We are participating in a Virtual Busy Bag Exchange with Teach Me Mommy. Busy bags are such a great way to keep kids entertained and are great to take along to places as well as used at home. Lately Little Sister has been playing with Big Brother’s homemade number boards that I made for him several years ago. Since they have been played with over and over again, the writing on them has faded and smeared.
Last week one of the numbers went missing so I decided to make Little Sister her own. I chose to make her a Butterfly Counting Busy Bag which is great for preschoolers. They will learn number recognition and practice counting. It’s also great for practicing fine motor skills. On the backside, it turns into a color sorting activity, a shape sorting activity, and a patterning activity. Lots of skills practiced all from one little bag!
How to make the Butterfly Counting Busy Bag:
- The foam butterflies are purchased from Dollar Tree. Any craft foam cutouts would work as long as they are big enough. Count out 10 of them, or make more if you’d like.
- Since the permanent marker smeared over the years on my son’s homemade number boards, I decided to use fabric paint on the new ones. I like that it gives a slightly raised circle.
- Write the numbers 1-10 in the center of each butterfly (or whatever craft foam shape you are using). I used purple glitter 3D paint for our numbers. Let dry.
- Find something to trace for the counting spaces. I used a button and traced around it with a pencil. Trace around it for as many as needed for each butterfly. Then, I went back over each circle with the fabric paint (puffy paint). Let dry.
- Find 55 little objects for the child to use for counting. For ours we are using jewel gems and star buttons in all different colors. This part is totally optional: I wanted to make it a bit more challenging for her for when she has used it many times so I counted out different colors and/or shaped for each number. For example, the number 10 has 10 bigger-sized stars, the number 4 has four pink hearts, and so on.
IMPORTANT: Please supervise younger children when they are playing with small items such as the buttons used in this activity.
Since our counters (gems) are 4 different shapes, I drew each one on the backside of four of the butterflies – star, heart, circle, and oval.
I left 5 of them plain so my daughter could sort all the different colors. We left the colors that didn’t match off to the side. She loves sorting items by colors so I knew this would be fun for her.
On the backside of the last remaining butterfly, I drew squares to practice patterning and ‘what comes next?’ There are lots of different combinations that can be made! She told me this was her favorite of all the activities in this butterfly busy bag.
Other Busy Bags for Preschoolers
We are virtually ‘swapping’ busy bag ideas with 3 other bloggers who chose the same age group as us.
- Dry Erase Board Activities via Emma from P is for Preschoolers
- Big Brother Busy Bag Kit via Betsy’s Photography
- Fine Motor Hammer Activities via One Time Through
Have you made a busy bag suitable for a 3 or 4 year old? We would love for you to add it to the linky below! If you have one for other ages, please stop by the Virtual Busy Bags main page. Also, head over there for more fun busy bags to make with the kids.