How To: Upcycled Activity Box for Toddlers
This homemade toddler activity box took minutes to put together, was totally free, and entertains my son Darrol to no end!
What is it about toddlers and the changing table? My baby boy refuses to stay still for a diaper change. He screams. He wiggles. He tries to crawl away. It’s maddening! The other day in a moment of desperation, I handed him the box of baby wipes to distract him. It was the only thing within reach, and let’s just say that things were getting … messy.
It worked! My guy lay there, totally still, pulling wipes out of the box and handing them to me. I had basically struck parenting gold.
Obviously, I needed to turn this discovery into something that my guy could play with regularly, so I grabbed an empty wipes box to make a toddler activity box to keep him busy. I made my toddler activity box using the wipe warmer where I was storing my homemade baby wipes, but any old wipes container will work, as long as your little one can get his hand inside to pull out the surprises!
It almost feels like cheating to call this a tutorial. You can really use what you have handy to make this toy, but I’ll share the ingredients that are in my son’s toddler activity box to give you a jumping-off point.
Toddler Activity Box from an Old Wipe Container
+ empty wipe box – Whatever you have on hand. The old Wipe Warmer works great, but so would any empty container that your child can dig into to pull out the fabrics you’ve stashed inside.
+ scrap fabric in different sizes – Darrol seems to like the different textures. I’m using a piece of recycled felt, the sleeve from a chiffon top that I altered, and an 8″ piece of cotton webbing from a broken belt. The webbing is by far his favorite. Darrol has always liked chewing on straps. Choose your materials based on what’s in your stash and textures that your kid likes! The only thing I’d suggest you avoid are loose weave fabrics. I had a piece of burlap in there, but it sheds a lot. And let’s be honest: these things are absolutely going into your child’s mouth, right?
1. Stuff the fabrics into the box.
2. Show your child that there are fun surprises inside! I had to show Darrol how to use the box a few times before he started going for it on his own. He enjoys opening and closing it as much as he likes pulling things out. Both activities are learning experiences for young toddlers, so once your baby has the hang of it, just let him play. Maybe you can load the dishwasher while he’s not looking!
Note: If you’re going to leave your toddler unattended with this activity, be careful about the lengths of your materials. The 8″ piece of webbing works well because it’s too short to be a strangling hazard, since webbing is so thick. Make sure nothing in the box is long enough to strangle your child. Can you tell that Darrol is my first child?