I had so much fun a while ago making our DIY Baby Light Box that I wanted to make a play box for the next stage of my twins’ babyhood. I was inspired by This baby sensory board and This peekaboo board. This took less than an hour, was really fun to assemble and cost almost nothing!
I started with the big cardboard box (from my most recent amazon order, of course). I cut off three of the flaps from the front but left one of the long ones on to add some stability and make a surface for the babies to lie on. I saved one of the flaps (you’ll see why later).
Then I painted the whole thing (I used some interior paint leftover from the room upstairs because I like how well it covers the surface.) You could skip this step if you’re pressed for time but it won’t look nearly as nice.
I let the whole thing dry overnight and came back the next day for the fun part: adding all the exciting sensory elements!
I made the back of the box into a texture wall. The boys aren’t really sitting up yet but when they do they’ll be able to sit and feel the variety of textures!
First I taped a little mini sensory bag in the middle. Most people make these out of hair gel but I’d just bought some hand soap to make glittery calm-down jars so I just used a squirt of that in a plastic bag with a few drops of food coloring. I really don’t want this leaking so I sealed the bag with duct tape, then put it into another bag and sealed that one with duct tape too
I taped the bag in the middle of the back of the box with generous amounts of tape on each side to protect the seams. I also wanted the tape to create a kind of grid. Then I hot glued on the rest of my textured items! I keep a “junk” box in my craft room just for projects like this so it was fun to find things that would work! I used flooring samples from Home Depot, packing foam, a piece of bubble wrap glued over a fake flower, a square from an old sweater, and a textured metal sticker from a scrapbooking sticker set. This part is all about what you have available!
Then I got to work on the inside. The box I used, like most cardboard boxes, had a gap between the flaps in the back so I decided to glue the extra flap from the front over the gap to cover it. But first I covered the flap with aluminum foil. I just folded it over and hot glued it around the back, then glued the panel into the middle of the back of the box. Voila! It holds everything together and it’s shiny!
Next, I wanted to add a little peek-a-boo element on the inside, so I cut out some of my favorite Black and white picture cards from CanDoKiddo. They come six to a page so I cut a piece of orange felt into sixths as well (don’t trim the felt to the same size as the cards! You’ll need a little extra to make the flap.)
Then I glued the cards to the sides and back of the box (I used hot glue. I learned the hard way that I needed to put down a square of glue, put the card on it, then use a tool of some sort to smooth it down. Unless you like having burns on your fingers I suggest you do the same!)
I glued the felt over them with just one line of glue at the top so it would work as a flap
These are going to be so much fun!
Then I got to work on the top of the box. I wanted to do a “stained glass” ceiling effect. I happened to have a strip of “stained glass” vinyl left over from a window I needed to cover but if you don’t, you could use any piece of clear plastic from packaging, a sheet protector, a ziplock bag, etc, and color it in with sharpies. I almost did it that way but since I had the vinyl, I went with it (people, having a junk box is amazing!!)
First I traced my pieces of vinyl on the underside of the top of the box
Then I used an x-acto knife to cut out some squares within the outline, but leaving space all around them for glue. I really didn’t bother being precise. Make sure you have a good surface underneath your box when you’re cutting! I was working on top of a big piece of cardboard, and it made it way easier to cut all the way through.
Once the squares were cut out I traced all around them with hot glue and stuck my vinyl on.
The last thing I wanted to add was a place to hang toys. I used the same method as when I made my Baby light box. I first cut a little u in the top of the box, about a half inch away from the edge.
I folded the tab under;
and wrapped a piece of duct tape around the whole thing.
It’s a perfect place to hang some plastic links or other toys. For more about how much we love links and an idea for what to hang check out This Post.
I love how this came out! Here’s a view of the inside looking up;
And of the back I would definitely suggest putting down a folded blanket for padding and to make it easier to clean if baby spits up.
Here’s the finished project ready for playing!
There are so many ways to play with this box! When the boys lie in it headfirst they can look at the peekaboo squares, grab at the toys, or check out the stained glass. They can do tummy time and look at the aluminum foil and the cards. If I put them in feet first, they’ve discovered they can kick at the foil and make a great noise! Or they can lie behind it and kick at the different textures on the back- they love kicking the squishy sensory bag in the middle! I can’t wait until they get older and are able to use it in even more ways!
How would you use a baby sensory box? Is there anything else you would have added? Let me know in the comments!
For more of my baby play ideas, click Here
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