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: