How to Organize a Busy Bag Swap


Looking for new activities to do with the kiddos? Ever heard of a busy bag swap? Don’t worry, we hadn’t either but now we’re giving you the 411 on what they are AND how they might just give you a few precious (and much needed) minutes to yourself!

What Is a Busy Bag?

A Busy Bag is a bag filled with a small activity that a young child can do on their own, without adult supervision. It’s perfect for those times when you need a few minutes to yourself to finish cooking dinner, throw in a load of laundry, or *ahem* use the bathroom alone!

In a Busy Bag Swap, each mom comes up with one Busy Bag activity and brings enough of that activity for each child. It’s perfect to do with a group of friends with kids around the same ages or even a local playgroup. Everyone leaves with a big bag full of fun boredom busters!

Interested in hosting your own Busy Bag Swap? Here’s how:

  1. Invite other moms to participate. As mentioned, you can do this with a playgroup or you could invite any mommy friends you think would like to participate . . . neighbors, moms from your child’s class, family members, etc.
  2. Choose your activity! There are lots of ideas here and on Pinterest. You can “claim” your activities via email so there are no repeats.
  3. Gather your supplies. 
  4. Prepare your bags. Make one Busy Bag for each child who will need one, plus one for your own child. One bag per household should be enough.
  5. Swap Busy Bags! Fill your bags assembly-line style. Start by taking a gallon-sized freezer bag and work your way around the table by filling the bag with one of each activity.
  6. Busy BagsPlay! Watch your kiddo play independently or even join in on the fun if you want! You may even want to bring a bag or two in your diaper bag just in case you need something to keep them occupied when you’re out and about.

Here are some ideas for activities you can include in your own Busy Bag:

  • Cut up colored sponges into building blocks.
  • Print out pictures of animals and cut them in half to make a matching game.
  • Find plastic golf balls (with holes in them) and pipe cleaners to create a weaving game.
  • Create a color-matching game using pieces of colored paper and small colored objects like buttons, feathers, and pom-poms.
  • Use an empty ice cube tray, pom poms, and spoons to create a fun scooping game. You can also use a small pair of child-friendly tweezers instead of a spoon. This is great for their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
  • Make animal-themed lacing cards. If you can’t find them in stores you can easily make your own using pieces of foam paper, a hole punch, and shoelaces.
  • Make a “Pom-Pom Drop” by taping paper towel rolls to the wall.
  • Glue round pieces of velcro to each end of colored popsicle sticks for a fun shape-building game.
  • Pom-Poms: Kids love these!

A bag full of new kids’ activities that are fun, quick, and easy to put together… what more could a busy mom ask for?

Have you ever participated in a Busy Bag Swap? What kind of activities keep your kids busy?


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