Thursday, 13 December 2012

Group G - Toddler Busy Bags!

We decided to reduce the group size, to ensure that everyone could attend the swap. People were unable to make the bigger group swaps and it meant a lot of transporting, meeting and sharing out of missed bags! So our trial of a smaller group means 5 Busy Bags in each swap!

'Sort 'em out' Treasure Boxes!

This is a fabulous and well-received activity. My little boy didn't want to get anything else out of his busy bag for a while, and keeps returning to this, though for some reason, mini tractor tyres have to go in the green section, not the black one?! :) We have also added other household objects and bits of toys to vary the activity even further! This activity is great for pre-verbal colour identification and matching, fine motor skill development including pincer-grip and hand eye coordination. Much loved in this house! By Laura of Busy Bags!

Christmas Stocking Decorating!

This was a lovely, straightforward glueing and placing activity. The stocking was pre-made, and the finished product is gorgeous and will probably be on our tree for many many years! The careful squeezing of glue captivated my little boy, and he loved choosing his sequins. This activity supports the development of planning and motor skills (fine and gross). We also used it to help with colour identification (silver and gold) and naming of more unusual shapes (snowflake, gemstone). By Debra of Busy Bags!

Finger Puppets!

Decorate your own finger puppets, with mini clothes, pompoms, feathers and all-sorts! Another great activity that leads into a different form of creative play (puppet theatre?). This activity supports the development of planning, spatial arrangement, dextreity and fine motor control. By Chris of Busy Bags!

Sticky lollipop Sticks!

Isn't is so often true that the simplest ideas are the best? This was a bag of multi-coloured 
 lolly-pop sticks with velcro pieces glued on the ends! Create endless shapes, long lines, houses, whole worlds from the sticks, as well as colour-coded creations. This kept my little one, and his dad (!) amused for ages when we had a delayed food situation!!! It's so small and simple to carry around that its fast becoming tucked into my bag wherever we go! By Sara of Busy Bags!

Mask Decorating!

This is a simple 'paint-it' activity. The fun part of this (apart from making and wearing the masks) is that I tried to make it totally portable! The paintbrush is in there, the little paint pots... the only thing you 'could' add would be a glass of water, but even that isn't needed! Spread out your paper, pop the lids, and paint away! Once they are dry, use the paper clips to attach lolly-stick handles to the masks. This activity supports the development of artistic skill, dexterity and design! By Jewels of Busy Bags!

Group F- Toddler Busy Bags!

This is our last 10-bag swap! With Christmas around the corner, we agreed to meet and swap in groups of five, just to make things more do-able, particularly when making your 10 busy bags! Four of the Ten of us couldn't make it to the swap, and we were all up late the night before; stressing over facebook about getting everything done! I think that the results are beautiful though, and for a mid November swap, we did very well!

Butterfly halves matching game!


This gorgeous little activity is completed by matching up and velcro-ing down little half butterfly wings! This task is good for visual discrimination, spatial awareness, particularly rotation, manual dexterity and aesthetic appreciation! My little 2 and a half year old matched them all up well, but struggled to rotate them as you can see on the blue wing below. It wont be long before he can though! By Sara of Busy Bags!

Shoe-lace tie!

This super little activity was a simple take on the art of tying shoe-laces! Some instruction will be needed here! The threading and making some attempt to tie was enjoyed though, and you can see my son making his first attempt at a bow in the photo. By Debra of busy bags!

Dress-Up Dolls!

This was a very simple activity involving dolls, their clothes and shoes, and magnetic strips!
Dress the dolls however you like, choosing from trousers, skirts, tops, shorts and shoes! This activity is good for developing hand-eye coordination, planning, creativity and fine motor skill. By Jewels of Busy Bags!

Flower Match!

This is a tiny and very portable activity, promoting colour matching, colour name-learning, and number counting, symbol recognition and spot shape recognition! This game will be one to grow with them for some time. By Chris of Busy Bags!

