Each parent (we happened to all be moms) made enough of one activity to be able to give one to each other mom and also keep one for her own family. Some of the activities included mini reversible felt boards, homemade playdough, geo boards, "I Spy" bottles, colored pasta beads for stringing together, a magnetic fishing game, and so many more!
The activity I chose to make for the busy bag swap was popsicle stick puzzles. They were fun and simple to make, and I love how compact they are! Right now, Daniel just likes to play with the sticks, but soon he'll be able to figure out how to arrange the puzzle pieces to make a recognizable image. No matter how he plays with it, I'm glad it's interesting enough to encourage solo play every once in a while so I can accomplish a task or two on my own.
Jumbo popsicle craft sticks
Washable (Elmer's) glue
Small sharp craft (Exacto) knife
Safe cutting surface (like a self-healing mat or a thick piece of corrugated cardboard)
Bags for storage
- Lay out ten popsicle sticks side by side, matching up the flattest edges you can, then tape them together with a couple strips of masking tape. (I found that while these sticks look fairly straight, the edges are quite irregular. I rejected the lumpiest ones, or put then on the outer edges.)
- Flip the whole thing over and evenly distribute a layer of washable glue across the surface of the popsicle sticks. (Spread your glue out better than I did--I ended up having to re-glue a few in the end.)
- Center a 5x7 photograph on the glue and press down to adhere. Let it dry in a flat place (away from your kid's hands!). You may want to place the puzzle between two books to ensure that it stays flat while it dries.
- When the glue has dried completely, remove the tape and place the puzzle on your safe cutting surface.
- With the craft knife, cut the photo into strips along the seams between the popsicle sticks. (I admit, I asked Jaymz to help me with this step because I'm not great with knives.) A ruler or other stiff straight edge will help you to make precise cuts.
- Gather the puzzle pieces together and store them in a baggie. (I used sandwich size plastic baggies, but a small cloth bag would work just as well.)
Each one of these is its own little activity!
So much fun in such a small package. =)
Fortunately, there are tons of ideas out there for different kinds of busy bag activities, and I look forward to making more of them in the future!
Have you made busy bag activities for your little ones? Do you have a favorite rainy day activity (or last ditch effort to maintain the peace) that your kids like? I'd love to hear your ideas and suggestions!