1 Brown Paper Bag + 1 Toddler = 6 Fresh Activity Ideas

by stef tousignant.

Whether you are a full-time nanny who’s tired of the same old activities or working a temp job in an unfamiliar household, these fresh ideas for fun using a run-of-the-mill brown paper bag (you know, the kind you get at the grocery store) will spice up any day (or week!) with a toddler.

Make Wings.

Toddlers love to dress up. Grab two brown paper bags and ask your charge to choose the type of wings they want (examples include bat, fairy, and owl). Then, using the bag handle as the tip of the wing, cut out the shape of one wing from each bag, leaving the bottom intact. Attach each bottom section for a strong “spine” of sorts, cover with cut-out (or hand-drawn) feathers and voila! Wings! Let your charge paint or color their brand new flying gear to make ‘em pop and then head outdoors for flying lessons!


Make a toddler-sized hula skirt by cutting the bottom and handles off the bag. Next, cut strips running vertically to about two-thirds up the bag. If you are caring for an older toddler that is learning to cut, this is a great task for them; just draw on lines for them to cut along with a pencil. Once the cutting is done, it’s time to try the new skirt on! It will probably be too big, so tighten the waist using tape. Wiggle those hips!

Fun with Shapes!

Challenge your toddler charge to a shape-sorting extravaganza using this homemade toddler-sized shape sorter. Cut a variety of shapes in all different sizes out of the bottom of a bag. Then find objects to drop inside – anything will do! Shake the bag by its handles and see what falls out and what stays in. Bam: pre-math skills straight from the grocery store!

Hit the Road, Jack!

Cut a number of paper bags into four-inch strips of “road” and have your charge set up a large road configuration. Then tape the lanes down with blue tape. This is great for inside or outside!

Make Paint-Free Art.

Use two bags for this activity. Cut the bags open and tape them together, making one large canvas. Bring your creation outside and sprinkle Kool-Aid packets in a variety of colors all over the surface of the bags. Next, wet your charges’ feet and let them stomp around. Add some small spray bottles of water and you have the perfect outdoor activity for a hot day!

Build a Pooch-Sized Purse.

If your charge has a small stuffed dog, they will totally love this! Cut one of the short sides of the bag low enough that the doggie can peek out, then cut the bag under the existing handles to make a bigger hole for a toddler-sized arm. Decorate with glitter, stickers, and even the dog’s name. Don’t forget a matching blanket for doggie comfort!

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons.

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons.