There’s something magical about how toddlers can focus on the simplest things. Activities like dropping things into containers hold their attention better than the fanciest and most elaborate setups. Drop boxes harness this energy and interest- sometimes just to keep them entertained, but often, also, to help teach basic concepts.
For an amazing example of a drop box that covers LOTS of basic concepts, make sure to check out Happy Hooligan’s directions here.
If you’re like me and hoard the lids from baby wipe containers, then you’ll love the chance to use them for this craft! The wipe container lids add another element of fine motor practice to the fun- and they also mean that the box can be sealed and double as storage!
I made this drop box for my best friend’s toddler, who has been obsessed with animals, basically, since she was born. Her early favorites are dogs, cats and horses, so that’s what I chose for the theme. Sorting by type of animal is actually an early math skill, and likely to be very engaging since it’s something she’s interested in!
(I have included other animals below, and you can choose as many as you’d like to include!)
So, without further ado, here are directions for making your own
DIY Creature Sort Drop Box!
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1. Start with a cardboard box!
The size and shape is totally up to you. I painted mine purple to make it a little more fun, but that step isn’t necessary
2. Line up your wipe container lids on the box
You’ll want to know how many will fit and decide on the layout. Take your child’s developmental stage into account as well- young toddlers may only be ready to sort into two categories, while older kids might enjoy more.
3. Choose and print your animal pictures
You can use as many as your box will hold. Make sure to think about your child’s developmental level when deciding how many categories to include. Young toddlers may do best with only two, while for older kids you could have up to nine!
Save the pictures you want by right clicking on them (if you have a pc),ctrl clicking for a Mac, or pressing and holding with an iOS device. You can print them as a whole page (choose “scale to fit” for best results”), in landscape orientation.
4. Laminate the animal pictures
You could print them onto carstock, but the best way to make sure that your picture cards will hold up to toddler use is to laminate them. I highly recommend the scotch heat-sealing laminator, which was very reasonably priced and has been amazing, but if you don’t care to own a laminator, you can sandwich the cards between two sheets of contact paper. Adhesive self-laminating sheets probably won’t work because they are usually only sticky on one side, so as soon as you cut the cards apart the backing will fall off.
5. Glue the wipes lids to the top of your container
Hot glue works well for this. A tip- open the lid so you can put hold the top while you glue the bottom to keep your fingers a safe distance from the hot glue!
6. Use an X-Acto knife to cut away the cardboard inside the lid
7. Add Velcro to either side of the lid so your child can open and close it independently
8. Glue a picture of each animal onto the lids
For kindergarten students and older, you could write the word instead and add a reading component
9. Cut out your pictures
Depending on your printer settings and the brand of wipes you use, some may need additional trimming to fit through the holes so make sure you check!
I used my creative memories corner punch to round the corners, both so they’d look nicer and to make them less sharp for little hands.
10. Introduce to your child and enjoy!
Would your child love to sort animal pictures with a drop box like this?
Leave a comment and let me know!
For more awesome ideas for toys you can make your child, make sure to check out my list of Easy DIY Toys to make for your Kids!
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