Church Busy Bag- How to keep your toddler busy in church
Keeping a toddler quiet in church can often be a challenge to the new mom or the experienced mom. The best way that I have to keep my toddler quiet in church is by having a “busy bag.” I use the diaper bag as the “busy bag.” One thing to always keep in mind is sometimes, you will have to pull them back to the nursery. Even the most well behaved children will have their moments.
Also remember, some of this comes with experience. If your family has just recently began attending church, being still might be a challenge at first. It is a learning process and they will get the hang of being quiet in church eventually. Try not to get too frustrated with it at first. Most other adults who have young children or older children completely understand. Trust me, when I see a mom struggling with her children and eventually head back to the nursery, I don’t think twice about it. I have been there and I understand so try not to be too hard on yourself!
Here a list on how to keep your toddler quiet in church.
- Snacks. Sometimes the best way to keep them quiet is to give them something to keep their mouth busy. Cheerios, fruit loops, goldfish, dried fruit, raisins, animal crackers, or whatever kind of dry snack your child enjoys. My favorite way to bring some of these snacks are in the Munchkin snack catchers. I bought mine at Wal-Mart. I’ve seen them at Target, Heb, and other retailers but you can also follow the link above to purchase them from Amazon. These are great, inexpensive, and reusable. Toddlers often dump things, knock things off, and are even known to throw things (sometimes at the head of the person sitting in the pew in front of you!) The rubber top keeps things from spilling out if it is accidentally dropped but the rubber is made where they can easily stick their hand in to grab their snack. These also work great for snacks in the car. I also like them because they do not make racket like plastic wrappers and plastic baggies.
- Coloring books. To some this might be an obvious choice. I have coloring books that are not used unless we are in church. To my toddler, these are special coloring books. They can only color in them during church. I also have a separate set of crayons that are always stashed in the bag as well. Kids also love the Twistable Crayons. You could even keep the special crayons in the bag as well.
- Pen and notepad. My daughter loves to doodle in church and at home. She prefers a pen. I don’t know why this one works but it does. It could be because mommy and daddy use pens so she wants to be like us or that she is not allowed to have a pen all the time. She used to write on the couches, walls, toilet seat cover (yes, I have ink marks on the toilet seat cover that I can not get off for the life of me), and whatever else she could find. So she was on a no pen policy for a while. My oldest also enjoys drawing. The picture below is her picture of a butterfly.
- Imagine Ink Books. Kids love these things. There is one marker that only works on the Imagine Ink Book. The kids can color wherever and the colors begin to appear. They come with different characters such as Mickey, Disney Princesses, Hello Kitty, Planes, Thomas the Train and other popular characters. Another member of the church gave my children these and they LOVE them. You can pick them up at Family Dollar for $3. You can also buy the Imagine Ink Books at Amazon but they are more.
- Foam puzzles Don’t underestimate the foam puzzles. Both my daughters love foam puzzles. The simpler ones like the 123 foam puzzle my toddler enjoys and my 6 year old has used the United States and an elephant that is the alphabet. You can find them at Dollar Tree, and Staples carries them at the beginning of the school year for $1! I have purchased the anatomy, brain, digestive system, and more complicated puzzles for home school from Staples to use later on down the road. You can get these online but they are anywhere from $4-$9 which seems to be overpriced when I paid a mere buck for them locally. I keep the pieces in a ziplock baggy when I store them in the diaper bag so we don’t lose the pieces. My toddler also likes to put it together, take the pieces out and put them back in the baggy, and do it all over again. Sometimes she stands in the floor with the puzzle on the pew and sometimes we pull down the bible table (I’m not sure what the correct term is but they have built in tables to hold your bible or song book in the pew in front of ours that folds down when not in use).
- Quiet Books If you browse Pinterest for activities for toddlers, you have probably came across quiet books. They are basically books made out of felt fabric. You can make your own or buy them from Etsy. The Quiet Book Blog has templates so you can make your own quiet book. Pinterest also has many quiet book ideas.
- Stickers Such a simple idea but kids love stickers.
- Felt Food I made a simple bag of chips, sandwich, Swiss cake roll (I forgot to include the roll in the picture) and a lunch bag out of felt to put in the busy bag. They are pretty simple and cheap to make. There are TONS of different kind of felt foods on pinterest. Here is just one board on Pinterest that is loaded with different tutorials for felt food; Make!~Felt Food on Pinterest. I have seen pizza with all the toppings, cherry pie slices, pancakes, eggs, bacon, you name it. The sky is the limit with felt foods. If your not the DIY kind of person, Melissa & Doug sell some felt food. Here are some links on Amazon to felt food; Melissa & Doug Felt Food Sandwhich Set, Melissa & Dough Pizza Set, Melissa & Dough Burrito and Taco Set
- Ask other moms Moms have a knack for finding clever ways to keep their children busy. Sometimes, kids find fascination with normal day objects. When I was little, I would sit with another member of the church. She had this calculator but this wasn’t any calculator. The buttons looked like jewels! LOL For whatever reason, I LOVED this calculator. I still to this day remember that calculator and so does the member. She loves to tell the story of how my mom was about to her wits end of trying to keep me busy so she started keeping me during church and I would be a little angel with her lol. I sat with her until her son had a terrible football accident that left him paralyzed from neck down. One day, my daughter scooted down to a member in church and found a fascination with her mirror. I tried to buy a mirror from the dollar store which worked for a little while but obviously the mirror I bought wasn’t as cool as hers. lol
That is my list of goodies that I use to keep my toddler busy during church.
How do you keep your toddler busy during church? What are your tricks of the trade?