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mini busy bag exchange

Mini Busy Bag Exchange
Last fall, I hosted a pretty massive busy bag exchange with 20 of my girlfriends. We did a toddler aged and preschool aged exchange (and most of us participated in both.) Those posts have a ton of ideas and remain our most popular posts on the blog.

The busy bags were a hit with our kids and a few of the other moms wanted to squeeze in a quick exchange before our upcoming move. We decided to keep it small and only have 6 of us. It made for a much more managable exchange and of course it made making the bags easier. If you are hosting one you have to decide if you’d rather make 20 because you’re already doing some or if you just want to make it simple and do a smaller number. There are benefits to both types of exchanges!

Here’s a look at the bags we exchanged.

Mini Busy Bag Exchange

Letter Tiles and Alphabet Cards from Unsolicited Advice. Adelaide (27 months) loves the tactile feel of the letter tiles. She’s still to young to be able to do this activity independently but sometimes I help her do it. She’s really into her letters right now so she thinks it’s fun!

Mini Busy Bag Exchange

Pizza Factory. I have seen versions of this around pinterest but Robyn came up with this idea all on her own and even made the pizza recipe cards! You can download her cards here, here, and here. She included a felt crust, felt sauce, pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers and olives. So fun. Again, Adelaide hasn’t done any recipe following yet, but she probably could if I helped her. She just likes to put on the toppings and pick them off.

Mini Busy Bag Exchange

Paint Chips and Paper Clips. This is another one that Robyn put together and Addie LOVES it. Robyn got the paint chips from Home Depot (but they may be tricky to find because I’ve tried two Home Depots since we moved and haven’t had any luck.) The paper clips can be clipped onto the side of the paint chip (like on the yellow chip) but it takes Addie forever to do that and she gets frustrated so I showed her how to just set the paper clips on top. She plays this one over and over. It’s one of my favorite ones to keep in my purse because it’s so small.

Mini Busy Bag Exchange

Magnetic Paper Clip Sorting from Teach Beside Me. This one is fun because the child can choose their own method of sorting. Sometimes I start Addie off by putting one of each color on each stick but sometimes I let her do her own thing. It can also be used for patterning!

Mini Busy Bag Exchange

Number Egg Matching. This is one I made up, but it’s pretty simple so I know there are similar versions all over the place. The kids can match the number word to the numeral as well as the pictorial representation to the numeral (on diferrent sides of the eggs.) Then they can count out that many pom poms and put them inside. I thought about making each egg a different color pom pom too but I thought that might make it too complicated. But that might be a fun extension for this activity for an older child.

Mini Busy Bag Exchange

Paint Chip Matching from Teach Beside Me. This one is cool because it’s different shades of each color so it’s a higher level thinking activity. The clothespins are still hard for Addie to maneuver.

And somehow I don’t have pictures of the yarn + sandpaper bag that was made for the exchange. Sorry about that! You can see pictures of it with the directions at Momtastic.

As always, PLEASE supervise your children when they play activities like these and be sure that they are old enough to handle them safely.

Feeling inspired? Learn how to host your own busy bag exchange.

You can always follow me on pinterest for more inspiration.

Follow Emily Kate @ Second Story Window’s board little busy bags, tot trays, quiet books on Pinterest.


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After a combined 14 years in 2nd grade, sisters Heidi & Emily are passionate about helping simplify life for other teachers!

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