Busy Bags

One of the greatest activities I’ve ever set up for M (now 4.5) is our collection of busy bags. We take these busy bags everywhere.
Seriously, they come to restaurants, doctor appointments, on vacations, and even during quiet time in M’s room (our substitution for nap time).
busy bags
I started out by picking up about a dozen zippered pencil pouches. You can find these at a dollar store or at the grocery store for around $1 each. Then, I filled them with all sorts of fun, themed activities.
preschool busy bags


  • Use inexpensive supplies for your busy bags. Most of ours are from Dollar Tree, Target dollar spot, or from around the house.
  • Use what you have on hand right now and then add things to each bag as you find them. This will not only be easier for YOU to get started, but it will also add a new twist to busy bags that will continue to encourage the use of them.
toddler busy bags

Ideas for Busy Bags

Play Store Busy Bag

  • calculator
  • price stickers
  • sticky notes
  • pencil
  • notebook
  • receipt paper

Little Artist Busy Bag

  • markers
  • crayons
  • paper (small notebook, cards, or sticky notes)

Miss Sticky Busy Bag

  • tons and tons of stickers
  • small notebook or paper stapled together

Open and Close Busy Bag

a combination of:
  • bottles
  • pouches
  • tubes to open and close
  • weekly pill storage containers that flip open
  • a handful of coins or tiny objects to hide in the containers

Finger Puppets Busy Bag

  • Ikea has a great selection of finger puppets at awesome prices!
  • If you don’t have finger puppets you can include small characters that your child likes to pretend with or tell stories with (from sets you already own, happy meal toys, dollar store toys)

Cut it Up Busy Bag

  • scissors and things to cut
  • straws
  • small tub of play dough
  • ribbon
  • paper strips

Fix-it Kit Busy Bag

**M’s favorite!**

  • eye glass repair kit (from dollar store)
  • small sewing kit (from dollar store)
  • band aids
  • small measuring tape
  • tape
Remember, these can be very simple and will still peak curiosity and interest because of the way they are packaged and presented.
What other items have you found that fit well into these themed busy bags? Which one does your child like best?

Written by Jill

Share on
Previous Post Next Post

You may also like


  • Reply Maria Gagliano

    Had to share this idea with everyone. Thanks for another great kid friendly idea for parent sanity

    May 21, 2012 at 12:19 pm
  • Reply Tami

    Great idea. I wondered if you could take some more close up pictures of each kit or give a few more details about what items are in some of those kits. Thanks!!

    May 21, 2012 at 5:00 pm
    • Reply The Activity Mom

      The descriptions at the bottom will give you a good idea as to what to put in there and where to get it. Let us know how it goes and which one is your child’s favorite!

      May 21, 2012 at 5:41 pm
  • Reply Alisha

    I love that you used the zippered pouches, brilliant! A lot of sites feature busy bags with the ziplock bags, which i hate to use with a baby in the house! Now I have to figure out a way to get organized enough to get these together.

    How old was your child when you started using them?

    Alisha @

    May 21, 2012 at 6:35 pm
    • Reply The Activity Mom

      M was about 16-18 months when I started with some of them.

      May 21, 2012 at 6:39 pm
  • Reply PlainVanillaMom

    Great use of the pencil pouches! I love busy bags 🙂 I have all kinds of these pouches too that I’ve picked up on clearance over the years. Have been wondering what to do with them. Perfect!

    May 22, 2012 at 1:45 am
  • Reply Andrea @ No Doubt Learning

    I like the pencil pouch idea too. I’m putting this on my “To-Do” list along with quiet time boxes…maybe for this Memorial Weekend! I’ll let you know how they turn out! 🙂

    May 22, 2012 at 3:44 am
  • Reply Cora Rules

    Oh, these are great!! I will be on the look out for some of these items to put together some busy bags for my little ones.

    May 22, 2012 at 3:50 am
  • Reply Tara

    That looks like a great, simple idea!

    May 24, 2012 at 2:34 am
  • Reply Kathleen

    Love the store and fix-it bags! Great ideas!

    February 28, 2013 at 3:25 am
  • Reply preschool mum

    I love the zipper bags but unable to find them in australia. Would u consider posting just the zipper bags to Australia if so how much would u charge? Thanks

    March 10, 2013 at 8:11 am
  • Reply Tracy

    Besides an eyeglass kit and sewing kit what is in your “fix-it” busy bag? It seems to be in the same pouch as the calculator and stickers so not sure.

    December 23, 2015 at 1:54 am
  • Leave a Reply