Busy bags are a fantastic thing to have around for young children and are great boredom busters. They are ideal to slip into your bag for long journeys, medical appointments, visiting relatives or any other accession where your little ones might need entertainment or distraction. A busy bag is incredibly easy and cheap to put together, they can be themed in any way that you want and they can be switched up to keep little minds entertained. All you need to get started making your own busy bags is some kind of bag such as a large pencil case or a food storage bag. Here are some of my favourite busy bag ideas.
Grab a bag and fill it with Lego pieces. You could pick up some of the mini-build sets that you can usually find in the pocket money section of shops or you could just grab a selection of bricks from a classic Lego set.
A couple of different coloured pots of playdoh and a couple of cookie cutters and you’ve got hours of creative fun. If you’re feeling particularly creative you could make your own playdough and print and laminate some small mats to go in the bag with designs for the child to copy.
Throw some small toy cars in a bag and off you go. You could even make a road system on paper that can be folded up and popped into the busy bag as well then the child can drive their cars around on it.
Either put a deck of snap cards into a busy bag or you could make your own snap cards by cutting pictures from a magazine or catalogue or printing pictures for your child to colour so that they can make their own snap set. If your child has a lot of medical procedures then you could take photos of the different medical supplies and professionals that they come across regularly then print and laminate them to become a snap set to help familiarise your child with these items.
Create a threading busy bag by putting some cord and a selection of colourful buttons or beads into a bag. Make sure there is a good knot on one end of the cord so that the items don’t fall off as your little one tries to thread them. This is fantastic for developing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
My youngest, the Dinosaur, spends a lot of time in the hospital as he has leukaemia and he likes to play Doctors. Put together a bag with things like plasters, bandages, medicine syringes (like the ones you get with infant paracetamol), a stethoscope and surgical gloves and your little one will have a handy medical busy bag.
Head to your local DIY store and pick up a selection of nuts and bolts in various sizes. Not only will this busy bag help your child to develop their fine motor skills but they will also develop their cognitive skills by correctly matching the sizes.
Print off some sheets with different lines (straight, curly, zig zagged, squared etc.) on them and pop them in a busy bag with a couple of different pens. If you wanted to you could even laminate them and use dry-wipe erasers so that your child can trace the lines to develop their writing abilities.
Just like the writing busy bag, print off some sheets with different shapes or types of lines on them and pop them in a bag with some children’s scissors then your child can practice cutting. The Dinosaur loves cutting and sticking activities.
This is another busy bag that will help to develop the skills they will need in school. Take a piece of paper and draw some largeish circles on it, write a different number in each circle then add the paper to a bag with some small objects such as buttons, paperclips or coins. The child then needs to place the correct number of items in each circle.
Noughts & Crosses
You can easily make reusable noughts and crosses game to go into a busy bag by using felt. You will need three colours of felt to make this. Take one colour and cut it into a square then mark it with a noughts and crosses grid by either drawing the lines with a thick marker or by sewing. Take the second colour and cut out circles and mark them with a nought. Take the third colour and cut out squares then mark them with the cross shape. Put all the pieces in the bag and off you go.