Friday, June 13, 2014

Toddler Busy Bags

Back in April I made the coolest discovery!  As I poked through Facebook I stumbled upon someone hosting a busy bag swap.  I had never heard of such a thing, so I inquired further.  This particular swap was hosted out of state and by someone I had never met.  My intention was to just learn about what these Toddler Busy Bags are, and consider hosting one in the future.

Well, I was invited to participate in their out of state swap, and I am so happy I did!  (I just participated via the USPS.)  The way it works is this:

1.)  Someone agrees to host the party.

2.)  People that wish to participate sign up with the host.

3.)  There is a deadline a couple weeks before the actual party so as to have a head count.

4.)  Each participant creates enough of the same busy bags for everyone to have one.

5.)  Participants meet up at the hosts home and exchange bags.

Example:  There are 20 participants.  Each participant brings 20 of the same busy bag that they create themselves.  Each participant leaves the exchange with 20 different busy bags.

Minimal investment.  Large return.  Works for me!

So, what exactly is a busy bag anyhow?  Well, a busy bag is something put together inside a plastic, zipper seal bag.  It usually consists of the right amount of materials for one child to do an activity independently.  What goes in the bag is really limited to your imagination.

I made busy bags that consisted of small, laminated cards with pictures on them and a hole or two punched on the bottom to connect the appropriate links which I included in the quart size baggie.  (They really would have fit in sandwich size bags.)  I found a free download for the cards, covered one side in clear contact paper, cut out the cards, and punched holes in the appropriate spots.  I included several multi-colored connecting links which I purchased in bulk from Oriental Trading.

In return, I received all of this:

I cannot tell you what the kids think of them.  They don't even know they exist.  This momma is saving them for an upcoming road trip.  I am praying they make 14 hours on the road less excruciating for all of us.  I will be putting together travel bags for each kid, and these will be incorporated into the mix in one way or another.

This swap was such a joy to participate in that I may just host my own one day.  

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