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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How the Busy Bag Swaps Will Work

If you have not heard from your coordinator and it has been more than 3 days since the swap you signed up for closed, please check your junk and spam folders. If you still cannot find something, email me. There are a lot of people not receiving their coordinator's email.


(If you would like to be notified of future swaps, please visit the Busy Bag Swap page.)


What is a busy bag? A busy bag is a ziploc bag containing an activity that would give your child something to keep them busy, either with you or without you. Visit the previous swap's post for more information.

There was so much interest in the last swap, and so many more people have expressed interest since then, that I decided to do more swaps. The busy bag swaps will be grouped by the following categories.

Each category will have its own blog post where you can sign up to join in the swap. Choose which swap (or swaps) you want to join and make sure you sign up in the right blog post. (I am working on getting each swap posted and will come back here and post a link in this post as I get them posted. If you don't see your swap category posted yet, be patient.)

Toddler Swap is now closed.

Preschool-Young K Swap is now closed.


K-2nd now posted.


Math & Reading coming soon.


What the difference between the K-2nd and the Math and Reading Only?
The first (k-2nd) is a set of activities that are mostly just fun (but may have hidden education in it). These are activities you can hand your child and let them entertain themselves for a while. They should be (hopefully) things that the child will want to do on their own. The goal is not so much to teach them as it is to give them something constructive to do.

The second (math and reading only) is for the sole purpose of teaching your child. These are games or activities that you can use in your homeschool or to reinforce what they are learning in school. They are not so much made for the purpose of giving your child something fun to do when they're bored as they are to make what they HAVE to do a bit mroe fun. The activities will be centered on math and reading only. There will be no "just for fun" stuff.

There are no people count limit (unless it gets ridiculous). We will just take all the people who sign up and split them into different swap groups. For example, if 90 people sign up for the preschool swap, we will split those 90 into 3 groups of 30 people. So we would have 3 preschool swaps going on simultaneously. Did that make any sense?
There have been a few people who volunteered to be swap coordinators. These people will be assigned a swap group to coordinate. They will sort through the top three choices of each swapper and assign activities. They will be responsible to keep in contact with the swappers throughout the swap, should they have questions. They will receive the busy bags from the swappers, compile them into sets for everyone, and then mail them out to each swapper. If you would be interested in coordinating a swap group, please email me (link in sidebar). Judging from the last swap, the activity sorting may take a couple hours, and the busy bag divvying and packaging will take about 4ish hours of your time one afternoon and a trip to the post office.


Here's how you become a swapper and how the swap will work:

1) You visit the blog post of your choice of swap category (or categories). Read the instructions, choose your top three choices for an activity to assemble, and then fill out the form. The form will be up and the swap open for 48 hours, unless the number of swappers becomes unmanageable.

Filling out the form is not a way of expressing interest. It is a commitment to be a part of the swap. It is not fair to the other swappers if a handful of half hearted interest people sign up, only to flake out at some point. That would mean that many people spent time and money assembling 30 activities, but would not receive 30 in return. If you're not sure if you can handle the expense or the time investment at this time, then maybe you should pass this time around. If however, you do sign up with full intentions of participating, but then realize that for some reason you are unable to continue, please let me or your swap coordinator know right away, so that we can contact someone else who would love to be involved.

2) I will sort through all the swappers, group them into swaps, and notify the coordinators. Each group will have 30 members and a list of 5 "fill ins" should someone drop out (to try to keep it at 30 people). These five will be taken from those who signed up last, so the sooner you sign up, the more likely you will for sure be a swapper.

3) Either I or your swap coordinator will contact you within about 3 days' time with your activity assignment.

4) You then have 2 weeks to assemble your busy bags (30 of the same activity). You need to have them in a box and in the possession of the U.S. Mail service exactly two weeks from the day you were contacted by me or your swap coordinator, or by the date stated in that email.

5) You should invest no more than about $1 per bag. We're not wanting to spend a fortune here. If you're having trouble sticking with the budget for your activity, please contact me and I will help you figure it all out.

6) Once you have your 30 bags assembled, you would pack them up in whatever size box you like and ship them using any shipping method you prefer to your coordinator.

7) But before you seal the box, visit USPS.com and print a shipping label with postage for a large flat rate box ($14.20).

Shipping change

I talked to the post master at my local post office about the mailing date that is required when printing a label. He was very kind and helpful, and assisted me in thinking through the best option for dealing with shipping the busy bags to you.

For legal liability reasons, a package must be mailed the day the shipping label says it was. Since the drop down on the Click-N-Ship label form only gives four days to choose from, there's really no way we can post date the shipping labels late enough to give the swap coordinator time to divvy the activities, package them up, and reship them. It also would not allow for any unexpected delays.

For this reason, it would be best for each swapper to include a check or money order, made out for $14.95, in their package of busy bags. Your swap coordinator will let you know who to write the check out to when she informs you of which activity you will assemble.

Please also include a 3x5 card (or equivalent sized paper) with your name and address clearly printed on it. Your swap coordinator will use this as a mailing label.

8) Remember, you need to have them in a box and in the possession of the U.S. Mail service exactly two weeks from the day you were contacted by me or your swap coordinator.

