17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Monday, June 26, 2006

A Sunday Diaper Bag Solution...

Throw in diapers, wipes, snacks. Ointment? There. To the toy basket. Dig dig dig. Throw in a few dinosaurs. Add a handful of cars. Dolly too. Not that talking toy, not the noisy rattle, not the car with the motor, not Power Rangers, no, no, no.

So, digging through gobs of toys to find fresh interesting ones and quiet ones for church every week was getting OLD. My objective, with a baby, 3 year old, and 5 year old is currently to keep the kids quiet. Later it will be to keep the kids listening. So, here's my little solution.

It's easier to keep things for church separated from the rest--separate crayons and paper that I don't have to get out and put away each week. Separate small toys and other things, so they don't see them and become bored with them by Sunday.

So, I bought a box of those great Ziploc Easy Zipper Bags, gallon size. You know, the ones with the handy zipper that I'm too cheap to buy for anything else, but for this they are the best! Worth the extra buck. :) I got myself a plastic bin to hold a bunch of them once I filled them up. Then the gathering began. I nabbed stuff the kids don't use a lot, but would be interesting and quiet for church. I threw them in various bags and began my collection. Each week I go to my bin, grab about 3 bags, toss them in the diaper bag and I'm good to go! The endless digging is over! I just have to refresh paper and rotate books/photos once in a while. Here is what my collection is like:

*Large fabric and vinyl squares with holes for lacing. Cool lacing strings and leather. (A random find from a random craft store.)
*Rainbow Drawing (special paper with rainbow colors underneath a black film. The black film is scratched off with a wooden "pencil". Comes with stencils.)
*Paper and crayons
*Small size coloring book, small blank pad, mini-colored pencils
*Magnet board and magnetic letters
*Stickers, paper, mini stickerbooks
*A couple paperback books
*Family photos with a magnifying glass
*Crayola Color Wonder pens and pad
*Lacing cards (I cut out art from The Friend, glued them on heavy paper, punched holes around the edges, and tied on shoelaces to "sew" with.)
*Wooden animal magnets to go with my magnet board
*Alphabet and counting flashcards
*Small plastic lacing shapes like these.
*Magnetic shapes with patterns (An activity put out by CB Publishing through Scholastic books--scholastic often has great quiet activities in their catalogs we got through pre-k.)

Some ideas from kage's post on traveling with kids would be great too--small plastic animals, colorforms, and if you're meeting in the gym cuz your chapel was lit on fire you could even go for the party playdoh pack. Also, consider old Friend magazines and stencils with pencils and paper. Crayola also has a cute mini-marker called Pip-Squeaks if you trust your kids with markers.

Collect as you go--gather lots to add variety each Sunday. Keep them in uniform size bags, and don't get them out during the week. The key--each bag has an entire activity--don't make yourself go to the pencil drawer or the crayon box, just get extra for each bag. Makes it simpler come Sunday!


  • Katie, this is excellent! I hadn't thought of lacing cards, I bet that would buy us some time. i'm going to get some of those!

    BUT, I have to say my favorite part of the post is the casual "if you're meeting in the gym cuz your chapel was lit on fire" - priceless. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, Astoria.
    posted by Blogger marian at 6/26/2006 08:10:00 PM  

  • Kinda an adjunct to this:

    I used to unpack the Church stuff and put it away every week, and then the scout stuff, and then the library . . .etc. etc.

    Now, I use separate totes for each one and never unpack (we have church, library, swimming, and scout bags). Tote bags are cheap and it is much easier to not pack and unpack each time.
    posted by Blogger Julie M. Smith at 6/26/2006 08:14:00 PM  

  • Great ideas!

    A couple of years ago my sis-in-law gave my kids canvas bags with their names decorated on the front. They are fantastic church bags and the best thing is they can carry them! ("If you wanted to bring it, you have to carry it") We load them with the things you talked about then every Sunday morning I say. . .time to check your church bag, they see if there is anything else they want in there, snacks, etc. then they can even go hang them up (we have little hooks for the kids coats) before they go to Primary and as soon as we're home--straight back in the front closet until next week!

    I'm going to have to add the lacing cards--my girls would LOVE those!
    posted by Blogger wendysue at 6/26/2006 09:02:00 PM  

  • DD is only three months old, but I'm taking note! Great ideas!

