Recently I helped organize a Busy Bag Swap with some of the other pre-school moms on Base. I even enlisted two friends from Eglin AFB: Joia and Rebekah to participate as well. In the end, we ended up with on extra Busy Bag Box which, after checking with the other moms and not having any other ideas of what to do with the extra busy bag items, I am giving away to a lucky reader of my blog.
Please note that I am not a crafty person. I can't even believe I was responsible for helping organize this whole thing. What I am is a mom with two toddlers. And we need things to keep us entertained. We put these in a drawer and anytime the kids get bored or mom needs something to distract them while she is doing something "important", they can go and pull them out themselves.
The idea originally came from my friend Angelica who kept a box of activities on her kitchen counter for her kids to do while she was making dinner. Her activities were not reusable. However, we decided, for this swap, to make them reusable.
The idea of the Busy Bag Swap is that your form of group of women -- each of whom will make a craft for a preschool-aged child. In our case, we had 17 women sign up. That means that we each picked an idea and made 17 of the same craft. One for us and 16 to share with the other gals in the group.
We used an online sign-up sheet: (www.signupgenius.com) to share information and sign-up ideas. First people signed up. Then they signed up for the craft they wanted to do. Then they had one month to work on their craft. (We needed longer than most because we have to ship our supplies in from the States.) Then we met one evening to eat ice cream and swap our bags.
The following rules applied for the bags. Of course, you could edit these as your group desires:
- Self-contained. This way, you can just grab a bag and GO! (without having to add a number of supplies to the bag in order to make it useful.)
- Transportable. Yes, they will definitely be used at home, but I want to be able to grab a few bags to take to a restaurant, a waiting room, plane trips, car rides, etc.
- Convenient. None of the bags will have supplies that require major set-up or clean-up: (no paint, watercolors, liquids, sand, dirt, etc.)
- Inexpensive. (We tried for $1 a bag approximately -- so about $15-20 per person.)
- Easy to Make: I didn’t want anyone spending hours and hours and hours making their activity.
- Re-usable. I want these activities to last a while so that our other children can use them in the future. Therefore, I avoided activities where you would have to buy new supplies to re-stock the bag.
Here are some pictures of my boys doing some of the Busy Bag activities that you will find in the box.
Isaac is matching clothespins with numbers on them to a wheel with stars representing that many numbers.
This is actually the craft that I did which was not "technically" self-contained. You have magnets glued on to the bottom of pom poms and you use a cookie sheet to make designs. Way fun! As for Elijah, no idea what he is doing here. Just being his normal goof-ball self.
Here is Isaac matching colored clothespins to the corresponding correct color on a wheel.
A fishing game which allows the kids to use a magnet tied to a pencil to pick up letters. You can have them try to get a certain letter, certain colors, capital letters, small letters, etc.
Here is another picture of the pom pom activity. Scrubs look enthralled.
This activity features numbers with dots on a piece of paper. You try to cover each of the dots on the paper with a bean.
Joia made these. Way fun! They are puzzles on popsicle sticks. They are really challenging and Elijah loves them!
This is only a small sampling of the projects in the box. There are many more, obviously. Leave a comment including your email address if you would like to be entered in the drawing for a winner!