1 Year Old’s Busy Box

I thought I would share a recent gift I prepared for my one year old niece.  I called it her “Busy Box” and included some homemade activities that she can enjoy both now and over the next few months.  She is the third child so her house is already overflowing with store-bought toys and they really need little more.  So I thought a little creativity was in order.  Afterall, toddlers LOVE to play with anything that isn’t technically a toy anyway!  Many of these activities were J’s favorites at the same age (the ones with stars) and I threw in a few extra… 

The box itself was a simple photo box.  I wanted it to be small enough to hide away (some activities will need adult supervision) and cute enough to be displayed if wanted.  This also meant activities needed to fit inside the box itself.  I finally decided on…

1. Pipe Cleaners in a Bottle **

All toddlers love a good game of In and Out.  This is just one more way to get some practice!  I used an old container of Puffs from J’s baby days, decorated the outside and punched holes in the lid.  I filled the bottle with colorful pipe cleaners.  It’s also a good idea to fold and twist the pipe cleaners in half to make them sturdier.  As a pretoddler it will be easiest to simply remove the lid completely and let her take the pipe cleaners in and out but as she gets older, simply add the lid and the activity becomes more advanced.  If I could’ve found my colorful Sharpies/reinforcement stickers, I would’ve given each hole a specific color.  This allows one more difficulty by trying to match the colored pipe cleaners to the corresponding colored hole in the lid. 

Another option is to use colorful straws, but I chose pipe cleaners since they’re so versatile.  She could also use them to make shapes, letters, jewelry,…  Oh and this makes a GREAT plane activity. 

2.  Colorful Flowers

Again and In and Out game, or just a way to focus on colors.  I used colorful foam to make the flowers and added a tin flower pot.

3.  You’ve Got Mail

I cut out envelopes, stamped and addressed each one with recognizable family names.  I intended to create my old mailbox with a box, but decided to go with this cute store-bought mailbox instead.  She can learn to open and close the mailbox, of course play the In and Out game with the mail (do you see a trend?), and when she gets old enough for name recognition she can play mailman and pass out the mail to the intended recipient. 

4.  Clothespin Drop

I bought some of the old clothespins (without the spring) and gave each one a different colored tip.  She can play the In and Out game (yes, again!), try to drop the clothespins in the tin flower pot and hear the nice clangy sound they make, and when she’s much older can fit the clothespins around the tin edge since they fit perfectly.

5.  Half-Dozen Eggs **

I mentioned this activity in an earlier post.  It was such a winner when J was younger, that it had to win a spot in E’s Busy Box.  It takes literally no work, just an egg carton and some plastic eggs.  ** I also meant to add puff balls inside each egg, but of course forgot. 

6.  Cupcake Magnetic Puzzle

This was made completely out of the colorful foam.  The muffin tins and cherries are glued down but the cupcakes themselves can be removed, rearranged and replaced (because of the magnetic backing).  Since she is so young, cupcakes work great.  Any color cupcake will fit on any muffin tin.  

This is an activity where a parent needs to be nearby since it includes magnets.

7.  Photo cards **

I printed and laminated family photos.  This is a great way for her to learn each family member (they’ve recently moved away from home) and I’ve never known a toddler that didn’t enjoy playing with pictures! 

7.  Colorful Dice

I threw this in last minute since J has a set and enjoys them.  I found these at Michaels.  For now, it’s just something to toss around (they are rubber so they bounce), but eventually it’s a way to practice counting. 

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6 responses to “1 Year Old’s Busy Box

  1. I wish you would move in with us and walk me through everything I need at each stage for C.

  2. Meals included?

    I still say all you truly need is God and a car seat (the latter just to keep legal). All the rest is just extra cushion to keep us busy!

  3. I just discovered your blog and love the activities you share. Would you mind telling me where you buy those wooden rounded clothespin.
    Did your son/niece put these in their mouths? Do you need a certain kind to be safe?
    Thanks.

    • I bought the wooden clothespins as Michael’s Craft Store. I imagine any craft store would have them. They have been safe to use around our home. Ours are each made from one piece of wood, so there is no concern of a top glued on that might pop off. If your little ones like to mouth their toys, I wouldn’t try to paint them. That way you aren’t worried about them pealing off the paint with their teeth.
      Any of the gross motor activities like this definitely require your attention. They tend to involve smaller pieces than the store bought toys.

  4. I love all of these! I’m going to find a mini mailbox and laminate some pics tomorrow!! 🙂

  5. Aw these are so lovely, I am inspired!

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