*PLEASE read the disclaimers below before trying this!
I know, I know. Grocery bags are not good for the environment. They aren’t, it’s true. I try to use my set of green reusable bags as much as I can, but invariably, I sometimes forget my cloth bags, and when I do I have grocery bags. Then I have two choices: 1) feel like a horrible person for using plastic or 2) put the bags in the back of the car for next time and decide to at least find another purpose for the plastic grocery bags that I now have in my possession.
Let’s go with option #2 because #1 doesn’t lead to good self talk.
So, a while back, we discovered this hack by accident. We decided to stop out to eat on short notice because we had been running errands longer than we anticipated. I had my diaper bag, but I didn’t have a bib which I normally would’ve brought if I knew we were planning on eating out. But life is unpredictable. As I looked at my little kids and the nice clothes that my mom had bought them, I realized that it would be so sad to get stains all down the front. I rifled through the diaper bag. To my delight I found some grocery bags. I usually had some grocery bags in the diaper bag in case we had to throw away a stinky diaper or to use as a trash bag in the car or to carry library books in a pinch or if you need a barf bag asap. Grocery bags are just a handy thing to have in a diaper bag.
I pulled out the grocery bag and my mind went back to a craft in first grade when we dressed up like Native Americans. The teacher had us make brown vests out of paper bags. I looked at the plastic bag in my hand and then looked at my kid. Voila! I had an idea! My husband watched me fussing around with the bags. Before no time I had bibs for all of the kids that completely covered the areas of concern.
I give you the free, easy, disposable, and completely functional Grocery Bag Bib!
Notice how high the neck is! This is full coverage folks! Okay, ready for how simple this is? Lay a bag out flat and cut these three holes. Make sure the neck hole is wide and shallow. You know how much room you need for your kids’ arms, let’s not make this sound harder than it is. I bet as soon as I said it, you didn’t really need a tutorial. You’re a mom, you are smart and awesome. I know you are tracking with me here.
You can cut these holes and then throw several of these in the diaper bag for when you are at the zoo, or Chick-Fil-A or at the mall and you need something quick to save your child’s shirt from being covered in food paint. HOWEVER, I am going to be totally honest with you. If I didn’t have the forethought to pack a bib, then I probably didn’t have time to find scissors and cut these holes. Want to know what we do most of the time? I just throw a handful of bags in the diaper bag and then when we need them I just poke a hole with my finger and open it up to the right size.
After your child is done eating, you can gently tear the bag on the sides or down the back so you don’t have to pull it over his/her head.
One of the reasons this works so well is because it seems to be a good size for little bodies. The width of the bottom of the bag also seems to fit the shoulders of little ones pretty well.
HERE ARE SOME IMPORTANT THINGS TO NOTE:
- My mom always taught me never to put a plastic bag on my head and I have taught my kids the same. I always rip or cut the arm and head holes in the bag before putting it on and they ONLY have it on while they are 100% supervised and only when we are out and about and I forgot to pack a bib.
- I take the bib off as soon as they are done so they aren’t playing with it and won’t have any chance of hurting themselves in any way.
- These are not reusable after this! This is the second time using it (if you used it for groceries on the way home) and its lifespan is probably over. Throw it away and be glad there is one less thing to wash that night.
- Again, I like the environment. Use cloth bibs when you can. This is only for those times you are in a pinch and something unplanned happened or you forgot your normal arsenal of earth-friendly supplies.
I feel like I have to have a bunch of precautionary things here so I don’t get mean emails, but the bottom line is, as long as you are right there with your little one and as long you are careful and using common sense, this can actually be a very helpful hack!
We used this hack throughout all of our kids little years and we never had any issues. Like I said, never let your kids play with plastic bags unsupervised or allow them to keep it on after they are done eating.
This is my youngest child now. He is old enough that he really doesn’t get too much on his shirt (or at least not as much as when he was 2 years old.) So, our Grocery Bag Bib years are coming to a close. I hope someone else can carry the torch and enjoy this simple fix in life. It has served our family well.
Here is one more shot of my son who decided to model a second time in a different shirt for you:
Many hugs and less-messy trips to Chick-Fil-A to all of you,
Lindsey Feldpausch is the Content Coordinator and Ministry Manager for Proverbs 31 Ministries’ author & speaker Karen Ehman and the reviewer for family products & services at TheBetterMom.com. She is a spokeswoman for Jonathan Park Audio Adventures and social media manager at The Glorious Table. Her family lives just west of Grand Rapids, Michigan where her husband is a youth pastor and worship leader.