Creating Busy Bags for Kids

When your child is bored, you may become the center of their attention. So, what do you do when your child depends on you for entertainment and the timing just isn't right? Perhaps you're waiting at the doctor's office, maybe your making dinner or giving your other children a bath? How do you keep older children occupied without handing them some sort of electronic device? They're called “busy bags” and creating some in advance might just save your sanity.

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Episode Transcript

Parent Savers
Creating Busy Bags for kids


Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.

[Theme Music]

ALICIA GONZALEZ: Are you a stay-at-home parent, looking to make a phone call without a toddler hanging on you or god forbid take a quick trip to the bathroom alone? Are you homeschooling parent looking to keep your younger children occupied while you're older children complete their school work? Are you working parent looking to give your children something to do, while you fix dinner or just relax for a few minutes in the evening. There's a solution they're called busy bags and we're going to talk about them today, this is Parents Savers.

[Theme Music]

ALICIA GONZALEZ: Welcome to Parent savers, Parent savers is you’re online on the go support group for parents with toddlers. I'm your host Alicia Gonzalez, thanks so much to our loyal listeners who join us every time a new episode is released and for those of you who continue these conversations with us on Facebook and Twitter make sure to check out our parent’s savers app so that you can listen to all of the episodes wherever you go. Here's Sunny with details in how you can get involved with Parent Savers.

SUNNY GAULT: Alright hi everybody so, Alicia mentioned some of our social media sites and we really do like to continue these conversations on social media, we only have like 30 or so minutes to talk about them during an episode so if you want to continue that conversation please check us out mainly on Facebook and twitter, those are the big places that we're at. A lot of the conversation happens on Facebook. While you're there, if you're interested in getting more involved with our shows we do have a group for people that want to become experts as well as parents that get involved with the shows and actually appear on some of the shows and so look for us I believe it's under NMM experts and parents on Facebook.

So NMM stands for New Mommy Media it's a parent company that produces Parents Savers and so, look for us and then you can join the group we always, we like to post questions and stuff like that before we start recording so if appearing a little too much for you, that's one way you can get involved. The other thing that I want to promote is something we just launched because you guys you know in all these headlines and stuff we're seeing now I feel like parents are getting blamed a lot for these news headlines that are coming out about these, I don't know when animals attack kind of stories. I just got so like bombarded, like with I don't know just feelings of us putting parents down. So actually created a # and it actually scared more towards moms, but it # support all mom and this kind of goes out further from just the stuff that is making headlines now, but we are encouraging people to uses this # to really just encourage and support moms out there and the decisions they make for their families. I think all too often we just get caught up and just critiquing other moms and you know if they're not doing something that we're doing you know, we just have a tendency especially on social media to just get really down about it. So we're encouraging people use this # just to lift moms up and say "You know what we support your educated choices and what you do for your family". So please consider using that if you're out there on social media.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: let's find out more about those of us on the conversation today. I can start again my name is Alicia Gonzalez, I'm a mom of four, my youngest just turned four years old male this is 10 I have two boys two girls and as far as today's topic, I have pretty much no experience with busy bags, I will be able to give a different take but everyone else, but I'm hoping to learn something too here, Sunny you want to go next.

SUNNY GAULT: Yeah sure, so I'm Sunny and I'm producing today's show and I have four kids too and two boys two girls. My oldest is about to turn six and then I have a four-year-old and then I have to two and half-year-olds, I have twins. So two boys two girls total and as far as busy bags are concerned you would think that because I had so many kids that I would create busy bags all the time to keep them busy. I apparently found other ways to entertain them besides busy bags. However I will say that when we travel because most of our family lives like thousands of miles away from us so we have to travel across the country to get to grandparents, I will say that I do get a little creative with bags on the airplane so maybe that qualifies as a busy bag, I don't know we'll see throughout the course of today's conversation.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: And you are already closer than I am, so you...


ALICIA GONZALEZ: Exactly, also joining us today is Jen, hi Jen.

JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO:   Hi I’m Jennifer Weedon Palazzo I am the momma in charge over at we make comedy videos for moms and I only have half as many kids as you 
Guys, I have two.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: I am feeling inadequate now. I have a boy who is about to turn six and a girl who is almost one and we use our version of busy bags all the time, especially for traveling we recently took two international flights, which was scary with kids but went pretty well because of these bags and you know we just use them for times we need them to self-occupy.



SUNNY GAULT: I thought, it's a great idea, it's a great idea I just never quite got to doing it on a regular basis now I'm like hitting myself going "That probably would have been easier than all the other hoops and hurdles I put myself through".

Alyssa Gonzales: No hitting yourself its to support all moms, right?

SUNNY GAULT: That's right we're supporting all moms, even moms that didn't know about busy bags when their kids were young.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: Exactly! Or moms like me who avoid Pinterest like the plague.

[Music Theme]

SUNNY GAULT: Okay so before we kick off our conversation today on busy bags we're going to talk about a news headline I found, now you guys know the Walking Dead in fact all of the moms here on the call today we are all fans of The Walking Dead we have admitted that, it's kind of one of my guilty pleasures I know I probably shouldn't watch it but I do. I found this headline that honestly it's like a car accident you can't look away from it, so there is a photography business at the New Jersey base it's called "Mother Hubbard photography" it says it specializes in outdoor sessions but does include a lot of kid-type sessions like, first birthday, family, children, maternity, engagement, holiday pictures so this photography company did a session where they mimicked big scenes from The Walking Dead using children, ok?!

Now you know how violent that show is right? I’m mean that it’s on super late at night and you know, there's all these warnings before and all that kind of stuff. I mean you are talking with some real, real Gorey type material here and if you look at these photos I have to post this to Facebook, seriously this is crazy some of the scenes that they have redone are like I'm looking at a picture now with a little kid I think, is that supposed to be Carol? The character Carol has a gun to another kids head and this is a scene from the show they reenacted that. I see another one with that super famous last seen that was, it was a cliffhanger from this last season, what was the last season you guys remember season what? Five?

ALICIA GONZALEZ: Oh my god, 25?

SUNNY GAULT: Well it's with, with them all in a line you know all the main characters in a line and Meagan that Meagan character how they introduce Meagan and he has that famous bat whatever he calls it, a bat and he's going to, kill someone you don't know who he is going to kill, we know that he killed the main character and we are kind of on the cliffhanger right now so anyways these horrible, horrible scenes really, you know from the show been reenacted with kids. I just wanted to get in would take on it, I mean we are all fans of the show is, obviously this is going to cause a lot of commotion right it is it, is it a bad thing? Is it something, I mean it does say, no I have to say it has kind of a disclaimer here none of the kids were hurt they were all laughing during the whole thing like they played it off as if, you know it was okay but is there an underlying message here I mean there's a picture of a bunch of “dead”, they are not really dead but like they're playing dead kids in a pile just acting like dead zombies, like is that okay Alicia what do you think?

ALICIA GONZALEZ: You know I'm willing to bet these kids had a blast doing this. My problem with this when I see the pictures when I first saw the pictures my stomach turned and I, thinking about it now I think it's because I know the scene and the situation and the story behind it and all of that, that all of the emotion behind like well your time about the kid, the scene with Meagan and the scene with Carol and Lizzy. So when I see it I remember all of that, I remember how powerful those scenes were when I watched them and so, seeing this it's hard to take it out of the context where these kids hopefully have not watched the show and don’t know all of that, it's just more like a fun photoshoot for them so yeah when I first saw it, I was like I can't, I can't even look at this but...

SUNNY GAULT:   So these are toddler age, I don’t know if we said that, these are toddlers there's no like infant baby, babies in this right but I don't know is that even worse because it can remember the stuff and they may have a better understanding of what's going on, Jen what do you think?

JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO: I'm horrified and I'm not easily horrified. I love this show I am not the kind of person that doesn't want to watch violence and gore anything like that, but to see kids in these scenes it’s just, it seems like somebody just had the idea like what's the most shocking thing I can do I'm going to put kids and zombies. I don't know how much the kids understood about what they were doing but they have to understand something, if I don't like the ones holding a gun to another child's head and...

ALICIA GONZALEZ: Well the one with Meagan and all the kids there's like, he's actually hitting someone with the bat and there's like...

SUNNY GAULT:   I wonder if that is a special effect.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: Yeah, I’m sure it is but, I mean they're actually doing the violent part of that scene.


JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO: But even the idea of like did they stated the kids this has to do with zombies because shouldn’t a toddler know the word zombies and what that means, like even that to me is I don't want to explain to my kid what zombies are, they are afraid of the witch and the Wizard of Oz like.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: We can say all the zombie makeup was edited in after.

SUNNY GAULT:   Yeah, I just read that.

ALICIA GONZALEZ:  They didn't even have makeup on.


ALICIA GONZALEZ: So they just, I guess to them they were just laying around in a pile I don't know.

JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO: Yes! But do you know what is kind of also terrifying about this and god forbid there are crazy people on the Internet that enjoy seeing things that they shouldn't see and people might like this for some reason to get off on seeing kids being hurt or if you're that scares me I wouldn't put my kid in these pictures, no way.

SUNNY GAULT: Well in the one-shot with Carol and Lizzie here she is truly holding a fake gun like some of this isn't just as photoshopped in and even if it was, other kids out there probably, you know, if we post this you know or some go to this website that I'm on right now looking at these photos how hard would it be for my kids to come up and see one of these images. Somehow in their brain be like "oh well she's holding a gun I guess I can hold a gun", like I think there's an underlying issue here I mean it's all kind of fun and games until someone gets hurt but I feel like this is just putting images in our kids heads that, it's normalizing it. That's my, my scare in all this is are we normalizing violence by showing this. I know my six, my almost six year old, he is five now but he will be six soon we are on a Disney cruise no joke like a year ago and he knew nothing about zombies before we went on a Disney cruise. He comes out of being in one of those Disney like fun I don’t know, things for kids that they go and do he comes back out and is telling me all about zombies I’m like how do you know about zombies? And he's like “Oh I was playing a video game and there I was killing zombies.



SUNNY GAULT: I’m like you have got to kidding me. Now he knows what a zombie is, and now he goes around with his arms out in front of him going "uhhhhh" and it's not because of me watching Walking Dead I swear, I do it late at night when everyone is asleep.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: I have to say I guilty Sunny because an hour with my four and six-year-old and your son would've known even more about zombies, my kids are...

SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, I mean.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: Well my husband's obsessed with anything zombie and so my kids are like encyclopedias about zombies, which I never thought about it until you just started talking about it so maybe I should address that.

SUNNY GAULT: I know. well and there's honestly and cartoons and stuff there's funny zombies they don't all have to be gross, what we're talking about here is this isn't funny zombie stuff this is real gore even if it was Photoshop in at a later time so yeah this is definitely going to cause some commotion you guys could tell we had plenty to say in our conversation here but I'll post the link make sure your kids aren’t around if you are going to look at it and let us know what you think.

[Music theme]

ALICIA GONZALEZ: Welcome today we're talking about busy bags, these homemade activities are ideal for restaurant weights and doctor visits, busy bags do simple materials and usually cost around a dollar to make so let's get started with what is a busy bag? Jen want to take that one?

JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO: Yeah sure. Well my definition of a busy bag is a bag of little surprises that can hold my child's interest for as long as possible.

SUNNY GAULT: I have a question are busy bags disposable because a lot of the stuff I mean, I'm hearing like a dollar and stuff I'm thinking okay that's like take it and if it gets trashed when you're out you don't feel bad about throwing it away or Jen how do you treat bags?

JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO: Yeah, I mean it can be sometimes we do things like that but if you do make a busy bag with dollar things and one of them the kid really, really likes you might reuse it again.


JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO: whatever works right?


