Review: Activity Bags

I can say as a parent of 6 children, some days keeping my little ones busy while I am working with the older kids can be crazy at best. We have started using workboxes and that has been working well, but there are still times that I need a quick activity or a few different activities for the little ones to choose from that keep them busy while I get some things done, or sometimes I just need extra ideas to add in our workboxes. I also will also have to admit that we do group science projects quite regularly, but some of the science projects for the upper grade kids just do not ever seem to get done as much as I would like.

Thats where Activity Bags has come to be a huge help for us. Activity Bags are just what the name says, they are learning activities that are stored in a gallon size ziploc bag they averages $1-$2 per bag. The program works on teaching children how to independantly use the bags including teaching them to put them away the way they found them. Each of the Activities in a bag comes on a PDF file and includes all the instructions needed to put together your own activity bags and/or how to organize a swap to swap bags with other moms in your area. They provide you with step by step instructions on how the whole program works so you feel confident in using Activity Bags!

We had the opportunity to review a few different products from Activity Bags, the Preschool Activity Bags 1 and 2, as well as the Science Activity Bags 1, 2, and 3.

There are 2 different ways you can use Activity Bags, you can make the bags yourself and put together what bags you have materials for, or about topics you are learning about. You can also put together a swap where you get together and share the work of making the activities and each make a certain number of 1 or 2 different bags, then swap and each participant will have 1 bag of each of the activity bags.

If you choose to organize a swap they include all necessary materials, information, and forms you will need and then walk you through every step of the process! Here is a little bit more information on some of the information included with your Activity Bags PDF for planning a swap.

6 different tips to coordinting your own activity swap

  • Setting Important Dates and include setting important dates worksheet for you to fill in.
  • Finding Participants- They walk you through the process of trying to find participants for the swap including what information you will need to let anyone who is interested in participating ahead of time what they are committing to.
  • Participant Information Form- form you can enter each participants information into, it even includes what materials they already have on hand so you can match the best activities according to what materials they already have.
  • Assigning Activities- A page you fill out with the Activity Bags each participant is assigned to.
  • Assembling the Participant Packets- They provide you with all the information you will need to put together the participant packets for each participant, including an example of the cover letter you will need to send out.
  • Follow Up- Information on keeping up to date with the participants, including a sample email that can be sent out in advance as a reminder to the participants giving them all important information about the meet up date.

The Activity Swap- There are a few different ways you can plan your activity swap you choose whatever way is best for your schedule, which the book will walk you through deciding. The choices you have for your swap are:

    1. Drop N Swap: Each participant drops off their own completed activity bags on a specific date and time you arrange all the bags and separate the activities for each participant. On a later date and time participants come and pick up their completed activities. 
    2. Sip N Swap: Have all your participants meet at coffee house or some central location to exchange your completed activities.
    3. Social Swap: Meet at someones house at a specific time and date, they will swap their completed activities activities socialize with other mom friends, and have a good time!

Science Experiments Activity Bags 1-3
I was able to also try out the Science Experiment Bags 1, 2, and 3. Each of the Science Experiment Bags contain the complete instructions for each of the science experiments, log pages for students to record their observations, and even answer sheets. They also provide you with all the information to put together a Activity Bag Swap if you choose to do so.

They list the experiments a couple different ways making finding the experiments you want your kids to work on very easy. The first way is by what subject is being covered wether it is Biology, Chemistry, General Science, etc.. and they also include a list telling you what experiments are indoors and what experiments involve going outside. Lastly, included is a list of experiments with the required materials, so you can put together all the experiments you might already have all the materials for around the house. 

Contained in each of the experiments are the complete assembly instructions that includes an experiment description and type, a complete list of the supplies needed for this experiment, instructions for assembly that provide you with clear instructions for putting your experiments together, a list telling you what to put into each of the bags so you can be sure you have the correct materials for each experiment, an experiment label to put on the front of the bag letting students know what experiment they are doing and the supplies needed, and lab pages containing the instructions for the experiment and questions for your student to answer with each step of the experiment.

