I recently did a busy bag exchange with a group of girls in my neighborhood. It was such a hit that we did it twice! Our exchange was toddler themed, but they will work for preschoolers as well. Some, my seven-year-old even loved.
How to Host a Busy Bag Exchange:
If you have never heard of a busy bag, or an exchange, for that matter, let me explain! A busy bag is a small, easily transportable quiet play object for children. It is something that you could take with you on errands, or that they could use to play with at home, in a restaurant, in a doctor’s office, at church- anywhere that you may need to keep them entertained.
What we did for the exchange was gather a group of people who want to participate- we decided to keep it at 12 people. Then each person makes- or buys- an item for all 12 people. Then you meet together to exchange them and explain each item. All of these items are very low cost and simple to make.
I made a button snake. This is a very simple project & has been VERY well loved by my little girl. I got some grosgrain ribbon and sewed a large button on one end and a square of felt on the other. Then I cut out a bunch of felt shapes in various colors. In the center of the shapes cut a slit that is large enough to button onto the ribbon.
This is a little pattern matching game that goes along with the Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
There are tons of these kinds of printables out there. She laminated them & used Velcro dots to attach the pictures.