ALICIA GONZALEZ: So do you, when you create your busy bags you create them with common themes? I know when like I said, I have no experience with this but when I was looking it up and researching it look like there was a lot of themes there is like a sewing bag or under the seabag those kinds of things so what's your experience with that?

JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO: If I were more together I would totally do that, sounds like a great idea.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: Pinterest Moms, I’m telling you.



SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, you see a bunch of stuff especially on Pinterest I'm looking through here now and it looks like there's ones that can focus on the alphabets, so if you're really trying to get your kids to, you know, learn their letters you can do something like a whole tracing bad with just alphabets stuff there's like a duple building bag, busy bag I see here, a rainbow, my gosh they got pretty much everything that you know you can think of. But I guess it kind of depends on what interests your kids have, you know, I know like my four-year-old he loves dinosaurs I'm sure if I created a busy bag full of different type of like, I’m thinking like dinosaur stencils and stuff like that even if they're like made of paper somewhere the throwaway kind of things I think he would really into that and my kids love Legos but what kids don't Legos right?

JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO: I think what would be a great idea for Traveling if you, wherever you're going at the destination if you made that the theme of the bag.

SUNNY GAULT: I like that, yeah.

ALICIA GONZALEZ:   like it that it brings up the dinosaur busy bag and the first thing I picture is grabbing a handful of their little dinosaurs and throwing in a Ziploc bag, you know, like stencils and paper and I’m like " ups I wasn’t there"

SUNNY GAULT: Hey, you know what I mean that's more of my idea of a busy especially if we're traveling like what you would things to keep your kids busy on an airplane, you know, we kind of talked about that earlier but that's what I do my kids have their own little bags and it's not like a throwaway bag it's like a cloth bag more like a little backpack kind of thing. So I don't know if that's technically a busy I kind of feel like that's a bag just to keep him entertained but that's kind of the definition of a busy day. But those don't follow any themes for me that is what are your favorite toys you can bring five of them as long as you can fit in that bag and that back goes on your back and you are carrying it yourself, I'm good.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: I know and you mentioned all, but I tend to, one of my kids were younger and still today I tend to buy like the, I guess they are like flashcards, So I have alphabet flashcards, I have addition subtraction, multiplication and I keep those in the car so that if we end up going to a restaurant I can grab those because it's like crayons melts in the cars, so I can't keep those and so I just grab the flashcards I have baby animals, you know, they love, my kids are into figures.


ALICIA GONZALEZ: And so even I don't have like a bag put together I do I do always have something with me that I can give them to keep them occupied, if I need to.

JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO: That’s a great idea.

SUNNY GAULT: I wonder how long this totally depends on the kid but Jen maybe you can weigh in on this when you create busy bags how long does it actually keep your kids busy for?

JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO: It’s such a crapshoot because it could be five minutes or you can hit on something they really like and then you know, be a long time. But Sunny you had mentioned putting in their favorite toys into the bag and I go with the opposite tact I say, I’m going to get something that they've never seen so has been novelty. So maybe it will keep them occupied for longer.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: Well that a great idea.

SUNNY GAULT: Well that's true, yeah there's a whole discovery factor there, you know, that could keep them interested, for sure.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: Jen how long does it take you typically to put together a busy bag? Do you make a bunch of once, do you make him kind of one at a time as you think of them?

JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO: yeah I usually make them one at a time and sometimes I'll just as I’m doing my regular routine you know where I'm stopping at the store whatever if I see something that might be good for a busy bag, I'll pick it up and then just have it, I have like a little area where they don't toys they don't know where they are. The hidden toy area.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: With the bottom of a toy box? My gosh that where I’ll be making my busy bags from, now that I think about it, just take them out and we have got it, they have totally forgotten about this toy.

JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO: Right fix something that you find and just kind of have an area where you just throw stuff in it you find it and then when it’s time to make a busy bag you'll have a bunch of things there already.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: That perfect!