The lab pages that are included have questions that are simple enough for students to complete on their own, and really get them thinking about whats happening during the experiment, it then goes on to help the student to understand what they are seeing and why. Your student will complete the lab questions independently during each step of their experiment, letting parents and teachers know they completed and understand the experiment.

Science Experiment Bags – 1 – Biology, Nature, & General Science
Science Experiments in a Bag 1 is a 164 page pdf that offers 25 different easy science experiments for children to complete on their own and covers topics in Biology, Nature, and General Science.

Some of the activities that can be found in Science Experiment Activity Bag 1 are:
Balloon Skewer- Students will put a skewer through a balloon without popping it
Can Crusher- Learn how the air around us can crush a soda can.
Carrot Top- Students will use a carrot top and grow it.
Chirp, Chirp- Students will use a crickets chirp to determine the temperature.

Science Experiment Activity Bag -2 – Chemistry, Human Body, & General Science
Science Experiments In A Bag 2 is a 153 page pdf that offers 25 different science experiments for children to complete on their own and covers topics in Chemistry, human body, and general science.

Some of the experiments found in Science Experiments Activity Bag 2 are:
Dancing Peanuts- Ever tried the baking soda and vinegar mix? Well students get to find out what happens when you add peanuts to the baking soda and vinegar mix.
Finger The Culprit- Students get to learn how to finger print using baby powder, black paper, and a paint brush.
Ping Pong Pop- Students use their breath and ping pong balls to play a game.
Static Roller- Students will use a soda can and a balloon to race a soda can across the floor.

Science Experiments Activity Bag – 3 – Chemistry
Science Experiments In A Bag 3 is a 151 page PDF that offers 25 different easy and fun science experiments for children to complete on their own and focuses on topics in Chemistry.

Some of the experiments found in Science Experiments Activity Bag 3 are:
Soda Blast- Students will get to find out what happens when you mix Mentos and diet soda.
Sun Burn- Students will use the power of the sun and a magnifying glass to cut a string.
Oxidation- Students will learn how vitamin c can inhibit oxidation using bananas and apples.
Get Gluey- Students will make glue using milk, baking soda, and vinegar.


Preschool Activity Bags 1-2


Preschool Activity Bags both 1 and 2 offer preschoolers many activities, that cover a wide range of learning skills. Both preschool Activity Bags 1 and 2, contain many educational and fun activities that easily put together using materials mostly found around the house that are very inexpensive for parents to put together.

Preschool Activity Bags 1 and 2 both contain all the necessary materials for each Preschool Activity Bag, tells you how to put the bags together, they give you a few different ways to view the list of activities so it’s easy to find the activities you want or have the materials to do. Also included are step by step instructions on how to organize and plan your own swap if you choose to host one.

Some of the skills/activities that are covered in Preschool Activity Bags 1 and 2 are,

  • 123 Order
  • ABC Order
  • Colors
  • Consumable
  • Motor Skills
  • Hand/Eye Coordination 
  • Matching
  • Observing
  • Patterning
  • Puzzle
  • Sorting

Preschool Activity Bag – 1-
Is a 121 page PDF that contains 34 different activities each containing many different educational skills into each of the different activities. The activities are geared towards preschool children, but in my opinion children both younger and older will also enjoy these activities.

Some of the great activities found in Preschool Activity Bags 1 are,
123 Trail- Children will use a number board with spaces missing, its their job to use the tiles to fill in the missing numbers helping a bunny find his carrot.
In b or d?- Children will use 20 different picture cards and play a matching game trying to match b or d objects, to practice distinguishing between a b an d.
Clip and Straw- Where kids use strips of card stock and paperclips to make geometric shapes.
Color Me Puzzles- where kids color pictures of animals and toys, use contact paper to cover it, and then cut out on the lines to make a puzzle.
Ring Toss- Where kids play a game of ring toss using beaded bracelets and empty water bottles.

Preschool Activity Bags -2-
Is a 126 page ebook containing 33 different activities each containing many educational skills into the activities. The activities are geared towards preschool children, but in my opinion both children younger and older will also enjoy these activities!

