Thursday, August 4, 2011

Busy Bags and Travel Games!

We are preparing soon for a trip to see my husband's 87 & 88 year old Grandparents. I myself had a set of Great-Grandparents that lived to be 90 and 102, so I know the treasure of getting to know your Great-Grandparents. We are very much so looking forward to seeing them, the super long car trip-not so much!

In an attempt to make sure we all arrived alive and still liking one another, I went about looking for a way to keep the kids happy while we rode. Yesterday, Mustang was complaining that Charger was looking at her during breakfast, so I know that the challenge of keeping 3 kids 5 and under from fighting the whole trip is going to be a tough one :).

When I found an awesome post on Princess and the Tot {thanks to all my Pinterest enablers, I mean friends}, I knew I had to make busy bags!!!

This photo shows 12 of the 17 bags I made (yeah maybe I went overboard lol). The pencil cases I found at Walmart and yard sales. The first time I went to Walmart they had pretty colored cases. I bought 4 and thought I'd go back for more. By the time I got back (1 week later) all they had were the clear ones. Though, turns out I like the clear ones better! And here's what's inside the bags:

Button Snake. I made this one a long time ago. To make one, just sew a button on to each end of a piece of 2 inch ribbon. Then cut slits in pieces of felt so they can be buttoned onto the snake. Very easy to make!

Lauri spelling puzzles. I found these at a yard sale a few weeks ago-50 cents for 12 puzzles! I was able to fit 4 into the bag.

Lacing puzzles. I put in three-a fish, a duck, and a rabbit. I can change these out for future trips.

A little chalkboard and Cinderella chalk. I just put a paper towel in the bag. I need to get a little eraser. I found all of this at the same yard sale!

This little bag is mostly for Mini Cooper. She loves little animals and people, so I put all our little cats (turns out to 11) in the bag. I found them at our teacher supply store for 10 cents each!

Two of my activities dont have a 'special bag.' I need to buy some more. But, zip lock bags work just as well. These are little truck and tractor magnets. I am on the lookout for a small metal sheet to put in our bags, but in the meantime a cookie sheet will work.

This by far is one of my favorite bags! It did require me to bring a picture that wouldnt fit into the bag, but it could easily be cut into smaller pieces or made smaller from the start.

I raided my old scrapbook stash and found a few sea themed cut outs. I glued them to a piece of blue cardstock and laminated it.

If this bag is chosen, they can take a page of stickers to arrange on the mat. The stickers arent really reusable, but being laminated, the picture is.

Then I got a fun idea to include our Toob animals. We have a Toob of under the sea animals, and one of pirates. I included both. I suspect this will be a favorite!! I also see how this could easily turn into something all the kids can do together if they get board at our motel. (And yes, I wrote motel...that's not a typo).

Shape links. I found these at a teacher yard sale last year, so I'm not exactly sure what they are called. There are 10 of each shape. The object is to link them together by shape. Or they can use the links to make patterns.

I found these in the clearance isle at Walmart yesterday. The little cards show where all the stickers are to go so that the picture can be made. I dont really know if this is considered a true busy bag since it can only be used once.

Hairclip game. I actually put this out on a tray over a year ago. The original idea came from My Montessori Journey. The object is to clip the barrette to the matching pony tail holder.

This one is also an under the sea theme. I found these at Hobby Lobby (kinda like a gigantic Michaels). The picture and stickers can both be colored. I included colored pencils because-a) they cant be used to draw on the seats of the car and b) because they wont melt. There are a total of 6 sets, so each kid can do this project twice.

Primary Peg People. This bag started out as just plain Peg People for Mini Cooper.

But then I thought that coloring them would make a fun matching game. So, I made 2 sets of each red, blue, yellow, and green (okay not a primary color).

Then, I looked up and realized I had these ribbons from another bag I was making and decided to include them too. I thought Mustang could practice her tying skills. I'm not sure if she will like this or not.

Color scratchers. I found these on clearance at Hobby Lobby. The object is to use the little sticks to scratch off the black and reveal colors underneath. There are 6 of these, so each child can try this 2 times as well.

Color Clip Sticks. This idea came to me while standing in Hobby Lobby. There are little bitty paper clips to match to each of the big sticks.

I decided to one stick a little different-they object is to match the clip to the circle on the stick. This will require more precision in clipping on the circle instead of anywhere on the stick.

Another Hobby Lobby clearance find. The package included 3 bracelets and letters to spell your name on the bracelet. I decided to include just one bracelet and all the letters of the alphabet.

This is BY FAR my favorite bag, and so far Mustang hasnt seen it. I cant wait to see her reaction to this one :). I found a package of American Girl stickers at Hobby Lobby. It seems to be the same as this one on Amazon, but cheaper at Hobby Lobby.

I put the stickers onto sheets of self laminating pouches and then cut around them. I added magnetic strip pieces to the backs. Add a cookie sheet and you have American Girl heaven :). And YES, I plan to steal them in the middle of the night and play with them!

A few other things going with us that didnt really work in a bag. In addition to the cookie sheet, I am taking 2 tot trays so the kids can put their activity in their lap in the car. McDonald's travel book (we will likely pick up more of these along the way), a sticker craft that Mustang wanted me to get her from Hobby Lobby, and little puzzle games that came with an ad to buy Highlights.

In the front, travel Bingo from Housing a Forest. I did not laminate these like suggested on the website, I just printed out 2 for each child-one for the trip there and one for the trip back. There is also a clipboard and paper, and a mini etch-a-sketch. The crayons are staying with me...and will be handed out one at a time :).

I have them all in a bin, but may move it into an easier to carry bag!

Lord willing, this will keep us all happy on our trip. If not, we will probably just buy a new DVD player lol. We have one, it just got lost in our move and we dont know where it is!!

God Bless and happy trails :)!!!


Kristina said...

I love your busy bag ideas. I just posted a bunch of busy bags I made a couple of days ago. I may have gone overboard as well.


Anonymous said...

Those look like great busy bags!! You guys will do great with all of those activities!

jess_hak said...

What fantastic bags! I'm sure they will love them. I still can't believe you found all those Lauri puzzles for .50! Lucky!! :)

We took 9 hour trip last summer with our three and we used our DVD player quite a bit. I didn't have bags but I packed some activities like this. My kids especially loved the magnets in the car.

You just reminded me that I need to make a button snake sometime soon. :) Have a great trip!

Amber said...

What an awesome idea! These are great busy bags!
Thanks for sharing!

Theprincessandthetot said...

Your bags turned out GREAT!! I may have to borrow a couple of your ideas! Thanks for the link back. Have a super day!

HillaryM said...

I love those! We travel frequently 1.5 hrs each way every two weeks or so. Often, the children just sleep, but with fun things like this, we just might skip that nap. Oh, and I <3 Hobby Lobby!

L2L said...

What a great idea!!! I'm adding this to my I want to do it list!!!!

ari said...

WOW! All these ideas are fantastic! Well done mama!

Angela Joy said...

Great ideas! I pinned you!

Every Star Is Different said...

Thank you so much for sharing so many wonderful ideas. I loved so many of them and can't wait to use them during our learning time! You can check us out at, if you'd like. Oh, and I love how you mentioned coming up with ideas while at the store, etc. I seem to do that all the time! It was fun to see so many girl oriented activities. Thank you again!

Deb Chitwood said...

These are wonderful! I featured your post and peg people photo in my Traveling with Kids - Montessori-Inspired Activities post at