Activity boxes are excellent ways to have predetermined and constructive tasks for your preschooler. You just pull them out, and let the learning – and the fun – commence!
“Morning Boxes” and “Blue Boxes”
In our house, we do “Morning Boxes” and “Blue Boxes”. Morning Boxes, as the term implies, are used in the morning. Usually this is while I’m making breakfast, after chores have been finished, or while I’m tending to the baby or preparing school. These boxes also contain a particular task to develop a skill or to teach a target concept.
Blue Boxes (in our house) can be used at any time during the day, but I usually save them for the afternoon either after lunchtime and before Quiet Time or after Quiet Time and Snack Time, especially if the weather prevents much outside play.
These activities are also more open ended and sensory-friendly than the Morning Boxes. The goal is to encourage exploratory and imaginative play!
These activity boxes that I’m going to share with you are some Blue Boxes (i.e. open-ended or sensory) I created for Nora for our first week of school. They each contain delightful materials selected to get her excited and to start thinking of ways to use them! Use my examples as inspiration not recipe cards – be inspired to create your own boxes of fun, engaging activities!
P.S. Excuse the status of my boxes, they have been “well loved” for years now!
Dinosaur Sensory Box
Nora loves sensory play, so I bought a tub of cheap oats, and after they’re used I just toss them. Low waste, easy to vacuum up when it inevitably goes everywhere, and non-toxic if- I’m sorry, when she puts it in her mouth. All of these reasons make raw oats a perfect sensory material.
This time, I included plastic dinosaurs and some large rocks from our nature collection. If you don’t have a nature collection, you need to start one NOW! It’s a great way to consolidate natural items your kids collect in nature, and you can pull them for activity boxes or games easily. Kids love them, especially when they are the ones who have collected the items.
Simple, easy, potential to be messy so have some wipes on hand. Nora loves stamps, so I pick them up at thrift stores when I come across them. Stamp pads usually last a long time too – this one was actually my mom’s years ago!
Color matching is one of the tasks I want Nora to work on. I’m pretty sure she can distinguish between most colors, but she often tells me the wrong color when I ask her to identify them. It might just be her being silly. Though it really is hard for me to tell!
For that purpose, I used a permanent marker on a paint pallet, then tossed in some colorful heart stickers, and included a piece of paper in case she wants to make a “card”.
These packing peanuts came in handy as cheap sensory materials as well. Combined with toothpicks, you have all the ingredients for incredible building! You can switch out the packing peanuts for anything soft, squishy, and stab-able. We’ve also used marshmallows in the past, but you could use play dough, clay, or styrofoam.
Baking Soda “Chemistry” Play
If you never made a baking soda volcano as a child, then you didn’t have a childhood. The fizzy reaction between baking soda and vinegar is fascinating to any curious little one. To that end, I filled an empty vitamin dropper bottle with vinegar and another with water. This added an additional fine motor skill as she has to pinch the dropper to fill it with vinegar or water.
Hope you enjoy creating your own activity boxes! You’ll never go back once you start using these.
What is your child’s favorite thing to play with? Share with me by commenting below!
Love, Emily XOXO