20 Busy Bag Ideas to Keep Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy

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Busy bag ideas for toddlers and preschoolers

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Busy Bags Are Great for Quiet Time Activities

The first time I heard about Busy Bags I was at a meeting with our brand new home school co-op, and I was the lucky one they put in charge for heading up the pre-school program, which were the 3 and 4 year olds.

At that time here in south Texas we were experiencing a ton of rain. You know how 3 and 4 year olds are, if they are cooped up in a classroom for 3 1/2 hours they are going to go crazy. We needed something for them to do if they could not go outside because of the weather.

What we did as a group, we had about 10 moms, and we each chose a Busy Bag project. A Busy Bag project is something that you can put in zip lock bag. It's already a pre-made cut-out craft of some kind, that doesn't require glue or anything, but it's a learning skill, something that you use to teach colors, or counting, or puzzles maybe. Something put in a bag that you can grab at a moment's notice, and hand to a child anywhere from the age of 2 up to even 5 or 6, that they can keep themselves busy. You only get these bags out on special occasions, when you need your child, or a preschooler to stay busy for a little while, while you are trying to achieve other tasks.

So we decided to each pick one busy bag to make. There were 10 of us working on them, so each of us made 20 busy bags each (only one kind). That gave us 10 different busy bags for all the classes to use on rainy days.

The children absolutely loved them and we only got them out to play when it rained, so they thought that was really “special”.Busy Bag Ideas for Work at Home Moms

Busy Bags Are Awesome for Work at Home Moms

If you need to write a blog post, or if you need to wash the dishes or do the laundry, you can pull out a busy bag.

Give it to your child, and have them stay busy for 10 to 15 minutes with this special project. This will give mom time to get a few tasks completed with some uninterrupted time.

What we've done is we've compiled 20 different Busy Bag ideas from around the web to help you create some of these Busy Bags. Could you imagine having 20 different activities that you can pull out at moment's notice when you know you've got to get a task done really quick, that you don't need your toddler or preschooler under your feet?

Busy Bag Shopping Lists Created Just For You

We've got these Busy Bag ideas that we would like to share with you. What we've done is we've created a shopping list for you. If you want to go to the store, or go to Amazon.com, and purchase the supplies for all of these 20 Busy Bags, we have a nice little neat PDF file here, that you can download and print. You will have your shopping list ready to go.

Get Your 20 Busy Bags Shopping List


If you don't want to go spend the money to create 20 different Busy Bags for your kids and you want to pick and choose which ones you like, the shopping list covers that too.

Hopefully, this will give you some free time, and give you some time to get some things done, while keeping your little ones busy and happy.

At the same time they're going to be learning, so all you have to do is show them once what to do with each activity, and then they should be able in the future to do it on their own.

Remember, only get these out on special occasions when you need something to keep them busy. These items, or these bags, should be used for those times that you need to get some work done. It will also help them feel like it's something special, not something that's always available any time of day, because it loses it's newness and importance that way.

We hope you enjoy.


Check Out These 20 Busy Bag Ideas for Toddlers, Preschoolers, and Kindergarteners


Easter and Spring Busy Bag Ideas

Easter and Spring Themed Busy Bags (Makes 5 Busy Bags)

Supplies Needed:

Matching Egg Game by See Vanessa Craft
  • ***pink, yellow, purple, blue, orange, green (egg colors) 12 Plastic Eggs
  • 6 sheets felt (1 each egg color)
  • 2 sheets white felt
  • Hot glue gun & glue
  • 1 easter shape on cardstock for directions card
  • 12″ piece of thin ribbon
  • Hole Punch
  • Scissors
  • Gallon zip-lock baggie
Matching Eggs & Mini Eggs by Curious Minds
  • 12 plastic eggs
  • 24 mini eggs to fit in and match plastic eggs or pom-poms
  • Gallon zip-lock baggie
Easter Domino Addition by Curious Minds
  • 4 cardstock
  • 2 light blue paper
  • 1 light yellow paper
  • 2 (white paper) printed baskets pages
  • large manila envelope
  • Glue Stick
  • Markers
  • Scissors
Mix and Match Patterns by Engaging Toddler Activities
  • 12 plastic eggs
  • 1 cardstock
  • crayons – for each color of egg
  • Gallon zip-lock baggie
  • scissors
Now I Know My ABC’s by My Small Potatoes
  • 26 plastic eggs
  • 2  18-ct. egg cartons (if desired to store eggs and sort by alphabet letter)
  • Permanent Marker
  • Gallon Zip lock baggie

Busy Bag Ideas Learning to cut with scissors
Cutting Practice – Learning Shapes by Learn with Play at Home

Supplies Needed:

