How Does It Work? Busy Boxes

New this year are Busy Boxes! This summer, when I was at the Dollar Tree in the teacher section, I was inspired by some really cool-looking lidded boxes. I knew I wanted them for the classroom, but at that point, I didn’t know how I could use them. Think, think, think! A-ha! What if I created activities that were of high interest and so engaging that the students would use when they finish an activity. All the supplies needed would be included in each box! In the past, when students completed their work, they were able to grab their book bins or work on their Extra Word Packets. (These packets are thematic and differentiated worksheets that offer students an opportunity to reinforce and strengthen skills or offer challenge opportunities.)

So, immediately, I started going through my files and setting aside math and language arts activities that I love, but often do not have time to formally use. I also remembered that I had created a bunch of fine motor strengthening activities that my class last year enjoyed using. I had so many fun and thoughtful activities that I wanted to include. I even had the perfect shelf already in my classroom that I could use to house the boxes!

Here are some of those Busy Box activities:

Cut along the dotted lines using fancy scissors.

Strengthen fine motor skills but putting and taking apart screws and bolts.

Old-fashioned fun with dot-to-dots and a smelly marker!

Write a kind note to a friend using a fancy pen.

Practice drawing symmetrical objects.

Jenga! I wrote letters on Jenga blocks. Choose a block and say the letter name and sound.

Practice sewing with these lacing activities.

Identify shapes with this shape spinner game.

Mazes are a great way for students to sharpen their pencil control and problem-solving skills.

I introduced Busy Boxes to the class last week, and students could not get enough. I did have to remind students that it is important that they do their best, careful work on the original activity, as many were wanting to move right to the Busy Bins! I am considering making Busy Bins an option during Choice Time so that the novelty wears off. I’m happy they were such a success.

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