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preschool activity bags

Sparkly Jewel Sorting Preschool Bag

Last week I shared a simple preschool bag activity, Pretty Princess Beads. I have made several bags in the past week in preparation for our trip, and I want to share another super simple one today. Simple means it took ten minutes to put together. Hooray for simple!

Sparkly Jewel Sorting Preschool Busy Bag

I purchased a large container of "gems" at Hobby Lobby (also half price last week, about $7). I also purchased some pieces of felt for .25 each. I used each piece for three different preschool activity bags, so that was a bargain. 

I cut a rectangle (probably 6 inches by 4 inches) from each felt color.

Gem Sorting Preschool Bag

Then I dumped the jewels out and found coordinating colors. 

Sparkly Jewel Sorting Preschool Activity Bag

I bagged each color in its own bitty jewelry bag. I did this because I want to control how many colors we introduce Sweet Girl to at one time, so we don't overwhelm her. 

Gem Sorting Preschool Activity Bag

Then I put the felt squares and the bitty bags of gems into a Ziploc. Super simple.

This activity is good for:

  • Sorting
  • Introducing Colors
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Counting (when finished, count the number of gems on each felt piece)
  • You could also sort the pieces by shape instead of color, if desired.

​Have fun!

Looking for more preschool busy bag ideas? That's fantastic because my #1 viewed post is The Ultimate Guide to Preschool Busy Bags! So, go look. 

Preschool Busy Bag Activity Board on Pinterest copy

Pretty Princess Beads Preschool Bag

Pretty Princess Beads Preschool Bag

I started to brainstorm yesterday for a few simple (I can't really emphasize that word enough) busy bags I could take with me to Ecuador. Since my brain juice is running on low, I resorted to an old standby that Simon played with more times than I can tell. He had a bag with pipecleaners and beads. If I remember right, the beads were dolphins and other cute sea creatures. 

Well, it's long gone. And I am all on the big pink girly-girl band wagon right now. You should expect nothing less from a mom who has been buying boy clothes and toys for almost 13 years. I never, ever thought I'd have a daughter. Now that I'm standing right on the brink of bringing Sweet Girl home, well, it's like I swallowed the Pinkalicious book or something. 

You only need two things for this busy bag: pipecleaners and beads.

Supplies for Princess Beads Busy Bag

I spent $6 on beads at Hobby Lobby (1/2 price this week). I'm not counting the cost on the pipe cleaners. These poor pink pipe cleaners have been hanging out in the craft box for years.

What's the purpose of this pinkness?

Princess Beads Preschool Busy Bag

  • This activity bag increases fine motor skills.
  • You can use the manipulatives for pattern making.
  • You can sort the beads by size (small and large) or even color on to pipe cleaners.
  • And, my favorite, it's an easy way to make some accessories for dress-up. Just twist the pipe cleaner into a circle, and you have a super cute bracelet. 

Pretty Princess Beads Preschool Busy Bag

Looking for more preschool busy bag ideas? That's fantastic because my #1 viewed post is The Ultimate Guide to Preschool Busy Bags! So, go look. 

P.S. I know this is a choking risk for youngers, so use common sense. No pongas eso en tu boca por favor. (And that little bit of Spanish may have taken every drop of brain juice I had left.) Audios

P.S. S. You can find all of my Preschool Activity Bag ideas here on the blog, and you can also check out my Pinterest Board.

Preschool Busy Bag Activity Board on Pinterest copy

Ultimate Guide to Preschool Busy Bags

Preschool Busy Bags and Activity Bags Idea List from Walking by the Way

What Are Busy Bags?

Busy Bags are ready-to-go activities for your toddler or preschool. Read more.

Busy Bag Storage

I kept mine in a large plastic container with dividers. Here are a few links with photos of how others stay organized

Zipper Pouches at The Princess and the Tot

A Busy Bag for Busy Bags at Life:Styled

On a Shelf and In a Tub at Our Journey Westward

Hosting a Busy Bag Exchange

If you buy the Preschool Activity Bag book, you will be given all sorts of tips and tricks for hosting a swap. I've hosted one before, and it's not too hard. The reward (coming home with TWENTY new bags) is completely worth the work! 

Tips and Ideas from Second Story Window

Ideas for Swaps for Different Ages

The rest of this post is dedicated to providing you with gobs and gobs of ideas for creating your own Preschool Busy Bags. Have fun!


Animal Matching Grid

Bottle and Lid Matching

Button Outline Matching

Brown Bear Heads and Tails Puzzles

Cut the Cards Matching

Egg Carton Matching

Match Me Cards

Number Egg Matching

Pizza Factory

Sunbleached Matching

Pattern Play

Foam Shape Patterns


LEGO Puzzle Book

Pony Bead Patterns

Pool Noodle Patterns & Numbers


Dinosaur Shapes

Double Trouble Shapes

Fish for Shapes

Foam Shape Puzzles

I Have, Who Has Shapes Game

Lauri Toys Fit-A-Space Puzzles

Magnetic Shape Sticks

Making Shapes

Race Car Shapes

Shape Matching

Shape Sorting (with ice cube tray)

Shapes and Colors Matching Game

Shapes and Colors Memory Game

Simple Shapes Busy Bag


Button Sorting Cups

Color Wheel for Toddlers

Color Matching Cards

Color Matching Clips

Color Sorting Busy Bags

Egg Carton Color Sort

Matching Color Shades

Medicine Container Color Matching

Pipe Cleaner Color Match

Popsicle Color Matching

Rainbow Bright

Rainbow Clothespins

Shades of Color

Numbers and Counting

Animal Counting Cards

Apple Counting

Clip Sticks Counting Busy Bag

Counting Book (bottom of the page)

Counting Caterpillar Busy Bag

Counting Felt Chain

Counting Spindles

Five Fabulous Frogs

Homemade Number Boards

Ladybug Number Match and Counting Busy Bag

Lauri Toys Number Play

Magnetic Counting Sticks

Number Boards

Number Gobbling Busy Bag

Number Play-doh Mats

Number Wheel

Number Tracing Cards

Ocean Count and Clip Cards

Paint Chip Number Punch

Q-Tip Counting Trays

Strawberry Counting Cards

Tower Counting Busy Bag


Animal Sorting

Bean Sorting

Fruit Loop Sort

Geo Links (sorting, patterns, fine motor)

Junk Sort (by Color and Number of Items)

Sparkly Jewel Sorting

Memory Games

Alphabet Memory Game

Baby Food Jar Lid Game

Cereal Box Matching Game

HABA Mini Memory Game

Insect Memory Game

Jan Brett Animals Memory Game

Juice Lid Memory Game

Mini Memory Game

Photo Memory Game

Sticker Memory Match

Wooden Memory Game

Letters and Literacy

ABC Fishing (under Preschool section)

ABC Popsicle Matching

ABC Spoons

Alphabet Lacing Cards

Alphabet Cookie Match

Alphabet Match

Alphabet Match Up

Alphabet Play-doh Mats

Alphabet Tracing Sheets Busy Bag


Eggs ~ Uppercase Lowercase Letter Match

I Spy Book (visual discrimination)

Laundry Letter Match (under Preschool section)

Letter Bugs

Letter Building

Lima Bean Letters

My Name

Superhero Letter Match

Spin and Spell

Fine Motor Fun

Animal Lacing Cards

Bottle Top Stamps

Brown Bear Lacing Cards

Buttons and Pipe Cleaners (bottom of post)

Button Snake

Button Board

Clothesline Busy Bag

Easy Stencils

Felt Snowflakes

Finger Paint Bag

Gumball Machine

Hole Punching (add strips of paper to your bag instead of entire sheets)

Homemade Stickers

Hot Glue Rubbing Plates

Lacing and Tracing Pets

Lauri Familiar Things Crepe Rubber Puzzles

No Sew Felt Fish

Noodle Necklaces

Pinchers and Pom-Poms

Play-doh Mats

Pony Beads and Pipe Cleaners

Pool Noodle Stringing

Pretty Princess Beads

Puff Ball Magnets

Pushing Puff Balls

Sink Mat Weaving

Spooning Beads

Weaving Art

Yarn and Sandpaper

photo credit: Tired, Need Sleep Blog

Gross Motor

Bean Bag Games

Clothespin Drop

Colorful Catapult

Ping-Pong Basketball

Shape Stretchies

Creative Play

Craft Sticks, Lids, and Velcro

Cupcake Busy Bag

Emotion Mix and Match Faces

Felt Mats ~ Construction & Trains

Felt Toolbox

I Spy Bags

Magnetic Me

Marble Game

Playmat Fun

Silly Faces

Tactile Matching Game

Texture Matching Blocks

Holiday Hoopla

Counting Leprechaun Gold

Egg Matching Game

Fall Fun Busy Bags

Christmas Ideas

Spider Match

Stringing Stars

Preschool Busy Bag Activity Board on Pinterest copy

Would you like your Busy Bag idea to be included in this list? Please comment below, and I will get it added!

For more posts in the Ultimate Guides series, be sure to visit iHomeschool Network!