No Mess Busy Bag Ideas for 2 Year Olds

One of my dear friends is about to have a baby, whoohoo! The challenge for her is that her 2 and a half year old is full time at home too, so I thought it a good idea to make her these busy bags to keep her occupied while mom is nursing the baby.

9 Busy bag ideas

It is essential that these activities would be easy enough and mess-free, since mom won’t be able to assist big sis while busy nursing, so I have thought hard about what to put into the bags. Most of the activities can be done over and over again, and some items could be used in different ways. (PS: see THESE ideas for your 4 year old!)

1) Peg the same coloured craft stick to the same coloured peg.
This aids in fine motor skill development and colour matching skills. Easy to make yourself: colour the pegs with felt tipped pens(or paint them) the same colour as the craft sticks.


Coloured pegs ans sticks

2) Egg carton and pipe cleaner construction.
Sticking the pipe cleaners in different ways into the holes make for interesting construction activity. Also good for fine motor skills, and creativity. Make it yourself by poking holes into a egg carton and providing different coloured pipe cleaners.

Egg carton and pipe cleaners

3) Pompom Play
See more on this activity(and how I made it ‘Travel Safe’) here.

Pompom play

4) Thread a bangle
Using pipe cleaners and beads for this activity, assuming she won’t attempt to eat the beads;) Great for fine motor skills and the beads could provide the opportunity for colour matching, counting etc. too!


5) Stickers on a toilet tube roll
I remember my daughter looooved stickers at this age! We have flip files full of stickers she stuck over and over again. This is the only activity that will only keep for one use. Make it yourself by making marks on the toilet roll where the stickers must go.

TP roll and stickers

6) Buttons!
I’ve made her this card to use together with the buttons. Here are more ideas on how to play with buttons.


7) Simple Shape puzzle with craft sticks.
These are so easy to make: draw shapes/pictures on two craft sticks so that it will fit together again.

Shape Puzzles

The last two ideas are coming from a blogging buddy of mine, Nicolette, over at Powerful Mothering. Pop over to see more awesome ideas on her blog!

8) Bottle cap matching game.
Simply turn the caps upside down and play the memory game with it: guessing where the “friend” is. Make it yourself by sticking foam stickers on the inside of bottle caps.

Matching game

9) Craft foam threading shapes
Cut shapes(or use pre cut pictures) and make holes around the shapes/pics. I’ve attached tooth picks(sharp points cut off) to yarn to make threading easier.

Foam shapes

Mommy could keep these busy bags close to her nursing chair, and each time she is busy with baby, Big sis can choose a special bag to play with. This will help her to not feel left out when mom is busy with the newborn, and mom has her hands free to focus on nursing.

All 9 bags

I’ve placed each activity in it’s clear bag, that way she doesn’t have to open each bag to see what is inside when choosing. They all went into a pretty gift bag as a “present” to her, making her feel special too!

Do you have a copy of this awesome book yet? (Click on the pic to go buy from Amazon)

Be sure to check out these busy bag ideas too: A-Z of Busy Bags Series
Ocean Felt Busy Box
Garden Felt Busy Box
Rocket Name Puzzle


  1. says

    Thanks so much for sharing these ideas – great for a gift idea for the young child when your friend has just had a baby or for your own children! You have inpsired me to get a few of these ready for while we travel in the car or need to wait for doctors appointments etc!!

  2. Jenni says

    Hi Nadia,
    Where did you get the clear zippered pouches? I’ve been using ziploc, but would love something more durable without paying the price of a pencil pouch. Thanks!

  3. Hayley says

    What an amazing friend! I wish I had someone in my life who would have made these for my daughter when her sister was born one week after her second birthday! You’ve really inspired me to make some of these for her when I get the chance (bubba is just 4 months so I have my hands full!) thanks for your post! Xx


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