Toddler Activity Swap

Some of my mama friends and I share a common problem. We are incredibly good at researching and planning, but we can find it challenging to implement. We joke about the fact that we have 20 tabs open on our web browsers (much to the chagrin of our tech-savvy partners) full of ideas and things that we love, but just haven't gotten around to doing yet. We are awash in inspiration, but lacking in accomplishment. So we brainstormed some ways to support each other in our attempts to provide some new activities to engage the kiddos.

We decided to each put together four toddler activity bags, make four copies of each, and then swap them. At the end, we would each have 16 new things to share with our little ones. The key here was to not be too precious about the whole process. If you do a Google search for "toddler activity bags" or "busy bags" you will be flooded with hundreds of really wonderful ideas, but instead of looking at them all, narrowing them down, and then selecting the 16 most perfect activities (as would be our nature to do), we just each chose the four that excited us in that moment, gave ourselves two weeks to get them done and then actually put them together.

It was wonderful! I was blown away by the creativity of these mamas and Silas and I are reaping the benefits of their talents. Check out what we're playing with these days...

1. Matching color and shape with felt on wooden coins.
2. Matching shapes with object cards.
3. Sorting with beans and a re-purposed Popsicle tray.
4. Fine Motor skills with straws and a glass shaker.

1. Building with colored wooden sticks and Velcro.
2. Puzzle solving with personalized photo magnets.
3. Matching colors with wooden fish and clothespins.
4. Matching colors with foam house pockets and wooden stick people.

1. Fine Motor with pom poms and a plastic tub (Silas' current favorite!).
2. Creative Play with a mini felt board.
3. Lacing with foam shapes and string.
4. Matching and Fine Motor with colored pipe cleaners and pony beads.

And my contribution...
1. Fine Motor with cloth marble maze pockets.
2. Sensory with balloons filled with salt, corn, oats, and rice.
3. Counting with cards, stickers, and rocks.
4. Fine Motor with felt squares, a button, and some ribbon.

These are wonderful to throw in the diaper bag to pull out when you find yourself having to wait unexpectedly and need something to keep the little one occupied or to offer as a novel thing to play with while you try to get dinner prepared. I'm almost ready for activity swap, round two!


  1. what a great idea! I too always have a gazillion tabs open and no time or motivation to do it all (or barely any these days!) Thanks for sharing!

  2. Such a fun idea!!! I am one of those with a ton of tabs open at all times :)

  3. What a fantastic idea!!! I wish I lived near you... I'd get in on the fun activity making action too.

    Love the inspiring ideas here. I'll have to go make some, all by myself *sigh*.

    Have a wonderful day!

  4. What wonderful ideas! I no longer have little people living at my home but I stuff my "grandma bag" to entertain my granddaughters. d

  5. What fantastic ideas! Thanks very much for sharing - will definitely try them with Bea :)

  6. I'm ready for round #2!! Can I use the two I ended up replacing the first time toward the next time?! ;)