What is a Busy-Bag? One of the Best Ways to Keep Your Toddler Occupied! (Plus Resources for Ideas)

If you have a toddler of your own or have ever watched a toddler, you understand this strange phenomenon they have where the most random, ordinary things in your home, are one-thousand times more interesting and engaging to a little one than the toys you spent good money on. Sad, but quite often true.

Baby pulling toilet paper off the roll

Toddler love to sort, organize, touch, tug, pull, scribble, stack. The name of the game is physical exploration and experimentation. This is the stage where they really focus on mastering their fine-motor skills and making connections on how things work… and concepts like cause and effect.

So your toddler keeps getting into all the things in your home that are not traditionally for children. What do you do? Fight it or embrace it? Why not make this interest in ordinary things and discovery and use it as an opportunity to inspire and engage your young toddler.

Enter Toddler Busy-Bags!! What is a toddler busy-bag, you ask? A toddler busy-bag is a fantastic invention-slash-secretweapon that some creative moms out there came up with as a way to keep the attention span of a busy, curious, inquisitive toddler.

They are simple bags — as the name suggests (or sometimes plastic bins) full of simple/everyday/ordinary items that keep a toddler’s mind fascinated and occupied. (My daughter has been none to fiddle with hers for a good 30 minutes) They usually cost very little, if anything, and can often be made with things you can find around your home. A lot of moms like to have a stash of these on hand and rotate them out so that their child can have something new and fresh to play with on a regular basis. They are great to stash in your purse for the doctor’s office or for long car rides.

 My blogger-friend, Michelle over at the By Quiet Waters Blog is hosting a toddler busy-bag swap. Which is basically the most brilliant idea ever. Basically 10 or so participants sign up for a busy-bag project off of her list (she has links to the projects in her spreadsheet), and make the project and putting them in 10 bags. You keep one for your family and mail the rest to Michelle in a few weeks. Then she mails all the fun busy-bags out to all 10 participants, so in the end each family gets 10 different bags. 

You make 10 of the same and you receive 10 different ones for your child! I LOVE IT!

The link to the swap and learn the details is here: { http://byquietwaters.com/toddler-busy-bag-swap/ } but I did want to point out that this is intended to cost a minimal amount and many of the bag ideas cost close to a dollar or so a bag plus the cost of shipping (which shouldn’t be too much because these projects are all very lightweight)

Also, please be sure to Sign Up by Monday October 6 & Mail packages to Michelle by Monday October 27. Please consider passing this on, and telling your friends. We need enough participants for this to work!


Want more ideas to keep your toddler occupied?

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this fantastic book:

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The Toddler’s Busy Book: 365 Creative Games and Activities to Keep Your 1 1/2- to 3-Year Old Busy. (You can buy it on Amazon right now for $6.36 with Prime free 2-day shipping.) They have a version for Preschoolers, too.

You can also search Instagram for #busybags #toddlerbusybags #toddlertrays (a similar idea)

Or check out the Pinterest Board I made with the Busy-Bag ideas: http://www.pinterest.com/pbianca10/toddler-busy-bags-toddler-trays/

Follow Paula W.’s board Toddler Busy-Bags & Toddler Trays on Pinterest.

I hope this was helpful, and that I was able to point any parents of toddlers in the direction of some fun activities for your little one(s) to do.

Also, please drop by Michelle’s page and check out her swap, and consider helping get the word out. I can’t wait to put my busy bag together (I signed up for the Popsicle Stick Puzzles), and see what everyone else puts together!

I would love to hear some of your ideas for busy-bags, toddler trays, or anything you use to keep your little one occupied! Please comment and share!

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  • Mary Bacon

    Great Tips, My kids are grown and their busy bags are usually just a phone, but when we go camping — teens benefit from a “busy bag” too or they quickly get bored and start going into electronic devices withdrawal — the equivalent of a toddler tantrum.

    • Haha… I can relate to the electronic withdrawal thing. I have been working on it though.

      Thats really cool that you are making memories a priority and still taking those trips with your kids. A lot of people give up and don’t push through the withdrawal phase with teens.