Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Busy Bag Swap

One of the ladies from my MOPS group decided to organize a Busy Bag Swap and invited us all to participate.  If you've never heard of a busy bag, it is essentially a small, easily containable toddler activity that is designed to both hold the child's attention and also teach them a skill.  If you do a search for busy bags, you will find hundreds of ideas!  There are also tons of pins on Pinterest with activity ideas!

Our loot from the swap

In our group, there were a total of fourteen participants.  That meant we each made fourteen of the same activity, swapped them around and took home thirteen new ones, plus one of our own.  

The activity I chose to make was a marble maze.  I found instructions here.  It was fairly simple to make, although a bit tedious after 14 of them!  The maze design I chose was pretty easy, but you could make it more complicated for older kids.  Most of the ladies in our group have children from about 18 months up to age 4 or 5, so I didn't want to make it too difficult.  I also liked that the maze stitching looked like a cross.  Maybe someone who is more adept at Biblical teaching can make some sort of application with faith and the maze!

There are too many activities to go into detail on all of them, but a couple of my favorites (biased slightly towards the fact that our girls just turned two) were these button snakes and the pipe cleaner sorting/matching.  For the button snake, you just sew a button onto a piece of ribbon and cut slit into felt shapes so the child can button them on.  The pipe cleaner game involves matching the correct color pipe cleaner into the holes.  It's also great for fine motor skills.  Getting the skinny pipe cleaner into that little hole is tough for a toddler!

This I Spy bottle is so cute!  The lady who made it even colored some of the rice to make it more visually appealing.  There are several small object inside for the kids to find, although the girls seemed happy just to shake it around and make noise :)  For security, she hot glued the lid on...very smart!

I love this last one.  It's simply cut-up pool noodles and some rope.  The noodles are numbered and there are cards with a variety of number and color patterns that the child can match.  For younger ones, it just works to have them learn to slide the noodle pieces onto the rope.  

I am so excited about our new activities!  Our older twin is the very definition of a busy toddler.  She is always on the move.  Last night we pulled out two or three of these activities and she was engrossed for over 10 minutes!  That's some sort of record!  Have you ever done a busy bag swap?  Have any great, must-make activities to share?  If you've never done it, get some friends together and get swapping!  The idea is to keep the cost of each bag under $1, so the monetary commitment is not much and really it didn't take me all that long to make my mazes.  I can't wait to try all of the activities with the girls!

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