living on pb & j

Ordinary moms living on Prayer, the Bible, and Jesus!


“Busy” Bags

In my preparation for home schooling next year, I was looking for ideas to help occupy my little ones while I’m teaching school. I LOVE to plan ahead and get really, really obsessed with… well, just about anything. My obsession has to run its course until I have done something about it, then my newer obsession can take over and I can plan ahead for whatever else is months away!

In my planning, I came across the idea of busy bags. And I’m hooked! Basically, you set up a system of “busy” activities for your toddler or preschooler to play with. You can get bins, nice little tubs, or be a cheap-o like me and use Ziplocks. A busy bag should be able to be done completely solo, with only direction from you the first time.


So, here are the ones I’ve come up with. These 5 bags are made from things I had around my house already. The only thing I bought was clothespins, and I also picked up the paint swatches. Everything else was found lying around somewhere!

1. Stringing things.


I already had these Penne noodles in my cabinet, so I just used these. Basically, your child can string them on the yarn. It’s great for fine motor skills too. You could also use macaroni noodles, pony beads, or anything else with a hole!

2. Shoving it in


You could make this a lot cuter, but I just wanted to use what I had, so an old sour cream container it is! I just cut a hole in the lid and cut up some old pieces of ribbon. Your little one can try to see if they can stuff every piece in, then take them out again. There is a magical age, where putting in and taking out, are just so much fun! I may have missed it with Eva, but that’s beside the point. 😉

3. Scooping Beans


This one is a big hit already! Yep, pinto beans and a few scooping things. I just used extra things I had. A 1/2 c. measuring cup, a medicine cup (because you only need one in the drawer!), and a few plastic spoons. We are going to use a tray when we get this bag off the shelf! (On a side note, Grammy has always let our Jackson play with dried beans at her house. They are perfect for excavation work! Now we keep a bag of them on the fridge, that are just for playing.)

4. Sparkles


This is just some old sequins and a little plastic box. I know Eva will love it! We will also use the tray for this one.

5. Paint Match


I LOVE this one. It’s the only one I had to actually make. I picked up paint swatches, and grabbed a pack of clothes pins. Then, I cut the swatch just a little to cut off the name of the paint, and to give me a small rectangle to glue onto each clothes pin. It’s so cute! And you can make this as simple or difficult as you want. You can get the four-shade cards (really difficult), or just do some primary and secondary colors.


I’m all about busy bags right now! The plan is to have around 20 or so, so each bag only gets used about once per week. They are also great in everyday life. To take to church, in the car, or just to use when you’re in the middle of a project. I’m excited to share when I get more busy bags in my collection.

How about you? Do you do busy bags?

❤ Joy

* These ideas aren’t all original to me, however if you look on Pinterest and search on Google, you will find it is almost impossible to know who actually thought of it. So, sorry if I stole your idea, dear reader. 🙂



In the Lord’s Army

We recently finished studying the armor of God in school, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I don’t know about you, but I often feel like I’m in a battle, and the Bible tells us in Ephesians 6 to put on our armor!

Here is a simple outline of what we discussed and below are some pictures of the soldiers we made!

The Armor of God
* Strong belt of truth–Lies surround us on every side in this world. Satan is a deceiver. We have the truth! It’s found in God’s word! We must be intentional about wearing it. We can read it daily and hide it in our hearts.
* Breastplate of righteousness–This represents God’s approval. We are part of this holy army because of Christ’s righteousness. Our righteousness is as filthy rags. Only His work on the cross could redeem us.
* Feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace–Soldiers in God’s army must be ready to share the gospel! “Preparation” of heart, mind and body. We must decide to be ready to give an answer to every man of the hope that lies within us.
* Shield of faith–The Bible adds an important phrase before this shield. It says “above all taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench ALL the fiery darts of the wicked.” How important is this shield! I want God to grow my faith…big faith = big shield! We can have great faith because we have a great God!
* Helmet of salvation–This covers and protects our head and mind. So many battles are in the mind. We must remember that our salvation is settled!
* Sword of the Spirit–Which is the word of God. This is the only offensive weapon we have. Jesus Himself used God’s word to defeat Satan in the wilderness temptation. How much more should we? Reason, logic, facts and statistics are nothing compared to the quick, powerful, sharp Word of God!

I hope my children remember these lessons…not just that we cut out life-size drawings of themselves and decorated them, but that they are in a battle, and that God has given them the armor they need for protection!

We had the kids lay down on Christmas wrapping paper, wrong side up, and traced their entire bodies. We did a rough cut out and taped their soldiers to the wall. We added a piece of armor each day during Bible class, using tin foil and construction paper. It was lots of fun!