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Yesterday we got to be part of a Busy Bag Swap with some of the other families in our homeschool community. I was really excited to see some first time homeschoolers come out and join us!

What is a busy bag? Glad you asked! They are simply a way to organize activities to keep little ones busy (usually while older kids are doing school or when you want your preschooler to work independently). They usually center around basic concepts like matching, sorting, colors, shapes, letters, fine motor skills, etc. Take a look at the wonderful activities the ladies shared at our swap.

First, we generated interest among our local community, then everyone picked an activity, agreed on a date and time and the swap was on! Each person picked an activity to make and made multiple sets of that one activity. We each brought our items to the park and shared about what we had made:

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Everyone shared what they had made and instructions on how to teach our child to use the activity. We had SEVERAL toddlers, preschoolers and elementary age kids running around so we made our presentations quick and to the point.

Next, we set out the activities on a table and each person got to take one from each pile. So… when we left, we each had nine different busy bags to take home!

IMAG3823You can see baby girl’s little busy fingers trying to get her hands on the activities already!

I felt like what the kids must feel like at a Valentine’s Party! We each had our bags and loaded them up with our loot from the day!

Below is a description of each of the activities that were made:

Busy Bag Swap

1. Pom Pom pick up. The child has a container filled with pom poms and a set of tongs. The lid of the container has a hole in it. The child can empty the pom poms and then use the tongs or their fingers to put them back through the hole in the lid. This activity also came with a straw… the child can blow the pom poms around the table!

2. Homemade Play Dough… every kid I’ve ever met loves play dough. It just has so many great learning aspects… especially development of fine motor skills. You can find my recipe for homemade play dough here.

3. Felt Pizza… with order slips!! The child can create custom pizzas with this fun activity. They have crust, sauce and a variety of toppings. The activity also has order slips to make custom order and practice counting how many of each topping goes on the pizza.

4. Color Match Puzzles. I used this printable, laminated it and cut it into puzzles.

5. Spoon Matching with Shapes and Numbers.

6. Spell Your Name Bunting. This mom made personalized busy bags for each of the families that participated. You can find more fun printables like this on her blog.

7. Block Puzzles. The child estimates how many blocks will fit in a certain shape and then does the puzzle to find the correct answer. You can find this activity here.

8. Paint Chip Color Match. My kids LOVE using clothes pins!

9. Lacing and Shapes. Children lace the ribbon through various shapes.

So… now you have all these great busy bags, how do you store them?

IMAG3827I picked up several of these zipper pencil pouches from Wal- Mart. I have a tub with about five or six different busy bags that Little Sis can pick from when she wants to do school with us (Little Sis is almost 4). I try to rotate the activities weekly. The other busy bags that I have, I keep in ziplocks in a drawer until it is time to use them.

Check out this board on Pinterest for more Busy Bag ideas!

Have you ever done a Busy Bag Swap? What are your favorite Busy Bag ideas?

Linking Up with:

Hearts for Home Blog Hop
Preschool Busy Bag Swap

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