Busy bag ideas for toddlers and preschoolers are popular among homeschooling families to keep young children entertained while the older children are doing school, but they can be very useful for non-homeschooling families as well!
I have several busy bags made up that I can easily grab and throw into the diaper bag if need be. These are great if you’re going to a restaurant and anticipate a bit of a wait time, to bring to the doctor’s office, and well, for any other time you might need to keep your child occupied quietly. Busy bags could also be used if your toddler or preschooler is transitioning a nap time to a quiet time.
Educational Busy Bag Ideas For Young Children
1. Wooden Puzzles
I have several busy bags that are just made up of small puzzles put into a ziploc. Most of them are 12-pc wooden puzzles that the kids got for Christmas last year, and I have a couple of colour matching puzzles for my toddler.
2. Beads and Pipe Cleaners
More beads and some pipe cleaners make for another fun busy-bag. The pipe cleaners are easier to string than yarn or string is. This one might not be as suitable for when you’re out and about since beads can roll everywhere, but it’s fun for at home. This activity strengthens colour recognition and fine motor skills, and can be used to practice patterning.
3. Match Colours and Shapes
I made this busy bag for my preschooler to match colours and shapes with. My friend had given me a ton of foam beads in different shapes, and I coloured pieces of paper with markers to match the beads then laminated them. Annie (3.5 years old) likes to match the colours and shapes, and to build towers with the beads. It’s also good for making patterns. I can lay out the cards to show a colour pattern and have her copy the pattern with the beads.
4.Learning Place Value
This one is more for my 5 year old. I found this printable for free on Teachers Pay Teachers for learning place value and laminated the pieces. My son matches up the egg to the dinosaur with the same number. I only put 5 or 6 pairs in the bag at a time and switch them out every once in a while.
5. Alphabet Fishing Game
Alphabet fishing game. A button magnet fishing rod and alphabet magnets. The kids can just fish right out of the bag.
And here’s a bonus idea. Not really educational, per say, but still fun and good for fine motor skills. Can’t go wrong with stickers and paper! Kids can make mini-collages or cards, or just decorate to their hearts’ content.
What other busy bag ideas can you share with other moms? Comment below!