Recycled Alphabet & Number Busy Box

September 24, 2013

The latest busy bag (or box in this case) in our collection cost just over $5 to make and uses recycled items to help kids learn letters.  Or in J's case, spell words and organize numbers into patterns.  Regardless, it's a simple and frugal way to make and organize letter manipulatives for toddlers and preschoolers.

Recycled alphabet and number busy box for kids from And Next Comes L

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I cut letters and numbers off some recycled cardboard boxes a few months ago for the boys to play with.  Well, do the boys ever enjoy them!  However, I was struggling with the storage of the recycled letters, hoping to one day find a perfect storage container for them.  Up until last week, they were lovingly stored in an old baby wipes container.  Then I found this 32 compartment no spill bead organizer at Walmart for $5!  It was perfect.

Using a permanent marker, I wrote the uppercase and lowercase letters in each compartment.  Since there were some empty spots, I wrote the numbers in too.  Some of the numbers had to partner up with another number, but that's not a big deal since I hardly have enough numbers for the box yet.  And, more importantly, the boys don't seem to mind.

Inside the recycled alphabet and number busy box for kids from And Next Comes L

Then the recycled letters and numbers can be organized into their spots.  You'll notice that I am missing some Qs and have very few numbers at this point, but searching for the missing items on our cardboard has been part of the fun.  It's like a scavenger hunt for the boys to help me find some letters to fill up the box. 

Recycled letters and numbers in the alphabet busy box from And Next Comes L

On the lid of the box, as can be seen in the first picture or the picture below, I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out the words "The Alphabet Box" from gray vinyl.

Recycled alphabet and number busy box for kids from And Next Comes L

Update as of December 19, 2013: I have had numerous questions about what to do with this busy box.  J loves to just sort letters, spell words, and arrange numbers into patterns.  He has also used them as part of his second language learning, which you can read about here.  K, on the other hand, loves to match the letters to the corresponding spot in the box and just pick up letters to identify.

Looking for more busy bag ideas?  Be sure to check out all of my other busy bag ideas here or follow my busy bags board on Pinterest.

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14 comments:

  1. This is a great idea for sorting and learning the alphabet. : 0 ) Theresa (Capri + 3)

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    1. Thanks, Theresa! My boys love the recycled letters so far.

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  2. I just love this!!! So frugal and perfect for learning!!

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    1. Aw thanks, Chelsey! They will be great for so many activities.

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  3. Great idea! I love that it's so inexpensive to put together!

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    1. Yes, the price is definitely an added bonus!

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  4. This is such a simple but fantastic idea!

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  5. This is awesome! I've done the cutting out of letters to teach the alphabet, but keeping them organized was a full time job. I can't believe I never thought of this!! Thank you for the post :-)

    rebecca at http://thisfineday.com

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    1. I completely agree that it is difficult to organize the letters prior to finding this box. Ours used to be stored in an old wipes container and well, it sucked. So I'm glad to hear you found this post useful. Thanks for stopping by, Becky!

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  6. We use that exact same container from Walmart for our movable alphabet. I like your idea of using recycled letters from cardboard packaging, I bought chipboard letters on clearance at Hobby Lobby for ours and it sucks because they only had upper case.

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    1. Ah yes, using cardboard gives you not only upper and lower case, but different font styles. It's good for them to see that the letters can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

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