7 Busy Bags for Busy Toddlers

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.

7 busy bag ideas for toddlers

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).

7 busy bag ideas for toddlers

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!

7 Toddler Busy Bag Ideas

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.

7 Toddler Busy Bag Ideas

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!

7 Toddler Busy Bag Ideas

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.

7 Toddler Busy Bag Ideas

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!

7 Toddler Busy Bag Ideas

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 Toddler Busy Bag Ideas

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.

7 Toddler Busy Bag Ideas

Bonus idea!
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!


  1. all great ideas except for the matchsticks in a matchbox…would hate for a toddler’s curiosity & exploring lead to a very dangerous situation. Matches in a different container would be fine but matches with a matchbox are never a toy; no matter how close you’re watching them.

  2. Hi Reer, thanks for the feedback. I should clarify that the matchboxes and matchsticks were both purchased from a craft shop for craft purposes – they aren’t the regular kind. They were also glued down firmly.
    Glad to hear you liked the other ideas 🙂

  3. We are headed on a road trip this Thursday and I am putting together busy bags and love the felt ocean scene! You mentioned a dollar store and I was curious which one so I can check our local ones around here! Thanks for sharing!


    1. Hi Jenni, thanks for your comment. The fuzzy felt board was from ‘Cheap as Chips’ here in Australia. Hope I replied in time before your road trip 🙂

  4. Some great ideas here! Loved the match boxes 🙂

  5. Was wondering if I sent you money if you could get me 5 of the ocean felt scenes. I can’t find them here in the Midwest US.

    1. Hi Susan! I have found similar felt board scenes for my littles at craft stores like Michael’s. You may check around and find something similar near you.

  6. On roadtrips I like to collect [safe] matchboxes, and fill each with a little game, such as paper clips to string together, or a few pipecleaners: we open these at regular intervals to keep the little ones busy. Bonus idea: cut up a picture into box-sized rectangles and glue the pieces onto the little matchboxes, then you have a puzzle- or two if you use both sides of the boxes

  7. Pingback: 7 Busy Bags for $5 or Less » Live Love Learn Gracefully
  8. Hi, Just wondering what you cut the sponges with as you have very straight cuts.

  9. Liza Amor says:

    We have a 24 hour flight with an 18 month old and a 3 year old. I’ll definitely be doing the pompom drop, quiet blocks, a felt picture, and artist bag!

  10. The viewtainer is the best idea ever!! I was thinking about doing one of those calm down bottles with the glitter. But it seemed like a lot of work and apparently sometimes you have to do it a few times to get it right. I saw these and I looked up the containers on the menards website to make sure they were there, and they were! They had a few sizes but I liked the size in your blog. I got two and went home and was able to find enough things laying around to put it. Although at Meijer that night I did hit up the clearance and found some little dogs from Secret Life of a Pet that my daughter is obsessed with to add. This was a great idea.

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