Build a Snowflake!
This is a quirky take on the 'fuzzy-felt' idea of yester-year! ;) You build your own snowflake by placing felt shapes onto a felt board. There are some great concepts built into this activity, including tessellation, symmetry, visual pattern building, as well as the development of fine-motor skill, planning, visual acuity and naming and awareness of shape. By Elly of Busy Bags!

Reflect-o-rama Crown or Tiara!!

This activity was all about choosing and sticking shapes, sparkly 'diamonds' and reflective moose and ghosts (etc!) to a headband. It was a great 'take out' activity because double sided sticky tape was used to fit the crown / tiara and to attach the shapes! We even got more than one use out of ours as my son decided to peel everything off and put it away again! This activity is super for fine motor skills, visual arrangement, spatial awareness and planning. By Karla of Busy Bags!


HelenC - puzzles!

Kathryn - Changing Faces
Kate - Scaley Fishy fun
Pam - Matching shape halves

Group E - Bumps and BABY Busy Bags!

This was our first busy-bag swap designed for babies! The toddlers were most interested, and I'm sure that one or two items didn't make it to their baby siblings at all! It was fun to be creative for younger babies, but equally, babies are easy to please; happy with paper bags and bunches of keys! Here is what we made for the first swap. Enjoy! (I decided to put these photos up before my baby is born. I've a sneaky suspicion that I wont have any free hands!)

High-visibility soft flash-cards!


These were designed to be visually captivating for babies; using simple geometric shapes, faces, and colours that are distinguishable to newborns. Made of soft foam, with no sharp edges, and tied together with shoe-laces. At the time of writing, I have roughly 10 days left before my next baby arrives, so these baby items have been lovingly stashed, away from my enthusiastic little toddler!

Ribbon-Taggy Car-seat toy!

This goes on your baby's car seat, wrap, sling, pram, high-chair, shopping trolley... wherever you are in need of a little entertainment! Visually stimulating, coupled with encouraging reaching, grasping and fine motor skills. By Laura of Busy Bags!


This furry cloud has hidden treasure inside! It hides a bell and crinkly cellophane! I think that it's good for cause and effect development, auditory stimulation as well as being very tactile! By Debra of Busy Bags!

Lava Lamps!

  I am reliably informed that the lids need to be super-glued on for these to work and be safe! Its made from water; sunflower oil (you can use baby oil) and glitter. Food colouring can be added to change the colours. This looks simple but is really gloopy and interesting (I played with mine for about 20 minutes!) The oil, water and glitter combo actually take some time to adjust after being up-ended.... retro and psychedelic! I think that this little gem stimulates visual development, gross motor skill and imagination! By Judith of Busy Bags!

Squooshy Treasure Bags!


 Quote: "The Treasure Bag is mine, all mine!"

These are bags, filled with glitter, objects, shiny things, lumpy things and hair gel! (And sealed really well!!!) As you can see from the photo, they are just dying to be touched and squeezed! These actually smell interesting too! I'd say they are great for discovery-type play, tactile, good for the development of coordination and curiosity! By Elly of Busy Bags!

Fabric Funtime!

And just to show you how simple and easy making busy bags can be; three squares of differently textured material, and bingo! A baby amusement activity! I'd say that this activity develops hand-eye coordination, tactile stimulation, oral texture exploration, grasping and releasing, spatial awareness and the good old skill of 'peek-a-boo!' By HelenS of Busy Bags!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Group D - Older Children's Busy Bags!

These busy bags were made for the older siblings of the toddler group! They loved the toddler bags so much that they demanded their own! These Busy Bags are aimed at 7-10 year olds... (though many of the activities would keep us adults amused for a  l o n g  time too!

Money Sums!

A till containing lots of shopping. Go shopping and add up your basket, take something out of your basket and minus it off your total. Great Maths Game! By Sara of Busy Bags!

Word Prefixes!

This game is to recognise common prefixes: un, de, re, pre, dis, ex, ad, al, mis, mini, re, pre, trans, il, in, im, ir. bi. pro, sus, tele and auto. Using the game to test their knowledge of prefixes, generate new words from root words. By Sara of Busy Bags! 

