Monday, April 4, 2011

Activity boxes: my secret weapon in teaching multiple ages

I promised in my school room tour post that I would give you more details on our activity boxes set up, because they work so well for us. I am sorry it has taken me so long to get to it, but as you would have noticed I don’t get round to posting every day, just not enough hours in the day! It is not for lack of things to post about, I have about 10-15 partially written posts just sitting and waiting to be finished and published!

So, what are activity boxes? They are my secret weapon in keeping two active boys, in very different stages of development happy while working one-on-one with only one of them. They are basically a set of boxes or plastic drawers in which I place a variety of activities, all educational in some way. The boys are only allowed to use the items in the drawers when they are finished with their work and waiting for me to finish off with their brother. The items in the boxes are kept only for this use, and I rotate the items every 1-2 weeks, depending on how popular an activity is.

IMG_6929 [800x600]

Right now we have a set of six plastic stacked drawers which I bought from Walmart, but I am hoping to change them to a more open bin or trays on shelves set up when I next visit IKEA.

Here are some examples of the items I have placed in the drawers recently:

IMG_7144 ~Haba peg board~


~tactile numbers (like our sandpaper letters)~


~clothing peg number cards (downloaded from Confessions of a Homeschooler)~


~Spanish color match up game~


~magnetic counting book~


~large peg pattern board~


~color match up game (downloaded from Confessions of a Homeschooler)~


~lacing cards~


~pattern blocks and boards~


~magnetic shapes book~

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~rubbing plates~


~puzzles (this one is an infantino puzzle, but we use a lot of different ones)~

For more ideas refer to my Montessori inspired workboxes post, we use all the activities in that post in our activity boxes too.

Alongside the activity boxes, my boys are encouraged to look through the items in our feature study area of the classroom – read the books, or use whatever manipulatives are there – to become more familiar with the topic we are learning about, be it geography, science, or history (for more on our feature study area see our classroom tour post).

From time to time I will share more ideas for activity boxes.

This has been added to: Show and Tell and Preschool Corner & 5K too.


  1. I do this too and have them in trays on a shelf. With 3 kiddos in different age brackets I need to have activities for all of them. Thanks for sharing :-)

  2. This is great! Thank you for sharing! :)



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