Earlier this week I shared the fabric lovey for baby that we made as part of a virtual busy bag exchange — well, today, you’ll get to hear about the toddler-aged busy bag I created for my son. Since our new baby’s arrival is any moment, I thought a big brother kit would be the perfect topic for a busy bag!
The Big Brother Kit (3 Busy Bag Activities)
Since big brother may need a few days’ worth of activities, I together three busy bag activities for him. I’ll briefly tell you about each, and then this post will focus on the third one: the “Waiting for Baby” busy bag.
1. Bookworm Busy Bag
The first busy bag I assembled, perhaps the easiest. This is a selection of travel-sized picture books in a little carrying bag. Perfect for any reader, and the small size of the books makes it easy to bring a number of different stories along. And, needed, given that my toddler chose to read 150 books this summer through the library read-to-me program. That’s about 4 books a day, so manageable if we keep on top of it.
2. Big Brother Kit Memory Game Busy Bag
A simple busy bag, pairs of photos printed on cardstock. For this busy bag, I went through our photo archives (see some of Toby’s first year memories), and selected images that grandma and grandpa (who Toby will be staying with his baby brother “comes out”) could use as a “big brother kit prep” activity. You know, sleeping, nursing, first food, first steps… all the things babies do that my son will know soon enough.
3. Waiting for Baby Busy Bag
This busy bag activity kit was my tour de force. I spent the most time on it, and there are two components: a spiral bound photo storybook, and some photo puzzles. Both feature our family maternity portraits. Now, onto the details of how I made this busy bag!
Waiting for Baby Busy Bag Storybook
When brainstorming ideas, I remembered how much Toby liked looking through the baby photos of himself. All kids love pictures. Well, since we just did our maternity pictures, I decided to put together a little storybook featuring the maternity portraits. The storyline is pretty simple, and focuses on waiting for baby, how my son will be a great big brother, how much mommy and daddy love him, and how our family will be changing as baby arrives.
I made sure to incorporate familiar phrases from our daily conversations to add familiarity for my son — as this will be his first extended stay away from both of us parents. Reminds me of the Berenstain Bears and the Week at Grandma’s (#afflink).
I thought about making fancy printed text for each page, but since I was trying to get a lot of things done before baby’s arrival…I took the quicker route.
Here’s a sampling of the text I wrote to accompany the pictures, plus some images of the book’s pages.
I know he is drinking and eating,
getting big and strong. He likes
to get kisses from me and Daddy.
I’ll always be Daddy’s little man,
but soon I’ll be a big brother too.
I don’t know who is more excited
to meet our baby, me… or Mommy and Daddy.
Click on an image to open in gallery view mode.
I was really excited with how this part of the busy bag turned out, and since my son is a bookworm, I know he’ll love it. Kids always love seeing themselves in pictures, so the personalized aspect will be a bonus.
The benefits of this activity in the busy bag? Well, first off, it gives my son something to do (as well as talk/think about) while he is with his grandparents and we are at the hospital. I’m hoping that the familiar phrases from our daily routine will help lessen any anxiety or concerns he may have during the extended visit. Honestly, he’s a pretty well-adjusted guy, so I don’t expect there to be many issues, but you never know. So I wanted the storybook’s text to remind our son that we love him no matter what, and how excited we all are to be nearing the end of the “waiting for baby” phase.
I also love that this little photo book is just his size, so he can tote it around and “read” it whenever.
The perfect addition for a big brother kit, right?
Busy Bag Photo Puzzles
Onto part two of this busy bag… the photo puzzles. Again, I decided upon using several of the pictures from our maternity family portrait session in case our son needed to see our faces while he is not with us. I took 5″x5″ pictures, glued them with an to a piece of cardboard, and then cut them out once dry. I ended up going random sizes and shapes for the puzzle pieces, more of a free-form cutting activity for mom! Depending on the kid, the number of pieces will vary; I think the most I made for a single puzzle was 5 or 6.
Each puzzle then got packaged in its own ziploc bag. Let me give you a tip — if you make this busy bag and do multiple puzzles, be sure to label the back of each puzzle piece so you know which ones go together — without having to assemble the puzzles during cleanup (huge timesaver)!
One other thing — Since our faces are on the smaller side in the photos, and I wasn’t using the most precise scissors, I made sure not to cut through any faces. This may not be practical if you use a photo of a large face, but for these images, it ended up working well.
Here is a list of the supplies used for the photo puzzle busy bag (#afflinks):
- 5″x5″ photos (i.e. Shutterfly)
- archival glue stick
- scissors (mixed media scissors would’ve been better)
- ziploc sandwich bags
Click on an image to open in gallery view mode.
So far as the benefits of this busy bag activity, puzzles are great for brain development. Our son loves puzzles, and having portable ones that would travel easily seemed like a great idea to me. I know these will be a big hit because they feature our family, so he gets to see mom and dad as he’s putting the photos together.
Since the backsides are labeled with different letters of the alphabet (one designated letter for each puzzle) — this could be used as a more involved matching game too — find all the letter ‘A’ pieces, then assemble each puzzle once they’re organized by letter.
Now to Wait…
The hardest part of making this big brother kit busy bag activity?
Usually I get to share projects like this with my toddler as soon as they’re completed. But, since this is going to be a special big brother kit — to be opened with the grandparents, I’ll miss out on my son’s reaction as well as his first experience playing with each item.
But, that aside, I’m hoping he’ll thrilled and that these busy bags will be a good diversion for grandma and grandpa (if they need one). I’ll be interested to hear how these puzzles are received by our son, and what he ends up doing with them.
Big Brother Kit Ideas
- Big Brother Kit – Big Brother Ideas for Adjusting to a New Baby
- The Super Awesome Big Brother Kit
- Big Brother Kit: Gifts For a New Big Sibling When Baby Arrives
- Top 10 Best Big Brother + Big Sister Gifts
- “On The Day I Was Born” Book
- Big Brother Kit
Busy Bag Ideas for Toddlers
- Hammer + Learn Busy Bag
- Dry Erase Board Busy Bag
- Butterfly Busy Bag for Preschoolers
- Busy Bag Swap – 7 Busy Bag Ideas
- 16 Busy Bag Ideas for a Busy Bag Swap
- Busy Bag Roundup
- Busy Bag Swap – 15 Toddler Busy Bag Ideas
- Busy Bag Fun
This post is part of a virtual busy bag exchange.
Check it out for busy bag ideas that are portable for traveling, and more or less mess free. You’ll find busy bags for the following age ranges: babies, 1 year olds, 2 year olds, 3/4 year olds, 5/6 year olds, and school aged children.