Do you want a learning activity that is quick and easy to do with your kids? I am a busy homeschool mom with 6 kids, and I am frequently looking for a quick project the kids can do. I don’t know where the time (or my energy) goes, but there are days we need a fun project that is already prepared and easy to implement.
Do you want something for kids to do that is portable? Do you need a quiet and busy activity for the younger, or older kids? Do you want a fun project that is easily adaptable to do with various ages, and with both small or large groups? Need a fun activity to do with your coop, church group, club, birthday party, or neighbor kids? Do you want to give homemade gifts that kids will love?
I have found a great solution to fill all of these needs:
Activity Bags are simple project bags you create. Yes, YOU build them! I love projects that my children and I can build ourselves. I don’t like complicated projects. I need easy, fast projects that we can build together and projects that include the oldest down to the youngest and we all benefit from. Activity Bags definitely meets my needs.
The method to build the bags, and all printouts are provided for you in an eBook (pdf) downloadable form. Every step is simple and easy to follow and projects are designed to cost about $1 +/- by using a few low cost items and household supplies.
Activity Bags, LLC was created by two busy homeschool moms, check out their ABOUT page. They know the needs of moms with kids of various ages. Sometimes you need a busy activity for the toddlers. Sometimes you need an independent activity for the older kids. These moms got creative and turned their activity ideas into a business to help moms everywhere provide fun, educational, and inexpensive activities to their own children.
Below is a list of the current Activity Bags eBooks available. If you click on the PRODUCTS link, there will be a link for an explanation of each eBook. On each product page there is another link to view free samples if you would like to see what’s included and try it out for free before you buy. There is also a free Coordinator’s Handbook if you plan to use your activity bags in a swap. Also there is a free download sample eBook sent to you in exchange for filling out a short survey and signing up for the email newsletter.
Preschool Activities In A Bag eBook 1
Preschool Activities In A Bag eBook 2
Preschool Activities In A Bag eBook 3
Science Experiments In A Bag eBook 1
Science Experiments In A Bag eBook 2
Science Experiments In A Bag eBook 3
Reading Games In A Bag eBook
Travel Activities In A Binder eBook
Math Games In A Bag eBook
Daily Activity Journal eBook 1
Daily Activity Journal eBook 2
Coordinators Handbook eBook FREE
Be sure to watch for more subjects in the Activity Bags product line. We heard there was a Crafts In A Bag eBook coming soon. I can’t wait to try it. I also want to try the Preschool In A Bag and the Reading In A Bag. Oh who am I kidding? I want to try ALL of the ” …… In A Bag” Activity Bags! They all look great and I know my kids would have fun learning with all of them.
I am currently reviewing the Science eBooks 1, 2, and 3. Each Science eBook costs $15 and includes 25 activities. Discounts are available when you combine purchases and order several eBooks at a time. Check the website for full discount details. Printables included for each experiment include a supplies list (with supplies calculated for 1, 10, 15, and 20 bags), a project label, an experiment project sheet with step by step instructions to do the experiment, a scientific method observations sheet with questions about the project, a warning or disclosure statement to remind parents about safety.
Science Experiments In A Bag eBook 1 is 164 pages and includes 25 activities that focus on biology, nature, and general science. For grades K-8th.
Science Experiments In A Bag eBook 2 is 153 pages and includes 25 activities that focus on chemistry, human body, and general science. For grades K-8th.
Science Experiments In A Bag eBook 3 is 151 pages and includes 25 activities that focus on chemistry. For grades K-8th.
We are also reviewing Math Games In A Bag eBook 1. This is a great hands on resource for math practice.
Math Games In A Bag includes 33 activities. It contains 201 pages complete with instructions and printouts. For elementary grades, though I think it is great review for older students too.
WHAT WE THOUGHT ABOUT IT
These Activity Bags are fun! They work great for busy homeschool moms. I have used a similar idea to take projects on the go with me to keep my toddlers busy when I had an appointment, and when my older children had music lessons. I have also taken my own version of these on trips to keep everyone busy. I have lots of times each day when I need a busy activity for the toddlers so I can help the older children with their school work. To be honest, I have had times with toddlers when busy activities didn’t keep their attention, and the only option was to go outside and release their energy with play.
