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A mama friend of mine who is also a bit addicted to Pinterest suggested to our local Playgroup that we should have a toddler/preschooler busy bag swap. I thought this was such a brilliant idea I wished I’d thought of it myself, and I volunteered to help a little (not that there was much to help with) and thought I would provide a record of all the bags that were made at our event, both for the local moms who didn’t get to go or didn’t get all the bags they wanted, and to serve as a resource/inspiration to others who might want to make their own bags or do their own swap.
I have a ton of busy bag/box options on my Pinterest pages, and I’m sure I’ll be highlighting all of them as I go through the bags we made and connecting to instructions. But for now I want to share how I made the bag I made, which was button snakes. Like many good ideas you can find these all over the web, but the place I had pinned it from was a post about car activity bags from Counting Coconuts.
What YOu’ll Need
- Large buttons (mine came from a pack labeled “Bright Buttons” that I found on one of the kids’ craft aisles at Hobby Lobby — literally the only thing I had to buy for this project.
- Ribbon (mine was 3/4 inch width, because that’s why I had, but inch ribbon would be better if you’re buying)
- sewing thread and needle
- fabric glue (optional)
- a bunch of felt and scissors (pinking shears are nice, too, if you have them)
What YOu’ll Do
If you’re only making one of these, it’s much less of a production. I made 10, so I needed a lot of stuff.
- Cut lengths of ribbon. Mine are a foot long.
- Sew a button to one end. You can sew a button to the other end, too, and skip the next part, if you want. I also glued the end of the ribbon to the back of the button, because I know this ribbon wants to fray a lot. If you have a fray-prone ribbon, put a little fabric glue on the end and fold over. I also tied a knot in my ribbon once the glue was dry to make it harder for the “buttons” to come off the other end.
- Cut up your felt. If you’re using whole pieces of felt, cut a sheet longways into about 2-inch strips. Fold each strip in half and cut. Stack these strips on top of each other and cut in half. That’s 4 squares. You should get 24 out of one sheet. I also did some circles (used the bottom of a spice canister as a template) and triangles (freehand) to make it a little more fun.
- Cut a hole in the middle of each shape about an inch long (or however wide your button is) I absolutely freehanded these, too, because I needed such a volume, but you could measure more carefully if you were making a single snake.
The Bit really liked playing with all the different pieces (she took a full piece of felt and a bunch of the circles and made a felt board on the table; guess I need more felt so I can make her a real one!) so I hope once she understands what it is she’ll enjoy trying out the buttons, too. This is a fun, easy activity and it teaches a skill, too, which is great.
I intend to spend most of next week going over the other 25 (!) bags moms shared at the swap, but in the meantime, have you ever been a part of such a swap? What was your favorite activity shared?