Cincinnati Family Magazine

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January 31, 2023

Fun With a Paper Bag

Nothing perplexes me more than when my children look at me, all doe-eyed, and say “Mom, I’m bored”  …What?! ….How?!  I. Do. Not. Comprehend. 

Each floor of my home has drawers, cubes, chests, and closets filled with toys, costumes, games, arts and craft supplies, etc. Not to mention, both of my kids have their own tablets chocked full of kid friendly, educational apps. Of course I am often on the floor actively engaged and playing with my kids, but in the 15 minutes I would like to do laundry or cook lunch, my children are simply lost without me, and are somehow, even with tons of toys at their disposal, “bored”?! What gives?

Growing up, my parents worked hard to make ends meet, and I certainly didn’t have as many toys as my children. My mom always managed to keep me entertained though. We often created games and made art projects together- making something from nothing! I would rummage through her closet to create outfits and tell elaborate princess stories. I like to think from my upbringing I gained a huge sense of imagination, and creativity! I was never bored, and I could have fun, literally, with a paper bag. And that is what this write up is about… having fun… with a paper bag!

I love my kids, and I love playing with them, but I also think it is important to be able to entertain oneself! Perhaps by guiding activities and showing my children creative uses for household items, they will grow to think outside of the box, and to be inventive individuals. At the very least, these activities might help fill your day, and avoid dreaded boredom. Remember to recycle your paper bags when you are finished! Most importantly, have fun! 


  1. Paper Bag Puppets

An easy dramatic play craft is to create paper bag puppets. Keep it simple by using crayons and markers to draw on your paper bag, or get fancy and break out the glue gun and googly eyes, feathers, cotton balls, Pom poms, etc. Create farm animals, fairy tale and cartoon characters, or even your own family in paper bag puppet form. The only limitation is your imagination- so have fun coming up with as many paper bag puppets as you can dream up! 


  1. What’s in the Bag?! Game 

This is a fun sensory game to get your child thinking, and using their words. Place an item in your bag and have your child explain what it feels like, and then have them guess what’s in the bag. Take turns placing items in the bag, and guessing. This is a great way for your kids to use adjectives- is the item slimey, bumpy, smooth, fluffy? Does it feel heavy, or light? Some good items to place in your bag include grapes, marshmallows, a Q-tip, toys like cars, and whatever else you think might stump your kiddo. For advanced players, have them write their guess on a piece paper! 


  1. Paper Bag Neighborhood     

This craft is fairly simple, but can be as detailed as you are willing to make it. Fold over the top of a paper bag, and decorate your “home” with markers and crayons. Make enough houses to line a whole street. Create a library, bakery, school, post office, and doctors office, too! What else will your town include? If you are inclined, cut your paper bags so they have functioning doors, and little windows! Drive matchbox cars around your town, or fill the homes with friendly folks like imaginext figures or shopkins. Let your imagination run wild. 


  1. Paper Bag Vest 

A unique way to inexpensively play dress up. Use a large paper bag and cut out holes for the head and arms. Color using markers and crayons, and even add tulle or fabric to your bag with a hot glue gun! Enjoy dressing up like anything your heart desires from a farmer, and a sheep, to a pretty princess and knight, and everything in between. 


  1. Paper Bag Challenge Game 

Place a paper bag on the ground, and try to pick it up- using only your mouth! You can not use your hands, or touch the ground. But you sure can laugh, a lot!!! Fold the bag down each turn, making it harder to retrieve the bag with only your mouth. If you have advanced players, try balancing on one leg while you pick up the bag with your mouth! I recommend playing on a carpeted surface, in case you lose your balance, and wipe out like we did.

About the Author

Amanda Ciani

Amanda Ciani lives in Northern Kentucky with her husband and their three terrific sons. She enjoys writing haiku parenting poems for her Instagram account (@cinciciani), and Twitter account (@haikuciani).