Monday, May 11, 2015

Busy Bags for On the Go Entertainment


We spend SO MUCH time in the waiting room at appointments (doctor offices and especially tons of therapies) or in the car.  With 4 kids it can be chaos getting out the door. We need coats, shoes, snacks, diapers, and entertainment.  So, to solve that last one we put together ready-made, grab-and-go busy bags.

I dug through the schoolroom and the kids' bedrooms and collected a much-more-massive-than-is-necessary slew of travel toys.  I stuffed the items in bags - some are geared towards my boys (6 and 2) and the others for my girls (10 and 13) but most are a mixture.  Before we head out the door we grab a bag (sometimes 2 if all 4 kids are going, but often the girls don't mind playing with whatever the boys have).

At present I haven't labeled the bags because the kids have fun with the mystery of it. The bags in the picture are actually thermal lunch bags I found at Michael's for $2 a piece.  I have a few more to pack up so I'll likely use some gallon ziploc bags or some cheap thrift shop find.  The various containers and pencil pouches were all randomly collected over my homeschooling and clearance shopping years.

Hope these Busy Bag/Travel Activities give you some ideas!




  • Magic Ink book & marker (Jake the Pirate here, but I have a few on hand to replace it - Target Dollar Spot!!)
  • Board book with pop ups, pull tabs, etc. This holds their attention longer.
  • A boxed cube puzzle - each side of the block has different images so it is 6 puzzles. Found at the thrift store but the brand is Ravensburg and they are on Zulily (on sale) frequently.
  • Magnetic book of colors
  • A Jake the Pirate electronic game (thrift store)
  • A mini color book and crayon set
  • A car and a few minifigs (the ones in here are from a Jake Busy Book - the books broke long ago but we have tons of little figurines still)


  • An Eric Carle block puzzle -- these cube puzzles are nice because they make several puzzles with very few pieces AND Bruce likes to stack the blocks into towers
  • Small activity & color books, pack of Jumbo crayons, and a small container of mini colored pencils and a sharpener
  • The Curious George tin has lacing boards and string
  • A couple Hot Wheels and a spinning top





  • Various puzzle and activity books - Brain Games, Hangman, Mad Libs, Word Seek, blank notesbooks
  • A travel Cribbage-type(but with dice) game board (with all the pieces in the zippered pencil pouch)
  • A Dollar Store travel spirograph - with blank paper & colored pens
  • Travel Boggle Game because it's a fun game AND the spinny thing is pretty fun
  • Colored dot logic game
  • Crazy Eights card game
  • Zippered pencil pouch with pencil, eraser, sharpener, colored pens, the gears to the Spirograph, and the game playing pieces and dice






  • Magnet Dolls with their clothes and accessories (in the Monster High zipper pouch)
  • A pencil box with mini foam alphabet puzzle (Dollar Store) - they fit perfectly in the box and I can't believe how many ways the boys find to play with them!
  • Clear mini canisters with screw top lids - or screw onto each other - with erasers and other small treasures inside
  • A couple mini color activity books, pads of paper, and tons of stickers
  • Skinny Pipsqueaks markers




  • Jigsaw puzzle book about transportation with various vehicle puzzles on each page
  • A pencil case with Thomas figurines and play mat (once upon a time we bought the Busy Book which is a board book with play figures from the story and a play mat on the last page.  The books broke easily, the pieces would get lost, and it was bulky and took up too much space. WE eventually threw out all the books and saved only the figures and mats)
  • Pencil case with tons of mini coloring books, stickers, and crayons
  • Pencil case with markers and note pads
  • Uno card game
  • Olaf travel color & activity case
  • A Melissa & Doug wooden baby toy - mirror & color flip tool







  • Travel Mancala game with the gems in a ziploc baggie
  • Fold up travel dry erase board with mini dry erase markers
  • Tinkerbelle with magnetic clothes
  • Gel pens & black paper
  • Travel color & activity book with markers (can you tell we love to color?!)
  • Small princess coloring books with stickers






  • Busy Books Planes "Stuck on Stories" (those Busy Books I was talking about - but this one has suction cups on the backs of pieces)
  • Shape Sorter w/ walls and shapes
  • Motorcycle and cars
  • Small books


  • Pegs in a pencil box and a foam board
  • Cookie Monster wipes tin from dollar store with crayons in it (Bruce loves Cookie Monster)
  • A Very Hungry Caterpillar travel stationary set (paper, pencil, sharpener, case, stickers)
  • Wiki Stix and travel shape book for them
  • Mini magna doodle
  • Hot Wheels
  • Small coloring books
  • 3 small tupperware-type containers with all the parts to an eraser-puzzle (from the dollar store)
  • Mini board books - wrapped up for extra fun while opening (when we went on a plane ride I needed to keep Bruce happy for as long as possible)
  • Spinning light stick
  • Water rings game



  • Lacing beads and string in a zip up case
  • Fiddlestix in a zip up case
  • Quiz it books with the talking/light up pen
  • Twistable crayons
  • Mini coloring books
  • ABC pop-up & lift-the-flap book (again, wrapped for plane rides, longer trips, etc)
  • Hot Wheels car
  • Pop-tube
  • Sticker & decorate-a-scene book
  • Mini magna doodle
  • 5 snap-open blocks filled with small figures & mini erasers (I cannot believe how long he is entertained by opening, closing, & refilling these things)



  • Felt activity book - Target Dollar Spot (I snagged several different themes)
  • A My Little Pony travel pack - book, crayons, stickers
  • Big Hero 6 Activity & Sticker Book
  • Surprise Ink books and markers
  • A pencil pouch with homemade popsicle stick toys - velcro on ends to create different shapes (like make a house or castle)



The bags are stored inside Thirty-One Large Utility Totes on a shelf in the mudroom where the kids can grab and go.  The big trick is getting it OUT of the car, picked up, and put BACK where it belongs.  But if I knew the answer to that I'd still have my sanity - which was long gone years ago!!