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Pioneer Busy Bags for Tots and Preschoolers with Free Printables

How do we survive church services on Sundays? 

Busy bags! 

These Pioneer Busy Bags for Tots and Preschoolers with Free Printables are just one example of the types of busy bags we pack in our church bag to help our youngest.

She struggles with sensory issues and sitting still for any length of time.

Religious activities help so much in situations where reverence is required. 

Pioneer Busy Bags for Tots and Preschoolers with Free Printables

Pioneer Busy Bags for Tots and Preschoolers with Free Printables

All activities in our busy bags are quiet activities, based on church history, religious principles, and/or Christ centered holidays and events.  

All printables in this post are available for free.  

I hope you enjoy!  

Pioneer Clothespin Match Up

Pioneer Clothespin Match Up

This busy bag contains 2 sets of 12 laminated pioneer themed cards.  

Sunshine uses the clothespins to fasten matches together.  

The clothespins really make this simple matching activity extraordinary.  

Clothespins provides opportunities for hands on learning, fine motor development, and sensory input. 

The best part is that Sunshine is learning about pioneers at the same time.  

Sunshine LOVES this activity.  

I presented the activity at home.  

We did it together, and then she did it by herself before we brought it to church.  

She was so excited about her new busy bag!

Source: The free printable for this activity is part of the Pioneer Pack from 3 Dinosaurs.

Stringing Buttons Using Pipe Cleaners

Stringing Buttons Using Pipe Cleaners

When I think about pioneers one of the first things to come to mind is all of the sewing the women did. 

Sunshine is a bit young to learn to sew.  

I don't want to think about the safety issues that would result from bringing a sewing needle to church. 

We've tried lacing cards in the past, but Sunshine thinks they're kites and starts waving them in the air. 

Once again, I didn't think this was appropriate for church.  

Instead I went for a more basic introduction to the concept of sewing.  

In this activity Sunshine strings the buttons on a pipe cleaner.  

I've provided multiple pipe cleaners to provide variation to the activity and in case she decides to thread the pipe cleaner through more than one hole on the buttons.

Pioneer Play

Stringing Buttons Using Pipe Cleaners

Sunshine does better with a very structured learning activity that has an end and a beginning.  

Pretend play is definitely not her forte.  

However, I still want to make sure I provide opportunities for her to do so. 

The Safari Ltd Wild West TOOB has the perfect quiet, hands-on figures to use when learning about pioneers.   

I removed the Indian characters along with figures who had guns, to provide for more reverent play.  

My husband and I were a little concerned Sunshine might start acting like the animals in the set, using a loud voice during our meeting, but she didn't.  

Instead she played quietly for a few minutes, before putting them away and moving on to the next activity.

Handcarts & Wagons Sorting Activity

Handcarts and Wagons Sorting Activity

When learning about the pioneers, it's important to learn the difference between a handcart and a wagon.  

For this activity, Sunshine will examine several pioneer themed paintings identifying handcarts and wagons in each.  

She will then separate the paintings.  

Those that have handcarts, she will place under the handcart card.  

Paintings of wagons, she'll place under the wagon card.  The scene in each painting is beautiful.

Source:  I created the printable for this activity.  The Pioneer Busy Bags for Tots & Preschoolers Printable Pack is a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, follow the directions at the bottom of this post.

Picking Berries Transfer

Picking Berries Transfer

Many pioneer children had the responsibility of collecting berries while on the trail.  

I thought it might be fun for Sunshine to practice either using her fingers or tweezers.  

She won't transfer from bush to basket, but she can practice transferring between two pails.  

Pom poms are being used as berries to keep the activity quiet.  

If she decides to be irreverent with the pails, we'll just move on to a different busy bag activity.

Campfire Snack

Campfire Snack

Sunshine is still at an age where snack is sometimes necessary during sacrament meeting.  

This activity is my attempt at being creative with snacks in church.  Lol.  

The pretzel sticks represent fire wood. 

The yellow and orange fruit snacks are fire.  

Sunshine can build her own camp fire if she wants to.  

Chances are she won't, but I still think the idea is pretty cute.  

If you attempt to make this snack, be sure to press a fruit snack into the top of some of your pretzel sticks to keep them together.  

Fruit snacks along the bottom also help.  

Otherwise the pretzels just topple over. 

Campfire Snack

Sunshine is already excited about church on Sunday.  

She was quite disappointed to learn that church is still a few days away.  

(I was putting the last few busy bags together today and she happened to see them.)  

I won't lie, putting together these busy bags is work, but if they help Sunshine, the work will be worth it.  

So far, the busy bags are helping her more than I could have ever imagined.  

The best part is they can also be used for Family Home Evening and other church activities!

If you're looking for more pioneer activity ideas, be sure to check out the activities below.

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4. Click the confirmation link in the thank you message.

5. Once the confirmation is complete, you will receive another message with the Subscriber Only Freebies Link and Password.

6. Click on link and type in password. (The password is cap sensitive.)

7. Find the printable pack you are looking for listed in alphabetical order, click on it, and viola!

We hope you enjoy your free printable.

Note: If you are already a newsletter subscriber, open your most recent newsletter. At the bottom you will find a link to the Subscriber Only Freebies page, along with the password in case you forgot it.

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy the resources below.

Montessori-inspired Native American History Printable Pack Montessori-inspired Explorers and Colonists Printable Pack Scripture Ideas for Families


  1. What great ideas! It sounds like Sunshine is very lucky to have you! Busy bags have always been my favorite distraction for little ones. Our favorite were puzzle busy bags. (I linked them to your roundup.) I hope things continue to get better and better for you and your family at church. Hang in there!

  2. I love all your busy bag ideas! You always do an amazing job on your unit studies and I love the Pioneer theme. You got my creative juices flowing for a future post! ;)

  3. I'm so happy for you guys that you have found an option that works for you guys in church :) These activities look so fun and inviting so I can understand how Sunshine would enjoy them ;) I love the theme, too!

  4. This is awesome! My kids are going to love having a change of activities during Sacrament. Thank you so much for taking the time to share.

  5. I love your busy bags, Renae! And how wonderful to hear that they're helping Sunshine! Thanks so much for featuring my posts, too. I pinned your post and featured it at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page. :)