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Week 3 of Busy Boxes, and Isla is now requesting to play with them when we are not at home (maybe I need on-the-go boxes!). To read about my first week, and for background on how busy boxes work, visit my intro post. And check out what we did in week 2.

Here are the busy boxes we made this week:


BOX 1

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You’ll need:

– Paper with large letters, numbers or words on it

– Small stickers (try the Dollar Store)

I admit, I was surprised at how popular this busy box was, and how much it helped in our letter and word-recognition practice.

Isla really likes stickers, but she often gets bored playing stickers if she doesn’t have a focus or purpose. For this activity, I asked her to pick a sheet of stickers and then place stickers all along the lines of each letter. We practiced 1 2 3, and spelling her name. She worked meticulously at this, and seemed really proud of the end result.

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BOX 2

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You’ll need:

– Duplo

– Marker

– Coloured paper

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This activity requires a little more prep, but it can be used again and again. I started by cutting pieces of construction paper in half. Then I placed Duplo blocks on each piece of paper in a particular shape, and traced an outline of that shape with a black marker. I made sure the colour of the Duplo blocks matched the colour of the paper. Some were simple, some were a bit more complicated.

Isla then worked on placing the Duplo blocks on each piece of paper to re create the shape I had drawn, while I explained she needed to use green blocks on green paper, red blocks on red paper, etc.

She was really proud each time she figured out the puzzle, and it was challenging enough that she had to think about what she was doing, but not so hard that she couldn’t figure it out herself with a little trial and error.

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BOX 3

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You’ll need:

– Child-safe scissors

– Marker

– Coloured paper

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Isla loves cutting paper. She usually grabs a piece of computer paper and spends ages chopping at all the edges to make fringe. For this activity I drew simple lines and curves on pieces of coloured paper and let Isla work on following the lines with her kid-friendly scissors.

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BOX 4

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You’ll need:

– Baking sheet

– Marker

– Magnetic letters

– Paper printed with words that don’t repeat any letters

I was also surprised how much fun Isla had with this activity, since she usually shies away from anything that involves practicing letter recognition or simple spelling.

For this busy box I grabbed my oldest grubbiest cookie sheet and wrote the alphabet on it in all caps. Then I asked Isla to take her magnetic letters and match each magnet to the letter on the sheet. She loved that the letters stuck to the metal.

It was a great chance to practice letter recognition while also working on learning the sequence of the alphabet.

When we were done, we practiced making words. I had to try to think up simple words that didn’t use the same letter twice (since I only have one pack of magnetic letters). She seemed to have fun building words that were important to her, like her name, our dog’s name, etc.

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BOX 5

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You’ll need:

– Foam stickers

– Paper with scene on it

As I’ve mentioned before, Isla loves stickers. For this busy box I found foam vehicle stickers at Walmart and I made up a few landscape drawings where she could build scenes using her stickers. Since she had trains, tractors, cars, fire engines, boats and planes, I made sure there were places in her landscapes that had train tracks, farm fields, roads, water and air. We talked a little bit about what vehicles go on the land, in the air and in the water, as well as the fact that some can go in several of those places. (Edit to add that we ran out of tractors, so we used blue dump trucks in their place).

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