Saturday, June 9, 2012

Boredom Busters: Busy Bags

Lately I've been finding myself in more and more situations where L and I are stuck waiting (tax prep, the mobile phone store, picking up Dad at work) and I'm finding it increasingly hard to keep this busy and curious 18-month-old engaged and happy in a developmentally appropriate manner. (What, you mean it's not okay to let my kid climb the display case full of iPhone covers?)  I always try to grab a toy or two on the way out the door and we nearly never leave the house without a stash of books, but baby girl is getting bigger now and stuff loses novelty pretty quickly. The days of my kid sitting quietly in her infant carrier and finding my pinkie finger good for hours of laugh riot entertainment are long over, so it's time to get creative. My solution: toddler busy bags!

I just ran out to the store, picked up some inexpensive pencil cases (the flat kind with zippers and a clear window) and filled them with stuff I already had around the house. The trick is to use things your kid doesn't see on a daily basis (adds to that precious sense of novelty) and only bring them out when you're forced to play the waiting game. They're also fabulous on long car/airplane trips, or when visiting folks who won't have a lot of kid-friendly gear around.  

Some ideas for stuffing those bags:
     *Finger puppets
     *Small notepads with colored pencils, stickers, etc.
     *Foam letters and numbers
     *Peg dolls
     *Pipe cleaner segments
     *Small plastic animals/people
     *Picture cards

You get the idea. Really you can stuff just about anything into these super convenient (some might even say magical! No? Just me?) bags. You can also alter the contents to make them more appropriate for older children as well.

Handy dandy busy bag storage - placed up on a high shelf where the tot won't see
Please leave any additional ideas for busy bag stuffers in the comments section. I'm always looking for new and exciting ways to engage my kid!


  1. Great idea! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Water bottle size discovery bottle?
    Or a clear ramikin size tupperware filled with something magnetic and a magnet wand?

    Also...please stop setting the bar so high for the rest of us!!!

    J/K! I can't wait to use these for my wee a couple of years. ;)