What to Put in a Church Bag for Kids (Busy Bag Ideas)

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If you have ever taken young children to a church service you know how stressful it can be trying to keep them from running up to the altar and from trying to give their sermon! It can feel overwhelming and daunting at times, but it’s important to have children in church on Sunday mornings! A great option to help you feel more at ease, every Sunday morning, is to pack a quiet busy bag! I’m sharing with you today what to put in a church bag for kids. 

Woman in kitchen packing items into a church busy bag.

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The Importance of Children in Church

We recently discussed this topic a little over on Instagram. If we don’t take our children to church, who will? And if they’re not in church what does that mean for the future of the church? A quiet church is a dead church! So you may be taking your child out or to the cry room, breastfeeding in the pew, or standing in the back trying to get the baby to sleep. But you’re there and God sees you every week doing your best. If we never take our children to church, they’ll never understand, they’ll never figure out how to sit quietly and listen with their ears, heart, and mind. Showing up weekly to church and demonstrating the appropriate behavior, participating in the singing, responses, and reading the scriptures are all ways to show your children what we are to do in church. Much like you would show the steps you take to bake a cake or clean a bathroom.


Pinterest pin graphic to save for later.

Encouragement for the Mom and Dad in Church

I know how it feels when it’s your child who is screaming or making as much noise as possible during church. But let me share something with you that I came across when I visited a church once.

“For Parents:

  • Relax! God put the wiggle in children. They are in His house. He wants to have a joyful time with them!
  • Sit near the front so your little one can be engaged.
  • Children learn behavior by imitation. Quietly explain to them what is happening.
  • We want your children with us! In the event of a meltdown, please take your child to the cry room or to the back for a moment to help them calm down. But please come back!

For Parishioners:

  • The presence of our children is God’s gift to our Church. They are members of this Christian community – a reminder that our church is alive and well.
  • Let them know they are at home in God’s house. Remember that the way we welcome children in church affects the way they respond to our church, faith, and God.
  • Please welcome our children and give them a smile of encouragement to their parents who are blessed with the tough job of parenting in today’s often cold and uninviting world.
  • Even when it feels like you didn’t hear a word, you didn’t sing one hymn, you took your child out to the cry room more than once, know that God wants you there. He wants us to be close to Him and it’s not any different for our children. God wants them there too.”

Each child is different, if you have multiple children or even been around children you know this. Some children will naturally sit and be attentive, eager to hear or learn while other children want to run and play. I’ve been taking kids to church for the last 11 years (where did the time go?). And one thing I know for sure is each child has learned the parts of the church in different ways. One will sit quietly wanting to see everything that is happening. Another wants to ask questions throughout all of church. Another wants to run laps up and down the aisles. And remember each Sunday will be different too.

What is a Busy Bag?

A busy bag or quiet bag usually consists of a bag, box, or basket of quiet, engaging activities mostly geared to younger kids, but can also be used for older kids. Busy bags are perfect to use during quiet time and in place of screen time. Also, using items you already have on hand like coloring books, board books, crayons, etc., takes little preparation and makes packing busy bags easy. Additional items can be purchased from Dollar Tree, Target Dollar Spot, or another dollar store.

Mini Noah's Ark Busy Book laying on kitchen counter for how to pack a church busy bag.

Grab my printable Noah’s Ark Mini Busy Book to take in your church bag for kids!

What to Put in a Church Bag for Kids

Bag: I recommend shopping your home first, always. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. The perfect size I recommend is a small to medium size bag. Small backpacks are great! Avoid big bags so you do not overpack the bag. Packing too much stuff will overwhelm your child and you.

Quiet Activities: These could be sticker books, small board books, coloring books, activity books, crayons, and, small toys.

Snacks: Packing small snacks has helped me so much on many occasions! Something small and not messy they can feed themselves. Snacks like cereal, pretzels, and puffs are a few of the things we take regularly to keep those little hands busy. I usually try to save these for the sermon in reusable snack bags or silicone bowls.

Water Bottle: If there are snacks, it’s a good idea to pack a drink. And again, so many times I’ve been able to offer my toddlers a drink to calm them down. 

Extras: If your child is in diapers, pack a couple of diapers, a pack of wipes, and an extra outfit in case of an accident. If you’re nursing and use a cover pack an extra cover or blanket as well. Tissues come in handy sometimes too.

Most of these things you probably already have on hand. So grab your small to medium-sized bag, select 2-3 quiet activities, a snack, a water cup, and any extras you need. Keep this as a special bag now, as well as, the contents of it. That way it’s new and exciting every week.

If you’re feeling extra, you could also bag up 2-3 activities in a ziplock bag, basket, or box and rotate them each week. But again, I would keep these specifically for church times.

Woman in kitchen placing a klean kanteen sippy cup into church busy bag.

Differing Ages at Church

For Babies: I found it easiest to pack either a small backpack or a diaper bag. I usually baby-wear with my Sollybaby Wrap. I also pack my nursing cover, change of clothing for the baby, burp cloth, diapers, and wet wipes. If you don’t breastfeed be sure to bring formula and a bottle. If you use a paci bring it and one small teething toy.

For toddlers: Use your church busy bag for this age. 

For preschool-kindergarten: I usually try to get them to start paying attention at this age and participating. Sitting close to the front (I know scary), but seems to always help because they’re not just staring at the back of everyone’s head. They can see everything that is happening at the altar. Allow them to bring a children’s Bible to follow along or show them the scripture readings in your Bible. Guide them to participate from reading scriptures to singing hymns.

By kindergarten to first grade, they’re usually able to read, follow along, and participate without much distraction.

Tips for Church with Kids

  • Always use the bathroom right before church begins.
  • Do not pack loud toys or toys that light up.
  • Don’t overpack. Just 2-3 activities max.

Favorites to Put in a Church Bag for Kids

Bags and Backpacks

Books and Toys

Snack Containers and Cups

Busy Bags for Other Quiet Places

Busy bags or boxes are a great way to avoid screen time, but also keep your children quiet and engaged during trips, waiting for an appointment, during homeschool times, or even while your younger children nap. If you’re looking for more ideas check out Simple and Easy Quiet Time Boxes for Toddlers to see how I’ve used these!

Woman in kitchen filling up a stasherbag with pretzels to put inside of a church busy bag.

I hope and pray you found this post to be an encouragement to you. Keep on doing that good work! And I’ll be thinking about you Sunday when I’m packing our church busy bag or when I’m nursing the baby in the pew, or taking one of them out to calm down for a minute.

Meet the Author

Hey, I’m Nicolette! Wife and mother to 5, homeschool rookie, printable creator, self-proclaimed cool mom, coffee lover, and plant obsessed. Come join me on this motherhood journey and let’s reclaim the family again!

Read more about me here →

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  1. I love this! I wish I was more organized lol… my older kids bring their own backpacks with drawing supplies, but I typically just try to keep a few things in my purse for the younger ones. Having something like this would definitely be smart! And I agree about children being in church services. I’m not one to ever send my kids to even children’s church, so we’ve had to learn to be quiet.

  2. To be honest, I’ve not gone to church many times if there’s no kids ministry my wife isn’t there to help me manage our nut job set of 4 year old boys. I MAY experiment with this to see if I can attend more services

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