• Abby Cirkles

The Magic of A Busy Box




You want to hear something magical?

- Drinking a cup of coffee while it's hot

- Cleaning the kitchen without a little arm pulling on you

- A child who knows how to sit still(ish) and play quietly without a screen at an restaurant Are you gasping in awe at the possibility of those things?!

Obviously I'm being a bit silly here, but truly a busy box (Busy Bag, Buzy Bucket... call it what you may) is such a fabulous thing. It is a great opportunity for children to learn and practice how to play alone and quietly.

Filled with an assortment of toys and trinkets, this engages the imagination and fidgety bodies.


I think as adults we tend to say, "What do you do with this?" when looking at a random box of toys, but that's the point of a good quiet box. Toys that don't have instructions, batteries, or labels are the BEST for kids. There is no wrong way to play. (Ex: You'll see down in the pictures, one of the items is a "straw sorter" I made. When I first gave this to Oliver, he dumped the straws out and discovered he could roll the can back and forth. I was so tempted to say, "Wait. No. Oliver, you're suppose to put the straws through the lid. But here's the win - he found a new way to play with this! And soon enough he discovered the hole in the lid for sorting too.) I love the quote ,"Be careful that your teaching doesn't get in the way of learning".


I recently made one for my nephew and thought I’d give you some ideas of what you can put in. He’s two, which will reflect on the items. But for older or younger kids you can adjust. There are a billion ideas on Pinterest. But also just a walk through a dollar store will give you some ideas. I plopped everything in one box, since it was a gift, but you can easily put one thing in your busy box each day and really have some great practice on building those independent and quiet play skills. ***Pro tip - set the boundary early that when the Busy Box is done, everything goes back inside and the box is closed. This prevents random trinkets being skattered throughout the house. Also, part of keeping the magic of this box is not having access to it every moment. Store it somewhere and save it so that you as the parent get to decide when it "comes to play".


Here's a look:

This is a 20qt box

Pipe cleaners are a great open ended toy

Plastic cups and large pom poms. You could pour the pom poms. You could toss them into the cup. You could drop them in. You could just play with the cups. Endless fun.

Animals for dramatic play and imagination.

Kids LOVE painters tape. It also doesn't damage your home.

This is a kid version called a Cubby :)

Coffee can with a hole for sorting cards. Also can use cards for number and color matching.

Wrapped pringles can in construction paper for..

Straw dropping. I cut a small hole with scissors and cut straws in half. I had coffee stirrers so I used that too.

Large Pringle can with Popsicle sticks for a different version.
If you paint with water it is seen really well on construction paper with no mess

Felt letter match. In the craft section you can buy a pack of felt the size of printing paper. This is great for all sorts of matching crafts because felt sticks together.

Number matching is great


Magnifying glass because... come on. These are just cool.


This is the holy grail right here. All the parents are laughing because they know non toys are the best toys. In here is a retractable tape measure (found in the sewing section), a harmonica, a calculator, and a comb.

Theses are so fun! The puffy stickers are much easier for toddlers to get on and off.

Pack it all up and you have lots of fun ahead of you!




I hope you have lots of minutes of fun with some of these ideas. Happy exploring! Abby ***Don't forget... The Cirkles are Cheering You On!


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