt boards.
    Thank you for organizing this - what a great idea!

  6. I would like to do this too! Can I make the matching memory/game?? I only have one 2 year old so one set of everything would be great. What a fun idea!!!

  7. I have 2 15 month old boys that would love this! I'd like to do the clothespin drop... just have to find enough 20oz bottles! Thanks Erin

  8. Erin - are you a FHM mom? I can't find you in the directory and I am sending an email out to all the participants.

  9. Yup, an FHM mom. My name on the site is etwins. Should I make double since i have twins or do I find another busy bag? Thanks so much!! Erin Bonura

    1. If you think I should have two busy bags, I'll make organic playdough :-) Thanks again!