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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Five Days of Workboxing. Day Four: What Goes in the Boxes?

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First of all, let's get you all caught up.  If you haven't had a chance to see the first three days of this series, check them out:

Go ahead.  I'll wait...

OK, good.  Welcome back to Day Four of Workboxing.  Wow--it's been a busy week, hasn't it?  We've so far covered what workboxes are and the theory behind them, how to organize them to fit your curriculum, your style, and your family, and some ideas for using workboxes in a "non-traditional sense".  Today we're going to talk some ideas for what can go into your workboxes.

To me, this is the most fun age to fill workboxes for.  It's definitely not the easiest age to fill workboxes for, but it is the most fun!  It's also probably the messiest, but then again, so are three year-olds, right?

Now, I was pretty lucky.  When I was filling preschool boxes, I had a preschooler who loved to "do school".  He was (and still is) an active kiddo, but he could sit down and entertain himself for long periods of time.  All I had to do was give him a "starter".  So, while many of his boxes were more "school-y", there were still plenty of messy, active things for him to do to.

Some examples of what to put in a preschool box are:

PlayDoh / Moon Sand / Goop (of course, if you have a child who is still mouthing things, use caution.)


A Learning DVD, such as Leap Frog or Magic School Bus

"Busy Bag" activities that usually come from some kind of activity swap



Flashcards to match 

Crayons, markers, finger paint (remember I said these were messy!)

Sorting and counting bears

Tag pens and readers

Sorting games

Mr. Potato Head

Board Books

Letter activities and ideas, such as those found in Letter of the Week, by Confessions of a Homeschooler

Color Matching games

Filling and dumping activities

Dry Erase boards, markers, and erasers

Imaginary play toys  (some of Bug's favorite boxes were filled with dollar store toy cowboys and indians that he could manipulate for hours)

In the elementary years, to me, workboxes get easier to fill, especially as curriculum fills in much of what will go in the boxes.  It's important to remember, though, that some of these boxes still should have some "fun stuff" in them, to help motivate those kiddos to do the harder boxes.  Some fun stuff that we put in our elementary boxes:


Play Doh, Shaving Cream, etc.  Still messy, but hopefully, slightly less so.  And now, Play Doh can be used to shape out spelling words, or scenes from a history lesson.  I'm pretty sure that creation in the picture above was recreating the labyrinth that the Minotaur lived in.

Legos.  And Legos.  And More Legos.

Lego Magazines

Math games.  Play Addition War with a deck of cards, or Play Memory by trying to match cards that add up to ten.

Word Searches

Crossword puzzles

PE Time.  It's always fun to throw in index cards with instructions, or pictures of swings, to let kids have a "brain break".

Snacks.  Best. Boxes. Ever.

iPad time

Nature Journals with a note to go sit outside under a tree and find something to observe

Draw Write Now books

We make our own birthday / anniversary / thank you cards, so those may land in a workbox


My middle girl sometimes would even cut out coupons for me!  (as an OT lesson, haha!)

My oldest is now in 8th grade, and we don't use workboxes with her anymore.  


As she's gotten older, she's much more interested in "just finishing" her schoolwork and then having extra time in her day to take pictures, or text, or read, or sleep.  The workboxes seem to hold her back, since adding in the fun activities essentially just make her school day longer.

Instead, we use a planner, which serves much the same purpose as workboxes.  Each day is broken up into subjects;  as she completes a lesson, she highlights that activity and goes on to the next.  In that way, I can see what she has completed, and she can see how much more she has.

I would suggest, if you are going to use workboxes with your "big kids", to ask them what they prefer.  If you are going to add things into workboxes besides their regular curriculum, maybe it could be things like:

Still Legos


Art paper and materials

Recipes to try


Yard maintenance

And again--snacks.

I hope I've given you enough ideas to get started with.  Have fun, be creative, and think outside of the box (hahaha!).  Again, your workboxes are yours.  Find the fun things that will work for your family and go for it!

Tomorrow, we'll finish off the week by going through some of the best that Internet-land has to offer in terms of workbox printables, ideas, themes, and hints.  

Make sure to check out those 89 other bloggers, too, to see all of the amazing information they are sharing on oh-so-many different topics!

Summer Blog Hop

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the ideas for workboxes for little ones.



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