If you have toddlers, then you need busy boxes in your house. I love them, and my kids play with them constantly.
They help my kids by….
- getting them away from screens
- teaching them independent play
- helping them strengthen specific skills
- keeping them from being under my feet constantly
- making them learn how to problem solve
and much more.
The beautiful things about busy boxes is that fact that you can customize them however you want and can even switch out what’s inside every couple of weeks, so the kids stay interested.
I have 4 medium size boxes in my house. I like the bigger boxes so that I can keep multiple activities in 1 box. I just make sure that all the activities or games in each box are related in some way. I’ll go into more detail below, so you can better understand the method to my madness.
DISCLAIMER: My boxes are designed for my 3 and 5-year-old. Most of the boxes are geared more towards my 5-year-old and what interests will keep her attention longer. If you don’t have an older toddler then feel free to adjust your box with items that will best fit your child’s interests, age, and skill level.
BOX 1: Drawing Box
This box is very simple and not one that I switch out. My kids love to color and draw and that means we have 10 million notebooks and coloring books. Ok yes, I’m exaggerating a little, but only a little.
Having a box where all the coloring books, notebooks, and crayons have a home helps keep things well organized and my hair from falling out.
Every once in a while, I’ll go through the box and toss out coloring books that are 90% full or notebooks with little to no paper left in it. I’ll then toss in a few new notebooks and coloring utensils to keep them coming back for more.
Box 2: Art Box
In the kid’s art box I have colored paper, brown paper bags, pom poms, glue, glitter glue, popsicle sticks, stickers, a star punch, kid’s safety scissors, and tape.
The one thing I DON’T put in this box is glitter. Mainly because my husband has a strong hatred for the stuff and let’s be honest, kids and glitter just don’t mix.
The point of a busy boxes are for the kids to play independently. So, if you decide to do an art box make sure you only put in it what you’re willing to let your kids play with alone.
Box 3: Fine Motor Skills
In the fine motor skills box, I have an assortment of activities. There’s bead work, B toys snap jewelry beads, lacing shapes and string, and Perler beads. As you can see I have pipe cleaners in there as well. They are used in place of string for the bead work which makes it easier for little ones to string beads onto.
DISCLAIMER: I do not suggest Perler beads for anyone under the age of 5.
Box 4: Building Box
This is a fun box and probably one of my favorites. In it I have domino building blocks (my oldest likes to make lines of dominos and then knock them down), snap cubes, snap cube cards, magnetic blocks, and two different geometric shape designing games.
This is a great box to let their imagination run free. They can either build something straight from their imagination or they can grab one of the snap cube cards and copy it. Either way they choose to play with the box they’ll still be learning and using their imagination.
If you need some help designing a few busy boxes of your own, then check out the suggestion list below.
- Art Box
- Fine Motor Skills Box
- Cutting Skills Box (Fill with pieces of paper with lines on them and put a pair of kid safety scissors in it. Let your child practice cutting on the line.)
- Puzzle Box (Fill with age appropriate puzzels. Cycle puzzels every couple of weeks.)
- Drawing Box
- Sensory Box (Fill with rice, beans, or those jelly balls and let your kids dig around in it. WARNING! Will be messy.)
- Playdough Box (Fill with playdough along with utensils to build things with the playdough.)
- Painting Box (If you dare!)
- Building Box
- Lego Box
- Town Box (Fill with toy cars and stuff to build a town.)
- Digging for Treasure Box (Fill with rice and hide toys in it.)
- Game Box (Fill with easy 1 to 2 player games. For example; memory, matching, story cubes, Jenga, and scavenger hunt printables.)
- Picture Box (Fill this box with old pictures form yours and your husband’s childhood, college years, throughout your marriage, and even pictures from throughout your child’s life. It fun to watch them go through the pictures and talk about them or ask questions.)
If you’re a mom and desperately want your kids to play more independently than a busy box may just be what you need. Just grab a couple bins and supplies from Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Walmart, or Amazon and put your box together to fit your kid’s age, skill level, and interests.
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- Label each box.
- Switch out boxes every 2-4 weeks to keep your kids from getting board or add in new supplies to keep it fresh.
- Store your boxes in a place where it’s easy for your kids to get them and put them away.
- If your child is younger, then I suggest making your boxes smaller with only 1 or 2 activities in each box. This will help them focus and be deliberate with their choices.
A busy box doesn’t have to be overly complicated. The simpler the better. If you decide to build some for your kiddos please comment below and let us know, what you made, how it went and how much your kids are enjoying them.