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. 🙂