Last week my husband came home with these fantastic cardboard boxes (7 in x 7 in x 2 in) from U-Line that his work had left over from a campaign. My eyes lit up with the endless possibilities. I used about ten of the boxes to store and organize the art and activity cabinet. Some would be used to store fudge to give as gifts for the holidays. My favorite idea was to use them as “busy boxes” (similar to “busy bags”) for the kids!
The boxes are small and portable, and can hold more materials than a regular busy bag. Here are eight different ideas for how to make a busy box using small cardboard boxes from U-line.
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#1 Mini Sensory Bin with Rice and Bugs
A simple sensory bin can be a great busy activity for young children! For this mini sensory bin I used white rice and mini plastic bugs. Feel free to add a measuring spoon, or scoop, and a small container! Bring along a small blanket to place this mini sensory bin on for easy clean up.
#2 Clothespins and Felt Color Matching Busy Box
Cut out squares of colorful felt or another non-fray fabric such as fleece. Place colorful clothespins into the box with the fabric. If you can’t find colorful clothespins you can paint plain ones. This is a fun fine-motor and color matching activity that is great for in the car, at your destination, or at home!
#3 Mini Felt Board Busy Box
This idea can be used in the car for short trips or even road trips! Glue a felt background into the box with a hot glue gun. Cut out any shapes from any color felt you’d like. This busy box could be used for long or short car trips!
#4 Color Matching Buttons with Egg Carton Busy Box
Place some colored buttons inside of the busy box. Cut an egg carton in half so that you only have six compartments. Paint the inside of the egg carton with colors that coordinate with the buttons. I used dark blue, light blue, yellow, orange, red and green. This is a great activity for color matching and gaining fine motor skills! This busy box would be great for on the go when you arrive at your destination!
#5 Beading Straws onto Pipe Cleaners Busy Box
This is such a simple and easy idea. All you have to do is cut up straws into small bead like pieces, put them into a little container and place pipe cleaners inside the box! You don’t even need to use straws, you could use beads as well. Great for fine motor skills building on the go. An older child may be able to use this busy box in the car While I wouldn’t recommend it for toddlers in the car, toddlers would easily be able to use this when you get to your destination.
#6 Mini Fall Sensory Bin
It is great to reuse materials! I had kept the Scented Fall Colored Rice and pinto beans mixture that I used so much this Fall in a container. In the container was also the table scatter from our Autumn Sensory Bin. I placed a small container into the box with the mixture. Feel free to add a measuring spoon as well! This is great for times when a child needs to be entertained while you are busy at someone else’s house. Bring a small blanket to place the busy box on for easy clean up!
#7 Pom Pom Fine Motor Practice Busy Box
You’d be surprised how a simple activity such as transferring pom poms to and from a container can entertain a young child. Baby Bear tested out this busy box and spent a good fifteen minutes transferring pom poms with a measuring spoon into a small container.
#8 Dry Erase Busy Box
If your kids love to draw then this is a great option for you! This makes a great activity for the car and for road trips as well! Tape some white card stock paper onto the inside of the box to create a clean white slate. Measure out a piece of contact paper so that it will fit on the inside of the lid as well as into the inside of the box. The shape will resemble a cross. Peal back the contact paper and place it over the white card stock inside of the box. I left enough contact paper to fold it over the edges of the lid. Place some dry erase markers inside and your kids are good to go! The marker can be erased with a finger or a tissue.
I plan to use these boxes for my kids when I go into labor and they need something fun to do at home or in the waiting room with the babysitter or with their grandma. They would be great to keep at grandma’s house as well or in the classroom for kids who finish their work early. These would also make fantastic Christmas gifts for young children!
If you liked reading about Eight Busy Box Ideas you should check out 40+ Quick and Easy Tot Activities!
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