Busy bags… For keeping entertained in quiet situations

Out for a meal? Meeting at the bank? Dentist/doctor appointment? Cup of tea with an elderly relative? Long drive?

At times we just have to drag the children along to something that they are probably not going to enjoy and will most likely be bored and play up… So I have made a list of things that would entertain my children in these situations which involve no mess and they can do them on their own with no input from me (apart from a quick tutorial) 

I’m actually finding them brilliant for those bad days/moments when I just can’t cope well (post natal depression) and need some time to compose myself…  They would also be brilliant to have ready if you are expecting another baby… And I really wish I’d had them at hand for Lara when William was first born…  When baby needs attention, for example feeding, you can entertain a toddler for a short time without your input and without the toddler feeling left out… 

Keep a few bags to hand so they can choose which one they want to try.
I would say that most of these ideas are suitable from about 18 months and up obviously depending on your child. If they are still putting things in their mouths then avoid ones with small parts like beads… Some of these ideas are suitable for younger ones and some for older, so choose what is most suitable for your child… 

I’ve tried to stick with ideas that are clean, easy to set up and mostly things you will already have around the house… 

Pipe cleaners and beads

Use pipe cleaners to thread beads onto to make bracelets… It’s easier and less frustrating than string for little fingers as the wire makes threading simple. I actually made 2 busy bags with this one… 1 with large beads for William and 1 with smaller beads for Lara…  




Foam threaders 
Cut a shape from a sheet of foam or felt… Hole punch around the edges and attach a plastic needle and some thread… I find this works best if I tie the thread to the needle and also tie it to the foam so I dont have to keep re threading it.


Popsicle stick puzzles

2 Popsicle sticks and draw a shape on them… Use different colours for different shapes… Maybe 5 or 6 different shapes in the bag. Mine are double sided… Same shape on the back but in a different colour… 



Pipe cleaner weaving  

Use a plastic sewing grid with pipe cleaners to weave and thread… Lara was awesome at this… And William loved it! But he did want me to help him which was fine but defeats the purpose of a busy bag… 



Stickers on a toilet roll tube 

Easy to keep in a bag, and kids always love stickers!!! For slightly old ones, you could draw shapes onto the toilet roll so they have to match the stickers to the shapes.


Pegs and Popsicle sticks

Draw dots onto Popsicle sticks 1 up to 5. They have to attach the corresponding number of pegs to each stick. Lara particularly loved this one! William didn’t follow the spots but still managed to attached the pegs. 



Soft building blocks

Using kitchen sponges cut into different sized blocks… It’s bright, it’s fun, it’s easy and it’s quiet! 



Pom Pom drop

A toilet roll with Pom poms… Just run the Pom Poms down the toilet roll over and over and over and over again. This is a good one for younger children… It entertains William for quite a while! 

Paperclip chains

A bag of paper clips to join together to make a chain… Coloured paper clips would be great for this. Also the added benefit of being magnetic if you have a large ish magnet you could add to the bag… 

Bottle of buttons

An empty drinks bottle and put a handful of buttons in it… Pour them out and let them pop them back in one at a time.. Just pop the lid back on ready for next time 😀

Elastic band bottle

Put elastic bands or hair bands around a bottle and have them take them off… And when they are good at it, teach them to put the bands back on again… After doing this one, Lara put the elastic bands inside the bottle then worked out how to get them out again… 

Crazy straws

Twist and wind the felt square around the crazy straws… I couldn’t find a button or bead big enough to fit a straw, so I cut out a few felt squares and cut an X in the middle as a hole for the straw… 


I hope you found some useful ideas here… Let me know what sort of things you put in your busy bags xx

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