In effort to spice up the really fun toys she owns and give them the chance to be a star, I made up 5 "fun boxes." Each box has a few toys and activities she hasn't played with in a while but I know she will likely still get a kick out of. Every weekday morning she gets a different box, and it's hers to play with for the whole day. I rotate some of their contents each week to keep things fresh.
We've been using the fun boxes for 3 weeks now, and I'm amazed by what a huge hit they've been. The first thing she asks for upon waking is "Today's fun box, please!" She spends a good deal of her independent play time with them. All her other toys, books, and art supplies are still readily available to her. The boxes are just a way of highlighting and encouraging that independent play.
This week's boxes feature:
- lacing beads
- lacing dress-up bears
- sink mat (from Dollar Tree) and lengths of ribbon
- rubber drawer liner, yarn, and yarn needle
- cut straw segments and string
Fine Motor Activities
- magnet set
- pony beads, pom pom balls, buttons, ice cube tray, tongs
- reusable stickers (like Colorforms)
- bubble wrap
- paper and stickers
- paper and glitter glue pens
- paper, crayons, envelopes, old address labels
- paper, scissors, glue stick
- paper and Band-Aids
I buy flash cards from Target's Dollar Spot. She loves to use the cards for storytelling, matching games, other made-up games, or just looking at and talking about the pictures.
This week she's really into my old Eyes on Nature animal books.
A few notes:
- I try to put one or two toys/activities I know she's crazy about, as well as a couple she hasn't shown much interest in in the past. It's amazing how the novelty of the fun box can make previously untouched toys seem so much cooler.
- I use plastic baby food containers to corral small items within the boxes.
- The best part of this is you can start with whatever toys/materials you have around and add more as you find good deals. She loves having a brand new trinket pop up unexpectedly in the fun box.
Here are some links to inexpensive (most are free!) homemade fun box activities we've made:
Color Matching with Gift Bows
Magnetic Colored Popsicle Sticks
Magnetic Pom Pom Balls
Erasers and Suction Cups Activity
Paint Chip Matching Game
Uppercase and Lowercase Matching Eggs
Animal Matching Game
Pool Noodle Art
Button Snake Toy
Memory Matching Toy
Ribbons in a Bottle Toy
Clothespin Clipping Toy
Pom Pom Push Toy
Pipe Cleaner Poking Toy