SUNNY GAULT: I'm scrolling through all this stuff online, these different ideas, and some of these are really cool you guys it would cost like zero dollars practically to do it like I just saw the pasta pictures busy bag so think of, like the very colorful kind of pasta pieces and that, you know, their different shapes and you got like the spirals and then the round stuff and then you just include some pieces of white paper in there you put it in a Ziploc bag, you got to have some glue or something like that obviously and then they can make pictures using pasta, that right there is a busy bag. They use, obviously they can use their creativity and design whatever they want and you got kind of the colors incorporated in there so, I mean that, and you know, pasta doesn’t cost a lot of money like that could be something super easy that I think my kids could get into.

JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO: You know those stickers that you use, they sell them to decorate windows for holidays, they are like jelly plastic kind of sticky things you put on the window?


JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO: Those are great for airplanes if your kid at the window seat.


JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO:   Just like they put those on there and play.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: Oh my gosh brilliant!

SUNNY GAULT: Yeah as long as they don't eat it, my kids might eat it.

JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO: But they look like candy.

SUNNY GAULT: There's some really cool, you we have to link, I'm going to go through and I'm going to find like a bunch of sites a lot of mom bloggers love to like post pictures of this stuff their sites are brilliant so I’m going to go through if you're wondering like have do I find this stuff? First of all  go to Pinterest we have already said that but if you also want to go to the episode page for this episode I’ll include a bunch of links here, like really cool things, because some of these are really good like learning tools, like I'm looking at one right now that kind of has a circle with a bunch of dots on it and it like has different sections. So you have a section with one dot then a section with town dots so it’s like, you know, all the way up to what is that? 10 I think and they're trying to teach kids you know one through 10 so you got that circle and then it has clothespins with the number on it. So you look for the amount of circles and then you try to match the clothespin with that section on the circle. Does that make sense? So like if I have a clothespin that has the number five on it, I'm going to look for the section with five little dots and clip it on there. Like that's really kind of cool I mean it's not just keep him busy but they're actually trying, you know,  you're encouraging them to learn as you're doing this.

JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO:  Nice, Do you know what wiki sticks are? They are these...

ALICIA GONZALEZ: Yes, wiki sticks.

SUNNY GAULT:  No I don't!

JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO:  They are these little very thin sticks made of wax so you can bend them, and they hold their shape and there, so they are really tiny they are really light and they come in all different colors and that's a great thing to just you can you know, wipe that out anywhere and its molding and making shapes and it's not messy, that’s a good busy bag thing.

ALICIA GONZALEZ:  It's so funny you mention that Jen, when we went out to brunch for Mother's Day we went to a nice restaurant and I'd never seen these wiki sticks before until that's what the restaurant gave out was a bag of wiki sticks to each kid, who came in to


ALICIA GONZALEZ: The restaurant that day and it was I kept my kids occupied the entire time we were there my six-year-old barely even touched his food because he was so obsessed with what he was making with his wiki sticks.

SUNNY GAULT: I mean if you think about it restaurants in my opinion kind of invented the whole busy bag idea, because if you're catering to whole families and you know like when you go in they give them crayons and usually their menu is kind of tied into the crayon, that's kind of what we're talking we are taking it a step further but how long have restaurants been doing this? And what is this? it's a way to keep your kids busy so they are not focused on when is the food going, you know, be coming out when is the food going to be ready, or why aren’t you guys done eating yet.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: I don’t remember that being around when I was a kid, that’s for sure, it’s definitely something worth.

SUNNY GAULT: No, we just got to be patient.


SUNNY GAULT: I just started drinking creamers and eating sugar on the table restaurant, that’s

ALICIA GONZALEZ: eating the jelly?

SUNNY GAULT: Keeping busy. 

JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO:  Yes if you ever have been in a restaurant your kid can play with stuff on the table

ALICIA GONZALEZ: Yes! my daughter used to play with the little sugar packets that she would organize like we do colors she would put the pinks together, and the blues together and yellow then we would mix them all up and I remember that when those, you know, the bad restaurants didn’t have anything 

JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO:  I think the busy bags also come in though because so many parents now that we have iPhones and iPads like so many parents give their kids those devices instead of something else and it's really tempting too. I do it but you want to try to do it not so much, you know, they will just happen stuck on iPad in the restaurant.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: Great I don't do that in restaurants but I definitely do that on airplanes and road trips so you are doing much better than I am by giving busy bags on travel I need to start that, when we come back we will talk about the advantages of giving children busy bags time.

