Saturday, July 4, 2009

Toddler Busy Bags

Lately, it has been more and more difficult for us to go out for a meal or a coffee as a family and have a nice relaxing time. Now that my children are no longer babies, but rambunctious toddlers, I really needed something that would keep them occupied. After the recent success of the plane toys, I decided to put together two Toddler Busy Bag's, one for each child, with a range of small toys that would be new and exciting for them as they are only brought out occasionally.

For Stephen (aged 31 months), I started with this wonderful Art Tote (US$20) from Bells and Whistles. Made from a sturdy denim with blocks of bright colour, it is beautifully handmade and fun just to look at. It is the perfect size to fit a standard sized colouring book and a few extras.

On the outside of the bag are little pockets for 8 crayons. Stephen's favourites are Crayola's Mini Twistables as they are the perfect size for his chubby little hands and if they break he can just twist them up. I love that they don't have any paper wrapped around them since Stephen hates the paper on regular crayons and is always asking me to peel the wrappers off. I keep my eye out for ultra cheap coloring books to add to the bag, or I print out coloring pages from the internet.

Stephen loves his Magna Doodle, so when I saw a mini FisherPrice Doodler on sale recently for only a few dollars, I snapped it up. Stephen doesn't really draw on it so much; he just loves to color in the whole screen, and then wipe it clean. He can entertain himself for ages like this!


From his plane travel kit I took the Melissa and Doug Mini Puzzles that he loved so much, and added some pipe cleaners, plastic rings and lacing cards for some manipulative play; some stickers picked up from the dollar store; and lastly, a juice box and a snack in case the meal is taking forever to come.

For Irini (15 months) I bought the Mini Art Tote (US$12) also from Bells and Whistles. I fell in love with the hot pink heavy cotton, and the sweet fruit salad print that also lines the bag. The gingham and ric rac was the icing on the cake! Her toddler busy bag is smaller and simpler.

In the crayon spot are 8 triangular crayons, also from Crayola. Triangular crayons are great for toddlers as they help to develop the correct tripod grip that they will need when they start writing. Stephen started on these when he first started drawing, and he now correctly holds his pencils and crayons. The mini tote is not large enough for a regular coloring book (and to be honest, these are really a waste at Irini's age anyway) so I use small coloring pages from the internet stapled into a mini book. I also have included a few toys that I know can keep her entertained, like a toy mobile phone.

Hopefully, these two bags will make outings much more pleasant for all of us! What items do you recommend for your toddler's busy bags?

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