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Busy Bag Tips

Monday, 20 July 2015

Since my first post about busy bag exchange, I have received queries from readers about where to find such group to join. This busy bag exchange was initiated by a kind Mummy in one of the Facebook parents support group which I joined. Unfortunately, our group for the next exchange is full again.

Here are some tips for parents who are keen to set up your own busy bag exchange. 

1) Where to find a busy bag exchange group
You may ask like-minded Mums around you if they are keen to form a group. Facebook groups or even your own group of Mummy friends is a good place to start. I would say a group of about 8-10 works great so that you will not be overwhelmed with making too many sets of bags.

2) Ideas for busy bag
The Internet of course! There are lots of ideas and inspirations out there. The key word is 'Busy bag' If you are a visual person, Pinterest is a good place to look for ideas. Just make sure that you control yourself and not get addicted to it, like myself.

A very kind Mummy, LX, has compiled a list of busy bags useful for each group. You can refer to this for more inspirations.

Toddler Mega List of Busy Bags (Age 2-3)
Preschooler Mega List of Busy Bags (Age 4-5)

3) Where to get the materials for making the busy bag
You can get many of the materials from Daiso, eg felt, pom poms, pipecleaner, clothespin, magnets, stickers, straws, etc. If you look hard enough, you might also find other places with items that are cheaper than Daiso. ValueShop or your neighbourhood shops are other good alternatives. For more crafty items, you can try Spotlight or ArtFriend. If you have more time, you might want to try out online sources such as Taobao, Amazon or Ebay.

4) What are the tools required
If you are doing lots of lamination, a laminator is a must. Plus a paper cutter or scissors, a round corner cutter and a colour printer. All these will go a long way if you have plans to create your own learning materials for your little ones. You can get all these from Popular. On and off, Popular will have promotion for laminator and the laminating pouch and makes it a very good deal. During the previous Popular sales, an A4 laminator is going for about $39 with 100 pieces of laminating pouches for free.

5) What to include in the busy bag
A busy bag is supposed to be an all inclusive bag with the necessary materials and tools that your child will need to use the busy bag. You do not want to give a bag to your child and only to realise that you are missing something. Of course, in a busy bag exchange, you have a budget to adhere to. So in cases where there is an over budget, you might want to discuss with the group as to how to tackle the problem.

You might also want to include an instruction sheet as to how to use the bag. It would be even better if you could include extension ideas of using the bags so as to lengthen the lifespan of the items and give the child more variety of play.

Lastly, as the name busy bag suggests, pack everything in a ziplock bag.

6) What to bring on the exchange day
Apart from all the busy bags you have prepared, do bring along a big bag to hold all the busy bags that you will be going home with. Bear in mind, some of the activities can be quite bulky. I came back with two big bags stuffed to the max during the last exchange.



7) Safety concerns
Think about if the parts in the busy bag are too small for the age group? Example, could there be choking hazards or sharp objects? Please remember that while busy bag can be used to keep the child occupied, always have adults supervision if your child is still mouthing or if some activities require the use of scissors. Laminated sheets must always have the corners rounded otherwise the child might cut himself while using the cards.

8) Quality concerns
The bottom line of an busy bay exchange is to make a busy bag of a quality that you would like to receive. How would you feel if you have put in lots of effort to put together a busy bag but receiving something that looks like it was haphazardly put together just a night before the exchange? Or receiving something that doesn't hold up to the handling of the child? So, do bear in mind to make something of a quality that you would love to receive.

That's all the tips I have for you. Hope you will find this useful and have a successful busy bag exchange.

You can read more about the busy bag exchange that we had.

Busy Bag Exchange 1 (free printable)
Busy Bag Exchange 2 - Toddler (free printable)
Busy Bag Exchange 2 - Preschooler
Busy Bag Exchange 3
Busy Bag Exchange Tips
Pin the Bunny Tail (free printable)

These are the busy bags that I have prepared for the busy bag exchange I have participated in. Free printable for download.

Mummy and Baby Animals Matching Cards

Magnet Puzzle

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