8 Toddler Busy Bags (for your busy toddler)

Calling all toddler moms!

Have you guys heard of busy bags??  You might call them something else, but basically they’re small portable activities that you can use on the go for your kiddos.  Think: Dr.’s office, restaurants, grocery store, etc.  You can even use them at home in your kid’s high chair while you’re getting dinner ready or cleaning up after a meal.

Am I just totally late to the game here?  I mean, I have only been doing this parent thang for 2 years…so everything still seems new and exciting to me.

First, let me get really honest: I love my son.  But dang can he be needy!  Yes, he is 2 and I’m his source of life and all that…but, can I just use the bathroom in peace?  Can I be in the kitchen for more than 5 minutes without you crawling up my leg?  Could I possibly enjoy 5 seconds of the latest People magazine while we wait in the doctor’s office?  From what I’ve heard from other moms….no.  No, I cannot.

Enter, busy bags: simple little (preferably portable) activities when you need your toddler to be occupied for about 5 minutes.  Pinterest has tons of ideas, and it’s where I got a lot of my inspiration.  Just make sure that your activities are something your toddler will actually be interested in.


To make your busy bags, you can really use whatever you want.  The sky’s the limit!  All of my supplies came from Dollar Tree, the Target dollar bin, or home.  The one thing you will for sure want to buy is “bags” to keep your activities in.  Zippered pencil bags are great, and they’re the perfect size to toss in a diaper bag or a kid’s backpack.


1.Finger Puppet Busy Bag

You can make this bag with any kind of finger puppets.  I found these plastic finger puppets at Dollar Tree a few years ago, and this animal book was $1 at Target.  I think Lincoln is still a little young for this bag.  He doesn’t really understand the idea of finger puppets yet, but it’s just unfamiliar enough that it piques his curiostity for a little bit.

2. Photo Busy Bag

Lincoln is obsessed with pictures of family, friends, and pets.  You could easily print some pictures and put them in a plastic photo book from the dollar store (and you wouldn’t really need a bag for that).  Lincoln isn’t a fan of pictures in a photo book…he wants to hold them, lay them out on the floor, make a pile, etc.  So all I did is take one of those cheap-o photo books, and just rip the pages out.  That way, the pictures are still protected but they’re not confined to a book.


3. Stacking Busy Bag

Lincoln loves anything he can stack or “nest”, and I found these mini solo cups in a 20 pack at Dollar Tree!  Yes, I’m pretty sure they’re little solo cup shot glasses…but this is by far Lincoln’s favorite bag.


4. Buckle Busy Bag

Ok, this has more than buckles in it…but I don’t know what else to call it.  Lincoln is super intrigued by buckles…he wants to buckle his car seat, the grocery cart buckle, you name it.  I found a dog collar with a buckle at Dollar Tree, and threw some other random things from home that I thought he’d like.  This one has been a favorite too.


5. Post-It Busy Bag

Does this even need an explanation? Have you ever given a toddler a stack of sticky notes?  It’s like leaving them alone in the bathroom with a roll of toilet paper.  This one probably entertains Lincoln the longest, so it’s great when we go to a restaurant.  When it’s time to put it away, just roughly stack them back together and put them in the bag for next time.


6. Color Busy Bag

This bag includes some colored dots, some matching paper, and a color book.  You could do without a color book, but I snagged this one up at Target for $1.

Full disclosure…your toddler could very well end up looking like this by the end:

2 more bags that are not pictured, but are self explanatory:

7. Crayon Busy Bag: just crayons and paper.

8. Sticker Busy Bag: A sheet of stickers and paper.


I have actually had success with these bags, and that makes me feel like I have mom super powers!  I use them the most in his high chair while I’m cooking, at restaurants, any place where we are having to “wait”, or even if I just need 5 minutes of uninterrupted time.


So what about y’all?  Do you do something like busy bags?  Or do you have some other “busy” activity I can add to my bag of tricks?  Let me know in the comments!

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