Keeping a no tech kids busy bag in my car throughout the year has saved me so many times! Whether its church, a meeting, waiting in the car for an appointment or taking a long drive. The kids love doing these special activities in the busy bag.
This post contains links to pages I am affiliated with. I earn a small commision if you buy something from the link, at no extra cost to you of course. This helps support my family and my small business!
I started our kids no tech busy bag about two years ago now, and it has saved me so many times! As seasons change and our kids grow and develop different interests I change out items, but many stay the same because they are SO kid friendly for a wide age range and super durable.
For this upcoming winter I went through the busy bag and tailored it to my kids wants/needs for the upcoming cold season. Here in Canada you can’t keep certain things in the car over the winter or you’ll end up with a big mess and ruined items because of the freezing temps, so a few items had to go.
Below is our no tech kids busy bag for this winter season, filled with quiet, open ended toys that keep fidgety hands busy and curious minds at ease when little ones need to be calm.
What is a busy bag anyway?
A busy bag (or basket, book, or box, …. ok I’m just seeing all of these start with B that’s so funny!) is a collection of activities and items that can keep a child busy for quite a length of time.
Generally these items are less on the “toy” side, but are more of an activity that children can do independently and quietly.
When can you use a busy bag?
- car ride
- in a waiting room
- during a meeting
- when you’re on an important phone call
- if you work from home
- during quiet time
- if kids have to wait while other siblings do something like; music lessons, sports, art class etc
- an appointment such as the bank, vet, package pickup, or auto shop
- hunting in a blind or stand
The key to keeping your kids busy bag a success is to keep it special. Only bust it out during these designated time slots. Kids gravitate to things they can’t have all of the time.
Our view on no tech
I’m not here to cast any type of judgement or condemnation on ANY parent who is showing up and striving to be the best they can be for their little ones. Whether that’s with tech or without. As the saying goes; you do you.
But for us, we are very intentional about keeping screens out of our children’s hands and away from their faces whenever we can.
This means you will not find handheld devices in our home. No leap pad, nintendo switch, game boy (is that even a thing anymore?!) or anything else. I knew with this specific thing, we had to be either black or white, no gray area. Because if there were a gray area it would be hard for my kids to understand what was going on, and hard for us as parents to always have to make judgement calls when we found our self in the gray area. .
Mind you, we have a TV. It’s limited because of our goal to be as no tech as we can, and also because we live off grid and can’t always watch TV anyway. But we have one. And I do have one backup game on my phone for the two year old who sometimes just needs to be distracted- like last week at my kids evening piano recital when nothing in the world would make that kid quit crying. It’s just a phase, and when I know she’s old enough to understand consequences I’ll delete the game.
We are mindful in what shows we watch and don’t watch, and it’s been a great teaching tool for the kids to learn that just because something is available to us at the click of a button, doesn’t mean we click it. (obviously we dive into this a lot and in many different kid friendly lessons and conversations, but you get my point)
In conclusion; we believe in providing our kids with meaningful open ended toys or activities that promote imagination and exploration.
We try to source items (within our very small toy budget) that are natural, homemade, organic, or very well made and from North America. But sometimes it doesn’t work out and they end up with a toy that meets the needs of open ended, but isn’t necessarily one of the things I just mentioned. And that’s ok, we are trying and we are meeting a balance that works at the moment!
A look inside of our no tech kids busy bag for this winter season
Here are some of the main items in our no tech kids busy bag for this winter season! I hope you find inspiration for your own busy bag!
I found this felt doll a few years ago at a second hand store. It’s so adorable and the whole thing folds up like a book when you’re all finished! Also its super light, which is another plus.
I bought these off Amazon and they are a hit. The only downside is keeping track of the little stylus!
Here is the link if you want to check it out: Doodle Pads
Magnetic Noah’s ark scene
Another second hand store win! This magnetic Noah’s ark scene also fold up in the metal case (left), making cleanup and storage super easy!
These are a must for mess free colouring! Although markers would be nice they always seem to end up on my kids faces and clothes. And regular pencil crayons need sharpening which makes them a bit of a hassle. These Crayola Twistables are a smaller size as well so we have really enjoyed them! These Crayola twistables are also chunkier and not the fine tip ones so they snap if the kids press too hard.
Here are the ones I bought: Crayola Twistables
I always have an assortment of activity books for all different age groups. And paper if they just want a blank slate!
I Spy books
Right now because of my kids ages, we do these I Spy books, the one with pictures of what to spy instead of written words. This way the kids can do it alone and don’t have to ask us to read it to them.
Real life educational books
I really like providing the kids with real photos of things that they are learning about. They naturally gravitate to the real photo books rather than the animated versions anyway so it works well and they spend a lot of time studying each and every photo.
Once they learn to read these will still work perfectly!
Yep that’s right, another second hand store find! I scored so many wooden stencils one time at a thrift store.
These are one of those things the kids don’t really gravitate to at home in general, but once I put them in a special bag and into the busy bag they became a hit!
Math flash cards
(thrift store find, are you shocked?)
Adding flash cards is a perfect busy bag activity! I like to make sure they are a tad bit on the easier side so that the kids are excited to do it and get most of the answers pretty quickly. It’s great for practise and boosts their confidence in what they’ve learned.
Wooden bear family
You’re probably tired of hearing it, but this was a thrift store find! Im telling you, you can find anything if you look around enough!
Perfect activity for younger ones and bonus, these sets come with their own box so they can store away as their own unt.
Dry erase boards
I got these from amazon! I’m super impressed by these dry erase boards. The markers are still going and it’s been over a year that we’ve been using them. Once they do wear out I can easily buy replacements.
Here is the link if you want to check them out, they come in packs of three so you save money too: Dry Erase Boards
Bags we use to store everything
I’ve been loving the bags we use to store toys and our busy bag activities! Like guys, I cant believe how well these hold up. And with my crazy children using them too haha!
They’re so durable and the zippers are smooth and have never malfunctioned or broken. I’ve actually bought two sets of these and I keep everything in them.
Here is the link if you want to check them out: Storage Bags
I hope you found inspiration from this post. If you have any questions, suggestions or tips let me know in the comments!
Another you post you might like;
Homesteading is hard work. Mothering is hard work. Working is hard work. Now put them all together and welcome to a lot of women’s lives around the world! If you can relate to this; welcome. I’m with you sister!
Check out my favourite Bible verses that I turn to when I’m feeling tired or discouraged. They always help my spirit, and I hope they help you as well. You can also download the list to pin up where ever you need it most. It’s simple and printer friendly! Scroll to the bottom to grab the download.