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10 Busy Bags Ideas to Make Traveling with Toddlers Easier

  • Gabriella Imperatori-Penn/Parents.com

    Lacing Game

    Pair chenille stems and plastic golf balls to make a compact lacing activity for toddlers. Older kids can use the same supplies to build sculptures.

  • Felt Fishing Set

    To make a quick and easy fishing set, simply sandwich hardware-store washers between layers of fish-shaped felt pieces and tie a magnet on an unsharpened pencil with some yarn. Your mini anglers will love them.

  • Color Matching Wheel

    Use some markers to color the tips of wooden clothespins and corresponding segments of a circular piece of cardstock to make a color matching game. Clipping the clothespins onto the wheel is great for developing fine motor skills, too!

  • Velcro Shape Sticks

    Attach color-coordinated Velcro dots to the tips of tongue depressors so your little one can learn to make squares and triangles with this shapes kit. When they're done practicing shapes, your toddlers will surely come up with some other fun creations.

  • Race Car Shapes

    Your little car enthusiast will love these race car shapes. Simply print and laminate 14 cards with shapes featuring dotted "highway" lines in their centers. Don't forget to include a tiny racecar, a dry erase marker and a little pot of playdough with them so your tike can "drive" the car along the highway, trace the dotted lines, or mold the dough onto each shape. You can also make sets of letter and number cards.

  • Animal Counting Cards

    Print out the cute cards designed by Shannon at Tot School and Mod Podge numbers onto milk bottle caps to create an assortment of items for your animal counting cards game. Kids can then count the number of animals on the card and place the matching cap in the center circle. Easy as 1-2-3-4!

  • Pool Noodle Lacing

    To create a pool noodle lacing activity, cut four colored pool noodles into nine numbered slices that kiddos can lace onto a 24-inch length of rope in up to 20 different number and color sequences (printable cards available). Kids will stay busy for a long time practicing fine motor skills, color and number recognition, and pattern sequencing.

  • Craft Stick Puzzles

    Attach fun pictures to jumbo craft sticks and then use a craft knife to cut the image apart so each stick becomes a "puzzle" piece. Toss several of the craft stick puzzles into a busy bag so your little one can sort out the pieces that go together and assemble them into complete images.

  • I Spy Bottles

    Fill a clear plastic bottle with rice and an assortment of fun little objects to create an I Spy Bottle that will captivate kids' interest. Whether the items are random or center on a theme, attach a "Find It" card to help little searchers on their quest. You can either glue on the cap to make the bottle secure, or just screw it on tightly so you can swap out the contents later.

  • Spin & Spell Screw

    Visit the hardware store to stock up on hex nuts, a carriage bolt, and a lock nut to make this Spin & Spell Screw. Seal rub-on letters onto the hex nuts with Mod Podge, slide them on the bolt, and let your child see how many words she can spell out by rotating them. Add, take away, or reorder the letters depending on your child's age and vocabulary level.

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