Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Busy Bags for Kids

Have you ever seen these? I am SO excited about learning about them.
For those who haven't heard of busy bags, let me explain. These are
single activity bags for little ones from toddler age and up. The bags
are designed to entertain the little ones and teach them at the same
time. Here are a few of the ideas that I have seen online and through

A DVD case turned into a mini flannel board. When opened, the inside
front cover is the flannel board while the inside back cover contains
the flannel cut-outs of various felt shapes.

A matching game made of family pictures.

A cute threading activity using a length of cord with a large button
tied to each end. The child threads onto the cord flannel shapes with a
slit cut into the center for the child to thread the button through.

A gel bag for "finger painting" using a gallon size baggie with colored
hair gel mixed with a little glitter. Remove the air bubbles then seal
the bag. Add packing tape at the bag top to secure. The child can draw
in the gel through the bag without making a mess.

A laminated photograph or picture cut into strips to make into a puzzle.

Lace up cards

A deli bowl with a round hole cut into the lid and a handful of colorful
pom poms. The child takes the pom poms and drops them into the bowl
through the hole in it's lid.

Many of the activities that can be put into these busy bags are perfect
for use not only with Little Miss, but as TEACCH workbox tasks for
Little Man. They teach a variety of skills from cognitive to physical
development. For Little Man, the activity of placing pom poms through
an opening in the bowl lid aids in fine motor skills, eye-hand
coordination, and sensory stimulation from the fuzzy texture of the pom
pom. To make the activity grow with him, we can change out the bowl to
be a set of small potato chip canisters that are painted various
colors. He would then sort the pom poms into the matching can and place
them through the opening in the can lid.

Little Miss can have fun with the bags also. Making her puzzles, memory
match games using pictures from a book or unit study theme, a small
plastic canvas stitching activity, a scrap of fabric in a small
embroidery hoop for her to sew decorative buttons onto, a mini flannel
board with tangram shapes along with a few design cards to recreate in
the felt shapes, and some blank bookmarks or note cards with little
rubber stampers.

The ideas are limited only to your creativity and imagination. One idea
that I particularly loved was a mom using the pencil bags for 3-ring
binders as her child's busy bags. She bought the pencil bags that have
a clear front to make it easy to see what was in each. This idea would
make a great travel games portfolio. With spring break and later summer
vacation times approaching, it is the perfect time to start putting
these together. Make up the little activity bags and fill a binder for
each child. These would be great for doctor appointments or any other
outing where the child has to wait and becomes easily bored.