    Do any of you have "quiet books" like my mother had for us in church?
    posted by Blogger sunny at 6/27/2006 09:00:00 AM  

  • I sat in church last week and watched a mom go through NINE, yes nine books with her toddler in 60 seconds flat. Then...the toddler was done with the books. She spent the remaining hour and nine minutes trying to play games with hands, reintroduce the already looked at books, and shoosh her daughter. UGH! I figured there must be a better way! My son is only 3 months so I have got a few months to go, but thanks so much for the great ideas! Glad to hear there's a better way!
    posted by Blogger Melissa at 6/27/2006 09:36:00 AM  

  • I love these ideas Katie. Especially the lacing cards. Princess wants to learn to "sew" like her mom and I guess that is the best place to start.

    Also, Michaels Craft store is a great place to pick up small coloring books and sticker books. They usually keep them at the front of the store in the cheap bins.

    My mom made Princess a quiet book for her birthday last year. It is AMAZING! I can't imagine how much time she spent on it. Apparently she has some old pattern that has tons of different ideas for pages. I found this site that has more quiet book ideas.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 6/27/2006 09:46:00 AM  

  • Great post Katie. I've been wanting to get organized for church for a long time now. This is a motivator to get it done. This week even!

    Forget about me making a quiet book. Not gonna happen. I have a friend in Pittsburgh who has a business selling scripture related quiet books and other cool stuff (including Women of the Bible lacing cards--very cool). LittleLit. I'm sure deseret book has some other interesting things as well. I want to include something vaguely religious for them in their church bags.
    posted by Blogger Michelle at 6/27/2006 11:42:00 AM  

  • No, I don't have any quiet books or cute homemade touch/feel books like I grew up with. To me, these adorable, detailed books should be made 1)for your kids before you ever have any or 2) for your grandkids. haha.

    Julie, I have been gathering park type toys and having an "outside" bag. It's tricky to store with our lack of space, but makes getting out the door faster. I like your tote bag ideas very much.
    posted by Blogger Katie at 6/27/2006 04:27:00 PM  

  • My daughter is not yet 2 but she carries her own diaper bag. Just a little backpack with a few diapers, wipes, snacks, books, and little magna doodle (saw generic onces at dollar store last week). So far so good.
    posted by Blogger a spectator at 6/29/2006 01:55:00 PM  

  • A few fun things I have seen at church...

    1. Eye Spy Bag: A bean bag with a clear platic viewing window. The bean bag is filled with tiny objects and small white plastic. beads (baby beans) The child moves the bag around to see how many objects they can spy. You can purchase them online. However they are very easy and fun to make. Mine has an old barbie plate that randomly escaped many cleaning purges.



    2. Magnet Bottle: Fill an old water bottle with bird seed and small colored paper clips. Attach a magnet to the outside of the bottle with a string. Allow the child to move the paper clips around with the magnet. You can also hide other objects that are magnetic inside the birdseed for the child to find.

    3. Eye Spy Bottle: Same principal as #1. The only differance would be using a bottle and supergluing the top closed. (A little easier if you are sewing challenged)

    4. File Folder Games: These teach matching, colors, animals etc. You can buy patterns for them at www.deseretbook.com or www.finchfamilygames.com

    5. Gospel ABC's. http://www.theideadoor.com/QuietBook.html

    6. Quiet Book: You can find patterns online, create your own or buy a pattern book at www.desertbook.com The ones they sell are the ones our parents used back in the day. However, I would say the old method of making them takes forever. Two new inventions since our days in diapers-Photo transfer paper and printers.

    I loved everyone elses ideas of keeping a "special bag" just for Sunday. I hope these ideas help-even if they are a bit generic.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 6/30/2006 03:18:00 PM  

  • I have 2 boys and quiet activities are hard to come by. I recently found a Lacing kit but with little wodden shapes with holes in them to lace. I bought them at Toys R Us for about $4 a kit. They have several varities such as motorized vehicles and farm animals. My 3 year old loves them and can keep quiet for quite some time.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 2/20/2007 02:19:00 PM  

  • Stumbled onto your site. What a find. I looked all over for the baby beans today (about 3 hours) and could not find anyone who understood what I was talking about. Anyway I loved all of your ideas. I am going to give you site name to my daughter in Mississippi so that she can start to get ideas and give ideas. She has two small children who really need to have some projects for quiet church time. Thanks, JoGrandam
    posted by Blogger Diana at 4/13/2007 07:26:00 PM  

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