This “busy box” is a fun way to keep little ones busy when you’re out and about or waiting, like at a restaurant.  Plus, it’s something you can make together!

I recently made a fun sign using shrink plastic and Handmade Charlotte stencils (tutorial here.)  I liked the stencils and Plaid’s new multipurpose paints so much that I made a few other projects while I had all the supplies out.  My daughter and I had a blast making this together.  She’s always eager to craft with me!

Supplies Used:

  • Metal Craft Pail
  • Magnet Sheet (found here)
  • Handmade Charlotte “Celestial” Stencil
  • Plaid Multipurpose Paints and Spouncers
  • Chalkboard Paint

Step one:  Use the star stencil to decorate the pail.

Step two:  Stencil numbers onto the magnet sheet.

Step three:  Stencil rockets, stars, and planets onto the magnet sheet.

While it dries, paint the pail with two coats of chalkboard paint.  Once the magnet sheet is dry, cut all the shapes out.  Since they are magnetic, they all store neatly in the tin.  You can add chalk to the tin, along with any other items you’d like to add to the “busy box”.

There are lots of uses for this busy box.  Here are some ideas:

  • Story telling:  arrange objects and make a story.  Use the chalk to add illustrations around the magnets.
  • Counting:  Place a certain number of objects on the tin, and have your child count them and find the corresponding number.
  • Color recognition:  Ask your child to find the red star, or to find two blue objects, and place them on the tin.
  • Number recognition:  Ask your child to find the 4, or to arrange 5 stars on the tin and write the number.
  • Independent play:  My kids really didn’t need much prompting!  They had fun rearranging the objects on the tin, and eventually realized that the magnets worked on the fridge, as well!  This kept them busy for quite some time.

My daughter and I will definitely be adding more stenciled shapes to our busy box!  This fun box will give us something to do together when we’re at big brothers’ soccer practice.

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