Spring is my my second favorite season (Of course, summer is first in my book!!) I love all the signs of new life when winter comes to an end and it starts to warm up. I love being outside in the beautiful weather. And I love being able to pull out my sandals and flip flops again! But… in the classroom, spring definitely brings its own challenges. Spring means summer is close, and we all (teachers included) can start to focus on summer and forget that there is still a lot of learning that needs to take place. The closer summer gets, the harder and harder it can be to keep those kiddos engaged in anything! That’s why I love busy boxes so much! And, I’m super excited about these spring busy boxes, because they are easy to prep and your kiddos will love them!
What Are Busy Boxes?
Busy boxes are simple activities that your kiddos can complete independently. They should contain activities that you’ve already done with your kiddos during circle time or small groups. They should be familiar with the materials, the activities, and the procedures for using the busy boxes before you ever put them in your kiddos’ hands to do independently. Hear me clearly on this: if you hand a kiddo a busy box they’ve never, ever seen before and send them away to go do it, it will not work. You’ll end up frustrated, and they’ll end up in trouble for whatever they end up doing with the materials inside the box.
Busy boxes can be used in a variety of ways once your kiddos know how to use them. They are great to use in centers, but I really love them for transition times! Those seem to be the times when the biggest problems arise because the kiddos are idle. If we don’t give them something to do, they will find something to do! So, I love to give them busy boxes! Use them during arrival time, bathroom breaks, when the kiddos finish their snack or lunch, really anytime there’s down time while some or all of your kiddos are waiting for the next thing, whatever that may be.
It’s also important to note that busy boxes should contain everything your kiddos need to complete that activity. When you’re assembling them, just ask yourself if a kiddo can sit down with the box and go through it from start to finish without have to get up. If the answer is no, figure out what else they would need to change your answer to yes.
What Do You Need?
Before you dive into assembling your busy boxes, there are definitely some things you’re going to want to have on hand! Here’s a list of what I consider to be the must-haves!
- Personal laminator and laminating sleeves: If your school has a laminator and you want to save money by using it, by all means, please do!! BUT… the pieces are so much more durable when you laminate them with a personal laminator. The laminating film is much thicker, which makes the activities last longer. For me, the cost of a personal laminartor and the laminating sleeves is totally worth it!
- Plastic boxes: If you want to stay on the economical side, pencil boxes are the best way to go! But, if you have a few extra dollars lying around, colorful photo cases are my faves! They are smaller, they have a storage case, and they are super cute!
- Velcro or double-sided tape: OK… let’s be real. The colored photo cases are adorable, and I do love them, but I’m not made of money. I can’t afford to have a different set of them for every set of bust boxes. Not to mention the fact that I would need an entire storage shed just to hold them all! So, velcro and double-sided tape are life savers on this one! You can use either to attach the labels to the tops of the boxes so that they are easy to switch out when your theme changes!
- Paper cutter: This is an absolute must for me! Being able to cut multiple sheets at a time is SUCH a lifesaver! You can go the scissors route if you want, but I prefer to save my fingers and my time by using a paper cutter!
Everything else you need, you will probably already have in your classroom. Things like play dough, dry erase markers, pom poms, mini erasers are all pretty common staples in a preschool classroom!
Now, let’s get to the fun part: the spring busy boxes!
Spring Letter Tracing
These cards are such a fun way to let your kiddos practice writing the letters! When they are laminated, your kiddos can write and erase over and over again. Want a fun way to have them erase that really works those fine motor muscles? Head on over to my post about dry erase hacks and look for the tip about how I use pom poms for this!
Spring Number Tracing
This is just like the letter tracing busy box, but with numbers!
Spring Letter Matching
These super cute puzzles will help your kiddos work on identifying letters and matching them! I’ve got three sets: lowercase, uppercase, and both so that you can meet your kiddos where they are with this skill!
If your kiddos need to practice counting and matching sets, these counting puzzles will do the trick! (Can you tell I have a heart for making differentiation easy??)
Spring Color Matching
Colors are a big deal in preschool, and these color puzzles are a fun way to practice! You can have your kiddos match flowers of the same color, flowers to color words printed in color, or flowers to color words printed in black.
Spring Play Dough Counting
Play dough is my favorite! Kiddos love using it for just about anything, and when it’s helping them solidify skills, it’s even better! This busy box has two sets of cards: one with visual supports like in the picture, and one with blank ten frames for your kiddos who don’t need that extra nudge to help them build sets.
Beginning Sound Puzzles
If your kiddos are beyond naming letters, and they’re working on letter sounds, they will love theses fun puzzles! Each one has the uppercase letter, the lowercase letter, and a picture that starts with that letter sound. The X puzzle is the only exception to this. It has a picture that ends with the X sound because there are no words that start with the sound of X!
Spring Letter Punch
This is one of my favorites in this set! I love when academic skills and fine motor skills collide! And these letter punch cards are so cute, especially if you print them on colored paper! But, I really love giving them fun shaped paper punches! (You can get the GIANT set that I have by clicking HERE!)
Caterpillar Name Building
And I saved my very favorite for last! I can’t get enough of this adorable name building busy box! The name cards are editable, so you can type your kiddos names right on them! And that means you can also use them for sight words, theme words, ANY WORDS! You get to pick the words you type on them! I will give you this bit of advice: Creating a separate busy box for every single kiddo means a LOT of cutting. I prefer to make one busy box that has all the name cards in it. I figure out how many of each letter I need for my kiddos to spell one name at a time, and that is what I cut out. Even still, it’s a lot of cutting. And you can’t use the paper cutter for this one. But, it is SO worth it!
Spring Busy Box Bundle
All of these spring busy boxes are in a giant bundle in my TPT store! You can grab yours by clicking on the product cover below! And if you just want to get a few of them rather than the whole set, no worries! You can still use this link! The bundle page also has links to all of the individual busy boxes!
Want to try one out for free before you spend any money? (Even though they are ridiculously inexpensive!) My Spring Color Puzzles Busy Box is FREE! Click on the product cover to get one and try it out!
If you love busy boxes as much as I do, and you’re looking for more ideas that are ready to print and use, you’ll definitely want to check out some of my other busy boxes posts!