Monday, January 13, 2014

Preschool Busy Bag Swap

Welcome to the 400Things Busy Bag Swap for Preschoolers!

To kick off Preschool Week here at 400Things, I'm hosting an online Busy Bag Swap for Preschoolers.

What is a Busy Bag Swap?

It's an easy way to get a box full of fun, educational activities to keep your little ones busy and learning at the same time. In this case, 20 moms will participate by creating one busy bag project 20 times, and then swap with the other participants, resulting in 20 different activities. Instead of dreaming of, purchasing for, and assembling 20 different activities, you will create just ONE (multiple times) and receive 20 different bags!

If you have preschoolers, you already understand the need for some creative new playthings. Moms, grandparents, homeschool families, preschool teachers, co-op teachers...this works for anyone.  It also makes a great gift!

What does it cost?

Just the cost of your activity plus shipping. You will want to spend no more than $1 per bag on supplies.

How does it work?

I'm glad you asked.

1. Choose your activity. You will be creating this activity up to 20 times, so choose wisely. : )

2. Email me at to join. Please provide the following info:
    Name, mailing address, and chosen activity.  This email is your commitment to join. Please do not      send a "maybe I'll do this" email. Once committed, please follow through.

3. Create! Assemble 20 identical busy bags. You have 2 weeks from the commitment date to complete the project.

4. Ship completed busy bags to me, and include payment for shipping your complete set back to you. You may include a money order, or pay directly through paypal at No personal checks, please. Send $12.35 for a Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Box. This is how I will send your new set of busy bags! (If you're a local friend, you can skip the shipping cost; however, I'll ask you do do pick-up and delivery of your items.)

5. Wait with anticipation by the mailbox!

So, what shall I make?

There are SO many great ideas on the web, so I'm going to point you to my Busy Bags board on Pinterest. (Note: this Board contains busy bags for lots of ages; check to be sure that the one you choose is Preschool appropriate.) But don't stop there! Google "busy bags" or "preschool activities" or create something new.

Some of our favorites from past swaps:

Color sorting (works great with wooden beads, too)

Felt Lacing Shapes (no link)

Lacing Foam Shapes

Each activity needs to meet the following criteria:
· *Self-contained:* This way, you can just grab a bag and GO (without
having to add a number of supplies to the bag in order to make it useful).
· *Transportable: *Yes, they will definitely be used at home, but
parents might want to be able to grab a few bags to take to a restaurant, a
waiting room, plane trips, car rides, etc.
· *Convenient:* None of the bags will have supplies that require
major set-up *or* clean-up: (no paint, watercolors, liquids, sand, dirt,
· *Inexpensive:* Don't spend too much money on this project!
· *Easy to Make: *Don't spend hours and hours and hours making your
· *Re-usable:* You want these activities to last a while so that your
other children can use them in the future. Therefore, avoid activities
where you would have to buy new supplies to re-stock the bag. This is why
lamination is important for some of the activities. 
*Storage*  Use a gallon-size FREEZER bag for durability.
· *Include instructions:* Make sure the activity has a clear name or
instructions for use. Laminate this if possible, or write on Ziploc bag
with a Sharpie.
· *Preschooler appropriate*: The activity needs to be appropriate for
ages 2-4. Every child is different, so busy bags may be simple and some
will be more advanced. That's okay. Variety is the spice of life!

Please plan accordingly. You will need to purchase supplies, assemble Busy Bags, and ship them to me within 2 weeks of signing up.

*If however, you do sign up with full intentions of participating, but then realize that for some reason you are unable to continue, please let me know right away, so that we can contact someone else who would love to be involved.*
Try to invest *no more than about $1 per bag*. (Use those Michaels, Joanns, & Hobby Lobby coupons!!) This ensures that each bag is of approximately equal value.

Also keep in mind your schedule AND your budget. Some of you may have more time than money, vice versa. If you have the time, you might be willing to print and cut and sort flash cards or felt shapes. If you don't have the time, but have a few extra dollars, you might be willing to purchase manipulatives that just need sorting into bags.

Other important info:

I will take up to 20 participants. If more than 20 are interested, I'll start a waiting list in case someone falls through. 

I will not share your personal information with the group. You'll just get a big ol' box of goodies in the mail!

January 13 is the start date. I will continue to take names until I receive 20 requests. From that date, each participant will have 2 weeks to complete their task. So....let's begin!

Join 400 Things by subscribing at the top of this blog page so you won't miss a post, and go like my Facebook page. Please share this swap with your friends!

Preschool Week has been extended, due to illness in our home. : ) So, there's still time to join the Swap. 

Below is a list of the activities so far:

Felt Color Links by Jill

Matching Color Shades by Heather

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