Part of our homeschool day involves… INTERRUPTIONS! When I first started teaching home preschool to our oldest, I also had a one-year-old. Taking care of the baby often interrupted our learning. So I created activity bags I could hand my preschooler for those times I had to change the baby, or put him down for a nap. Now, my three-year old could work independently for five to fifteen minutes with these easy, colorful activity bag ideas for preschoolers!
Activity Bag Ideas for Preschoolers
It’s easy to put together activity bags with basic craft supplies and toys you may have in the house already. Here’s some ideas:
Pattern-Making with Wooden Lacing Beads
This bag includes a set of primary lacing beads with laces, plus a set of six printable patterns on card stock. My son had fun matching up the shapes and colors to the patterns I’d printed. Then he went began creating his own patterns!
Colored chalk and sheets of black construction paper make a great alternative to the typical coloring activity. The texture of the chalk will be exciting for children, as will the brightness of the colors on the temporary “blackboard.” Although you may have to explain what a blackboard is to modern children!
Draw a series of lines on cardstock or foam sheets. Try straight, wavy, zigzag, or curvy. Include child-safe scissors and let kids practice their cutting on the lines. For older kids, include an activity kit that offers more challenge! Cut Crease Create kits each have twenty projects with easy pictorial directions, resulting in paper sculptures kids for additional play.
A journal or sketch pad works best so the sheets of paper stay in one place while creating rubbings. Use a raised surface and brightly colored crayons (darker colors work better). Place the raised surface under the paper and use the side of the crayon to “rub” until the image beneath appears. Triangular-shaped crayons work great for this activity as they give a larger rubbing surface! You can make your own crayon rubbing plates with my DIY tutorial, and create any design or pattern your child wants!
Play Dough Press
This sensory activity helps kids learn their shapes while making a grand mess! Use shaped wooden beads or blocks or other small shaped object (without many ridges or grooves) and a package of play dough (store or homemade!). Children can made shapes appear in the dough by pressing. Reform the dough and press flat again to create a new “canvas” for creation!
Lacing Bead Learning
A really simple activity bag to make involves just putting a toy into the bag. These “special” toys aren’t seen often by my son, so they are exciting for him! Lacing beads are a great choice because they don’t have consumables to be replaced. A set that has shapes, colors, and numbers will extend the activity. Ask kids to sort by color or shape. Find a bead that you describe (“I’m looking for a bead that has…”). Stack into towers (what kinds of towers can be created with various numbers of blocks!). Create a repeating pattern. Find a number block and then line up the specified number of blocks beside it.
How to use activity bags for preschoolers
Store activity bags separate from other toys, so they will become special and highly anticipated. Rotate their use as needed.
The morning I introduced activity bags to my son was a Gold Star type of morning! I had to pack for a camping trip and needed him to stay put for a duration of time while I sorted clothing. The Pattern Making bag kept his attention for a solid thirty minutes!! Then I switched him to the Play Dough bag, giving me at least another 30 minutes of time!
He was excited to see all the goodies in the bags. And I was thrilled we could “work” side by side without too much interruption. I look forward to using these throughout the school year!
Creating activity bags is a great way to use up leftover craft supplies or toys that aren’t in heavy rotation. Plus they keep the learning going even when you have unavoidable interruptions (changing the baby!).
Whether it’s the “I’m bored” refrain, weather delay, or illness that stalls the day’s plans, these colorful activity bags will give you time to catch a breath while keeping children occupied and engaged. I’ll use them to occupy my preschooler when I have to change the baby, start lunch, set up another activity, or call a sick day as a home school teacher (sub plans!).
Have you created activity bags for your kids? Share your ideas!