…busy bags for busy boys…

We have been quite lucky with our children. Only one hospital stay. No surgeries. One broken arm and one greenstick fracture (which, to be honest, is a much higher success rate than we ever though possible, given the inverse relationship between a certain small boy’s fearlessness and co-ordination…). Overall, not a bad hit rate for over a decade with four children.

Of course, though, there have been all the minor niggles and lurgies of childhood. So we are familiar with the entertaining of small people who require rest, but are also starting to feel well enough to want to do more than just lay around all day. When a dear friend shared both her very busy, very active, very much outside boys needed surgery, and they had to stay in Brisbane for two weeks afterwards. I could feel my second-hand stress levels rising on her behalf. That did very much not sound like fun. So last week, the small folk and I hit up the shops for some supplies to make up a box of busy bags to help them pass the time.

At the local cheap shop, we picked up:
lunch bags $2
Coloured paddle pop sticks $2.50
Pompoms $2.50
Icecream cups $2
Stickers $2.50
Pair of mini tongs $2

We then added from home – cotton buds, wooden pegs, string, plastic spoons, and yarn, to create 7 busy bags, that could then be reconfigured to include a further 9 bonus activities.

BAG ONE: Use cotton buds to create a maze to drive your toys cars through

BAG TWO: Tie the included string around a couple of chairs and put the pegs on the line. I also included a note to try and peg up their own socks.

BAG THREE: tongs, pompoms and icecream cups – use the tongs to pick up the pom-poms and place in the cup

BAG FOUR: plastic spoons. Use the pom-poms from bag three and sort them by colour using the spoon to move them.

BAG FIVE: super simple sticker play. I used a sheet of kraft paper to make a folded book for each book, and popped in a sticker pad.

BAG SIX: printed and laminated puzzles and a pack of paddlepop sticks to match them up.

BAG SEVEN: TWO 3×4″ cards wrapped with perle cotton, and some mini bundles of yarn, to create mini weavings.

1 – Use the cotton buds from bag one as paintbrushes for watercolours (or make your own with food colouring in water)
2 – take a peg from bag two and pom poms from bag three. Use the pegs to move the pom poms and sort them by size
3 – use the paddlepop sticks to build fences for toy animals
4 – matching game with paddlepop sticks and pom poms
5 – use the spoons and paddlepop sticks for an egg-and-spoon type race
6 – use the string for limbo
7 – use the spoon laid perpendicular to a peg to create a pom pom catapult.
8 – use the yarn and paddlepop sticks to create a diamond shaped weaving
9 – learn to finger knit

I have had some photos through of the boys happily playing with their busy bags, which I love, it makes the effort of a homemade gift worthwhile to know that it is loved and appreciated.

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