Busy Bag Exchange – Inspiration.Parties

If there is one word to describe my boy it might be “busy.”
When a girlfriend told me about the ideas of “busy bags” I was thrilled. Even though my guy is still a bit young for the concept there are some that are right up his alley and I’m excited to start this routine now.

A busy bag is a small thing you can carry with you that contains everything you need for an activity that will keep you little one busy. Some for minutes, some for “hours.”

So our Busy Bag Exchange was an event open to friends and their little ones. The hardest part of this event, in my opinion is getting the RSVP’s and confirmations in time to know how many “busy bags” each Mom needs to make.

I asked each Mom to plan to make 10 but we may only need 5 or 7. Again depending on RSVP’s.

Each Mom makes 10 of the same busy bag and brings them to the party. It’s a fun chance to visit and play and then exchange the busy bags. Most our little ones are the same age – 3 and under so “Toddler Busy Bags” were recommended.  Each Mom comes with ten of the same busy bag but leaves with 10 different ones. They then have 10 different busy bags to utilize with their little ones. We were encouraged to check Pinterest for ideas – just search “busy bags” or “toddler busy bags” for lots of ideas. And also to post what busy bag we were bringing so that there wouldn’t be duplicates. We will see how the exchange turns out in a few days!

I created a very basic busy bag that I tested on my 12 month old. Tough, but fun and definitely time consuming – which is the idea.

My supply list
10 containers with clear plastic lids that pop on.
    – I used various kids but formula containers are perfect, as would pringles chip containers or take out
       containers like an asian restaurant puts curry or soup in. I also found a crystal light container that
       would work. The key here is that the lid is soft plastic.
25-100 pipe cleaners (colorful)
scrapbook paper (fun colors)
sharp knife


1. First I cleaned out my containers.
2. Once they were dry I covered each one with scrapbook paper using fun colors and simple patterns. Kids could decorate them with stickers and their name. These particular containers are cylindrical and that is best. The takeout containers were harder to cover because the diameter of the bottom was smaller then the diameter of the top so the paper didn’t just go easily around the container. You need to be careful to go below the lip where the lid fastens so that the lid will stay on.
3. Then I cut the pipe cleaners to the hight of the container (each one was slightly different) but I didn’t want the pipe cleaners to have to bend to go in.
4. Then I used a knife to cut 4-5 t-shaped openings in the lid. (Kind of like you put a straw through on a to-go cup lid). If they are a t-shape then the pipe cleaners go through easier and will last longer.

I foresee this busy bag being one a child could do on their own but an adult could also try some fun instructions like

1. Put one red one in. (colors)
2. Put 3 pipe cleaners in. (counting)

3. Put one red and one yellow in the container. (multiple instructions)
4. There is one in the container put in more so that there are 3 in the container. (addition)

Here is the sample I used.
Looks like they used  a hole punch on the top so the pipe cleaners have an even easier opening to slide through.

Stay tuned for updates on how our Busy Bag party turns out. I’ll share how mine look and what other busy bag items were brought to the exchange.
Here’s to staying busy!

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