Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Busy Bags for Older Kids

Busy bags are containers, usually bags, that hold activities your child can complete on their own. They are used by many homeschool moms to keep their young child quiet and busy for a small amount of time while Mom works with older children, does housework, starts dinner, or takes a bath! The busy bags only come out at certain times, and the child is expected to play alone and clean up alone.

Most busy bags are geared toward toddlers - 2's and 3's. As I was searching Pinterest, I had a difficult time finding busy bags for my boys, who are almost 5 and almost 7. I really wanted to make some busy bags for them, because I'm starting a new curriculum with my older three kids. This curriculum requires more teacher-involvement than what we've been using, and I thought busy bags would be a great way to buy me some quiet time to teach. I plan to set a timer for ten minutes for some bags, and 20 minutes for others - depending on how long each activity should hold their attention.

I've started making some busy bags this week. I figured I would use this hotel-time wisely and get a head start on lesson planning and organizing! Here are some busy bags I made for my boys. Some of the activities are for 1st graders, while others are for preschool to kindergarten age.

I found this spiral art set at the Dollar Tree! I paired it with some colored pens and quartered card stock pieces. My boys love art and have never used a spiral art set before, so I think this will be a hit.

The boys (especially Silas, my almost 7 year old) will use the alphabet stamps to stamp the words from the flashcards into play-dough. These first word flashcards (found at the Dollar Tree) contain sight words as well as easy to read words and a colorful picture.

This bag will be a fun, free-play with play-dough and these fun tools and cutters. Play-dough keeps my boys entertained for a while!

I stuck magnetic strips and foam numbers on colored craft sticks for this activity. They will put the correct number of paper clips onto the magnets. It's geared mainly toward Titus (my almost 5 year old), but I'm sure Silas will enjoy it also. I would love to make a set with number words for Silas.

I used the colored craft sticks paired with some mini, colored clothespins (found at Michael's) for this bag. The boys will pin the correct colored pins on the sticks. I may put a dice in the bag, and let them roll the dice to see how many to put on each stick. It is also geared toward my younger son, Titus, but will be good fine-motor practice for both of them.

This bag will contain Chenille stems, alphabet beads and plain colored beads. I will ask Silas to string words (using index cards or flashcards), while Titus will just string patterns (again, using index cards). They will also just string beads, which they think is lots of fun!

I word the numbers words one through ten on these index cards, and I wrote the number very small on the opposite side (so Silas can check himself). He will match the foam number to the number word, and then punch that many holes in the card.

I picked up these Lego Classic sets at Target for $5 each. There are directions to build three things per box. I put each set in its own bag. This should keep the boys busy for a while!

Finally, I picked up some 24-piece puzzles for Titus and a 100-piece puzzle for Silas. I will put the pieces and a small picture of the puzzle in a bag.

I have several more ideas for busy bags, and when I get them put together, I will post them!


  1. These are such fabulous ideas! Good luck with the new curriculum.

    1. I nominated you for a blogger recognition award! http://www.ourunschoolingjourney.com/2017/06/my-blogger-recognition-award.html

  2. Brilliant idea! I wish I had the thought to do this when my kids were this age! I'm curious to see what new program you're using :)

    1. Thanks! I'll be posting about it soon. The younger ones will continue with My Father's World. It's just the older three that will be using the new curriculum.