Toddler's Busy Box {Part 2 - Finished Product}

I set out to make a busy bag.. well it turned into a box... full of fun and educational activities. None of the items are too small to worry about a small baby choking on them (you never realize how many kids toys are small until you have a baby that puts EVERYTHING in his mouth). Every piece of the busy box fits inside, so its easy to pick up and put away. I tried to make sure it's all stuff that can be done by a 3 year old, pretty much independently.

This post got way too long all together, and with so many pictures that I decided to split it up into two postings.  To see the inspiration with pictures and links, click here.

Super large formula can with lid
craft sticks (or popsicle sticks)
clothes pins
scrapbook paper & scraps
fabric scraps - any shape
Wide ribbon
Big button
hot glue & gun

The "box":
Instead of a bag, I decided to recycle a formula can. It's a giant cardboard can with a plastic lid (formula originally in bulk from Sam's Club). I liked the idea of an actual lid of a box/can versus just a bag. To me it's much easier to keep the kid's toys rounded up in things that shut nicely.

I used hot glue to attach two sheets of scrapbook paper around the outside. Then created a label "G---'s Busy Box", on contrasting paper scrap using some lettering stencils and marker. Then hot glued that on too.

The hot glue maybe wasn't the best idea, but I didn't think Elmer's would hold, and couldn't find my tacky glue. It was a pain to work with, since you can see the lumps where it cooled before I could flatten it out. Oh well!

The metal rim of the formula can was also pretty sharp. I was afraid of little hands getting cuts from this, so I wrapped it in some scrap of light blue bias tape. Perfect use for the little bit I had leftover from some quilts.

Counting wheel:

I knew if the counting wheel was on just plain paper, it would get smashed and crumpled in about 4 minutes. I don't have a laminator and was NOT going to be tracing and cutting a circle of cardboard.. too much work! Plus... how would it fit into the box nicely? So I incorporated it into the lid of the box, now it can't get crumpled, won't get lost, and doesn't need to be a certain size to live inside the box.

Using scrapbook paper, I traced the lid. Then cut out just a tad smaller. Many blogs I read suggested to use stickers, but I didn't have any small stickers in those quantities. Using a stencil acquired from my lovely semester of drafting class, I make perfect little circles. Remember to do this BEFORE gluing it in... yup... mistake I made :)

I originally used Elmer's glue to fix it to the underside of the lid, but quickly learned it wouldn't hold on the plastic. A small ring of hot glue on the very edge of the lid worked perfect, plus it will deter little fingers from prying the paper up.
The first attempt of numbering clothespins, I went the easy route, and just used sharpie straight on the pin. Well... soon did I realize that it didn't look so great. The marker would bleed into the wood grain, making it look messy, and somewhat unreadable (especially for a kiddo just learning his numbers, clarity is key!). Those yucky looking numbers got covered in little scraps of paper that I glued on. Then the pins got renumbered. Much, much better!!!

Craft stick puzzles:
I printed off some Halloween realted graphics from my favorie site, The Graphics Fairy.

Then using my paper cutter, cut them into the width of the craft sticks.

Using two strips of masking tape, aligned the craft sticks in a row. Glued them on with Elmers.

I was concerned about those every picking and prying toddler fingers, so I ended up giving them a couple quick coats of clear spray paint. I'm thinking Modge-Podge would work too? But I don't have any of that...

Here are the finished puzzles, held together with painters tape so that my newphew knows what they look like before taking them apart to play.

Upper-/Lower-case Alphabet Spoons:
How awesome is this idea!?! I love this because
1. It takes less than $2 of spoons from the Dollar Tree
2. What toddler doesn't love to play with silverware? (We are constantly reminding TRex that spoons and forks are for eating, not playing)
3. If a few break or get lost, it's an easy cheap fix for my sister!
At age 3, I know that this activity would be a huge challenge for TRex - it wouldn't be an independant activity at all. So I added a little hint! On the very bottom of the handle, on the backs of the uppercase spoons, I wrote a little lowercase of that letter. So it essentially just makes it a matching game - flip over the white spoon to find the little letter, then find the clear spoon to match. I figure the repitition of seeing upper & lowercase letters side-by-side will help him learn pretty quick!

