Featured activity: Build Your Own Children’s Craft Box

Published on February 22, 2021 - Updated on February 24, 2021

The single best thing I did right before my second child was born (OK, maybe second best behind stocking the freezer with meals), was to build a boredom-busting craft box for my toddler.

I’m telling you, an easily accessible bin packed with the right combination of arts and crafts supplies will save your life — or at least your sanity. Our magical craft box manages to hold my three-year-old’s attention for longer than two minutes, buying me valuable time to make dinner, pick up the house for the twentieth time that day or FaceTime with a friend.

You want to build a craft box that will allow you to be relatively hands off. Think washable everything (paints, markers, etc.), kid-safe scissors and self-guided activities like stamp pads and coloring books.

Here are my craft box favorites:

Craft Box.jpg


Is there a toddler that isn't obsessed with putting stickers on everything? My number one tip is to buy the “puffy” stickers so their little fingers can manage these on their own. I buy them in bulk on Amazon. We also love the reusable Melissa and Doug Puffy Sticker Play Set.

Paint supplies

Colorful, washable paint is a must. I don’t stress out when my son paints his hands, his arms (why though?), the table and essentially everything except the paper. Don’t forget the paint brushes, paint sponges and a smock to keep clothes relatively clean.

Pom poms

You’re missing out on some serious independent play if you haven’t given your child a package of pom poms and some Tupperware filled with water. The Busy Toddler blog calls this “Pom Pom Soup” and it is an excellent sit back and watch parenting activity. Just fill a big Tupperware or bowl with water, dump in some pom poms and give your kid spoons and other random kitchen utensils. I’ve also given my son a funnel and watched him meticulously push all the pom poms through the hole.

Coloring books and supplies

Make sure your craft box is stocked with plain drawing paper, colorful construction paper and washable markers. I also like to keep a big roll of brown butcher paper to cover the table for messier activities (like pumpkin carving or my son’s invention that involves rolling Matchbox cars through Play-Doh). Another great craft box item is the Melissa & Doug Water Wow! Coloring books. These are a must-have on long road trips.

Scissors and glue

My son can be entertained for a good 20 minutes simply by cutting paper. Using scissors is a novelty to children and it shouldn’t be overlooked. Just be sure to buy safety scissors that are suitable for little hands. As for glue, I like the glue sticks for my son but the liquid glue comes in handy for certain projects.

Stamp pad

I like giving my son a couple pieces of paper and his wooden animal stamp set when I need to get some things done in the kitchen. He loves filling the page with different stamp designs.

Pipe Cleaners

Pipe cleaners can be used for a ton of different purposes and they definitely deserve a spot in your craft box. They act as a great “string” for beading activities, kids can stick them through the holes in a colander, or you can help your little ones make candy cane ornaments in December.

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For more inspiration, check out recent features, such as FIve Tips to Successful Mask Wearing, or if you are heading out on a road trip, take a look at our list of Top Ten Family-Friendly Podcasts. For a fun activity at home, check out our list of Chalk Games.

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Thoughtfully captured by:
Lizzy Alfs
Lizzy is a Michigan transplant living in the always bustling Nashville, Tenn. After graduating from the University of Michigan, she spent a decade working as a business journalist in Ann Arbor, Mich. and then Music City. She recently transitioned her journalism career to freelance writing so she could stay home with her two little boys, Milo and Jude. Lizzy grew up in the summers on a lake in beautiful Northern Michigan and she spent the winters making the most of the state's endless snow and slush. She lives by the motto "There's no such thing as bad weather" and you'll find her outside rain or shine. These days, Lizzy and the boys like to adventure around Nashville, looking for toddler-friendly hikes, parks and swimming holes.
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