9) I or your swap coordinator will sort through the bags, divvy them up so everyone has one of each. If we do not receive your package by the date we previously stated in our email to you (when we assign the activity), we will contact a fill in and see if they would like to jump in at the last minute. If you take the time to assemble the bags, please make sure you send them on time.

10) Once the bags have been sorted and divvied, we will ship them to you, and we then each have a collection of about 30 activity bags to pull out when needed!


(If you would like to be notified of future swaps, please visit the Busy Bag Swap page.)

32 comments:

  1. Yay! I'm excited! I missed the Swap the first time around, so I'm glad you are doing another one!

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  2. I didn't see it anywhere, but what sort of a "bag" are we to put the items in?

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  3. Good question... I added more info at the top. Hope that helps.

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  4. Following from Money Saving Mom :)
    Follow back when you can! :)
    Steph
    www.debtfreespending.com

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  5. I missed the toddler swap ): Any chance of opening more spots???

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  6. I am also interested in the toddler swap. Please let me know if a space opens up. Missalifromcali @ [yahoo] dot com

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  7. I am also interested in the toddler swap please! angel1756@ juno dot com.

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  8. I'm the Gramma and live in another state. If I join, can I have the box sent to my grandson instead of back to me?

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  9. Gramma... yups. Sure thing. Just include your grandson's address on the 3x5 when you mail your bags to your coordinator.

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  10. I am also interested in a Toddler swap! hmd@park1 dot net

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  11. Also interested in the toddler swap - andrea1548 @ msn.com

    Andrea :)

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  12. Me too, me too...for the toddler swap I mean:) evelynthiel@yahoo.com Please let me know if you open another one...thanks

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  13. Also interested in toddler swap! neelytricia@hotmail.com

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  14. can't seem to get the link for your email to work... i signed up for the preschool swap and would be happy to be a coordinator if needed.
    beffy_thompson@yahoo.com
    thanks and looking forward to the swap!

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  15. Seems that I am joining a large group asking for another toddler swap. Guess money saving mom should have linked up here a little sooner. I'd love to know if you host another toddler swap. skpowers3 AT gmail.com

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  16. darn I would love to do the toddler swap too! I am willing to coordinate!

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  17. I would love to participate in a toddler swap too!

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  18. Oh I would dearly love to participate, but our budget is extremely tight right now! PLEASE plan another swap in a few months!!!

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  19. When will the older swaps be opening?

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  20. I would also be interested in a toddler swap and I am going to send this link to a few friends I think would be interested as well. I would be willing to coordinate a group if you needed as well as fill in and extra spot if needed. I was looking through the list and I have stuff to make several of the ideas already so additional cost would be minimal to me! Please let me know if we can open another toddler swap! Found this link from Money Saving Mom as well! Thanks for your time in organizing this!
    Erika
    erikaluke@gmail.com

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  21. Toddler Swap is reopened.

    http://unsolicitedadvice-n-such.blogspot.com/2011/07/young-toddler-1-2-yrsbusy-bag-swap.html

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  22. Heidi, the older ones should be posted between now and next week sometime. Some of us are coordinating more than one age group, and we don't want all the boxes to come at once.

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  23. I too would love to do the swap but we will be out of town! Do you only do these once a year?

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  24. I do not have a particular schedule for hosting busy bag swaps.

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  25. What's the difference in the two for the older age group? They look the same to me.

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  26. The first (k-2nd) is a set of activities that are mostly just fun (but may have hidden education in it). These are activities you can hand your child and let them entertain themselves for a while. They should be (hopefully) things that the child will want to do on their own. The goal is not so much to teach them as it is to give them something constructive to do.

    The second (math and reading only) is for the sole purpose of teaching your child. These are games or activities that you can use in your homeschool or to reinforce what they are learning in school. They are not so much made for the purpose of giving your child something fun to do when they're bored as they are to make what they HAVE to do a bit mroe fun. The activities will be centered on math and reading only. There will be no "just for fun" stuff.

    Hope that helps.

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  27. I am interested in a 1-2 yo swap if anything comes up. My email is nikkiscoupons@aol.com. thanks ;) if not hope to make the next round

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  28. This is my first time participating in this swap, which I was lucky enough to get into the preschool-young K swap. When I signed up it said I was in but I have not heard anything, via email, at all. Just didn't want to mess things up. What is the normal time frame of things?

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  29. I have a soon to be 2nd grader and an almost 3-yr-old. Any chance of another pre-k swap anytime soon? Also, what about printing the shipping label to a PDF and emailing it to the sorter person? Saves time and headache from having to wait on checks to clear. Or send via paypal. I'd like to do this swap but need to read more on it tomorrow. How much longer will it be open?

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  30. We cannot print shipping labels, due to the shipping date. A package must be mailed on the date marked for that package. USPS only gives you 4 mailing date choices, all of which are too soon.

    Each coordinator is free to set the standard on how she wishes to process the shipping money. I personally have chosen not to use paypal, due to the paypal fees incurred. If a personal check or money order is not feasible for someone in my swap group, they are welcome to email me and work something else out.

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