And my favorite - The Button Snake!
I have been wanting to learn how to make button holes on my machine for a while now, and this gave me the perfect practice! I knew my nephew wouldn't mind a few wonky button holes as I experimented with the settings on my sewing machine, so I jumped on the opportunity to do this.

I have a ton of 6inx6in squares of fabric from plans to make a quilt that I never did. I picked out some blues and reds to use for this. I cut the squares in half - making 2 retangles of each. Turned them right sides in, sewed all around but left a gap. Turned right-side-out, ironed, and used zig-zag stitch to add contrast around the edge.

Next, I learned to use my button hole setting!!! I sewed, and sewed and sewed. Then pined each end of the button holes, and cut them open. Once I got the hang of it, it was a pretty automatic process... it took no brains and became an assembly line of fabric squares. All together the squares for the button snake probably took about an hour.

I had about 2 feet leftover of wide baby-blue ribbon that I had used to make tie-backs for TRex's curtains last year. The best part was that the very end was fray-checked, so I didn't have to do any sewing or fray-check myself!! About 2 or 3 inches from the end, I sewed on just one of the finished squares. At the other end, I sewed on the large button (which was a spare from my favorite H&M cardigan).
I buttoned on all the squares, and it was ready to go!

I know that TRex struggles with buttons, and this is the perfect teaching tool. With a large enough button for toddler fingers, and fun colors to make patterns, I know it's something that would get a lot of attention in our house!

And that's it! Busy Box finished!!!

All you mama's of more than one child know that the transition for a toddler to suddenly not be the center of attention can be rough... and I hope that this gift to my nephew will make it easier for him, and his mama in the first few weeks of meeting the new baby.

I can often be found linking up at these fabulous parties-
Monday: Make It Pretty Monday, Skip to my Lou, DIY Showoff Project ParadeMore the Merrier Monday, C.R.A.F.T., Just Something I Whipped Up, The Gunny SackDebt Free Mommy,Cutesy Mondays, Craft-O-Maniac Mondays, Make It Mondays, Mixer Monday at Whimsically Homemade
Tuesday:Get your craft on Tuesdays, Project Queen, Sugar Bee Crafts, New Nostalgia, Lady Bug Blessings, Too Cute Tuesday, The Schwins Tuesday Party,Tasty Tuesday,
Wednesday:The Thrifty Home, Linking up with Lil Luna, Tea Rose Home, Adorned from Above, Rae Gun Ramblings - What We Wore, Read, and Made Link Party,  Ginger Snap Crafts - Wow Me Wednesday,   Someday Crafts - Whatever Goes Wednesday,   My Girlish Whims - Your Whims WednesdayWork it Wednesday,
Thursday: Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Creek Cottage, Catch a Glimpse Thursday, Creative Juice Thursday, Thursday's Temptation @ Two Yellow Birds Decor,Crafty Soiree at Yesterday on Tuesday, Delightfully Inspiring Thursday,Wait Til Your Father Gets Home,
Friday: Shabby Nest,Whipperberry, Its a Hodge Podge Life, 30 Handmade Days, I'm Lovin It Link Party at Tidy Mom, Tickled Pink Fridays at 504 Main, For the Kids Friday at Sun Scholars,
Saturday: Free for All at Young and Crafty, Show and Tell Saturdays, Strut Your Stuff, Get Schooled Saturday, Spotlight Saturday,
Sunday:Think Pink Sundays at Flamingo Toes, Sunday Scoop at I Heart Nap Time,   


  1. Great box of goodies. I stopped over from Today's Creative Blog and I'm very happy I did, I pinned this for the future. I host a weekly blog party called Our Favorite Things. I would love to have you join in on the fun.

    1. I'm so glad you like it! I hope you have as much fun creating a busy box, as I sure did :)

      Thanks for the invite to your blog party, I'll be sure to join!

    2. I'm so glad you were able to join up. Have a great week.

  2. Very cute idea (and so resourceful)! I'm excited to make fun things like this for my little guy once he's a little bit older!

    Thanks for joining us at Keep Calm & Link Up this week! We're thrilled you chose to party with us and hope you'll join us again next week :o)
    xo, Meredith

    1. Thanks :) I will certainly join up next week too with whatever craftiness I have time for between now and then!


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