Fine Motor Pipe Cleaner Tree – Christmas Busy Bags

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Today’s post is combining 2 of my favorite things this month! A Christmas busy bag and fine motor skills!

Remember that we currently have a sale on the ebook 99 fine motor ideas use the coupon “xmas” to grab your $2 off!

This little busy bag is a fascination to my kids.

fine motor skills with pom poms pegs and pipe cleaners

To make you will need:

To make your tree twist the ends on one side of the pipe cleaners together to secure them together. Next twirl them in spiral on a flat surface.

To store them you will be using the peg. The peg is also going to be used to pick up pom poms and transfer them.

Once you have your pipe cleaners in a spiral pull them from the center up to create a hollow tree. Make sure the opening is big enough for the pom poms.

making a pipe cleaner tree

Transfer the pom poms into the center of the tree with the peg.fine motor with pegs

Younger kids like my 2 year old who currently can’t open a peg can use their fingers or other items that promote fine motor pincer use.
using fingers for fine motor skills

Once the tree is full the kids can have MORE fun removing the pom poms from the tree one by one. Busy busy little ones!pipecleaner tree

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Fine Motor Pipe Cleaner Tree - Christmas Busy Bags

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Felt Puzzles – Christmas Busy Bags

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This felt puzzle is another solving busy bag. Here the children get a bunch of felt bits and then can create with them.

Felt Puzzles - Christmas Busy Bags

I made a mini felt board to go with this activity by gluing the green felt to some cardboard.

Use the tree and ornament template from the lacing shapes if you are unable to free hand cut these.

The yellow star below is also 4 triangles and a square.Felt Puzzles - Christmas Busy Bags

This tree is 4 triangle and a rectangle.

I think my favorite about this puzzle is that the kids know that the pieces are going to make something but what? They turn the shapes around and around until they fit.Felt Puzzles - Christmas Busy Bags

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Felt Puzzles - Christmas Busy Bags

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Threading Pipe Cleaners – Christmas Busy Bags

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Simple and classic busy bag! Great for fine motor skills.

threading skills for fine motor

For this one add some jingle bells for extra festive feel as well as star beads and don’t forget the Christmas tinsel pipe cleaners! pincer control with threading

Thread them randomly or thread them to a pattern.christmas busy bag threading jingle bells

When you are done make a jingle bracelet too! Our bag contained enough beads and jingles for 3 of these.jingle bell braclets

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Threading Pipe Cleaners - Christmas Busy Bags

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Memory & Matching Game – Christmas Busy Bags

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I just love a quick printable busy bag and the funny thing is the kids seem to love these more than the felt busy bags I make!

This one can be used in 3 ways. Simply to layout all the cards and comment on the images and tell a story, pair up the matching images or to turn the cards over and play a memory matching game!

memory matching cards layout

To make these memory matching cards you will need:

You can either print these on stock cards or paper and laminate them. These cards are made to the size of this laminating pouch which ensures I don’t have to cut each and every card a second time. It also makes the cards uniform which is great for storage.

Print the blue backing first then turn your paper over and reinsert into the printer so that the front of the cards print on the other side.
match them by picture busy bag

Use these seasonal cards to pair up the similar images or as a memory matching game by turning them over.

memory match the cards busy bag

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Memory & Matching Game - Christmas Busy Bags

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Festive Lacing Shapes – Christmas Busy Bags

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Lacing has got to be one of the original classic busy bags. In today’s Christmas Busy Bag we make some festive themed ones.

My kids are no strangers to lacing shapes as I have made them before, see my lacing shapes tutorial here but surprising them with some new shapes to lace has re-kindled the interest!

Festive Lacing Shapes - Christmas Busy Bags

To make these Festive Lacing Shapes Busy Bag you will need:

Trace your shapes, cut them out then use the hole punch around the edge. Try not to be too close to the edge as when little ones use this they tend to be ruff and the holes will easily tear if you made them too close to the edge of the foam. They work perfectly further in, like in the image below.

Festive Lacing Shapes - Christmas Busy Bags

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Festive Lacing Shapes - Christmas Busy Bags

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Build a Snowman – Christmas Busy Bags

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Everywhere I look these days is that Olaf snowman from Frozen! Well, my kids couldn’t care less about that movie. (insert shock, gasp reaction)

Today’s Christmas busy bag is based on the traditional snowman.

Once again a rather simple busy bag to make but a hit to keep the kids busy while doing Christmas preparations or waiting somewhere.

snow man busy bag

Gather your colorful felt collection and get cutting!

I made a template with all the parts to make this busy bag. You can download it here.

