Fighting Boredom with a Budget-Friendly Busy Bag
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Søstrene Grene (the Grene Sisters) opened recently at the shopping center near us. Hallelujah to Jesus.
This isn't an ad or a sponsored post for the store; I just have a major retail-crush on Søstrene Grene and was so excited when I learned that it would be opening up just a few blocks from our building. If you're unfamiliar with it, Søstrene Grene is a hygge, diy, minimalist, aesthetics-junkie's dream store. Especially on a budget. (It's true. The prices are phenomenal.)
I went into the store to pick up a few small things to send in care packages to some friends of mine. While I was browsing and trying on some reading glasses, I noticed that someone had left a kids' item in a random spot – either they'd changed their minds about buying it and didn't bother putting it back (yes, I've been guilty of this), or they'd set it down to look at something else and then forgot to pick it up again. Either way, there it was – a little cloth bag with a tic-tac-toe board on it, including six little animal-faced wooden discs.
I decided it would make a great stocking stuffer for our four-year-old, so added it to my stash. Then it hit me: this bag needed to be filled with things to keep my boys busy. When we're at a restaurant. When we're in a waiting room. When we're on a train, a plane, or when we're just bored at home. The bag was small, so I'd have to choose the items carefully. I walked back to the kids' section and it was almost too easy:
A mini-pack of colored pencils. Should I get two? Nah, they can share. Check. Two mini coloring books. Check. Two blank notebooks. Oh, these are so cute. Check. And the bag itself is a game, so… oh wait, let's throw in some bandaids. Or should I find some stickers? No the bandaids are more functional. And we never have bandaids when we need them. Okay good, we're done. The bag is small; don't overdo it.
I grabbed a few other small items I needed to make up the care packages I was shopping for, and then I got outta there. Everything was so cheap. I made out like a bandit. (And I resisted picking out a cloth bag for myself at the register. I have a cloth bag addiction so fighting that urge was a big step for me. Thank you.)
When I got home and put it all together, I realized I was missing just one thing to make up the perfect busy bag/travel pouch for my boys – essential oils. We don't go anywhere without them anyway; now they'll just be living in a different spot in my mom bag. TummyGize, SniffleEase, and Lavender had already been hanging out in a cute little elephant pouch (surprise! from the same store!) that I always keep in my purse, so I just transferred it to the busy bag.
I love to travel, but let's admit it, moms… traveling with young kids does take some of the fun out of the whole experience, on occasion. Now I'm actually excited for the next time we find ourselves twiddling our thumbs, begging for a new app on the iPad, or whining about how bored we are on a train ride… to France, maybe? Italy? (Just throwing some suggestions out there.) Or even for the next time we're stuck in a waiting room or are ever-so-impatiently awaiting a meal at a restaurant. Whatever it is, when the time comes, I'll be armed and ready with this cute little busy bag to shove in the boys' faces, like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Voilà.
Then my husband and I will roll a little bit of Stress Away on ourselves (because obviously I bring that with me everywhere I go, too), we'll sit back, give each other smug, satisfied looks, and together we'll all ride off into the sunset.
(Veteran moms, don't you DARE burst my bubble.)
If you've got a busy bag for your kids, what sort of things do you keep in it? Do you switch the contents out often to keep things interesting? I'm thinking maybe a hot wheel or two, or a couple of mini dinosaur figures might make their way into our bag at some point.
Experienced oilers: what is the ONE OIL you cannot leave home without?
Share your ideas in the comments!