Have You Ever Done a Busy Bag Swap?

posted by Andrea | 10/17/2012

photo source

If you have young children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or even if you read blogs from people who have young children, you’ve probably heard of “Busy Bags”.

If not, let me quickly explain…

Busy Bags are basically a simple educational/learning activity for small children (ages 1-6 or 7) that will keep them busy for short periods of time when they otherwise might be antsy. All the different parts and pieces of the activity usually fit into a gallon size zippered bag… so that’s why they’re called “Busy Bags”.

Cute huh? :)

Anyway, even though Nora is on the young end for most of the Busy Bags I’ve seen, I know she’ll be able to do some of the simpler ones in no time. So I was really excited when one of my friends suggested that we get a group together for a Busy Bag Swap.

And if you’ve never heard of a Busy Bag Swap — it’s just like it sounds. A group of people get together and swap different Busy Bags.

I’m planning to make these two Busy Bags for the upcoming swap:

1. Pool Noodle Stringing {If I can find the pool noodles!} 

2. Clothes Pin Number Wheel {download the free template here}

photo source

Our Busy Bag Swap will have 8 moms (including me) and we are each making 2 Busy Bags — so at the end of the swap, we’ll each have 16 different Busy Bags to bring back home to our kiddos.

I’m sure I’ll have lots of fun ideas and pictures to share after our Busy Bag Swap… but in the mean time, here are a few great resources if you’re thinking of making Busy Bags — or if you’d like to have a Busy Bag Swap of your own.

Also, if you’re already thinking ahead for the holidays, these bags would make a fabulous clutter-free and frugal Christmas gift. Simply make up a bunch of bags (they honestly don’t take that long to make) and throw in a few child-friendly art supplies or a couple books.

Not only will you make the kids happy, their parents will love you too :)

Have you done Busy Bags before?

  • What are your favorites bags?
  • What are the simplest bags to make up?
  • Do you have any tips for doing a Busy Bag Swap?
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10 comments

  1. Kristen

    10/17/2012

    I have three kids and have never even heard of this! I will be busy today, and sharing this with my MOPS group! Thanks for the great idea-def. a diaper bag essential! Have you ever seen the idea to turn an old DVD case into a fun portable art kit? It is on Pinterest and a really clever way to keep kiddos occupied on the go. I also turned my old 13*9 baking pans into art kits for the car. They had lids and I just filled them with crayons and coloring books and slid them under the seats for long trips!

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  2. Chelsea

    10/17/2012

    I made an “I spy” bottle for the car that I found on Pinterest from this blog:
    http://www.meetthedubiens.com/2010/11/i-spy-bottles.html

    I used different colored pom poms, colored dice, colored beads, a heart shaped “marble”, a shiny penny, (nickel, dime, quarter, if you want) and some really cute buttons from Michaels that are shaped like cars, trucks & tractors. (Plenty of cute buttons for girls, too).

    I hope my Moms group does a busy bag swap! That would be a lot of fun!

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  3. Catherine

    10/17/2012

    That’s genius. It’s just as easy to make 1 of these as it is to make 5. Perfect to keep the kids entertained during the holiday rush. Thanks so much for the idea.

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  4. Ronnie

    10/19/2012

    Thank you for this post. I’ve been looking for a “simple and organized” busy bag resource for awhile now and here it is! I have 3 children < 3 1/2 with one on the way in December–We've chosen not to have a TV in the house so this kind of thing is totally essential for me! I really enjoy your blog, hope you and your family have a very blessed and happy Thanksgiving and Christmas season!!

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  5. Katie

    10/19/2012

    Ok… this is a great idea. Remember when I told you that I was going to a freezer meal party? Well, that was pretty much a bust – mainly because it turned out that no one in the group but me really liked to cook – but I’m going to ask if they want to try again with Busy Bags instead of meals!

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  6. Angie

    10/29/2012

    Hey!
    This is probably a dumb question…I’ve never been good with logic, but if 8 moms take 2 bags each, how do each of you end up with 16 bags to take home? Wouldn’t that be a total of 16 bags at the whole swap? Thanks for explaining this to a bumb bunny!

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    vicki Reply:

    Each mom is bringing only 2 kinds of busy bags but 8 of each one. She will bring home 16 different bags.Clear as mud right?

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  7. Deneane

    10/29/2012

    Yes, I was wondering the same thing about how you will end up with 16 bags. I need it explained, too, so I can pass it on to my moms group. Such a good idea!

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  8. Kerri

    12/26/2012

    When you do the actual exchange to you have your children attend or keep it Mom only? I am not part of any Moms goups but would love to start a busy bag exchange.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Kerri — I’ve only done one busy bag swap but we left the kids at home. It’s kind of like a fun time for moms (we had a potluck lunch and hung out for awhile too) so I can’t really imagine brining all our kids along too!

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