But having someone lay it all out for me in an eBook is such a blessing. I don’t even have to think about it. All the thinking and planning has been done. I just print out my pages, locate the items listed in the eBook for each activity, and place it in the bags. These are easy to make ahead activities. You can choose what you want to do for the week ahead and make them up and place in your students workboxes for a hassle free project for the kids to do.
I teach homeschool learning programs in the park, workshops, and a science and engineering 4-H club, and I think some of the projects in these science activity bags will work great for these classes. And these bags are such a great way to organize my teaching materials and have everything ready to go. I found several experiments in the Science Experiments In A Bag eBooks that will work great to add to our learning programs for both of the group programs, as well as at home for our homeschool.
I would love to make up a batch of these bags for birthday parties. You could choose a party theme around a science theme, then choose which science activities to fit the party theme. You could have the kids work on an activity bag during the party. They could also be used as party “take home” favors for the kids. I am always looking for party favor ideas that are more than just candy and stickers. I love giving kids something educational as well as fun at the same time. Activity Bags say they are “fun and education fit together in the same bag”. It works for me!
Some science / birthday party examples might be: a pirate party (why some things float, salt water salination and desalination, study the ocean, preserving with vit C, wind power, weaponry with cata
pults and combustion); a “mad science” lab party (fun experiments with chemistry); a doctor party (human body experiments); a detective party (fingerprints, secret codes experiments); a summer pool party (water experiments); a garden party (learn about soils, compost, worms, trees, filtration, plant and insect science); a construction party (make geometric shapes, learn about soils, trees, architecture); space party (learn about air, rockets, solar power, make a sun dial); etc.
Another thought I had was to make up several bags to fit into shoe boxes or the USPS postal boxes, and send to kids who may not have access to learning projects such as these. What a wonderful gift these would make! A child would enjoy receiving a bag in their Christmas box like a learning project or math game with dice and everything he or she needed to practice and play with a friend or sibling.
Instead of a “cookie swap” with your friends, how about an Activity Bag Swap? Moms can use these bags in their own homes, or give them as gifts. It is a very easy process to do. One person (the coordinator) buys the eBook and organizes the swap. The coordinator sends out the printouts and materials list to each participant. Each person makes enough activities to exchange with their group.
For example, 10 moms could each make 10 exact copies of 1 activity bag, then get together with the other moms for a swap. Each mom would leave the swap with 10 different activity bags for her kids (a larger group of 25 moms would leave the swap with 25 different activities, etc).
A swap would be a great way to use up identical supplies that you otherwise might not need again. For example, I found dice for math games 10 pairs for $1, enough to make 10 math games using pairs of dice or 20 math games using a single die. I also bought wooden skewers 24 for $1, surgical gloves 10 for $1, 10 balloons for $1, etc. If I am only going to need one set of these items to make an activity bag project, I could use the extra sets of supplies for a swap. Instead of buying supplies for every experiment, I can buy bulk supplies of one experiment and let someone else buy the other supplies for other experiments, and we can both reap the benefits.
How to store your activity bags?
Basically any designated box, bin, or container will work for storing the bags. The thinner bags, such as the bags for math, reading, and travel eBook activities will store neatly in a binder, magazine holders, or files. You can 3 hole punch the bags to fit right into a large binder to easily take them “on the go”.
I store my bags in an inexpensive hanging file folder box, like we use for our workboxes. When I was a kid, we called them milk crates.
