Keeping your small child entertained can be quite the feat. Whether you’re spending a rainy day inside or sitting at a restaurant, it’s always nice to have some tricks up your sleeve — or, rather, in your bag.

These busy bags will keep your toddler or preschooler quietly entertained. What’s more, they will develop their problem-solving abilities and fine motor skills. You’ll get a breather while your little one is amused and learning. It doesn’t get any better than that! We’ve compiled some awesome busy bag ideas and printables that are great for every occasion.

What is a Busy Bag?

A busy bag is a small bag containing simple activities that young children can work on independently. These activities range from games to puzzles to crafts. Busy bags fit easily in a purse or small bag so you’re always equipped with them wherever you go! They’re an excellent way to keep your young child engaged in waiting rooms, restaurants and even at home.

Busy Bag Ideas for Toddlers

What’s The Shape?

In this matching game, your child can hone in on their problem-solving abilities. They will have to change their perspective in order to match the object to its correct silhouette. It’s not easy when everything is facing a different way!

Find My Feet!

This fun animal matching game will help your tot spot similarities as they try to pair the correct feet to each animal body. They will expand their knowledge as they learn about the different physical characteristics of animals. Once they’ve mastered the matching, purposefully mismatching the legs will be hilarious!

Practice Pre-Writing Skills

This version of the classic connect the dots activity was designed with toddlers in mind. Your little one can practice using a writing utensil while simultaneously learning about shapes! Its larger size will allow a tiny inexperienced hand to successfully connect the dots. If you want to re-use them, laminate the sheets and have toddlers trace with a dry erase marker.

Busy Bag Ideas for Preschoolers

Monster Meal

This busy bag activity will inspire your picky eater to try new foods. They’ll love being in charge as they choose delicious, balanced meals for the silly hungry monster. If the monster likes broccoli it must be good, right?

Play Dough Mat

Just add play dough for hours of fun! Each sheet has an instruction on it, but once kids complete the task they can get creative by filling in the shapes with colors. These are best laminated.

Pie Counting Game

Print and cut out the blueberries to decorate this yummy pie! Each slice has a different number instruction so your child will learn counting and matching skills. 

More Busy Bag Ideas

In the age of technology, it’s tempting to hand your child a mobile device when they get cranky and impatient. Instead of letting them zone out during screen time, use one of the busy bag ideas or an educational toy to create an activity that is mentally and even physically engaging.

Sorting colors and threading a ribbon are examples of captivating things a toddler or preschooler can do instead of watching a mindless cartoon. Raising a child is hard, especially during those early years, but with busy bags you have one less thing to worry about.