Simple Toddler Busy Bins


Good morning! I can’t wait to share this with you. I had a tough time coming up with things for Audrey to play with for times when I need to get some work done. So I kept my eye out for things that are either free or cheap to put in some of these plastic bins that I already had on hand from wal-mart.


I picked up a few duck’s in the dollar spot at target. Audrey loves to play in the water with her ducks.


Rubber ducks get so yucky when water gets in them so I hot glued their mouths shut. :) No mold for them and now they can’t talk back! haha Audrey can put her ducks in the water and play with them without me worrying about her getting sick. I will lay a few towels down and let her get a little messy with this busy bin.


I got these cute little wooden cars from the dollar spot and a bag of beans I had. Instant dirt! :)


I saved up some leftover magazines for Audrey to cut up with different shapes of scissors that I had in my craft supplies. I supervise her with this of course. I think its so important to make sure kids can cut with scissors before kindergarten. I don’t care if she makes a mess either. I also encourage her to glue collages together.


Target had their little plastic animal sets on sale at Target during Christmas time for $8 which is a little more than I would have liked to pay but I got them for her for Christmas so used my Christmas budget for that. Eventually I would like to put a little bit of sand in here too.


Here are some wild animals. She loves these and begs to play with them. These are just a few that I came up with. I have a list of little things I have my eye out for to make a few more.

What do you think? Have you ever made busy bins for your kids? Do you have any ideas for more busy bins?



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  1. Julia Kendrick says:

    I love this idea! I am going to make some bins this weekend!

  2. Kerry @ Made For Real says:

    Genius with glue the duck mouths closed – and I always say I’m going to make these bins. I’m going to make up these bins. There. I said it again!!

  3. Anna@stuffedveggies says:

    Cornmeal makes great sand! And, if it spills on the carpet, it just helps clean and deodorize the carpet when you vacuum it up : )

  4. I used to make these for my boys years ago…I used baby cereal in one when my youngest stopped eating it and we had a large box left with little match box cars they loved it…Easy to vacumn up as well…I have also used rice and you can put dried beans, small plastic bugs, buttons etc. and large child size plastic tweezers (that come with those dollar bug kits) and have them use the tweezers to sort the beans, bugs, etc…into cups (small motor skills, color, counting etc)…Chocolate cake mix with small cooking type stuff, small pans, spoons etc…A lil’ messy but they love it…Beads and strings or buttons are also fun…That is just some of the ideas I used for my boys and my class, I teach pre-k :)

  5. Alex @ Good Girl Gone Wife says:

    Love these! I’ll definitely have to keep them in mind when I have kids.

  6. Randomly Fascinated says:

    Great ideas!

  7. Laurel Stephens says:

    I love your busy bins and am pinning them for my future grandchildren (someday :). What a great idea to glue those leaky holes in water toys. I’d think the tub toys were dry, only to drip water all over the floor from those little holes! Pin!

  8. This is a really wonderful idea, thank you for sharing it :) I might make some of these for my toddlers!

  9. I need to make some busy bins for my toddler! Thanks for sharing @ Submarine Sunday!

  10. I think my grandson is still too little for these, so I’d just find them dumped out. I do love the idea of glueing the ducks mouth shut though! They can get quite nasty after a while.

  11. Heather @ What Does She Do All Day? says:

    These are great busy bins! The only “busy bin” like activity I have for my daughter is to give her some dried beans, a muffin tin, a bowl and spoons and it keeps her busy long enough for me to clean the kitchen.

  12. Kris, Neighbor Chick says:

    Erin: Great ideas! I remember how my kids’ bath toys would get icky. Great idea with the duck’s mouth!! I’m off to tweet this and follow you on twitter, too!

  13. Great ideas!

  14. Steph (The Cheapskate Cook) says:

    These look great! I’ll have to remember the duck tip (totally pinning this one). Quick question – do you have trouble with the beans ending up everywhere? I tried this with my 2 y/o and split peas and while he had a blast we ended up vacuuming a bunch of them from the floor, under the couch, in the carpet….

  15. Great idea — thanks for sharing!

  16. Erin from Taking Time To Create says:

    Quiet time… What that? :-)
    I love your idea to hot glue the duck mouths shut. I hate how bath toys can get so gross!

  17. What a great idea! I need to make a few of those for my little girl. I’d love it if you’d link up at this week’s Off the Hook.

  18. fun! you should host a busy bag party:) i always need more ideas

  19. Diann @ The Thrifty Groove says:

    I grew up with my mom always having a “rainy day” box for us to pull out and play with on those days. i keep the same thing for Lia here. I love the tip about glueing the opening of the rubber ducks! That is brillant! Thanks for sharing at TTF.

  20. Great idea. I especially like the one with the magazines and scissors. I have a cabinet in the playroom for the kids to play with that has similar drawers in it to keep them busy.

  21. Love these! I think my little buy would love the beans/cars – especially if we added a bulldozer to the mix! :)

  22. Selene Galindo says:

    Great ideas! Thanks for sharing! I definitely need to make some of these bins for my daughter!
    Selene from

  23. These are great ideas! I’d love it if you’d share this on my link up on Friday
    I circulate my blog posts through my Local MOPS group and I think they would love these ideas.
    Thanks so much,

  24. Felissa (Two Little Cavaliers) says:

    I love the idea of busy bins. They allow children to be creative and have fun during independent play. I think I am going to try a modified version for my dogs and see what they think about it.

    Stopping by from the SHARE YOUR RESOURCES AND SOLUTIONS link up.

  25. Cute idea! I need to start figuring out ideas for this for my little one. Maybe then she’ll stop trying to go after the dog toys.. :)

  26. I’ve been thinking about making some more busy bins for my 18 month old and my 3 year old. I was thinking of a felt board set and maybe a bin of musical instruments (obviously not for quiet time). I’m also thinking of making one with a Dr. set and a doll/stuffed animal.

  27. Found you at a link-up…great post! I’m a big fan of “dump and fill” toys, personally–clothespins in a bottle, pipe cleaners in a parmesan cheese container, buttons in a homemade bank. They’re cheap and keep my daughter busy for hours…
    Or, if you’re interested, check out my Easter Story-themed sensory box here (no chicks, bunnies, or eggs, just the Easter story):

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