  • Child-size scissors (use safety scissors if needed)
  • Black Marker
  • 5 different colored paper – cut into many strips about 2″ wide
  • Ruler
  • 2 white paper
  • Glue stick
  • Large manila envelope

Busy Bag Ideas Race cars with track

Race Cars with Car Track Busy Bag Idea(3 Styles)

Made with Rubber Door Mats by Adventures of Adam
  • 2 Rubber Black Door Mats
  • White paint or white paint marker
  • Plastic storage box (or tool box) if desired to store in
Made with Black Felt by Adventures of Adam
  • Several pieces black felt or heavy-duty black fabric material(as much felt or fabric as you'd like road pieces)
  • white paint or white paint marker (or finger-nail polish)
  • Gallon Zip-lock baggie
Made with Laminated Pages by My Small Potatoes
  • 3 scrapbook paper with background style desired
  • 3 cardstock
  • Stickers (transportation themed) to decorate road maps
  • 3 Black Paper
  • Silver marker or crayon
  • Very mini cars (set of)
  • 3 sheets lamination (or clear contact paper)
  • scissors
  • Glue Stick

busy bag idea magnetic dollMagnetic Dress Up Doll Using Your Child's Photo by Get Creative Juice

Supplies Needed:

  • Scissors
  • Printable Magnetic Sheets (ink-jet or laser based on what you have)
  • Small tin box (pencil case size)
  • Krylon Matte Protective Finish Spray (NON-water based sealer)

Get Your 20 Busy Bags Shopping List


Busy Bag Ideas felt cutouts

Felt Cutouts with Homemade Felt Board by Linkouture

Supplies Needed:

  • Black, Dark Blue, Light Blue, Dark Brown, Medium Brown,Light Tan, Orange, Red, Yellow, Pink, Purple, Green, Grey(felt colors for cutout shapes)
  • Clipboard
  • Lg. Binder Clip
  • White felt
  • One sheet of felt for each shapes color
  • Scissors
  • Gallon Zip-lock baggie
Ice Cream Felt Patterning by Make Learning Fun

Supplies Needed:

  • 1 sheet Light Brown felt
  • 2 sheets Dark Pink felt
  • 2 sheets White felt
  • 2 sheets Dark Chocolate Brown felt
  • 4 cardstock
  • 4 Lamination sheets or contact paper
  • Scissors
  • Pencil or pen
  • Brown Marker (permanent works best)


busy bag ideas match sticksAlphabet Match Stick by Curious Minds

Supplies Needed:

  • 26 Regular size Wooden Clothespins
  • Alphabet banner from dollar store (approx 24″ long)
  • Wooden stick long enough to hold the banner and wider than height of banner
  • Hot Glue Gun & glue
  • Permanent Marker
  • Quart-size zip-lock baggie
  • lg. binder clip (if desired – optional)

dice patternDice Pattern Number Learning Activity Puzzle by Curious Minds

Supplies Needed:

  • Set of 10 dice (preferrably all the same color)
  • 2 cardstock
  • Black Marker
  • Scissors
  • Gallon Zip-lock baggie


Busy Bag Ideas for Valentines Day

Valentine's Day (2 Busy Bags)

Number Book by Playdough to Plato

Supplies Needed:

  • Scissors
  • 3 white paper
  • 3 cardstock (cardstock to print pages onto)
  • 12-page Photo Album (from the dollar store)
  • Several boxes of Valentine's candies- heart shaped (extra so child can taste some!)
Threading Love Hearts by Adventures of Adam

Supplies Needed:

  • Heart-shaped tin (or quart-size baggie with heart drawn with Red Permanent Marker)
  • Heart cookie cutter set (or sheet paper to make own heart templates)
  • 1″ wide ribbon,  24″ long
  • 1 heart shaped button, wider than the width of the ribbon
  • 1 heart shaped button, with widest part about the same width of the ribbon or less
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Needle & thread
Busy Bag Ideas with popsicle sticks
Popsicle Stick Patterns by Playdough to Plato

Supplies Needed:

  • Rainbow colored popsicle sticks (from the dollar store)
  • 3 or more cardstock
  • Scissors
  • Gallon Zip-lock baggie
  • Black pen (if making up patterns on additional cardstock)
Fall Popsicle Stick Puzzles by Flip Chick Designs

Supplies Needed:

  • 10   4×6 photos printed (your choice of pictures or from internet)
  • Big craft (wide) Popsicle sticks (approx. 100)
  • Mod Podge
  • 2 Gallon Zip-lock baggies
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • 10 Zip-lock quart-size baggies
Number Popsicle Puzzles by Make Take Teach

Supplies Needed:

