Busy bags are a fun way for preschool kids to work on counting, matching and fine motor skills while keeping them occupied. Your busy bag can be made with a food storage bag, paper bag or reusable bag and should contain everything your child needs to work on an activity independently. Busy bags are ideal when you're travelling, attending an appointment or want to get something done at home, such as making dinner.
You can include anything that's safe and age-appropriate for your child in the busy bags, and making them in advance will mean you can pull one out on a particularly trying day and your child will have a new activity to prevent them feeling bored. Craft sticks, pom-poms, buttons, clothes pegs, beads, magnets, coloured card and pipe cleaners are ideal for keeping little hands busy. Here are three busy bag ideas to get you started:
Match The Sticks
This matching activity is ideal for younger preschool children. Use coloured fabric and glue to create small pouches that can hold craft sticks. Place the pouches and ten coloured craft sticks for each pouch in a bag. Your child has to match the coloured sticks with the corresponding coloured pouch. For example, they'll have ten red sticks in the red pouch at the end of the activity.
Build A Book
This busy bag idea will help develop your child's motor skills and imagination. Place sheets of paper, crayons, a child-safe glue stick and several cut-out pictures in a bag and let your child create their own book. They can glue along the edges of each piece of paper to create the book, draw scenes or characters with the crayons and stick the pictures in any order they like to create their unique story. You can cut pictures out of magazines and damaged books or print images of animals, plants and foods from royalty-free sites, such as Open Clipart.
Count The Dots
Counting and fine motor skills will be enhanced with this simple busy bag. Draw dots on craft sticks and place them in a bag with clothes pegs. Ask your child to clip the same number of clothes pegs onto each stick as there are dots. You can make this activity a little harder by drawing several different shapes on the craft sticks and asking your child to clip the same number of clothes pegs onto the first stick as there are squares and the same number on the second stick as there are triangles etc.
These are just a few examples of what can be done with some inexpensive craft supplies. When making your own busy bags, try to incorporate things your child enjoys into the activities, such as colouring with crayons or stacking items, to get them excited about having some quiet time with their busy bag. For more information, see a business such as Deans Art.