[Music Theme] 

ALICIA GONZALEZ: Welcome back today we're talking about busy bags ready-to-go activities for your toddler or preschooler so let's talk about the advantages to giving children this independent playtime.
What do you think Sunny do you see the effects of letting your children just kind of have at it with a busy bag?

SUNNY GAULT: well I think that it is helpful to teach kids to be able to play independently like you know I've got four kids and a lot of times it is, it's nice when they'll play together if they can do that all of the times and fights and Sue when you do that. 

ALICIA GONZALEZ: That’s a good question do you give each one a busy bag or? 

SUNNY GAULT: I think it is more of an individual concept I don't know Jen what do you think?

JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO: Yeah I definitely think it needs to be individual just even avoid fights.

SUNNY GAULT: Yes! Well the one I was thinking to is they could, you know, my kids might view this is just like a little personal present from mom to them, you know like "Oh yeah I love dinosaurs mom thank you for giving me this dinosaur bag" you know. so I think that there's a lot of benefit in working individually like that and you know to what we're talking about earlier I think it could reduce the amount of fighting that I have to deal with if they're all playing together and I think that just, that's a good lesson in life you are not always going to be, you know, working in a group type of environment so it's nice, you know and you are not always going to have all your kids with you to so they would definitely benefit from doing an individual.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: Now Jen do you tend to keep certain bags for each child or do you mix them up? Do they use them? 

JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO:   They each have like a small tiny kind of backpack and we only use that backpack as busy bag. So it’s individualized.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: So each has their own busy bag? 


ALICIA GONZALEZ: Ok, and when they are playing with them, we are talking about this independent play time what do you do when they want you to interact with it as well? Do you give it back to them and tell them to do them their own? 

JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO: They would be like “No!"

ALICIA GONZALEZ: I think because that’s what my kids would do, they would be like "Oh look you gave this to me now let's play together".

SUNNY GAULT: You are like, you are misunderstanding the whole point of this.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: Exactly, it’s your busy bag.


JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO: Yeah come on kid I just trying to gently explain it like, you know I build up the bag first of all before the use of the bag build up. “oh you are going to have this great bag and its of stuff that you can play with all by yourself so that you can have fun, instead of  being bored while imp in the doctor’s office" or whatever, so like build it up and give them that explain...

ALICIA GONZALEZ: Ah! You are good! 

JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO:  Of that’s what it’s for and then, you know, try not to interact as much as possible.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: That’s a good point that’s actually really good to begin if you are going to give it to them, then step back a and stay away from it, because as soon as you interact then they think that it is for both of you.


ALICIA GONZALEZ: It’s a little older I always say things to my kid like ill help him if he has a question but then I’ll go "oh but this is for you to figure out by yourself, like this is the fun of this toy" it’s the figuring it out.

SUNNY GAULT: Yeah you're really hyping it up yeah, like what mommy is doing is like no it's not fun this is a challenge, this is great look what you have in front of you it's, it's probably being a little melodramatic in doing it, you know, but that's probably the best way to get the point across.

JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO: And what is the advantage to busy bags over say store-bought toys?

SUNNY GAULT:   Like the packages you're talking about right? You know the pre-packages?


SUNNY GAULT: Not just the single toy.

JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO: No I mean like a single toy even, you know, if you go, if you grab a toy like you were talking about dinosaurs.


JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO: So is it the learning element that comes with the busy bag, the figuring things out rather than just like kind of handing a toy over to let them play? 