  • Mod podge
  • Big craft (wide) Popsicle sticks (approx. 60)
  • 6  white paper to print pictures onto
  • X Acto Knife
  • Permanent Marker
  • Tape

Busy Bag Ideas letter formation
Lowercase Letter Formation Baked Cotton Swabs by Sugar Aunts

Supplies Needed:

  • Cotton Swabs
  • Food Coloring
  • Flour
  • Water
  • Baking Sheet
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Quart-size zip-lock baggie
Busy Bag Ideas Color Sorting
Color Match Game by Glued to My Crafts Blog

Supplies Needed:

  • Various felt – 6 different colors – same size sq. each
  • Scissors or die cutting machine
  • small objects to match 6 different felt colors
  • 10+ per color (small objects could be pom poms, small trinkets, buttons, tiny toys, etc.)
  • Gallon Zip-lock baggie
Color Sorting by Powerful Mothering

Supplies Needed:

  • Large buttons, at least 3 each of 4 different colors (red, blue, green, yellow)
  • 4 sheets of felt, one for each matching color (1 red, 1 blue, 1 green, 1 yellow)
  • Hot glue gun and glue (or sewing needle & thread)
  • Quart-size Zip-lock baggie
  • Scissors
Color Shades by All Our Days

Supplies Needed:

  • red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple(get varied shades for each color category)
  • Paint Chip samples of varying shades (3 or MORE shades of each color)
  • Magnets (roll or sheet) with adhesive side – (optional)
  • Cookie sheet (or magnetic surface) – (optional)
  • Gallon zip-lock baggie
  • Scissors
  • Laminator sheets (or contact paper)
  • 1 white paper
  • Ruler
  • Markers

Busy Bag Ideas sponge building blocks
Quiet Sponge Building Blocks by Inner Child Fun

Supplies Needed:

  • LOTS of Ordinary dry household sponges – Multi-colored -no scrubber attached
  • Kitchen scissors – large and really sharp
  • 2 gallon zip-lock baggies
Busy Bag Ideas tie my shoes
Learning How to Tie a Shoe  by Kids Activity Blog

Supplies Needed:

  • 1 old cereal box
  • Scissors
  • Single Hole Punch
  • Colorful Ribbon – at least 36″ (cut to correct length AFTER assembling into “shoe”
  • Paint and/or permanent markers (if desired)
  • Tape that will adhere to ribbon ends
How to Tie Your Shoe by Kids Activities Blog

Supplies Needed:

  • 1 Cardstock
  • Markers
  • Hole Punch
  • Shoe Lace
  • Colored & white paper for decorating shoe style (colors of your choice)
  • Glitter glue, Stickers, Crayons (if desired to decorate shoe)
  • Glue
  • Scissors
Busy Bag Ideas crayon activity coloring sheets
Crayon Roll & Activity Coloring Sheets by The Pleated Poppy

For those of you mommies who can sew, this is a really cute project.

Supplies Needed:

  • 2 pieces fabric 5″ x 16 1/2″ (1 is for the inside, the other is the outside)
  • 1 piece coordinating fabric 6″ x 16 1/2″ (for the pocket)
  • 1 piece flannel 5″ x 16 1/2″ (lining = any color will do)
  • 1 coordinating hair elastic
  • 1 button
  • Needle & Thread
  • 1 box 16 crayons
  • disappearing ink fabric marker
  • White paper
To go with your crayon roll, print several coloring activity sheets and some learning activity pages.

letter alphabet coloring activity

Free Find the Letter Alphabet Worksheets HERE.

Get the upper and lowercase letter find pack HERE.

Get just the uppercase letters  HERE.

Get just the lowercase letters HERE.


Busy Bag Ideas spelling activity
I Can Spell by My Small Potatoes

Supplies Needed:

  • Multiple sets of foam or plastic letters (enough to spell each word) – 2 to 4 sets
  • 4 Black heavy paper (or glue stick, 4 black paper AND 4 cardstock)
  • White crayon or paint marker
  • 5 Lamination sheets
  • Gallon zip-lock baggie
  • Scissors
Busy Bag Ideas lacing cards
Lacing Cards by Kids Activities Blog

Supplies Needed:

  • Plastic Sink Mat with lots of squares cut out all over mat (dollar store)
  • Variety of At least 13 (or many more!) ribbons longer than the sink mat
  • Tape that will adhere to ribbon ends
  • Gallon zip-lock baggie
  • Lg. Binder clip


Get Your 20 Busy Bags Shopping List

Have you used Busy Bags in your homeschool? Let us know which ones in the comments below!

Here are more homeschool related posts to help you:


Note: I currently use my Ideal Day Map Trello Board to schedule our days that allows me to be intentional with my time each day. LEARN MORE HERE!

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