Sunday, April 8, 2012

Makes: Busy Bags - Toothpick Punching and Clothesline Fun

This week I made a bunch of these activities for a busy bag exchange with some friends.  For my two girls I took two slots in the 10-slot exchange, so I sent 8 of each away.  I'm looking forward to all the loot that comes back!

Toothpick Punching

For my first bag I chose an activity that #1 girl has really enjoyed.  I can't remember where I saw this first, but it's definitely floating around in the busy bag world.  I cut construction paper down to 8.5/11 and printed a document I made with shapes, groups of shapes, a solid capital alphabet, a dashed capital alphabet and 3 sets of numbers.  (In hindsight I probably should have done caps and small letters on the alphabet squares.  Whenever I print it off again I will probably change it.)  If you want the doc, email me and I will email you back a pdf.

I put each pile into a baggie, and also included a baggie of toothpicks, a washcloth and these instructions:

Place washcloth on table
Set a few cards on cloth
Have child punch on black lines with toothpick
When done, hold it up to a light to see the shape or letter

Ideas for Variations:
With groups of shapes, child can punch the center of each shape
On numbers, you can add corresponding number of dots in marker
You can set out groups of shapes and the corresponding shape, and have the child match them after they are all punched

Clothesline Fun

For my second bag, I chose something I want #1 girl to learn how to do - pin felt "clothes" onto a clothesline.  There is a great tutorial with printable clothes pattern for this activity here.  I made my own pattern by folding a piece of paper in half and drew a half of a pair of pants, shirt, and skirt.  I cut them out and used them as the pattern on the felt.  (It was even easier to use a felt cutout as a pattern, since felt sticks to felt.) 

Be sure to make the clothes a good size - at least the size of your palm.  Otherwise it will be too hard for the kid to hold and pin. I chose to do three colors with three pieces of clothing each, to give flexibility for making patterns and matching.

I included pieces of nylon string, with hot-glued tips so they wouldn't ravel, (I was going to use cotton yarn, but while testing it, #1 hung on it and snapped it.  So we went with the nylon.) and 6 clothespins.  I would have liked to give more clothespins, but I needed to keep the cost down and I did have to mail these bags.  Also included was a card with these instructions: 

Tie string between two chairs
Have child pin clothes to the line with clothespins

Ideas for Variations:
Have child pin all of one color
Have child pin all of one type of clothing (shirts, pants, skirts)
Make a simple pattern of 3 for child to copy

(Felt is machine washable, cold water, delicate dry cycle)

 ©2012 Alli Hyer, all rights reserved.  You may publish or post a link, but you may not publish or post in whole or in part.


  1. My nieces would love to make these:) I love to do all kinds of crafts. I just started a blog come join me.


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