My friend recently hosted a “Busy Bag Exchange” between preschool moms. What a great idea right? We each came up with five bags of the same activity to keep little ones of about the same age busy whether it be in the car, at an appointment or in a restaurant. I instantly thought of those tubes filled with rice and tiny treasures and wanted to recreate something similar.
- Heavy-duty plastic bags
*Variation: You could also use a clear plastic bottle as long as you tape the top shut. This option might be more durable as well. I’ve also seen a variation with fabric on one side and a clear vinyl window sewn together.
- Rice. The amount will depend on the size of your bag or bottle so you might want to measure before you buy.
- Duct tape. I found these fun patterns in the dollar spot at Target!
- Tiny treasures to hide inside
- Camera, paper, printer, laminator (or you can use clear packing tape to “laminate” your cards)
1) Chose 10-15 tiny treasures to include in your bag. Be sure to lay them out on a white piece of paper and take a picture prior to putting them all in the bags. This will become the guide for what to find inside. Consider items of varying size and color. Find things that are both very bright and very similar to the color of the rice to add to the challenge. Be sure to avoid anything sharp that could poke a hole in the plastic. I found nearly all of these things around the house with a few things purchased at Micheal’s craft store. *NOTE: I made two variations of my bags. See the examples of the things I put in my bags in the photo above!
2) Place your tiny treasures into the bags. If you have little ones this is a great job for them to help with. “Can you find the turtle? Put him in the bag!” My daughter loved this part.
3) Fill the bag with rice. Be sure there’s enough room for kids to move it around to find the items. I found about 3/4 full worked well.
4) Seal the bag with duct tape. I trimmed the edges of mine with a scissor to be sure no sticky edges were showing.
5) Print the picture you took of the tiny treasures included in the bags. I put four up on a page so the little image guide was about the same size as the bag itself. Laminate the card or cover with packing tape to protect it.
* If you don’t have a printer at home you could print a standard 4×6 photo print.
Toss these in your purse or car to grab when your kids need some distraction. Consider additional games other than finding the items on the card. How many green items can you find? How many leaves can you find? Find something you can eat. Count the pieces of rice … just kidding. Although that might keep them busy!