This is how I operate. I'm an extremely motivated magpie.
So I left The Container Store with a small accessories box and a soap box. At Toys R Us, I picked up a Hot Wheels car, a package of Silly Putty and a new box of crayons. I picked up a free newspaper on the way home and then stopped off at Joann's with the little guy after school for a few small supplies (a sheet of craft foam and a lace). Everything else I used to build the busy box I had on hand already, so my grand total spent was only about $6, including what I spent on the box itself. The idea is really adaptable to using whatever small toys or craft materials you have on hand, but this is the selection I came up with:
Pinterest and thought it was perfect for a Legoland road trip busy box. I made my cards using Gimp (a free Photoshop like program that I just love to pieces for layout type stuff). I "laminated" them front and back with packing tape and used a hole punch and a binder ring to tie the cards together.
Button Snake and a Lacing Card. The card is foam sheet that I cut into a heart and hole punched all the way around. The lace is just a bit of cord from the by the yard ribbon section at Joann's (although, if I'd had a spare shoelace on hand, that'd have worked just as well). The button snake is made from vintage buttons and random bits of ribbon and felt from my craft room.
And then a new Hot Wheels car (in the wrapper, since unwrapping is half the fun) and a stack of animal trading cards from Rhys' old issues of National Geographic For Kids, clipped together with a yellow binder clip I found in the junk drawer.
Road Sign Bingo printout with Post-it flags to mark off the signs.
Here's what the box looks like all put together:
I'm really pleased with how this turned out! All 9 activities fit neatly inside the box (which is about half the size of a shoebox), so this really is perfect for travel. I'm also super excited that this came together for only $6. I'm always falling prey to crafty ideas that end up costing me way more in supplies than they're worth. This idea, though, really did come together for only a few dollars. The idea is adaptable so that I might have spent more, but then again, I might have spent less, even nothing! When I was planning this project I searched "toddler busy bag" on Pinterest and found pages upon pages of ideas, most that would be inexpensive or free to put together. At some point, I might replenish this box with a DIY noodle stringing set, maybe some cuter lacing cards, or a piece of fabric with various clasps attached, or a homemade paint chip color matching set . . . the possibilities are practically endless.
For now, I can't wait to see how Rhys likes his new box. I'm keeping it hidden until we get on the road!