So, today I want to tell you why I use busy boxes with my toddler and baby, as well as give you some ideas of what to include in your own busy boxes. -IntentionalByGrace.com

Why I Use Busy Boxes for My Toddler and Baby

Why I use busy boxes for my toddler and baby. Plus lots of practical ideas you can use for your children and their busy boxes.

I want to tell you why I use busy boxes with my toddler and baby, as well as give you some ideas of what to include in your own busy boxes. | IntentionalByGrace.com

Last week, I shared a picture of my busy boxes all ready to go on my Facebook page and on Instagram. Several of you asked me to tell you more about what was in the busy boxes!

So, today I want to tell you why I use busy boxes with my toddler and baby, as well as give you some ideas of what to include in your own busy boxes.

Why I Use Busy Boxes

When my oldest was born, I was a sponge for ideas. Around the time we were to take our first airplane ride as a family, I stumbled upon the idea of busy bags and fell in love.

Ever since that fateful day, I’ve used a variation of this busy bag idea during intentional toddler time. You might have seen me talk about toddler trays a time or two.

I recently revisited my 12 favorite indoor toddler activities as I brainstormed ideas for my boys, and it sort of hit me – busy boxes.

I’ve seen the idea of quiet boxes, work boxes, etc. floating around the web (and Pinterest) for years, but I never thought it was something my children would enjoy.

Boy was I wrong!

What you need to know about busy boxes for kids! | IntentionalByGrace.com

Busy boxes have become my saving grace (earthly speaking, of course!) these last several weeks.

Now that my husband quit his job and we are adjusting to a new routine, we needed something to help encourage our children to enjoy some independent play time.

Honestly, both of them play well together and independently. They don’t require a lot of nudging, but there are definitely “those days” when you just need to pull out a new trick from your “mama hat.”

We’ve found that by the afternoon both of our children are done “entertaining” themselves, and dinner time was becoming obnoxious!

Therefore, after much hemming and hawing, I decided to create some busy boxes to see if they would be helpful for … well, Mama’s sanity.

Much to my surprise, both kids love them!

Why I use busy boxes with my toddler and baby plus busy boxes ideas! | IntentionalByGrace.com

What are busy boxes?

Busy boxes are like busy bags and toddler trays, but they are in … well, boxes (or some other similar contraption).

Busy boxes are filled with any materials, toys, etc. that your child can play with independently. They are great for helping you rotate learning toys, reinforce concepts already learned, and encourage play with those toys usually neglected.

I have found that by rotating busy boxes throughout the week, my children stay engaged and interested for longer periods of independent play giving me time to fold a load of laundry, make a quick dinner, or just sit quietly for a few minutes of rest!

Everything you need to know to create a busy box for your toddler! | IntentionalByGrace.com

What goes into a busy box?

The possibilities are endless really!

Here are some ideas from my three year old’s boxes:

  • Board books he knows by heart (so he can read to himself)
  • Puzzles
  • Small sensory items (alphabet beads, jewels, beans, rice, etc.)
  • Puppets
  • Fine motor manipulatives
  • Dry erase boards
  • Magazines
  • Learning toys
Busy box ideas for babies and toddlers! | IntentionalByGrace.com

Here are some ideas from my baby’s box (8 months old):

  • Soft books
  • Large sensory items
  • Board books
  • Rattles
  • Fabric in different textures
  • Wooden toys
  • Teething rings

You know your child best. Think about what he or she enjoys right now.

Lots of busy box ideas for toddlers and babies! | IntentionalByGrace.com

My oldest loves small sensory items like beads and rice. The smaller the better! So I try to fill his box with something tiny that he can play with by himself. It’s also something he knows he doesn’t have to share with his brother. ๐Ÿ˜‰

My youngest loves to put things in his mouth and anything new to him. So I fill his bin with good teething toys and lots of new to him items.

It doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive, or even impressive! Busy boxes will be what you make them!

Since I love ideas, and seeing EXACTLY how other people implement ideas, below are the boxes I filled for both of my children this week.

5 Toddler Busy Boxes

I fill five busy boxes each week for my toddler. But I only switch out boxes as he grows disinterested in them. This means I don’t have to make five new boxes each and every week. He actually gets upset if I change out some of them!

Busy Box ideas for toddlers, preschoolers, and babies
Everything you need to know about how to create and use busy boxes for your toddler! |IntentionalByGrace.com
busy box idea 3
busy box idea for toddlers 5
busy box idea

3 Baby Busy Boxes

For now, I only fill 3 small busy boxes for my baby. This seems to be sufficient for keeping him occupied in small spurts of time. He’s an explorer so it doesn’t take much for him to stay occupied. A bowl and spoon on the kitchen floor is usually sufficient.

Everything you need to know to create and use busy boxes with your baby! | IntentionalByGrace.com
busy box idea 4
busy box idea for baby 2

Other places to find ideas:

What about you? Do you use busy boxes with your toddler or baby?

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12 Comments

  1. Hi Grace, I LOVE your busy box ideas. There are some toys in them that I am not familiar with but look like something that would be a big hit in our household as well. Can you tell me what the cylindrical puzzles are (they look like pie charts from above)? Also, the thick animal shapes (raccoon, bear, alligator)? Warm thanks!

    1. They are from Guidecraft – Fraction Action cups. They also have one in a flat puzzle with three shapes (circle, hexagon, square) that divides into whole, halves and thirds.

  2. LeighAnn, how do you train your children to stay seated with the busy box and work on it independently. I think the minute I got up to go do something my 21 month old would get up and follow me. She’s not good at playing independently yet. Thank you!!