Monday, May 20, 2013

Busy Bags

Have you heard of busy bags?

Essentially, a busy bag is an activity for a young child to do, where all the supplies for said activity fits inside a bag or container.  There are variations all over the map, but the point is that the supplies are containable and travel easily for use on road trips, flights, church events, so on and so forth.  Busy bags are usually handmade and geared towards children between 2 and 5 years old [you know, the busy ones].

This weekend, my friends came up with the idea to do a busy bag exchange party.  We all picked a busy bag activity, got enough supplies to make enough of our activity for each mom, and then had a get together and made them.

The verdict from this mom is a thumbs up.  While Kiddo is not quite ready for most of the activities that were made, I was a huge fan of spending time socializing and making stuff with friends, sharing a variety of bag ideas that I probably wouldn't have chosen on my own, and coming home with a bunch of loot.  I felt like a kid at Halloween or a birthday party.

While there was an upfront cost of supplies [such as $12 worth of Crystal Light containers], reality is I probably spent less than I would have getting all the supplies to make each individual bag idea myself.  And for a lot of my friends, they had most of the supplies on hand, so the cost was virtually nothing.

Okay, on to the interesting part!  We didn't come up with these ideas ourselves, so below the pictures are links to where the ideas originated.

Cupcake Busy Bag

Um , can you say adorable?  I think I will be playing with these felt cupcakes long before my child ever gets the chance.

Foam Shape Patterns

An activity for the "older" crowd that can start to understand patterns, shapes, and matching them. Making this project is undeniably one of the easiest.  All you need are construction paper and foam stickers. Stick half the pattern down, and leave the other half of the pattern free for you child to match up themselves.

Pipe Cleaner Color Sort

This activity was my choice - I think what drew me to it was that it was the only one I could find that adapts to a child's developmental levels, starting at one years old.   The idea is that your child can start out just putting pipe cleaners in the container, then start working on fine motor skills and thread the pipe cleaners through random holes, and eventually graduate into color matching. Not going to lie, though, getting holes punched through the container lids was a royal pain.  If you're planning on using Crystal Light containers [like I did], don't try to use a hole punch.  Just go for broke and get an awl.

Number Wheel

Another good matching game for older kids who are starting to understand numbers and counting.  I think I've got a couple years to practice my counting skills before I have to hand it over to Kiddo.

Jan Brett Animal Matching Game

Please tell me you remember reading Jan Brett as a child.  The side stories through her illustrations is nothing short of brilliant.  This activity is making a matching game using the animal characters from her books.  At this point, Kiddo will probably just being using them in the near future as flash cards to work on her animal sounds and [maybe] names.

ABC Match

I couldn't find a link to this specific activity, but I think you will get the idea quickly with the picture.  The name of the game is to the match upper and lower case letters.  To make, you simply write the upper and lower case on each side of a card [cool shaped ones are obviously better] then cut the card in half.  Easy peasy.

Counting Activities

Sorry, no link again, but I'm pretty sure this one was actually self-inspired.  Essentially, half of the bag is full of different items in groups of six that can be counted.  The other half has 3-piece puzzles with the numbers [1, 2, 3] written on the backs to match up.

Fun, no?

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