(busy bag swap 2013) tips for hosting a busy bag swap

photos by: Kate Eschbach Photography

I hosted my 2nd annual busy bag swap last month and had so much fun with it! I get tons of emails asking me how to organize a busy bag swap, so I thought I’d blog my tips. You can find more tips from last year at Chiquita Moms. Now go grab a few of your mommy friends and put together a swap of your own. The kids will love their new activities and your friends will thank you for occupying their kiddos.

5 Tips for Hosting a Busy Bag Swap:

1. Limit your guests and set an age range. Last year there were 30+ moms and we all had to make 30+ bags, which was very tedious (especially for all of the procrastinators of the group haha). This year, I divided the moms into 2 groups – a toddler group (0-3) and a preschooler group (3-6). I capped each group at 15 kids, so moms would only have to make 15 bags per child. Much more doable and moms got age appropriate bags this year.

2. Give examples of appropriate busy bags. Some of your guests might be new to the world of busy bags, so you’ll want to have a ready made list of busy bag ideas. In my invitation, I gave examples of what a toddler bag (i.e. sensory bottles) vs. a preschooler bag (i.e. complex puzzles) looked like. I also created a “Toddler & Preschooler Activities” board on Pinterest full of busy bag ideas that they could reference.

3. Give plenty of notice and reminders. Busy bag making is a big commitment and many require a lot of time and effort. You’ll want to give at least a month’s notice so your guests can get to work. I set up a facebook event page so I could broadcast reminders about the event from time to time – another great way to not only remind your guests about the swap, but to also get them excited for it.

4. Enlist help. Lots of help! I couldn’t have pulled this off without my husband, parents and friends all chipping in to help me…and completely taking over for me while I nursed my little one. From setting up to greeting guests to sorting the bags to tearing down, my helpers were amazing! Even if you plan on hosting a smaller swap, I still recommend having at least 1 helper.

5. Have a plan B in case of bad weather. Weather reports showed a high chance of rain on the day of my event this year and I was scrambling last minute for a plan B. Luckily we didn’t get rained out and got to enjoy the park.

Thank you to the following companies for being part of the Busy Bag Swap:

Chiquita: Facebook, Twitter

Clif Bar: Facebook, Twitter

Consumer Crafts: Facebook, Twitter

CoverMate: Facebook, Twitter

CraftProjectIdeas.com: Facebook, Twitter

DecoArt: Facebook, Twitter

Duck Brand: Facebook, Twitter

HappyFamily: Facebook, Twitter

Kate Eschbach Photography: Facebook, Twitter

Oriental Trading Company: Facebook, Twitter

Pick Your Plum: Facebook, Twitter

Poppy Seed Projects: Facebook

Pretzel Crisps: Facebook, Twitter

Reuseit.com: Facebook, Twitter

Shamrock Farms: Facebook, Twitter

The Rainbow Retreat: Facebook, Twitter

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I'm Vanessa and it's my mission in life to spread my love of hot glue guns and glitter to others. I suffer from craft ADHD, regularly working on at least 10 projects at the same time and my craft room looks like a tornado hit it. My first craft book, Party in a Jar, was published in 2014. I look forward to crafting with you!

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