I made Evie a busy box just after she turned one years old. I knew it would be played with a little bit, but I didn’t realise that three years later, it would still give her HOURS of entertainment.
A busy box is hands down the BEST thing I’ve made for Evie. We go on family holidays a lot, we go on road trips, we go to restaurants AND I work from home which means sometimes there are moments when I just need Evie to go and play solo. Her busy box has been the go to in all of these scenarios and she still loves it, to this day, just as much as she did way back when she was one.
If you’re looking to make your own busy box, today I’m sharing with you a few ideas of what we’ve included in ours, so hopefully you can get some inspiration. I also wanted to show you how easy it is to make one and how great they can be to just keep in the car, or to take about with you so you always have kiddy entertainment on hand.
How To Make A Busy Box
I can’t stress enough how easy it is to make a busy box and if you’re really stuck on what to include, even after this post, there is so much inspiration for busy boxes on Pinterest.
We grabbed the actual box we use, from our local pound store. But, you can also find them in gift stores and you can find them online in stores such as Amazon.
Ours has been so used, I’m actually surprised it has survived this long. It does look very battered, but it still has a bit of life left in it yet.
When it came to choosing things to include, I made most of these activities completely on a whim, just using things I found around the house and in our craft box.
So, without further ado, here’s whats in our Busy box:
I first made these ‘learning lollipops‘ when we were trying to teach our one year old Evie colours. But this is such a versatile creation and little ones can still use it in years to come.
When Evie had learnt her colours, we then used the lollipops to go on ‘colour hunts’. For this game, Evie would have to go and match the lollipop to objects she found around the house or she’d go and collect coloured items and then gather them all together on the correctly coloured lollipop.
She also loves to use these for role play and when we’re out and about, you’ll usually find our family sat around somewhere pretending to eat pretend lollipops.
To make these learning lollipops, simply cut lollipop shapes out of felt. Put a lollipop stick in between and stick them together using glue. It’s as simple as that!
Pom Pom Tubes
Next up is our trusty pom pom tubes. Evie uses these for so many different games. When she was really little, we used them to practice her counting. She’d simply get some pom poms and put the correct amount in each tube.
When she was older, she started doing the same game but instead of putting any pom pom in, she’d make sure to use only one colour group. e.g. 3 purple poms poms, 4 green poms poms etc etc.
Now she’s even older again, we’re using them to help her with maths. We play lots of different maths games with her to help her with addition and subtraction.
To make these pom pom tubes, simply gather up 5 empty toilet roll tubes and paint them all different colours. When the paint is dry, cut them all to different sizes and put numbers on the front. We used number stickers, but a sharpie pen or felt tip will also do just fine. Then get some pom poms to use with the game.
- You can buy pom poms here.
Next up is jewellery making. This activity keeps Evie entertained for so long. She loves making bracelets, necklaces and all kinds of things with these little craft pieces.
To make a ‘jewellery making’ set all I did was put some colourful pipe cleaners in a little pot, alongside some colourful beads and some plastic straws that I cut into small pieces.
Next up we have a little number game. We found some little number foams in the craft section of our local supermarket.
We’ve put these in the busy box simply to help Evie with maths and to help her with counting. She uses them for all kind of games and they’re especially useful when we’re out in restaurants where we can count things that are on the tables.
- You can buy these number foams here.
Next up we’ve included PlayDoh in our busy box. We found mini pots of PlayDoh in the party bags section of our local supermarket.
We’ve put these in our busy box alongside a couple of shape cutters so Evie can make some creative things when we’re out an about.
- You can get a mini playdoh set plus cutters here.
Lollipop Stick Shapes
The last thing in our busy box is these multicoloured lollipops. We use these to teach Evie different shapes and they work amazingly. This is another really simple thing to get for the busy box. Evie loves making shapes and all kinds of creations out of these lollipop sticks.
Where possible she tries to use the same colours to make one shape. But, sometimes she gets even more creative and uses her lollipop sticks with her PlayDoh to make different structures.
- You can buy multicoloured lollipop sticks here.
Other Things You Can Make
I’ve also seen people buy metal lunch boxes to use as their busy boxes. The metal lids can be used for extra activities, such as playing with magnetic letters.
I’ve also seen people paint the metal with chalk paint so that it can be used as a drawing board too. When our box finally gives way, we’ll definitely be upgrading to one of these and painting it with chalk paint.
To organise our busy box, I’ve used these little circle lunch boxes. We put all the little pieces inside the mini circle boxes with the lids on. Then we fit the bigger things that need to go in the box in between the gaps. That keeps everything tidy in the box.
When Evie plays with the box, she’s only allowed one or two activities at a time, just so everything doesn’t go missing. So far, this has worked really well for us.
You can find some more busy box inspiration on our Pinterest boards.