Use homeschool busy bags (Montessori busy bags) in your homeschooling summer schedule, regular school schedule, for children’s learning activities and play ideas, or the I’m bored what should I do ideas. You can even make busy bags for church kids’ classes or use them for fun first day of homeschool ideas!
ALL ABOUT HOMESCHOOL BUSY BAGS
I’m going to let you in on one of the most simple things to do when your kids get bored.
This has been in my secret arsenal since my kid was around five.
(And it’s even good for things to do when bored with friends!)
Enter: Homeschool Busy Bags
What is a Busy Bag?
A busy bag is made of different items placed in a bag for kids to learn, create, and play with and can be mad with our without a theme in mind. Most people think they are simple activities stored in a bag for toddlers or preschoolers, but busy bags can be made for any ages and stages.
Busy Bags for Busting Boredom
Here’s how I first created stuff to do when bored…
One weekend, I spent a Saturday morning creating an entire bin of busy bags for (my then) five year old. (Don’t worry, it works for all ages. You’ll just vary the contents.)
In 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 for my kid to figure out!
The whole purpose of the busy bag is for her to open it and then figure out what to create with the items.
Benefits of Busy Bags
Busy bags serve several purposes:
- Adds creative time during homeschooling
- Provides something for kids to do when for working parents (perfect for that working and homeschooling time)
- Gives kids something to do when bored at home
- Gives us a break in any regular homeschool schedule classes
- Allows fine motor busy bags to work on motor skills
- Works across a large range of ages and levels
- Practices team and collaboration skills when multiple kids work on one busy bag together
- Provides cheap learning resources
- Busy bags travel easily for car trips or vacations
Thank goodness I spent time making them that first weekend because shortly after 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
Many people think that busy bags for toddlers or busy bags for preschoolers.
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!
AND, busy bags aren’t just for toddlers or young children like preschool age!
You can tailor your busy bags for the age of your kids and all ages and stages … even busy bags for elementary and from tweens to teens!
A school district in New York reported:
“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?
How to Create Busy Bags for Learning, Busting Boredom, and Unstructured Play
Creating busy bags is SO EASY and (best of all) you can probably do it from items you have around the house!
- Brown lunch bags
- Various items from around the house and/or the discount store
- Stapler or tape
- In the brown paper bag, place a minimum of 5 items. You can make them random, unrelated items, or make it theme based (like princesses or monsters).
- Staple or tape the bag shut so that it can't be opened and peeked into.
- Repeat process until you have made the amount of bags you want.
- Place bags in a basket or bin and allow kids to randomly select a bag. Create rules that they must make something out of the items in the bag (a game, craft, art project, etc.) and that they must complete one bag before they are allowed to select another.
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 preschool busy bag contents are age/level appropriate from the elementary busy bags, etc.
Busy Bags Ideas
Busy Bag Boredom Buster 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.
- Pipe Cleaners
- Coffee filters
- Scraps of colored paper
- Colored tissue paper
- Plastic forks and spoons
- Finger paints
- Old Christmas/holiday/birthday cards
- Crochet hooks
- Drinking straws
- Sticky notes
- Coloring pages
- Colored Sand
- Playing cards
- Magazine pictures
- Cookie Cutters and Playdough
- Make up brushes (dollar store)
- Cut up sponges
- Colored paper clips
- Cotton balls
- Small Plastic Animals/dinosaurs/bugs
- Plastic cups
- Paint brushes (different sizes)
- Toilet paper tubes or paper towel tubes (cut in half)
- Plastic eggs
- Cut up egg carton
DIY Toddler Busy Bag Ideas
- Plastic cup
- Stacking cups
- Wood blocks
- Different colors/sizes paper
- Felt board story items
- Craft pom poms
- Foam letters and numbers
- Egg maracas
Also, I always hit store clearance aisles and keep my eye out for unusual clearance things and then I just keep a stash at home. You can honestly make Dollar Store busy bags for super cheap!
Just adapt the items for your children’s age groups.
For example, if you have a tween or teen who loves art, fill their bags with more art related items (stickers, different types of paint brushes, origami paper, chalk, drawing charcoal, etc.) and things that will facilitate their interests.
IT IS NOT YOUR JOB TO FIGURE OUT HOW YOUR KIDS WILL USE THE ITEMS IN THE BAG!
BOREDOM 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.