Our 5 Favorite Busy Bag Ideas

Getting the kids fed, dressed, and out the door on a Sunday morning is just half the battle. Getting them to sit quietly through an hour of church is the other half. Some parents get that specific look on their face during church—the “it’s almost Sunday school and they become someone else’s problem” look. Once in a while, that look turns into something real special. It’s an entirely different look, one you see on a mom wrangling two kids at about 5 minutes past the hour—when service is supposed to end—and whoever’s at the podium is still going with no end in sight. It’s a look of utter despair.

While we wish we could help by giving everyone in the congregation one of those buzzers the judges on America’s Got Talent have, the best we can do in this edition of the BoMM blog is provide some ideas for your Busy Bag that will help keep your child quiet and sitting still during those long Sunday meetings.

As a preliminary matter, we’ll be skipping over the traditional “quiet books” and “busy bags”. Those are a dime a dozen and in our experience, most of them don’t get the job done. Let’s be honest, the chances of My Old Testament Quiet Book keeping your child quiet for a full hour is pretty slim. They already get antsy at the sound of church as it is. In this article, we’ll be focusing on items that when you pull out of your arsenal for the first time, your kid will give you that “I approve of you as a parent” look. Here are some specific criteria we look for. Items must be portable, quiet, and generally free of small pieces (so no LEGOs). They must have a high likelihood of keeping a child engaged for close to an hour. We’re looking for items suited for kids ages 3-10. Items must have re-play value, meaning that your child won’t get bored of them after one or two Sundays of use. And finally, as usual, we’re looking for affordability and great customer reviews. Let’s get started!

1. Kidwerkz Take Apart STEM Set

Kidwerkz Take Apart STEM Set

Designed for kids ages 3 to 5

First up is this highly rated Kidwerkz Take Apart STEM Set available at Amazon for only $29.99 at the time of this post with free shipping. This take apart toys set is designed for kids ages 3 to 5 and comes with tools and a take apart train, helicopter, truck, motorcycle, and three dinosaurs. You of course won’t need to bring the entire set with you to church. A few of them will keep your child entertained for plenty of time. This set of take apart toys has earned a solid 4.4 star rating after 45 customer reviews and has a Fakespot A rating.

One reviewer commented:

I thought it would be the Bike that my son actually asked for but to our surprise it was this!!! One of our top toy purchases for sure!!!!

And another loved how educational the toy was:

[My grandson] can unscrew the toys but is challenged to put them back together.┬áSo he is learning while he’s playing. Who can ask for more!

Indeed, one hour of peaceful church. Who can ask for more?

2. Boogie Board Scribble ‘n Play

Boogie Board Scribble 'n Play

Better for rambunctious kids than the original writing tablet

Next up, we have the Boogie Board Scribble ‘n Play. You’ve probably seen kids with the original Boogie Board Writing Tablet, but the company has come out with this Scribble ‘n Play, which we think is better suited for little rambunctious kids. The Scribble ‘n Play enables kids to create different effects with four different styluses (included), and it even works with your kids’ dirt-filled fingernails. And the best part about Boogie Boards of course is the ability to erase instantly with just the push of a button. No messes, no more hunting for pens, and no more having to take extra programs to use as scratch paper. Parents and kids clearly love this thing. The Scribble ‘n Play has earned a 4.3 star rating after 300+ reviews and has a Fakespot A rating.

One parent submitted this glowing review:

Great product! Every parent needs one of these! We got this today for my 2 year old, he loves it! He loves to color and draw but I don’t always trust him with crayons if I can’t sit with him… Now I don’t have to worry, he can draw as much as he wants and my floors and tables stay crayon free!


3. Magnet Tiles

Magnet Tiles

You don’t even need all 109 pieces to buy yourself at least an hour

Third on our list is a classic—magnet tiles. With the proliferation of overseas manufacturers, you can get a 100+ piece set now for under $40. For example, this #1 Best Selling kit on Amazon comes with 109 pieces and an idea book and is only $37 (at the time of this post, there is also a 5% off coupon on the product page) with free shipping. This set has incredible reviews too with 4.8 stars after 500+ reviews and a Fakespot B rating. You don’t need to bring all 109 pieces with you, though you could with the handy carrying bag that comes with this kit. I suspect that if you bring enough tiles to make 5 ninja stars, you’ll be set for at least an hour. If you scan the reviews here, you’ll pick up on reviews titled “Affordable price”, “A must have toy”, and “Explore Creativity”. We agree.

My granddaughters made so many different things out of the blocks. My grandson who is 2 was so very happy to destroy the amazing items the girls made. This toy is not only fun but it makes you think and use logic to make different things.

4. 7-pc Magnetic Tangram Set with 360 Puzzles

Magnetic Tangram Set with 360 Puzzles

Great for ages 3-100!

Next on our list is a close cousin to magnet tiles. They are magnetic tangrams. This USATDD Tangram Set comes with seven simple magnetic color tiles that can be used to create hundreds of figures. The set comes with a book that includes 360 puzzles intended to challenge your child’s creativity with the seven tangram shapes. Can your child build them all? We found it interesting that the makers of this tangram set say it is designed for ages 3-100! Was that typo? We think perhaps not. There’s no doubt adults will have fun solving these puzzles too, even at age 100. At the time of this post, the set costs only $11 at Amazon with free shipping for Prime members. And the set has solid reviews too, with a 4.1 star rating after 55 reviews and a Fakespot A rating. It is also an “Amazon’s Choice” for magnetic tangram sets.

Here’s a review titled, “Makes kids brains work!” that we think sums it up:

I like toys and games that make my kids brains work. Barbies and dolls are fine, but toys that make kids think are highest on my list. This toy fits the bill. My kids enjoyed it because it challenges them in non overwhelming way. They enjoyed trying out the first design and I can’t wait for them to keep going and get further in the book.

5. Four Seasons Educational Sewing and Craft Kit

Four Seasons Educational Sewing and Craft Kit

Your friends who knit to help pass time are on to something…

Last on our list, but certainly not least, is this Four Seasons Educational Sewing and Craft Kit. We’ve all seen ladies in church put needle to thread to help pass time. They’re on to something right? This sewing and craft kit includes 5 adorable pre-cut felt animals, 7 colors of embroidery thread, 5 kid-safe plastic sewing needles, 5 metal sewing needles, and a variety of other gizmos. The makers claim that this set “offer[s] hours of unsupervised entertainment . . . [and] contains everything you need to start sewing.” They had me at “unsupervised entertainment.” With 4.7 stars after 50+ reviews and a Fakespot A rating, we have no reason to doubt these claims. Indeed, just a take a glance at some of these reviews and you’ll be impressed: “Great Quality”, “Two Needles Up!!”, “Great kit for kids!”

I liked that my daughter needed to focus and concentrate—giving her something to be proud of when finished. She quickly added it to her collection of animals she sleeps with each night. Very fun!

That’s it for this round up of the BoMM blog. We’ll keep our eyes out for more Busy Bag ideas. If you have any suggestions, please let us know via our contact links below. And be sure to check out our main page of deals, where every day we post the good, better, best deals we can find from your favorite retailers.

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