Thank you, Pinterest! Someone, somewhere pinned a link to a very smart mom who created activity books for her kids using binders and pencil bags. I was really looking for ideas of quick and easy things to entertain my kids during the sermon on Sundays and while I'm cooking supper and what I found was the post on using pencil bags to organize activities. So clever! They zipper shut but durable. They have grommetted holes so you can put them in a three ring binder. Multiple bags can fit in one binder so you get multiple activities organized into one compact space. Because there is a clear plastic front, you can see what is in them. And the time committment to get it organized is however long it takes you to check out at Walmart or dig through your box of unused school supplies. Pure genius, I tell you!
I made a binder for each kid, with three pencil bags in each binder. I also put a clear page protector in each binder so that I could put in coloring sheets, word finds, mazes, etc.. The activities for the pencil bags require minimal planning on my part. Things like flashcards, wiki sticks, a small notepad with crayons and stickers, and several popsicle stick activities (matching number names to the numbers, popsicle sticks with velcro on the ends for building, matching color names to the color, etc.). After church on Sunday, I take all the used papers out and change out the activities if needed. Really, I usually just change one activity each week so two of them stay the same. Again, it requires minimal work on my part.
I had an extra bag so I decided I would use that in my diaper bag as a toy bag for Zeke. Right now, that bag currently has Hot Wheels in it. Any small toys will fit though. While I like the binders, I am actually more impressed with the one I use in my diaper bag. It keeps all the little toys together. It doesn't get lost in the bag because the clear plastic is sturdy enough to keep it upright. It doesn't get trashed by being shoved in my bag or tossed on the floor and stepped on or chewed on. And the zipper is something Zeke can open by himself.
So many possibilities for these since they will hold items that are not necessarily flat. Maybe organizing all those stupid little parts that go to stuff around your house that you don't need but don't want to lose. (Like screws to a crib you no longer use or the handful of extra cabinet knobs you have laying around just in case.) Or as a way to organize desk supplies with bags for thumbtacks, binder clips, envelopes, etc.. I know I'm way too excited about this...just love it when someone points out to me an alternate, practical use for an item. Just thought I'd share!