I also used some blue felt for a backing. I really should have checked that before I cut a hat the same color!build a snow man busy bag

But no matter we had a spare hat. Oh and those spare mittens? They can be shoes.. lolbuild a traditional snow man

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Build a Snowman  - Christmas Busy Bags

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Craft Stick Puzzles – Christmas Busy Bags

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I just LOVE these craft stick puzzles. We have also made a non seasonal puzzle which was a big hit with the kids. I personally loved the swirls.

As these are for the 25 Christmas Busy bags series I am doing this month I decided to make them magical and all shiny!

snowflake craft stick puzzles

These are also super simple to make!

To make this Christmas busy bag you will need:

Tape the 10 sticks neatly together like below and turn over to add your art!

how to make a craft stick puzzle

For my blue jumbo craft sticks I did a snowflake puzzle. I had to first search on your tube for a tutorial for HOW TO draw a snowflake, but once I saw how it was easy and I drew them all over.

Once the paint was dry I used the silver glitter glue and rubbed it randomly over the surface to give a shimmery and magical effect. Don’t forget to number your sticks 1-10 while they are still taped together!

craft stick puzzles for christmas busy bags

I also made a tree puzzle with actual beads on it for decorations. Try to keep the beads on one stick and not get the sticks glued together!

First up draw your tree. Here I used the tree template from the lacing shapes and took my green paint to make a glow effect to the tree then used a glitter pen to make the outline stick out more.

More glitter glue was used as tinsel and the beads as ornaments. Again remember to number your sticks 1-10.christmas tree craft stick puzzle

The only thing left is to let it dry then go play!

These make a fabulous busy bag and my kids just love puzzles so this one is a hit.craft stick tree being together

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Craft Stick Puzzles - Christmas Busy Bags

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Fine Motor Button Tree – Christmas Busy Bags

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This Christmas Busy bag has a heavy focus on fine motor skills by using buttons.

Fine Motor Button Tree a great Christmas Busy Bags

I am sure you have noticed that all the busy bags we have made so far are rather easy to make and that is what I love about this series and all 25 Christmas busy bags.

To make this busy bag cut out a tree in green felt (I used this template) then make dots with hot glue on the tree felt and stick down the buttons. YES! that’s right! NO SEWING!

Next cut a few colorful felt circles and make small slits about the length of the buttons in the middle. You can use a spare button to measure this before you cut.

Make sure you also cut a star for the top! (use this templates smaller star if you are unable to free hand cut)felt circles and buttons for fine motor control

Have fun using your new  busy bag and decorating that tree!!learning to button

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Fine Motor Button Tree - Christmas Busy Bags

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Bow Sorting – Christmas Busy Bags

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This Christmas busy bag is super simple and tons of exploratory fun!

colorful bows

To make this Christmas busy bag:

Buy a bunch of simple Christmas bows, you can buy them in varying colors and sizes. I used my usual tray to contain the busy bag activity and added a few plastic cups.

If you get bows in various sizes have the kids sort them by size. Ours were all the same color so we did some color sorting and counting as I had selected 5 of each color. christmas busy bag sorting idea

Use the added cups to further color sort or pour from cup to cup like my 2 year old loves to do!playing and sorting with bows

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Bow Sorting - Christmas Busy Bags

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Counting Christmas Lights 1-20 Free Printable – Christmas Busy Bags

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Continuing our 25 Christmas Busy Bags today this busy bag is all about counting up to 20 white lighting up the tree!

christmas tree with buttons busy bag

To make this simple busy bag you will need:

  • The free tree printable (download it here)
  • 20 buttons or pom poms
  • Optional laminator (keep an eye on this one if you don’t have one yet! It has great reviews and always goes on sale)

light up the tree with lights

You can use buttons like I did to “light” your tree or you can use pom poms or any other object that fits on the circles.

count up to 20 christmas lights on your pretty tree

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Counting Christmas Lights 1-20 Free Printable - Christmas Busy Bags

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Felt Tree Stacking – Christmas Busy Bags

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Todays Christmas Busy Bag is full of size logic plus color sorting and you get a beautiful mini tree when you are done!

stacking tree made from felt

To make this busy bag you will need:

  • color felt in a variety of happy colors
  • 1 normal craft stick
  • 8 mini craft sticks (you can use normal ones inn a pinch)
  • hot glue gun

parts for the activity

Cut your felt into circles of varying sizes. I cut 3 or 4 pieces of felt at once making this a color sorting tree as well. The kids can match up all the color circles first before stacking them up. Cut a slit in those circles so it fits over the craft stick which will be your tree.

