Busy Bag Activity Exchange - Easy & Fuss-free Way To Build A Busy Bag Collection

Friday, March 04, 2016

Our kiddos are blessed with a lot of toys at home - from Lego to McDonald happy meal toys, to kitchen sets, puzzles and even random sweets containers, I realised that children can use anything and everything to be their toys.

While I generally let them play with whatever they like as long as they are not dangerous, my favourite toys for them are always busy bags, quiet books and puzzles because I can sit with them and while playing, I get to teach them something too!

Most of the time, I would google around to look for inspirations and then I would take some time, sit down and make them some activities. If you're a busy mummy, you can also check out my review on Busy Tots Bags, where you can purchase busy bag activities without going through the hassle of making it yourself.

Recently, I found another splendid way to grow our busy bag collection without breaking my fingers - the Busy Bag Activity Exchange. 

I came across it when one mummy from a parenting group suggested an exchange, and I thought it was pretty nifty because all we needed to do is to get a group of about 5 to 6 mummies, and each one of us will only do ONE TYPE of activity item, but in multiple pieces.

After which, we would exchange our multiple pieces with the rest of the mothers and at the end of the day, each of us will end up with 5 to 6 different activities for our children.

I took part in both the toddler and pre-school groups, since I have busy bags for Dylan and Alexis. Each group had 6 mummies, so I would need to make 6 sets of the same thing.

Caterpillar counting activity that was made for the toddler group
Spelling activity cards made for the pre-school group

Personally, I find that it isn't difficult to be making multiple sets of the same thing. In fact, I find it more value for money since I can print them in bulk and they would be cheaper that way. The difficult part was to coordinate a meet-up where all 6 mothers would come together for the exchange.

As mothers, we are occupied most of the time with our children, and that makes the time available for a meet-up extremely limited. We were also restricted by the meet-up location as we have mothers who stay all over Singapore! We tried to meet up in town, where it is probably most convenient for all of us, but to be honest, it can be the most inconvenient to all of us because all of us had to travel at least 30 minutes to an hour to get to the meet-up location.

It doesn't help that sometimes we have last minute errands to run, family dinners to go to etc., so it was very difficult to arrange for a meet up for 6 people. As such, we decided on mailing! 

I think mailing is the most straight-forward way in terms of exchange, although personally, I would love to meet the other mothers and make some new friends. Mummies get to prepare their mails in their own time, and they didn't need to rush from point A to B.

Besides, normal mail is extremely affordable. A set of item costs about 60 cents? I paid about $6 to send them all out. $6 in exchange for more freedom in time, I think it is pretty worth it.

Let's take a look at some of the busy bag items I've received!

1. Adult and Young Animal Matching Cards

This was done by Mummy Ivy for the toddler group. I love how she had painstakingly laminated every single pieces, and the separate pieces for the youngs are attached with velcro so that the child can mix and match. It's a great tool to teach Dylan and Alexis on animals and their young!

2. Number Matching Pegs and Shape Recognition

This was done by Mummy Rachel from the pre-school group. It is supposed to be suited for Dylan, but I think it fits Alexis more, since Dylan is very well-versed with numbers 1 to 5 already. I like using this to train Dylan in his Mandarin though, I would make him name the shapes in Mandarin.

He's doing pretty good so far!

3. Feed The Animal (with the right food)

By the third activity I received from the mummies, I must say that they all put in A LOT of effort for the activity! When I joined the exchange group, I was half expecting some mothers to give half-assed activities, but it turns out that all the mummies took time to print, cut and even laminate everything SUPER nicely!

This is made by Mummy Rena from the toddler group. Alexis is supposed to decide whether the rabbit eats carrots or bones, and then slot them accordingly into their mouths (yes omg they have slits!!!)

4. Foam Puzzles

This is by Mummy Shida from the pre-school group and I think it is brilliant for Dylan. It is by far our most favourite activity and it is so easy to make!

We started off with the circle and triangle shape, before moving to rectangle and the square, which I think is the hardest among the four. This one really works the brains!

5. Ice-cream Sticks Puzzle

This is a project contributed by Mummy Cynthia. Mummy Cynthia painstakingly stuck velcro on the ends of every ice-cream stick and came up with a list of 10 different shapes the child can follow and build. These coloured ice-cream sticks are available at SKP if you are interested to make one set for yourself too!

I am still waiting to receive five other activities from other mummies from the Toddler and Pre-School groups. But in the meantime, the kids are definitely gonna be kept busy for a while! 

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  1. I am always super amazed by what people come up with at these busy bag exchanges!! The clothes peg one is super awesome.

  2. You mummies are so inspiring! And doing it as a busy bag exchange is a genius error.....

  3. such creative and educational toys to engage the children. can tell the effort to make these. I wish I had made these when my kids were younger

  4. Amazingly Creative stuff!! Kids can be kept engaged for hours..

  5. What awesome busy bags done by awesome Moms! Very inspiring!

  6. Busy bag exchange is really brilliant. If only I had found like-minded moms back when I had my first kid. By the time I did find friends who wanted to do busy bag swap, my little one was no longer into them n my elder one was way too old for that! Enjoy your busy bags! I'm sure you've many more swaps to go!

  7. I have been reading about these busy bag exchange and the amount of effort goes into preparing them.

  8. wah ahahaha I seriously have no motivation to do anything like this for my kids! *gasps*

  9. Wow, the mummies are so creative and super hands-on. Me is lazy mummy and make-do with store-bought resources, heheh!


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