An activity box might be designed for one or more activities. Activities can be designed by theme, age of the participants, subject matter or any other criteria you choose. It is up to you to decide what to include to make it complete.
The container for your activity box is very important. Grabbing a tote to put in an area where everything else is in shoeboxes may not work. If your activities are all printables, you might be able to get away with a sleeve protector or large zip top bag. Of course, digital items might be contained on a single disk or flash drive that you need to protect from damage. Examine any current boxes or area you plan to use. Determine the best container for your activity box.
2. Contents list.
The contents list not only allows you a quick check to make sure everything is in there, it also lets your borrower know if they have everything. If something is missing, this list can also serve as a reminder to acquire non-included items. Plan to keep a copy of your contents list so you can recreate the activity box if needed.
An instruction should be included for each activity. The instruction might include:
- Items provided in the activity box
- Items the user will need to provide
- Preparation time
- Activity time
- Area needed
- Steps to complete the activities
- Diagrams for difficult steps
- URLs for sites / videos to help
- Image or sample of finished product
- Supplemental ideas
- Further resources
Test all instruction sheets before including them in your box. Be sure to have a backup.
4. User materials and tools.
Some items just won’t go in a box. You can make a list of user materials and tools they need to have on-hand to complete the activities in either a list for the entire box or as part of the instructions. Items that might be included in user materials and tools include:
- Screwdrivers, hammers and other simple tools
- Cleaning supplies
- Rubber / latex gloves
- Pens, pencils, crayons
- Other everyday items the user might have on-hand or can acquire easily
5. Box materials.
Box materials are those items that will be used and need to be replaced. Items which are printable (color sheets, word finds, etc.) should be accompanied by a master in laminate or a page protector so additional copies can be made. Consumable items such as craft supplies, if not provided, should be listed on the materials list per person to make it easy to determine amount needed for your user to acquire.
NOTE: Test the box before using it. It will help you explain and troubleshoot issues when you are doing it with others.
6. Box tools.
Tools are items that can be reused. All items need to be clean and usable. Broken or damaged items should be replaced. This might include templates, test tubes, tweezers, rulers, paper punches or other items that will not be “used up” while doing the activity.
7. Adjustment ideas.
You may want to include some ideas about adjusting the box for different ages, abilities, area available or even time. If an activity calls for cutting circles out of a sheet of paper, you can recommend the user purchase fun foam circles or a circle paper punch for younger users. If the user has limited time, you can recommend certain steps be prepared beforehand to help everyone move through the activities faster.
For example, I like to prepare zip top bags with all elements necessary for a specific SWAP when I teach them. It saves a lot of time handing out items and people looking for specific colors. They can see what’s in the bag at a glance.
8. Responsibility list.
The user needs to know what they are responsible for and what they are not. If color sheets are included in the materials and twelve are used, it should be the user’s responsibility to replace those color sheets. Remember, these boxes are designed to be used over and over by multiple individuals / groups. However, if you don’t communicate your expectations, the user will not know. Save frustration up front by providing a list of what each user is responsible for.
9. User notes and feedback.
Your user may know of a better way to do something or a new tool is available that halves the time to do a step according to your instructions. Feedback is a wonderful way to communicate a need for the box to be updated. Provide a form or email address with each box so your users can let you know if the activity box is good or could use improvement. Be sure to outline how they should communicate with you as part of the step above.
10. Enrichment Project supplements.
Many of the Enrichment Project supplements can be used in activity boxes. This includes color sheets, puzzles, song sheets and more. When I use the craft sheets, I put the instruction sheet and sample in a page protector. This gives me an “activity box” with all I need for a fast activity. All I need is the materials for others to do it. Supplements are free to everyone for one week after badges are released on larajla.com.
11. Ideas from others.
You can purchase kits to make beeswax candles, instruments and even origami animals. You can also find subscription boxes that work on a theme or craft you wish to explore. Check out kits that others have for sale. Use the activity boxes others have designed for inspiration. Brainstorm your own activity box and try making one today.
- Avery 2” round label printable, 12 up
- Badge checklist
Sites to Explore
Get the infographic here > larajla blog post
Get the PDFs of the badge program / supplements here > Full badge PDFs