Here’s How to Make Kids ‘Busy Bags’ for Your Holiday Travels

Busy bags will keep your kids happy (and you sane) on holiday road trips.

By: Amanda Mushro
Three kids laughing in car on a road trip. Kids are aged 11 and 8. The kids are laughing and playing. Sunny summer day.
Nikon D810.

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Three kids laughing in car on a road trip. Kids are aged 11 and 8. The kids are laughing and playing. Sunny summer day. Nikon D810.

Photo by: Imgorthand

Imgorthand

Remember when traveling for the holidays was mostly about not getting caught in traffic? Now you have kids and traveling has taken on a whole new meaning. Snacks are mandatory, entertainment is necessary, and packing seems endless. To avoid getting overwhelmed, try a Busy Bag.

Busy Bags are filled with toys, activities and special treats that your kids can dig into while in the car. Depending on their age, you can fill the bags with items that will ensure happy travelers.

The trick to Busy Bags is to make sure you don’t spend a small fortune to make them, and to choose supplies that are easily cleaned up. To start, pick a bag with zippered pouches. Next, pack a few toys that your kids already have or make a quick stop at the dollar store for more. Fun things to include range from stickers, crayons and markers to small figures and travel games.

Even if you are tempted to give your kids all of the Busy Bags at once, don’t. Hold on to a few and space out each playtime. Wait until your kids begin to get antsy before passing one back. Then, after they are done playing, have your kids clean up the contents as best they can and hand back another.

Need some inspiration on what to pack? Try these:

  • The Art Busy Bag: Include a small notebook, crayons, colored pencils and stickers.

  • The Match Game Busy Bag: Cut construction paper into different shapes like stars, squares and hearts, and then cut the shapes in half. Let kids match the pieces and put them together with small stickers. This is a great activity for younger ones.

  • The Lego Busy Bag: Emerging engineers will love bags packed with flat building pieces and blocks.

  • The Scavenger Hunt: Include an age-appropriate scavenger hunt and pencil. Road trip riders can look out the window and mark off items they see along the way.

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