I love a busy bag! Busy Bags are great ways to keep kids busy when Cbeebies just won’t hack it! We mostly use busy bag activities for car journeys (see here for how we use them in 11 Boredom Busting Ideas for stress-free Family Car Journeys) But…if you pitch busy bags at the right age group then they are perfect for entertaining small people and keeping them busy whilst you get an odd job or two done around the house! I thought I’d share some of our favourite busy bags for counting and literacy which are easy to make and are assembled using easy to find household items.
First Up is ‘Maths Eggs’
These can be easily adpated for different ages. Kids have to add the amount of mini pom poms for the answer of the sum. So, as a parent, you check them by counting the mini pom poms they’ve added. For Finlay (6 years old), I have eggs that have simple subtraction, addition and easy multiplication sums on. For Elodie (8 years old) – she has multiplication sums to complete. My busy bag for Orla, my three year old, just has the number and dots to show her how many pom poms to count and to develop her number recognition.
Next is ‘Shape Lolly Sticks’
An easy to make busy bag for three year olds. Just add some sticky velcro onto the lolly sticks to make shapes with. This busy bag can be adapted for older children by adding more complicated shapes.
If you have some Duplo Blocks, you can try Duplo Building Block Patterns Busy Bag, and you can use Lego for these for older children (see free printable below).
Lastly, for younger children you can make Peg Colour Chart Matchers. My older daughter also loves this busy bag but I have extended it to ask her to ‘name’ the colours like they do on a real paint chart – she loves this!
I might be mad but I have great fun assembling busy bags and wish I had more time to make tons more. But luckily the lovely Pinterest comes to my rescue with all sorts of amazing printable and FREE busy bags!
Here are some of the easiest FREE Printable Busy Bags to assemble……
- Play Doh Printable Cards: (from a Mother’s Niche) You just need to add some Play Doh and print the cards and you have a busy bag that will keep the little ones quiet for at least half an hour! This one also develops lots of fine motor skills, so is ideal for preschool children.
- Green Grocer’s: (from A Mother’s Niche) This is another great pre-school bag where kids have to sort the fruit from the vegetables with lovely bright visuals. You can stick an envelope on the front to make a little pocket for the fruits/ veg to sit in once sorted.
- Roll an Ice Cream Game (From Activity Mom) This is a good busy bag game for children around 4-6 years old or you can make it more tricky for older children. This uses a dice and the kids build ice creams according to the numbers they roll but you can also add sums on the ice cream section for older children.
- Camoflage Cards For something a little different, try these cards. They also are instantly transportable if you laminate with a keyring – they make a cute booklet.
- Duplo Bricks Building Blocks – A great busy bag for two or three year olds. Easy to set up with some duplo (or lego for older children) and these printable cards – see above.
- Ok, not a printable but as a bonus one, this works well if you have a lot of spare fabric. This one is excellent for developing fine motor skills – simply cut squares of fabric with slits in to feed a ribbon with a button sewn into the end from Every Star is Different.If you’re looking for any more Busy Bag ideas – I love pinning these and pining for the day I have enough time to make them! Check out some more ideas on my Pinterest Board here: I’d love to hear any other ideas you have for busy bags!