Busy Bags!

They're so brilliant only a mom could have invented them. These homemade activities are ideal for restaurant waits and doctor visits. Re-create one of these bloggers' ideas or dream up your own, then hand it to your child and enjoy a moment of peace.

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Sew Fun

Gabriella Imperatori-Penn

Sew Fun

Tune fine motor skills with this activity from the blog PotpourriMommy.Blogspot.com, by Lindsay Mattson, a former teacher and mom of one. Simply make slits in felt shapes, and cut a length of ribbon that your child can thread the pieces onto. 4 years+

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Sticking to It

Gabriella Imperatori-Penn

Sticking to It

Kristen Dastrup, of PinningWithPurpose.Blogspot.com, crafted shapes for her kids to copy with ice-pop sticks. To re-create, lay out sticks to form shapes, overlapping the ends. Trace and cut craft foam to fit the centers. Paint the sticks to coordinate with the shapes; let dry. Attach adhesive Velcro dots to each end (on alternating sides). 2 years+

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Good Eggs

Gabriella Imperatori-Penn

Good Eggs

Create this lower- and uppercase learning activity with plastic Easter eggs. Mom of six Arlee Greenwood, of MySmallPotatoes.com, wrote letters on the halves of mismatched plastic eggs, and let her kids match up lower- and uppercases. 3 years+

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Explorer's Bag

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Lacing Game

Gabriella Imperatori-Penn

Lacing Game

For this activity, Angie Leslie, a mom who created her own company, Curious Minds Busy Bags, in Lansing, Michigan, paired chenille stems and plastic practice golf balls to make a compact lacing activity for her twin toddlers. Older kids can use the same supplies to build sculptures. 2 years+

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Making Faces

Gabriella Imperatori-Penn

Making Faces

Looking for an activity that kids could do quietly during church, Laura Hawkins, mom of two girls and blogger at HappyHawkins.Blogspot.com, invented these felt faces. To make your own, buy a variety of felt colors and download and print the face templates at parents.com/felt-games. Trace and cut templates onto felt. 4 years+

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Word Play

Gabriella Imperatori-Penn

Word Play

Kelly Oribine, mother of six and blogger at www.KellyOribine.com, wrote letters on clothespins for her kids to clip to flash cards with vocab words. You can print your own cards using our downloadable template at parents.com/vocab-cards. Laminate your cards to make them last longer. 3 years+

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Noodling Around

Gabriella Imperatori-Penn

Noodling Around

A former kindergarten teacher and mom of three, Kristin Hutchinson, the blogger behind IntrepidMurmurings.com, turned dyed pasta into a sorting game. Mix a teaspoon of rubbing alcohol and a tablespoon of gel food coloring in a zip-top bag, add 1 1/2 cups dry pasta and shake it all up, then set pasta on paper towels to dry. Repeat with different colors. Mix the colored noodles together and have your child sort them into a compartmentalized container. 4 years+

Originally published in the August 2014 issue of Parents magazine.

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