Busy Bags for Busting Boredom

How to Create Busy Bags for Busting Boredom (and Foster Independent Learning)

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One weekend, I spent a Saturday morning creating an entire bin of busy bags for (my then) five year old.

In the brown paper lunch bags, I placed several random (unrelated) items that I found around the house. Then, I stapled each bag shut.

I really didn’t put much thought into the bags because that was her job.

The whole purpose of the busy bag is for her to open it and then figure out what to create with the items.

For me, the busy bags served several purposes. The bags:

• Added additional creative time for Ella’s homeschool

• Provided something for her to do when I need to take a business call during homeschooling time

• Gave her something to do any time she felt bored

Thank goodness I spent time making them because shortly after that weekend I got really sick for about three weeks.

Those bags allowed her to continue her learning process while I was really down and out and unavailable during that time.

Buys Bags for Curious Minds

One of the great things about a busy bag is that it fosters imagination and creativity – very important things when learning and growing — for any age range!

Busy bags aren’t just for toddlers or young children!

You can tailor your busy bags for the age of your kids and all ages and stages.

A school district in New York wrote, “Research proves that kids who are encouraged to play in unstructured settings are more expressive, empathetic, and socially adept than those who aren’t, and their creativity may continue into adulthood.”

Plus, creating stuff is just . . . fun.

Don’t you think?

Creating Busy Bags for CREATIVE LEARNING

Creating Busy Bags for Learning

To create busy bags. you’ll need brown lunch bags, a stapler, and various items from around the house and/or the discount store.

Remember, it’s not your job to figure out what the kid is going to make from the stuff, so don’t feel unusual about putting random, unrelated items in the bag.

I usually put four to six different (random and unrelated) items in the bag before I staple it shut. For example, I might put a spool of thread, a clothespin, colored dice, and googly eyes.

Without fail, I’m always surprised at what my daughter comes up with in from the contents of the bag. Sometimes she makes a game out of the stuff. Other times, she makes a craft or an art project.

No matter what she comes up with, it’s always creative and she enjoys it!

If you have multiple kids of different age ranges, you can use these colored paper bags and assign each kid their own color. That way you can make sure the contents are age appropriate.


Busy Bag Content Ideas

To help you get started, I’ve created a list of busy bag content ideas. When you create your bags, just mix and match several of items.

Also, I always hit store clearance aisles and keep my eye out for unusual clearance things.

  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Coffee filters
  • Marbles
  • Scraps of colored paper
  • Colored tissue paper
  • Dice
  • Plastic forks and spoons
  • Finger paints
  • Envelopes
  • Old Christmas/holiday/birthday cards
  • Ribbons
  • Yarn
  • Drinking straws
  • Stickers
  • Sticky notes
  • Coloring pages
  • Puzzles
  • Worksheets
  • Colored Sand
  • Playing cards
  • Magazine pictures
  • Cookie Cutters and Playdough
  • Make up brushes (dollar store)
  • Cut up sponges
  • Colored paper clips
  • Cotton balls
  • Magnets
  • Blocks/Legos
  • Cars
  • Small Plastic Animals/dinosaurs/bugs
  • Plastic cups
  • Napkins
  • Paint brushes (different sizes)
  • Toilet paper or paper towel tubes
  • Plastic eggs
  • Cut up egg carton

TIP: I made a rule that my daughter had to finish one busy bag before she opened another. Again, this forces her to use imagination and creativity. Even if she’s not that excited about the contents, she still has to put some thought into it if she wants to do another bag.

One last thing?

My daughter is now ten and she still asks for me to make up some busy bags for her on occasion!





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