Don’t forget the star! (If you are bad at free hand cutting a star like I am, I used the smallest star on the star printable from this star craft we did last year as the template)

For the stand of the tree I used mini craft sticks and hot glued them together to support the main standing tree craft stick. To do this I took 2 mini sticks added a small bit of hot glue around the center area then took the green stick and put it standing up between the two mini sticks. Take another 2 mini sticks and lay them in the opposite direction so that the green stick is now wedged between the 4 mini sticks essentially creating a base for your tree.

Add 2 pairs just like this to secure.

the base for the stacking

Layout your busy bag and let the kids at it! After color sorting and size sorting the circles it is time to make a stacking tree.cut various felt circles

This one kept the kids busy for some time. Successful busy bag, YAY!stack the felt in size

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Felt Tree Stacking - Christmas Busy Bags

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Easy Felt Ornament Busy Bag – Christmas Busy Bags

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Another super simple busy bag today!

Don’t you just love super simple ideas that keep the kids busy!

For this one you will need some felt in your color choice cut to resemble an ornament. You can even do a plain circle.

Get creative with other felt cuts in circles, triangles or squares. Add some wavy or sparkly ribbons and you are all set to play!

Easy Felt Ornament Busy Bag

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Printable Reindeer – Christmas Busy Bags

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Part of my 25 Christmas Busy Bags series, where I bring you some fun busy bags to keep the little ones occupied.

This busy bag has got to be up there on my list of it is just AWESOME. 😀

The focus of this bag is fine motor skills by using the mini pegs to reattach various parts to Rudolf. This also provides an opportunity to learn some anatomy. Like why do reindeer have antlers? and what’s with the big red nose?

Completed clip reindeer

To make this Reindeer Busy Bag you will need:

Print out the page on your card stock and cut out. Laminate the bits for a longer lasting busy bag.

Now use your hot glue gun along the sides of the mini pegs and press them onto the cut out bits. Be careful to have the items all lined up correctly so that the ends clip on in the right way.

hot glue the mini pegs

At around age 3 or 4 your little one will be able to use pegs and mini pegs. My 2 and half year old is unable to open a peg at this stage so my 5 year old enjoyed this Christmas busy bag with many comments about the missing reindeer parts.

fine motor mini peg use

You will also notice that I use a tray in all my busy bags. I have a few reasons for this. Firstly it contains the items and secondly it contains the items to each kids busy bag thus stopping the fighting over loose parts and which belong to who’s activity!learning the anatomy of a reindeer

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Printable Reindeer  - Christmas Busy Bags great for fine motor skills

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Ribbon Pulling Spice Bottle with Bells – Christmas Busy Bags

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This Christmas busy bag is one of the most popular with my kids.

It features a pulling of the ribbons with jingle bells on the ends!

ribbon pulling busy bag

I originally made this one in one spice bottle with bells on either end. This was great and the kids excitedly played with it but when the ribbons were all pulled out they tried to put it back into the bottle. The lid is a bit hard to open for the kids so this ended their play.

As is usual for me I wanted to improve this and give more play time with this Christmas busy bag.fun busy bag with jingle bells

So I got another spice bottle, cut it in half so I had two of the top sections. I had to use my husbands saw to cut the spice bottle enough to get my scissors in there but it turned out great.

To make you will need:

  • 2 spice bottles with largish holes (or other container)
  • a few lengths of thin ribbon in various colors
  • Cutting supplies, a saw (or similar), scissors
  • tape supplies, duct tape, washi tape
  • various colors of jingle bells

When measuring for the length of your ribbon use the length of your toddlers arm, because that is as far as they can pull.cut your spice bottle in half

I then used duct tape to hold the two tops together. Now this is rather ugly. Enter in washi tape!!

Tape up the middle and make it pretty.washi tape spice bottle

Thread the ribbon from the bottom up of the lid and attach the bells. I choose a bunch of different colors to make it interesting. Once the one lid is threaded pull the un-belled ribbon through the tube of the bottle and thread the next lid. Secure the lids to the spice bottles.jingle bells on ribbons

Now your new busy bag toy is ready for playing!

My 2 year old was more than happy with this altered version, which occupied for sure way longer than the one sided bottle!
ribbons in a spice bottle

I even caught my 4 year old helping himself to this toy! I found him sitting on the little mat I have in the kitchen pulling the ends in amusement.  Ribbon Pulling Spice Bottle with Bells

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Ribbon Pulling Spice Bottle with Bells - Christmas Busy Bags

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Counting Sticks – Christmas Busy Bags

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For our 4th Christmas busy bag I went with a counting combination with some number recognition.