SUNNY GAULT: I have a thought on that my first thought was well single toys could be a lot more expensive right?! We talked about you know busy bags being morbid like a cheaper version of it and as result, I think that it would get really costly and where would you keep like all these kind of toys and stuff like that, or we just keep getting them twice and spoiling them in that regard right I like the idea of something being temporary because in my house. A. I don't want a bunch of stuff piling up you know, like I said like they don't need tons of toys, like that is more crap for me to pick up right?
So if these busy bags are something that's temporary, you know,  we're talking about temporary items you find at craft stores right, I'm thinking like popsicle sticks and paper and like that pasta idea that I had like your throw that away afterward big deal, you know, not a huge issue. So for me personally and in exploring busy bags that's what I think the benefit would be is that it's temporary and it doesn't cost a lot of money. But I do think that there's, you know, it's an interesting comparison because they have started to sell more busy bag types stuff in the stores. I don’t know if you guys see that but I am seeing more type, I’ve seen around holidays like Easter and whatever stuff like stuff to or stocking stuffer things, you know, like they package more things together like that and with that I would just say probably cost me if you get a really cheap I mean, we get a lot of like busy bag type stuff at the dollar store so if you can make it work that way obviously you can stay within a budget, it will be easier.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: That's a good point because like you said it's disposable so if it gets broken you can toss it without being out of a bunch of money.


ALICIA GONZALEZ: And also kids forget things everywhere.



ALICIA GONZALEZ: So you wouldn't be upset, or they wouldn't be upset about forgetting it and you don't have to go back and try and find it and all of that, that's a great point.

SUNNY GAULT: And if it breaks you are not stressed out as a parent like if my kid breaks a $10 toy, I’m going to be a little upset, you know, I’m going to be trying to like glue this thing back together right? If they break a two-dollar busy bag I’m like "ehhh" and you know kids change their minds about what they like, like on a minute to minute basis so I like the idea of busy bags and you know different types of themes just to keep up with their crazy mind and how their mind works and what they're interested in that very second that no one.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: Now one thing I found interesting when I was looking up this information about bags, is people suggesting to give them as birthday presents and I thought, I thought that's kind of a cool idea especially to someone who hasn't been introduced to them, so you put a few together and make it a birthday present have you ever considered doing that Jen?

JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO:  I never have but I think that’s a great idea.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: For other kids?

JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO:  Yeah, because it's a present to the parent as well.

SUNNY GAULT: I was just going to say, it’s a present to the parents. 

ALICIA GONZALEZ: Especially for the little kids, you know, who they open up a present and then there's like five presents in there, you know, you got five busy bags.


ALICIA GONZALEZ: So they see five different presents.

JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO:  And it does show it’s something, I think it's also a busy bag can have some sort of individuality and like you, the present is more thoughtful you just pick up something at the target you made them something, even if it only cost a few dollars in the dollar store, you put thought into it.

ALICIA GONZALEZ:  That's a great point.


ALICIA GONZALEZ:  And parents love that too, in addition to keeping their kids busy for them.

SUNNY GAULT: So there's another idea, so what I did when I knew we are doing this topic, is I post some stuff to Facebook to get everyone's input who is done busy bags in the past and there's an idea that Marissa submitted that I just think it's fantastic and she said "We had a busy bag party were each mom brought six or seven of the same bag to share and then we all got to leave was six or seven different bags without having to make them all ourselves and get all the supplies". Isn’t that smart? I love that.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: Exchanges during Christmas.


ALICIA GONZALEZ: That’s a really good idea because to but the materials in bulk is really cheap, to buy them for seven different types of bags could get a little pricey, so if you buying one type and putting it all together and then switch the up, that's brilliant!

SUNNY GAULT: I love this and then so other people are commenting too, because my question was "hey do you have any tips on making these bags and a lot of people just commented on different materials they like to use. So some of the things I mentioned were pipe cleaners, aluminum foil, Gatorade bottles and rocks" although if you needed it to be quiet, I don't know if it's going to be really helpful I think they're thinking of like kind of a makeshift kind of rattle kind of thing that, you know, they can just shake but that may drive you crazy as a parent. Beeswax, small dry erase boards, string games, knitting, stickers, stacking blocks, Fruit loop necklaces that's cool, I know my kids will love to search Cheerios, Fruit Loops or Cheerios, rocks and Tupperware so there's a common thing there, erasing coloring pads, yeah so those are some of the ideas of simple things, again you can buy all that stuff at the dollar store.