3D Shapes!

Straws and pipe-cleaners at the ready! Make a cube, pyramid and prism. A great game to improve dexterity, planning, logical thinking and problem-solving. This required a lot of thought and attention from the children and was very absorbing! By Kate of Busy Bags!

Time - matching numbers/analogue/digital!

A clock game with digital and analogue cards with 3 different types of games and a solo game to play. Move the hands on the clock to the digital time card. By Debra of Busy Bags!

Woven sun!

Weave around brightly coloured wool to make this amazing woven sun, looks great as a decoration too! Improves hand-eye co-ordination and problem-solving. By HelenS of Busy Bags!
Colour Domino Puzzles!

A lovely puzzle to get their minds whirring; see if you can copy the image enclosed using the coloured dominoes, harder than it looks! Good for visual memory, spatial awareness and planning, amongst other things!
By Kate of Busy Bags!

Consisting of 7 pieces called tans which fit together to form a shape of some sort. The goal is to form a specific shape with the seven pieces. They may not overlap! Great 2D game with lots of logical thinking. Think I may borrow this myself for train journeys! By Pam of Busy Bags! 


This was loved by the Mummies in the group, as well as the children! Matching colours together, this one keeps them quiet for hours, and if the frustration gets the better of them with either puzzle, there are 4 handy hints too! By Kate of Busy Bags! 

With Thanks to Debra for the photos and descriptions (as I don't have an older child yet!)

Friday, 26 October 2012

Group C - Toddler Busy Bags!

This was our third swap, containing some of the biggest hits yet!

Pom-pom Pick-Up!

A great activity for concentration and fine motor-skill; using tweezers to pick up pom-poms, straws, pipe cleaners and other assorted small things, and then transfer them into the cup! This one came everywhere with us, for a long time. By Kate of Busy Bags!

Five little Ducks!

A super puppet-glove to accompany the song '5 little ducks'. The white Mother-duck is intended for the child to wear on their hand, but it works equally well the other way round! A lovely re-usable favourite! By Debra of Busy Bags!


This simple activity was a great success with everyone! Three different containers were provided with four envelopes containing different contents (Rice, Giant Cous-Cous, paper clips and small stones). The children had to tear a corner off an envelope and decant the contents into a tub, close the lid and shake shake shake!! A fine motor, and auditory extravaganza! By Jewels of Busy Bags!

Bugz Memory Game!

This matching game has been a hit for us; really simple but great for finding pairs, and teaching words such as 'pair, same, different, other, another" etc. I'm sure that with a bit of modeling from Mama and Papa, the game element, from turning them face-down will make these last even longer! Great for memory skills, visual discrimination, and cementing the concept of 'two, or pairs'. By Elly of Busy Bags!

Christmas Tree Creations!

A festive take on arranging shapes. After playing with ours a few times, we decided that it would be nice to stick it all down and make a picture; plus my 2.5 year old discovered that some of the shapes were stickers, and there was no stopping him! :) By Lauren of Busy Bags!

Rainbow Weaving!

This was a brightly coloured weaving activity. The coloured pieces were secure at one end and the white pieces were secure at 90 degrees to the coloured ones. They could be weaved together traditionally, or in any random way, as seen above! This was surprisingly addictive, though my little boy wanted to pull them off more than anything, so we added a stapler!! Great for fine motor skill and planning. By Karla of Busy Bags!

Lollypop Stick Jigsaws!

A simple but really effective jigsaw idea; line up the lolly-pop sticks in the right order to make the smiley face! By Sara of Busy Bags!
Sort your Animals!

Match animal silhouettes to either their colour, or their word. To help my toddler, I drew round one of the shapes on each card so that he could complete the task independently. Good for colour-matching; silhouette identification and early word identification. By LauraF of Busy Bags!

Beanbag Bonanza!

Three triangular bean bags, with a whole cacophony of games to play with them! Download and print these little cards with suggestions of numerous games to play! Supports the development of hand-eye coordination, gross motor skill, tactile development, planning, and all sorts of other things! By HelenS of busy Bags!