This one is good for any season by changing up the items used on the one craft stick. To make this one Christmas themed I used stars and snowflake beads.

setup coutning sticks with pegs

To make you will need:

  • 10 jumbo craft sticks
  • 10 beads
  • 5 wooden pegs
  • black marker pen
  • hot glue gun

shapes matching to words

This one is rather simple to setup too! Hot glue those beads onto the jumbo craft sticks in order 1 to 5. Other glue works as well but just takes longer to dry!

Write the corresponding one, two, three, four and five. Then number your begs with the numerals 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5!

matching numbers to words

Now you have a lovely counting busy bag to play with! As you can see in the pictures the pegs can be clipped to the letters or the beads.matching up all the numbers

I love this set for my toddler for counting as well as my preschooler who is working on name recognition.complete set

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Counting Sticks - Christmas Busy Bags

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Feed Rudolf the Reindeer – Christmas Busy Bags

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Day 3 of our Christmas Busy Bags is a rather simple busy bag.

I used a spice bottle with largish holes that easily fits pipe cleaners and made it look like Rudolf!

Feed Rudolf the Reindeer

To make you will need:

  • a spice bottle
  • orange, green and brown pipe cleaners
  • googly eyes
  • a red pom pom
  • hot glue gun
  • optional bit of felt for pretend play grass

Cut the brown pipe cleaner into 4. To get the antler effect wrap one bit of pipe cleaner around the other. Hot glue the antlers and face on the spice bottle.

Cut the orange and green pipe cleaners into bits. These represent carrots and moss which reindeer eat.

PLAY!carrots and greens for Rudolf the red nose reindeer

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Feed Rudolf the Reindeer - Christmas Busy Bags

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Body Matching – Christmas Busy Bags

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Welcome to day 2 of our 25 Christmas Busy bags collection!

For this busy bag I made a few matching pouches for these little craft stick characters.

set of 3 busy bags for christmas characters

Below you can see all the parts that I cut out and gathered to make these cute characters.

The items are made from felt and glued together with hot glue. Because these are all very simple shapes I didn’t use a template.

Break down of busy bag items:

  • red, white, black, brown, orange and blue felt
  • 3 sets of googly eyes
  • brown pipe cleaner
  • 1 white and 1 red tiny sparkly pom pom
  • 3 jumbo craft sticks in red, white and brown (I painted the white and brown on a plain jumbo craft stick with water colors)
  • hot glue gun

how to make a body matching busy bag

Instead of sewing the pouches closed I use hot glue and measured with the stick still in the area I wanted it. I glued the left then the right because hot glue cools so fast so this gets me the maximum adhesive. hot glue short cut

Once your little characters are complete let the play begin!large craft sticks santa snowman and reindeer

Ahh this red one belongs to Santa!the santa craft stick and body

Just for fun put the wrong characters in the pouches or jackets as my 5 year old calls them. OH NO!reindeer in the wrong jacket

Yes! Mr snowman belongs in this one. These are also great for a bit of role playing.snowman in his correct jacket body matching busy bag

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Santa, Reindeer and Snowman Body Matching - Christmas Busy Bags

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Jingle Bell Abacus – Christmas Busy Bags

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I just love this time of year! So many family bringing together events and activities to be done, the festive season filled with tinsel and jingle bells. As well as any religious aspects that are celebrated.

This year I have made 25 Christmas themed busy bags for the kids! These are great to occupy while I tend to the new baby, housework, festive cooking and the other 50 million little items like laundry.

A new Christmas busy bag will be available every morning for the first 24 days of this December!

Our first Christmas busy bag is this rather cute and easy to make Jingle bell abacus.

jingle bells abacus with pipe cleaners

To make you will need:

First you will want to glue your frame together using the hot glue. You can use other glue but those take time to dry.

create a tree in the centre

Thread the jingle bells on to the pipe cleaners so they line up in numbers 1 to 5. Here you need to make sure that you have big enough jingle bells so that they move freely on pipe cleaners. I suggest taking a pipe cleaner with you when you purchase them or buy a few different sizes of jingle bells just to be safe.hear it jingle

Add a dash of hot glue then wrap the pipe cleaner ends around your frame over the hot glue securing them in place.

count the jingle bells

Time to play!

Count the jingle bells

Slide them up and down the pipe cleaners

Center them to create a tree

Shake the frame and dance about!

slide the jingle bells from one side to the other and count

This is a great touch and hear busy bag and both my 2 and half year old as well as 5 year old enjoyed it.shake and inspect the jingle bells

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Jingle Bell Abacus Tree - Christmas Busy Bags

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