Today regular contributor, Lauren of Teacher Types, shares seven fun, simple-to-make busy bag ideas just right for toddlers.
Are you forever looking for new ways to keep your little one entertained when you are on the go? Well then this post may be just for you! Busy bags are designed to be low mess, low fuss, easy activities for you to grab as you madly rush out the door, just pop it in your nappy bag and off you go. They are perfect for long trips in the car and flights, for doctor’s waiting rooms, restaurants and cafes, just to name a few.
Here are seven of my favourite busy bags for busy little toddlers (recommended ages – between 1-3 years, however please exercise caution with small objects which may pose as a choking hazard. Please be sure to always supervise your child closely).
1. Quiet Blocks
Who would have thought that a few kitchen sponges could be transformed into building blocks! Toddlers will enjoy lining them up, sorting them, building a tower and knocking it down… without the noise!
2. Pom Pom Ball Drop
This one could not be simpler. Just grab a packet of pom poms from a craft or dollar shop and pair with a cardboard tube. You’ll be amazed at how long a one year old can be entertained posting the pom poms down the tube over and over again.
3. Crayons, paper, sticky notes and stickers
This artsy busy bag is small and compact and lets your little artist go to town! They’ll especially love drawing on the sticky notes and then sticking them all over the wall, table or wherever. Fortunately, it won’t leave a mess!
4. Surprise Sensory Matchboxes
This busy bag is one of my daughter’s favourites but takes a little more preparation. I got these mini matchboxes from a dollar store (you could also try a craft store) and used whatever I could find in my craft box to fill them. Stick one material down firmly with glue in each box.With a little bit of practise, my (almost) two year old could slide out the boxes and loved exploring with her senses of sight and touch to discover what was hidden inside.
Pictured (from L-R)- Top Row: Corrugated cardboard, sticky Velcro dots, pipe cleaners, pom poms, cotton wool.
Bottom Row: Sandpaper, straws, shiny paper, matchsticks, scrunched up cellophane.
5. Fuzzy Felt Pictures
Now I can’t take credit for creating this one – again it was purchased from a dollar store, but if you were feeling crafty you could create all sorts of fuzzy felt pictures. This set was very successful at a recent family brunch!
6. Imaginative Play Bag
At around the age of two, you may notice your toddler enjoying imaginative play. They might bring you a pretend cup of tea and a piece of cake while playing. Bring a teddy or doll along as well and your child can set up their own mini tea party.
7. Colour Sorting Bag
Another simple and easy idea – gather some small toys from around your home (try to choose items your child hasn’t played with for a while). Choose items of two different colours for your child to name and sort.
These ‘viewtainers’ were one of the most successful items I packed when we went on a road trip towards the end of last year (my daughter was about 20 months old). Hubby says you can get them from hardware shops. They have a slit in the top lid which is great for posting popsticks. And with the second – I filled it with little toy items (my daughter is obsessed with and at times attached to ‘little’ things). She had lots of fun with these both in the car and when we went out to dinner.
There are many more ideas out there – these are just a few. Pinterest is a great place to start if you are looking for more. And if your child is too old for these busy bags – next month I’ll be back again with 7 busy bag ideas perfect for preschoolers!