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And Busy Bags Save The Day!



Okay so when you hear that I still pack Busy Bags in my big bag of tricks (yes, I carry an overstuffed over-sized purse- my hubby says I could easily beat an East German shot putter and that on top of that he would never think of getting into a brawl with me-:o) which is something he so couldn’t do to begin with- he’s such a teddy bear!!!)  and that I do it for my tween/teens most of the time- you’re going to laugh but trust me, they are amazing for any age and they literally saved the day the other day.

I was in this monster line the other day in the Courthouse there to file a document with the Clerk Of The Court for one of our clients and this poor mom (she had two young grade schoolers, a toddler, and a maybe 3-4-month-old baby whom she was carrying with no infant seat or stroller in sight. Her baby was fussy and getting fussier. We had started in the very back of the line together but had progressed to a much better place in line with several more behind us and many still in front of us. She was trying everything with the baby and wouldn’t you know it, the toddler and one of the grade schoolers had started in too. The toddler wanted to be held by mom and the grade schooler was bored and had begun running around which encouraged both his younger sister and his older sister to join in. Poor mom was in way over her head- she had gotten the baby to take a bottle and went to gather her youngsters up but they weren’t having any of it. 

I decided to offer a helping hand. I pulled two of my Busy Bags ( from my purse and handed them to her explaining what they were and telling her that they would offer her a break by helping them to settle down and sit in one place (I knew by now that she had no problem letting them sit on the floor as they had been crawling all over it for a little while by now.)

It was awesome. It worked like a charm. The three of them were sitting together on the floor playing with these busy bags and loving them.  One of them was my playdough flower pots bag (see below) and the other one of them was my pipe cleaners bag (see below.)    These bags work great for so many different ages and stages of children (under adult supervision age 1- teens.) I have them in my bag for my kids ready to pounce on them any moment they put their phones down or more like they run out of power.  I take these bags out and play alongside my kids at restaurants or long waits at doctor’s and dentist’s offices and other like situations. It’s awesome because it’s just like they’re little again and yet big with such awesome imaginations and neat skills and applications.

Here are some ideas for Busy Bags:

Playdough Flower Pots


homemade playdough-  recipe from Teacher Tom 


1-cup flour
1/2-cup salt
2-teaspoons cream of tarter
1-cup water
1-Tablespoon cooking oil
food coloring (optional)
scent (optional, but recommended)

Put everything in a pot and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. You’re looking for the dough to start separating from the sides of the pan (the time this takes depends on how big your batch is). I’ve found that the smoothest results come from stopping when it still seems like it’ll be a little too sticky. Remove and let cool for a bit on wax paper. Add color and knead to distribute color (this is where I mix in green food coloring). I always add a scent (e.g., mint, wintergreen, clove, strawberry, etc.) to keep it smelling fresh.

fake flowers

The Dollar Tree sells bouquets of silk flowers.. for a dollar.  So I picked up a few bouquets and cut the stems short.  I found bags of insects and butterflies (in case you have a hard time finding these in the Dollar Tree you can find them here and here) as well in the DollarTree- what an awesome find to add to the flower pots.

On Amazon, I found these really cute and pliable not to mention unbreakable :o) little flower pots

***Place playdough in the flower pot and then use the flower stems to place the flowers just so and then add the butterflies and bugs however you would like***

Pipe Cleaners Busy Bag

pipe cleaners

Pipe Cleaners and pictures from Bing Images to give your imagination a spark (I just typed in “Pipe Cleaners Crafts”.) 

Here are some other ideas for Busy Bags-

Pasta Necklaces– The process of hand-dyeing pasta is simple, using vinegar and food coloring. The vinegar helps to distribute the food coloring and to ensure that the pasta is color-fast once dry. I prefer it as a child-friendly alternative to rubbing alcohol.  I used every color of the rainbow to give our necklaces some serious color. Pop over to CBS Parents for the recipe and step by step instructions.

pasta necklace

Felt People, Cars With Street Pieces,  Dollhouse Decor With A Family, and other such ideas cut out of felt make awesome Busy Bags.

Scissors With Brite Pleasing To The Eye Pieces To Cut Out– For this bag I use Torn out magazine and like pieces folded up to fit into a Ziplock baggie and safety scissors                                                   Safety-Scissors   

Sewing Busy Bag– For younger kids, you would place made for kids plastic needles and yarn and some sewing cards or felt pieces and some large buttons and for the older age you would put in some pieces of fabric, some buttons, a cut out fabric pattern, a sharpie pen, and anything else you can think of. 

Sewing cards 

One last Busy Bags idea is a Sticker Busy Bag– you take a bunch of different stickers from all over the place representing many different activities, people, places, things, etc., a bunch of multi-colored pens and paper and you have the kids make many different scenes with the stickers and pens and paper.

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What are some Busy Bags you would make to keep your kids busy and what ages are you trying to keep busy? Let me know in the comments section?