These boxes retail for about $5 at the local Walmart, but I found some on clearance for $2.50 there during the “off season” too. These boxes will hold lots of file folders filled with bags, but some of the science experiments are too bulky to sit nicely in a file folder. Instead, I can stack my bags in the box laying on the bottom, or stand them up. In the picture above, I have seven bags prepared, and as I filled the workbox with more and more projects, it was easier to stand them up. I wrote the name of the project in the bag at the top of the bags so I could easily read it when they are standing up in the workbox. These workboxes hold way more than I can count of the thin activity bags in hanging file folders, and about 25 or 30 bulky science bags. That is enough activities to keep the kids busy for a long time! These boxes stack nicely on top of each other, take up little space, and are a handy storage storage option with or without using hanging file folders.
Costs To Make Activity Bags
There was very little expense involved in making the actual activity bags. I purchased a box of gallon size zip close bags (20 for $2 = .10 cents each), sandwich size bags (40 for $2 = .05 cents each), and a few supplies at Walmart and the dollar store. The supplies I bought actually had 10+ more items to a package for $1 (10 for $1 = .10 cents each).
Each Activity Bags project is designed to cost you around $1 +/- to put together using some supplies and materials you might already have on hand, and maybe a few things you will need to purchase. We were able to make up several bags with very little expense.
Here are my costs (no cost figured for supplies I had on hand) for just 3 of the science experiment bags we made:
“Where’s The Water?” science project cost .20 cents:
.10 for the gallon bag
.10 for the surgical gloves
.00 for the paper cup saved from a hotel room stay. ( .02 cents if I had to buy one)
.00 for the left over diaper kids outgrew before using it. (.50 cents if I had to buy one)
“Balloon Skewer” science project cost .50 cents:
.10 for the gallon bag
.30 for 3 balloons (we actually used more balloons to repeat the 3 experiments in this project because it is so much fun)
.10 for wooden skewers
.00 for a stick pen we had on hand (.01 cent if had to buy, a box of 100 of them for $1)
.00 for a small drop of vaseline we had on hand (could buy a container for lots of needs for $1)
.00 for a small piece of tape we had on hand (could buy a roll of tape for .50 cents)
“Marbleous” science project cost .50 cents:
.10 gallon bag
.10 sandwich bag
.20 for 4 clear plastic cups
.00 plastic spoon we had on hand (could by 24 for $1)
.00 paper we had on hand (could buy a pack of paper for $1)
.00 paper towel we had on hand (could buy a roll for .50 cents or less in bulk)
So you can see how inexpensive making these hands on learning activities can be. You can also see where a swap could benefit you if you are getting a bulk package that contains enough supplies of one specific item. You could do the project several times to use up the extra supplies. But even better, you can use up the “extra” by swapping out the projects with friends. I think realistically you might be able to make exact replicas of a project to swap with 10 friends for a $5 to $10 investment, 25 friends for a $15 to $20 +/- investment, and not have supplies left over taking up space in your already space deprived storage closet.
There was some additional expense in printing out the materials. You can print them at home, or send them over to your local office supply / copy store for printing. You can also choose to print on regular paper, or on card stock, and to laminate, or not. It all depends on how much you want to spend.
I chose to print the activity bag projects on fast draft mode (saves on ink), at home (saves on labor and gas to go to town), and on white copy paper (cheap purchased in bulk). The kids and I cut out what needed separated (flash cards, number tiles, labels, coloring pages, etc.) and the kids had lots of fun helping me fill the bags with our printed materials and supplies.
However, if you really wanted to save money and not print them the eBooks, and you were not doing these bags as part of a swap or gifts for others (definitely print them for gifts and swaps), you could just write the number of the experiment on the bag, and refer back to the pdf on the computer for instructions when needed. This would be a very viable option for folks who don’t have a printer, or don’t want to spend the money on ink and paper. I personally like having a printed copy of everything in front of me. I don’t know if it is just my generation, or what, but I do much better if I have actual printed items in my hands instead of having to read everything on a computer screen. That might change someday if I get a handy gadget like a kindle or ipad etc,( hint, hint…. Birthday? Christmas? Husband I hope you are reading this!) and doesn’t require me to sit any longer than I have to at the computer. Until then, I’ll keep printing!
Activity Bags are a great addition to our homeschool!
Check out what others on the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about Activity Bags.