This post was originally on my old blog Pancakes in Bed. I decided to bring it over and update it for Surprisingly Special because it’s an oldie but a goodie!
A busy bag is literally a bag full of things to keep your little one busy while you are out and about and they might otherwise be bored (and whining). My mom used to call it a “bored bag.” When I was a kid, she usually brought one that was stocked with paper and crayons, a walkman and headphones, a couple of different Wee Sing tapes, and a book or two. I spent many a Giants game listening to Wee Sing Around the Campfire or Wee Sing Silly Songs!
I made this busy bag as a first birthday gift for my dear friends’ first baby, Sagan. Sagan is now about to turn 5!! The time has flown!
When I decided that this would be a fun gift to make, I scoured the interwebs for ideas. I was looking for activities that I could easily make myself or buy cheaply. I was also trying to figure out what would be age-appropriate for a young toddler. Most of it turned out to not be age-appropriate for Sagan at the time, but he was able to grow into it 🙂
I put each activity into a small zip-lock bag and I put all the baggies of goodies into a canvas tote bag with a big S for Sagan. Here’s what was inside:
- Sensory Bottles
These bottles are from the brewer’s yeast that my husband used for homebrewing. They are a great size for little hands! They are actually called “soda bottle preforms” and they’re kind of like baby 2-liter bottles – they’re the same bottles before they’ve been stretched out to 2-liter size. You can find them online, but I’d recommend finding something you can reuse from your own recycling. I’ve used sprinkles jars, jelly jars, and little kid-size water bottles too!
The bottles are filled with food coloring, corn syrup, and sequins. Except the red one which is water, vegetable oil, and food coloring.
2. Matching Game
For these matching cards, I used scrapbook paper mounted on stiff art board. These would have been even better laminated to make them waterproof (or drool-proof!)
3. Shape Sorting Game
To make this shape sorting game, I bought wooden shapes from the craft store and covered them with scrapbook paper. Then, on a sheet of craft foam, I traced each shape with sharpie and added hook & loop dots to the shapes on the board and the wooden shapes.
I took a little plastic food/sauce container and cut two holes in the top with a craft knife, just big enough for a little hand to stuff a pom pom through.
5. Ice Cream Cone Felt Board
Simple and cute with basic shapes: triangle cones and circle ice cream scoops! You could even just make the cherries circles to keep it simple.
6. Threading RibbonI sewed a big button on one end of the ribbon and a smaller button on the other end, then I cut out some felt shapes with a slit in the center of each to thread the ribbon through.
Plus: Store Bought Goodies and Toys
In addition to the handmade activities, I inlcuded some mini play doughs with small cookie cutters, robot finger puppets, and a small spiral notebook with a pack of crayons. Most of those things came from the dollar section at the craft store.