Creating a Shabbat Busy Bag on a Budget

Good morning and Shabbat shalom! After 2 too many years away from synagogue, we’re finally back in-person in our community. It’s been great to be back after so much time. It’s also been a challenging transition for my 6 year old since the last time we went to services was in 2019. Which means she totally doesn’t know how to act or what is going on or anything.

Luckily, we discovered a “Shabbat Bag” in the coat closet at our synagogue during a bathroom break. I can’t tell you how much it saved us for the rest of services. According to the staff, it was a mitzvah project done by of religious school students a while back.  Knowing how hard the transition back to services has been for my daughter, I knew it was a concept I had to share with all of you. We parents (and grandparents!) have to help each other out.

At the risk of using up all of the stickers and quiet activities from the bag at our synagogue, I decided to put together a bag of our own using items I found exclusively at the dollar store, local thrift shop, and budget bins from big box stores.

For my examples, I started with a tote, then added stickers, coloring pages, quiet fidgets, a stuffed animal, and some books. Since we get books from PJ Library, we have plenty of Jewish holiday books to rotate throughout the year. Speaking of which, if you aren’t signed up for free books from PJ Library, click here to learn more about it!

After showing the Shabbat busy bag to my daughter I got a big thumbs up! I imagine we’ll have to refresh the bag with new stickers or change out the occasional toy to keep things fresh, but I’d say we’re off to a good start.

Let me know what you think in the comments below! And if you make one of your own, share your pictures and ideas with me on Instagram (@rinoutloud).

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