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Letters and Numbers Busy Box

by Janine (follow)
Easy (884)      5 to 10s (616)      Under 5s (593)      Busy Box (2)      Quiet Box (1)      Magnetic Letter Board (1)      Sandpaper Letters (1)      Learning (1)      Spelling (1)     
The busy box or quiet box is a box of activities that can be pulled out when you need to get something done around the house, when you have some children napping and others not, or when you hear that phrase, "Mom, I'm bored." Activities can be adapted for toddlers up to beginning school age children. I like to give my boxes themes - this one is letters and numbers. I also like to have a combination of purchased and homemade activities for each box.

Busy Box

Time: 30 minutes to put together
Age: Under 5's, 5-10's
Level: Easy

Storage box with lid
Activity books
Cookie tray
Magnetic fridge letters and numbers
Self laminating pouches
Sand paper
Light cardboard
Wax crayons
Scrap paper
Plastic bags

Purchase or find a plastic box with lid.


Go through your children's books, puzzles and activity books and pick out ones with common theme. These will be the ones you can put in your box. If you have a lot of one theme, rotate them.

Use simpler puzzles for younger children - the key is that your child can do it on his/her own.

Activity books, dry erase books, colouring books - you likely have a whole cupboard full of them already.

Create your magnetic letter board. Take a cookie tray and add your magnetic fridge letters to it.

magnetic tray

Print out simple words with pictures that preschoolers will be able to duplicate.


If you have magnetic numbers too, create cards for number equations as well.


Laminate the cards with self laminating pouches so they will last longer.
Create your sandpaper letters. Back a piece of sandpaper (lower numbers are better ie. 60 or 80 grit) with a light piece of cardboard.

Sandpaper letters

Cut various lengths of yarn to create letters or numbers or even designs and patterns out of. The yarn easily sticks to the sandpaper but dump it upside down and shake and the yarn comes off!



Include wax crayons and scrap paper if you are comfortable with your children having crayons unsupervised for them to practice printing their names or other words and letters that they know. Make them special crayons if you wish by using this method.


I like to keep the activities separate with ziploc bags but if you have toddlers, make sure the bags come off first and are removed from their playing area.

Tips for making the busy box work:
When you first introduce the box, go through the activities with your child and explain that this will be their own box to play with on their own.
When they have it the first time on their own, encourage them to try everything, even if they are not successful.
Make sure the box is kept out of reach for day to day play. The activities are meant to be new and special!

Have fun!

#Under 5s
#5 to 10s
#Busy Box
#Quiet Box
#Magnetic Letter Board
#Sandpaper Letters
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