So now that I am the proud parent of an almost 2 year old, I find the challenges have shifted from lack of sleep and free time for mommy, to constantly keeping my child from running off mommy. This means in waiting rooms, grocery stores, sandwich shops, restaurants, long car rides, wherever. Jack is a mad man and zips off before I can even blink. If we are somewhere that I need to get something accomplished it can get a bit tricky and create tons of unwanted cardio for me. And now that I am expecting a new addition to the family I ask myself “How on earth am I going to do anything for the new baby when Jack needs me 24/7?”
So is this the be all end all solution I am presenting to you now? No. But it will bide some time which is all we can hope for as parents. The Busy Bag. This is a small bag you can take on the go or use at home. You can make one, you can make 20, either way it gives your child something to keep their attention and learn while you can handle your business. It’s wonderful for stimulating their minds and giving you a break at the same time. When you are ready to give full attention to your little one again, you simply put the bag back together again and move on with your day. So, here are some great ideas I’ve stolen from random Busy Bags around the globe. Also, if you are exhausted and don’t feel like making one of your own, Etsy has LOTS you can choose from pre-made and ready to go!
The Busy Bag Road Map
Both boys and girls will LOVE this one. LOVE. Here is a link to print out these awesome little maps OR you can make your own from scratch and print them out! http://thediymommy.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Road-Map-Busy-Bag-Printable-by-The-DIY-Mommy.pdf
You will need:
- Cardstock (and markers if you don’t print out these)
- Laminating Tool
I love this idea but I think for Jack instead of letters I will be putting animals on the eggs. But, I know that this is something he would wig out over. You can also take it a step further and put little animals or balls inside the eggs and have your little one delight in finding them and then closing them back in again. You know deep down this is a winner.
You will need:
- Used Plastic Eggs (someone has them and will give them to you, no need to buy them)
- Egg Tray
- Marker (or a hot glue gun if you cut out animal pictures and go with that idea)
Egg Carton Color Sorter
Find a bunch of small miscellaneous items in primary colors and put them in a small jar. Take an egg carton and a set of markers and color the inside of the egg carton with primary colors. Put this into a busy bag and when the time comes, your child can select these interesting items from the jar, examine them, and sort them into the egg carton by color. Boom. Then they get the added bonus of putting them back in the jar, hearing the noise of them falling into the jar, and then getting them back out again. Double boom.
Texture Card Color Match
Here you create the same card twice. This takes minutes to make and helps your little one challenge their memory. Jack is obsessed with pointing out the little mouse hidden on every page in Good Night Moon and loves Where’s Waldo, so this is a no brainer for him. It takes a little coaching once they hold the card. You say “Where’s the other one?” and they start excitedly fishing around to find it. Great for baby, great for doctor’s waiting rooms. Use heavy card stock for this, I prefer using solid colors so that baby isn’t confused by all the raucous. And you can get creative with the items you glue, maybe an old green towel cut into a small square shapes or some spiral pasta. Just make sure this game is supervised in case baby detaches any items. Use a hot glue gun to attach these items.
Paint Chip Color Clips
This is another mix and match game for the little ones brain. They get so excited to get it right after the search to figure it out. All you need to do is use some Paint Chips (I like the ones that only have 2 shades on them of green, not a million) and color some wooden clips the same color. Put the clips into a jar and little one can find them and clip them to the right card.
Pom Pom Bowl Push
This may be the simplest idea but jack has loved it since I can remember. I have already blogged about this one before, this is a smaller version of that idea. Just use an old small container (even an old yogurt container or something from the fridge) and poke a small round hole in the top. Then gather a few pom poms (or buy some from Micheal’s for .99 cents) and put them in the busy bag. Little One can fish them out and pop them in the hole, it’s mesmerizing. You need to help them open the top and pour them back into the bag to start over, but it keeps them occupied and happy!!
You can keep all your bags hanging in the closet like this…….
….although I don’t condone using plastic bags at all but you get the idea. You can also just keep them on a top shelf. Bring them out only when you would like to keep Little One occupied while you put baby down or a similar situation. Because they never see these bags except on occasion, they win every time. You can swap bags with other mothers to keep your little one entertained. And most importantly, you can look on Etsy for professional Busy Bag ideas and rip all the ideas off. Or buy them if you are tight on time! Either way, this is a life saving idea and a must have for anyone with an active toddler who may like to wash and blow dry her hair without a child getting in the way. There are about 7,000 more ideas for bags but I only have so much space and these are favorites in our household.
Hope you enjoy!!!