What do your kiddos do during arrival time? Transition times? Quiet times? These times in your day can so easily turn into wasted minutes. And, I don’t know about you, but I’ve never felt like I had one single minute to waste! One of my favorite ways to make use of all this down time is with busy boxes! Busy boxes are great for so many reasons!
- Everything the kiddos need to complete the activity is contained in the busy box.
- The kiddos can complete the activities independently.
- The busy boxes contain activities that are calm and quiet.
- The activities are easy to get out and clean up.
Today I’m sharing with you four of my busy boxes that apple-themed and focus on preschool and kindergarten math skills! You can easily make any of these activities yourself, but I’ve made it super easy for you! I’ve got all of these busy boxes in my Teachers Pay Teachers store! They are ready to print, easy to prep, and SUPER affordable!
Materials & Supplies
Whether you are going to DIY yours or print mine, you will need a few things. First you need containers for your busy boxes. Here are some options that I like to use:
- pencil boxes (My favorite option!)
- Iris photo storage cases (I love these because they are super cute! But, the size can be challenging and they are pretty expensive.)
- pencil bags (These are a great option if you have limited space.)
You’ll also need to laminate the pieces if you want them to last longer than a millisecond! And the number tracing cards aren’t reusable if they’re not laminated! I personally love my Scotch laminator! And I buy Fellowes laminating sheets because they are VERY reasonably priced AND dry erase markers wipe right off of them!
For these four busy boxes, you will also need to gather a few things to go along with the printables:
- apple mini erasers
- dry erase markers
- erasers (My favorite erasers for busy boxes are pom poms! Hop over to this blog post to see why!
OK… now that you’re ready to go, let’s check out my four apples & math busy boxes!
Apples Number Tracing Busy Box
This simple busy box is always a favorite! The kiddos love to trace the numbers, erase, and trace again! They are working on fine motor skills, handwriting, and number recognition all at the same time! Plus, you can individualize this activity by controlling how many of the tracing cards you give to your kiddos. They may just need 0-5, or they may need to practice all the way to 20!
Apples Counting Busy Box
Building consistent visual representations of quantities is so important! Ten frames are a great way to that, and they are the basis of this counting busy box! You can use any manipulative with this activity: cubes, two-sided counters, beans, etc. But my favorite thing to use is mini erasers! (I have a slight addiction to these!) If your kiddos still have a hard time with one-to-one correspondence, you can give them ten frames that are programmed to show them exactly where to put the apples as a support! (Both versions are included if you purchase this resource!)
Apples Number Matching Busy Box
Preschool and kindergarten kiddos need lots of opportunities to count and match different representations of quantities so that they will develop the ability to look at a representation and tell you how many without having to count. (In teacher-speak this is called subitizing.) That’s what this activitiy is designed to do. The kiddos match each apple to the right basket. They may have to count. They may not. Either way, they are practicing important math skills! Plus, this one is easy to differentiate! If your kiddo is not able to subitize at all, start him with 1-3. If your kiddo can subitize up to 5, give him 6-10. If you have kiddos who can subitize all the way to 10, pair them up and let them race to make that recognition even more automatic!
Apple Shapes Match & Clip
This busy box could possibly end up being your favorite because It’s super cute, and it’s FREE! Even if you want to DIY the others, please head over to my TPT store and grab a copy of this freebie! My favorite part of this activity is that it combines fine motor skills with math skills! Pinching clothespins is a great way to build those writing muscles!
All of these are available in my TPT store! Just click the product covers to check them out!
They are also available in bundle with some apples & literacy busy boxes added in too!
How do you use busy boxes in your classroom? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!!