Category Archives: busy bag

Preschool Busy Bag GIVEAWAY

Busy Bag GiveAWAY


It’s GIVEAWAY time!!!!

If you’ve been with us for a while, you know that we LOVE using Busy Bags in our home! You can check out THIS POST and THIS POST for more details.

Busy bags are activities that are primarily geared for toddlers and preschoolers.  They are simply a way to organize activities to keep little ones busy (usually while older kids are doing school or when you want your preschooler to work independently). They usually center around basic concepts like matching, sorting, colors, shapes, letters, fine motor skills, etc.

This GIVEAWAY is for a DIGITAL FILE including PDFS for 10 Individual Busy Bag Activities as well as Tips on how to use them! TWO PEOPLE WILL WIN THIS GIVEAWAY!!!

The activities included are:

1. Color Matching Wheel

2. Lego Duplo Pattern Template

3. Color Matching Puzzles

4. Paper Dolls

5. Sort by Size

6. PreWriting Practice

7. Matching

8. Create a Cupcake

9. Number Matching Wheel

10. Patterns

The activities are best for preschool age children (ages 3-5). You will be emailed the Printable Pack and will be able to print as many copies as you like.

Here are the RULES of the GIVEAWAY:

1. Your Comments on THIS blog are your entry!

2. Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment ON THIS BLOG POST telling how you use or will use BUSY BAGS in your home.

3. Optional Entry : “like” Plants and Pillars on Facebook. LEAVE A SEPARATE COMMENT on THIS BLOG POST letting me know you “like” Plants and Pillars

4. This giveaway is open internationally and will end midnight (EST) January 23, 2014. Winners will be notified on Friday, January 24, 2014!

That’s it! Winners will be picked using Random.Org when the giveaway has closed.


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Filed under busy bag, give away, giveaway, homeschool, preschool, printable

Preschool and Toddler Busy Bag Swap with Free Printable

busy bag swap 2

After the success of our previous Busy Bag swap, some of the ladies at our church wanted to get in on the action. We had a VERY informal get together… everyone came to church about fifteen minutes before the service and dropped their goodies off with me (I had a few minutes to divvy up the goods because I was teaching Sunday school and my little ones weren’t there yet). Everyone picked up their stocked bags filled with busy bags at the end of the service.

Here’s what we each walked away with:


1. Paint chip matching (we had this at our previous swap as well)

2. A Button Snake… kids lace shapes onto a long ribbon. You can see another example of one here.

3. A Lacing Toy… this awesome lady cut up a plastic dish drain and provided strings and pipe cleaners for endless play time. Toddlers can pull the string through the holes. Preschoolers can practice lacing and weaving.

4. Color Matching wheel … See below for the FREE printable that goes along with this one. Kids match colored clothespins to the color wheel.

5. Color Match circles… A Big circle is laid down with a color written on it. Kids match smaller circles with pictures done in the same color. (Example… the big circle says “green”… kids place a small circle with a green smiley face on top.

6. Pom Pom Push…. we also had this one at the previous swap. It is a huge favorite at our house. You take a small plastic container at cut a hole in the lid. Kids can push the pom poms through the hole. This mama put duct tape around the hole so no little fingers get cut with jagged plastic.


7. Magnetic Wand bottle… this is totally the favorite with all of my kids right now… even the eight year old wants a turn. The bottle is partially filled with small jingle bells and pipe cleaners. Kids use the magnet to pull the items up and let them drop. You can see another example here.

I showed in the previous post how I use zipper pouches to make the activities available to Little Sis. I don’t let her have access to all the busy bags at once. I like to rotate activities to keep them fresh and exciting. Here’s where I keep them in the mean time…


It is simply  a mid size Sterilite tote I picked up at Wal-Mart that I keep to the side of our school stuff. It’s easily accessible. I keep the individual activities in zip lock bags and in the tote when we are not using them.

And now…  the FREE printable of the color wheel (#4 above). I recommend laminating or covering the color wheel with contact paper to make it durable. Be sure to click the link BELOW the picture to download the PDF.

Color Wheel

 Click to download printable version ————->Color Wheel

Come back next week for some more ideas on keeping your preschooler and toddler busy while doing school with the big kids!