Some of the activities found in Preschool Activity Bags 2 are,
ABC 123 Fishing- Pick up letters and numbers using a fishing pole and them match them onto the correct number or letter on the guide.
ABC Hidden Treasure- using a water bottle with rice and plastic alphabet beads children will find the alphabet in abc order using the abc flashcards.
Bag O Buttons- children will sort different buttons into small cups.
Counting Cards- Children will take a number flashcard and count out the beads to match then flip over the card and match the beads to the dots.
Drop-N-Plop- Children will take clothespins and drop them into a plastic tumbler.

Below are photos of completed activity bags (minus the bags) Each preschool activity fits in a plastic 1-gallon zipper bag, Your child learns to take the activity out and put it away all by themself. 



What Did We Think Of Activity Bags?
I have to say that that I love Activity Bags, the activities found in the manuals are wonderful, fun, and educational for children and the directions are clear, simple, and use inexpensive items I already have around the house.

One thing that I found very useful is that they give you many options to choose how you will decide what activities you will use, they offer activities by materials, activities by skills learned, a brief overview and more.They also offer sections in the manuals that answer many of the questions you might ask while using or putting together your Activities In A Bag, and offer tips that will help make the task of filling the bags easier which is very useful to someone using the program for the first time.

I was pleased with the fact that they offer ideas on different materials you could use for the activity making the activities a very low cost option. They also gave buying tips at the end of each activity, telling you if they found any of the material needed for the particular activity somewhere for particularly cheap, helping once again to make these activities as low cost as possible!

The science experiments that we tried were experiments that drew the kids in, and because they had a few different bags of experiments to choose from it let each of the kids choose what experiment they wanted to do, the kids were all doing experiments that looked interesting to them. This is something that is great for us since we usually just do 1 group experiment together, it has given the boys a choice to explore what is most interesting to them. Many of the experiments are ones that can be done independently there are a couple they suggest parent supervision, and I agree with that. An example is that in one of the experiments you need to use a lighter and that is something I wouldn’t want my children using without adult supervision.

The Preschool activities that we tried were all engaging and fun, both Ethan and Gabe really enjoyed using them and often pull out one of their activity bags and use them.  I was pleased as to the amount of different essential skills rolled into each of the bags and was also I was pleased to find out that they learn to use and also take care of the bags independently and the answers are self correcting, so they can use them while I am working on school with the older kids with minimal help from me.

The activities that are in each of the bags could be useful for many things like bringing on longer car rides, sitting in restaurants, waiting in the doctors office, or really anytime your child needs something to keep them busy. I think it is such a better alternative then handing them some type of technology.

We have stored some of our preschool activity bags in a crate in our dining room, and I also am putting some of them into Ethan’s daily workboxes, I put a few in each box so he has a choice on what one he wants to work on for the day. Each of the bags has enough in them for kids to use the activity a few different times so if they find an activity the especially love they can do it over and over without having to waiting for more of that activities to be put together.

I plan on purchasing more of the Activity Bags sets, to have available for the kids to use whenever they want and also to add some to our workboxes. In the future I would like to plan a swap with other moms in the area, I think it would not only be a great way to get all your bags made easier and it would also be a great way to meet other moms in your area!

I would recommend Activity Bags to all parents, teachers,  baby sitters, school co-ops, and anyone who has or works with children. These activities are a wonderful learning alternative for kids that gets them off the couch and gets them involved in fun learning activities ranging from preschool activities to Chemistry! We will be continuing to use Activity Bags for quite a while I’m sure!

What is The Cost Of Activity Bags?

Science Experiment Bags 1, 2, & 3
$ 15.00 individually and
$ 39.00 Science Experiment Bags 1, 2, and 3 bundle.

Preschool Activity Bags
$  15.00  Individually.
$  27.00  Preschool activity bags 1 and 2 bundle.

Preschool Activity Bags 1 and Science Experiments 1 Bundle
$ 27.99

Activity Bags is offering a FREE E-Sampler of the Activity Bags files, when you fill out a short survey.

Activity Bags also has a couple o ther products available that our crew members were able review as well Math Games Activity Bags, Travel Games In A Binder, and Reading Games Activity Bags. Stop over and check some of them out!
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Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received the products listed above at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest opinion of the product no other compensation was given. All opinions are the honest opinions of my children or myself.

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