Anyone who is on Pinterest and has a child has probably seen pins about busy bags. I became kinda obsessed with the concept -- creative and fun activities, easily transportable, reusable...yes please! But, anyone who has seen these also knows that putting together a lot of them is pretty unrealistic financially and time-wise.
Solution: busy bag swap! We hosted our first one last week. Eleven of us attended, so we each made 10 of the same bag (plus one for our own kid), then swapped, so we took home 10 different activities.
I'm introducing them to Ellie slowly over the next few weeks, but I'll post a sneak peek. Here are the 10 busy bags we ended up with.
I Spy bottle. This is the one Ellie has already played with, and both of us love it. I love that she can play with it in the car and there aren't little pieces that go everywhere. Ellie loves shaking it, crinkling the bottle and, as you can see, unraveling the yarn. She also loves pointing to the pictures of the duck and frog. So far, I don't think she realizes that there are those same things inside the bottle.
Felt pizza. Shayna spent somewhere around a billion hours cutting out felt pizza pieces. This one is super fun (I totally played with it for this picture). It came with a pizza box, cardboard tray, crust, sauce, cheese, peppers, sausage, pepperoni, olives and mushrooms. I love all the options with this one -- counting, patterning, following directions (placing "orders"), and just fun creativity. Shayna made a menu for her 5-year-old, who's reading, so this is one that a huge range of ages can enjoy.
Magnetic pom-poms. Another one that probably took forever. Magnetic strips hot glued to the back of pom poms = awesomeness. On a cookie sheet or fridge, these can be used with printables (this gumball color matching one was included; there are a ton of others online) or open-ended play. This is another one that I think will last a long time. I think this will be Ellie's next one I introduce -- for the kitchen when I'm making dinner.
Popsicle sticks color-coded to make shapes. I'm going to add Velcro dots so there are more ways she can play with it.
Color matching. Paint chips on a ring that can be used to identify colors in nature or around the house.
Pipe cleaner color matching. First of all, how cute is this mod podged puffs container? This has colored rings around holes in the lid and pipe cleaners that match. Ellie will DEFINITELY love this now, and we'll start doing colors later.
Pom-pom stuff it in. These are tea boxes (coffee boxes?) with a hole in the lid for pom poms. Another one that will keep Ellie busy for awhile because of the in-and-out game.
Felt shape snake. This includes a button sewn onto a ribbon with a felt piece on the other end, and lots of felt shapes with slits that can go over the button. I think Ellie will like this if she can figure it out.
This was mine -- a marble maze. This is a little fabric pocket with a marble sewn in, and a maze pattern sewn into it. There's two different patterns.
Lacing cards from foam. There were six of these I think, in different shapes. I think the duck will be Ellie's favorite once she can manage the fine motor skills necessary to actually do it.