ALICIA GONZALEZ:  Definitely, thanks so much everyone for the conversation and to everyone listening for joining us today, for more information or if you want to learn more about this topic visit our website at , this conversation continues for members of our parents savers club, for more information about the parent savers club visit the member's portion of our website.

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SUNNY GAULT: Ok, so as we wrap up our show today we have a segment called "What’s up with dat?" and it's not that, its "Dat” so get it straight! Where we like to talk about these crazy things that are toddlers do that make no sense except for in the mind of a toddler I'm sure it makes perfect sense for us adults we are like, I just don’t get this and I in no world would this be normal. So we have a comment from Becky and Becky wrote, this is a very short comment but she says "They both lick grocery carts, why?" That's all she said. So I'm assuming okay she doesn't go into more detail but I'm assuming she puts her kid in the shop she puts her kid in the shopping cart, yeah the little seat in the shopping cart and they start licking whatever the handle I’m guessing. 

ALICIA GONZALEZ: When you said it I picture like a preschooler standing next to a shopping cart licking it.

SUNNY GAULT: Oh and just licking a random cart? Well it doesn’t actually say.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: You think they know, they keep their month or like shoe on the handles when they sit in the seat, but that's very interesting to have a thing with licking shopping carts.


ALICIA GONZALEZ: Maybe they taste good and we just don’t know.


JENNIFER WEEDON PALAZZO:  All that food has been in them so maybe they can taste like food. 

SUNNY GAULT: It’s like the remnants of an apple smell or tomatoes or something like that. Well I don’t really freak out about germs we did this whole episode, Alicia you remember about germs and all those kinds of stuff and I tend to fall on the side of I don't worry about it so much. But when it comes to grocery carts and shopping carts, I do kind of freaked out because their face is so close and I know like everybody that's been touching mess and nobody is like whipping anything down. They do have those wipes before you go into the store, a lot of stores started to do, and that is one area where I take advantage of those wipes. You know, at least that bar where they put their hands, like I don't go crazy or whatever, I get really grossed out by the little straps because usually those are so gross.



SUNNY GAULT: You know, yes or they're missing something, and you are like, you know, you can’t even tie your kid in there properly.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: Or they are missing the buckling and you have to tie your kid in. 

SUNNY GAULT: Yes I had to do that too. And they are like "eww" I don't want to touch this, so yeah them licking anything in that area does worry me but I don’t know.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: You know Sunny before the germ episode I would have worried about it, however now that we've learned when the shopping carts sit in the sun it turns all...

SUNNY GAULT: That’s right! The sun has disinfected them, that’s right, that’s right.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: So lick away. 

SUNNY GAULT: So anyway right, so if your kid is out there licking grocery cards, just know you're not alone Becky has the same issue if you guys have a funny “what up with dat” story, something you want to share with us. Please let us know you can visit our website at click on the contact link or also through the website just click that banner on the side that says send voicemail and then you can tell your story yourself.

ALICIA GONZALEZ: That wraps up today’s episode of Parent Savers. Thanks again for joining us! We appreciate you listening! Don’t forget to check out all our sister shows on our New Mommy Media network, we’ve got:

• Preggie Pals for expecting parents
• The Boob Group for moms who breastfeed their babies
• Newbies for those going through it for the first time
• Twin Talks for parents with multiples.

This is Parent Savers! Say it with me, SUNNY GAULT: empowering new parents!

This has been a New Mommy Media production. The information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. While such information and materials are believed to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, medical advice or care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.

SUNNY GAULT: How would you like to have your own show on the New Mommy Media network? We are expanding our line-up and looking for great content. If you are business or organization interested in learning more about our co-branded podcasts, visit our website at

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