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Filed under busy bag, free, hip homeschool hop, homeschool, preschool, printable

Freebie Friday- Chocolate Chip Cookie Counting

I made up this little game for Little Sis to use this week. She’s been working on the letter “C”. I chose to cut out the cookies and individual chips and put it all in a busy bag. You don’t have to cut the cookies out if you don’t want to. And, if you are opposed to cutting and using all those chocolate chips, you could just use buttons or some other small counter.

Click on the link BELOW the image to download the PDF. Cookie TemplateClick to Download  —————–>Cookie Template

chocolate chips templateClick to Download —————>chocolate chips template

Happy Friday!!!

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Preschool Busy Bag Swap


Yesterday we got to be part of a Busy Bag Swap with some of the other families in our homeschool community. I was really excited to see some first time homeschoolers come out and join us!

What is a busy bag? Glad you asked! They are simply a way to organize activities to keep little ones busy (usually while older kids are doing school or when you want your preschooler to work independently). They usually center around basic concepts like matching, sorting, colors, shapes, letters, fine motor skills, etc. Take a look at the wonderful activities the ladies shared at our swap.

First, we generated interest among our local community, then everyone picked an activity, agreed on a date and time and the swap was on! Each person picked an activity to make and made multiple sets of that one activity. We each brought our items to the park and shared about what we had made:


Everyone shared what they had made and instructions on how to teach our child to use the activity. We had SEVERAL toddlers, preschoolers and elementary age kids running around so we made our presentations quick and to the point.

Next, we set out the activities on a table and each person got to take one from each pile. So… when we left, we each had nine different busy bags to take home!

IMAG3823You can see baby girl’s little busy fingers trying to get her hands on the activities already!

I felt like what the kids must feel like at a Valentine’s Party! We each had our bags and loaded them up with our loot from the day!

Below is a description of each of the activities that were made:

Busy Bag Swap

1. Pom Pom pick up. The child has a container filled with pom poms and a set of tongs. The lid of the container has a hole in it. The child can empty the pom poms and then use the tongs or their fingers to put them back through the hole in the lid. This activity also came with a straw… the child can blow the pom poms around the table!

2. Homemade Play Dough… every kid I’ve ever met loves play dough. It just has so many great learning aspects… especially development of fine motor skills. You can find my recipe for homemade play dough here.

3. Felt Pizza… with order slips!! The child can create custom pizzas with this fun activity. They have crust, sauce and a variety of toppings. The activity also has order slips to make custom order and practice counting how many of each topping goes on the pizza.

4. Color Match Puzzles. I used this printable, laminated it and cut it into puzzles.

5. Spoon Matching with Shapes and Numbers.

6. Spell Your Name Bunting. This mom made personalized busy bags for each of the families that participated. You can find more fun printables like this on her blog.

7. Block Puzzles. The child estimates how many blocks will fit in a certain shape and then does the puzzle to find the correct answer. You can find this activity here.

8. Paint Chip Color Match. My kids LOVE using clothes pins!

9. Lacing and Shapes. Children lace the ribbon through various shapes.

So… now you have all these great busy bags, how do you store them?

IMAG3827I picked up several of these zipper pencil pouches from Wal- Mart. I have a tub with about five or six different busy bags that Little Sis can pick from when she wants to do school with us (Little Sis is almost 4). I try to rotate the activities weekly. The other busy bags that I have, I keep in ziplocks in a drawer until it is time to use them.

Check out this board on Pinterest for more Busy Bag ideas!

Have you ever done a Busy Bag Swap? What are your favorite Busy Bag ideas?

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Filed under busy bag, hip homeschool hop, homeschool, preschool

Preschool Busy Bag Ideas with Free Printable

I periodically post the activities I have for Little Sis. I have to rotate them often to keep her attention. I have a stash of busy bags that she can pull out while the big kids are doing school.

Here are a couple of activities I added this week:


In this activity, she uses clothes pins and playing cards. She places a clothes pin on each diamond on the card and then counts. This helps with number recognition and 1 to 1 correspondence.


I have seen this activity on Pinterest, but I couldn’t find any templates for the block patterns. If you scroll down, I made a template of my own that you are welcome to use.


She uses duplo blocks to match the patterns.

Duplo Pattern Template Click here to Download——-> Duplo Pattern Template

The template is in black and white so you can customize to the blocks you have. Enjoy!

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