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Looking for ideas for "exploration boxes"

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So I started gathering books/activity books/ puzzles that were all about 1 theme and putting them into those medium storage boxes. I pull one out in the pm while I make dinner (or after dinner) and let the kids "explore" on their own. All 4 love them.

I include fiction/non-fiction/puzzles/game/crafts....etc


So I have these:




Horses (could use some more for this one)

Outer Space (could use more for this one)







Would love some ideas for :

History (I was thinking to make one for castles, colonial america, native american tribes, Colonial america,???)

Geography (I would like to do 1 for each continent)

Math (maybe themes: shapes, counting, patterns, not sure how to do this one?)


I love puzzles, stickers, dress up dolls, easy crafts I could print instructions for and include the supplies in a baggie (no paint, etc), games.

So any ideas???

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Well, for example in the ocean box I have:

non-fiction books about various fish, sea animals.

Several different levels of fiction from picture books to chapter books that are "ocean" themed. (Like "Commotion in the ocean", MSB Ocean book, MSB chapter book about oceans...etc, basically anything I could find)

I got printables from here: http://www.learningpage.com/main/home.html (it's free to join and I don't get spam from them) for mazes, etc.

A fish/octopus tic tac toe game I got from target $ section

A book of jigsaw puzzles (each page is a small puzzle): http://www.amazon.com/Ocean-Creatures-Jigsaw-Book-Krutop/dp/1865039233/ref=sr_1_28?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357924416&sr=1-28&keywords=ocean+activity+book

Some puzzle books: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1580176240/ref=oh_details_o04_s00_i00



Plus I got pre cut fish/dolphin/orca shapes from Micheal's and googly eyes and craft sticks for them to make puppets.


Outer space, I would love to add a felt set or felt "planets" or....???

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What a good idea. I did this when DS (8) was younger, but hadn't considered doing it again, with older supplies. Will have to think about that!


For the outer space box, there are some nice solar system models that are fairly inexpensive. Print a 40% off coupon to Michael's, maybe? ...We have a cardboard/paper model that is still unopened, but I'm not sure who made it - picked it up at a curriculum sale a while back. What about a star map? Or a book of stories about constellations (myths, etc)?

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Thanks for the ideas!

I do "activity bags" for the twins (lacing, decorate felt cupcakes, etc) I could take those up a notch.

I like the idea of the measuring box... how many pom-poms can fit in 1 cup, how many pom poms weigh 200gms...hummmm. need to find a scale.....

I have tons of file folder games (I was a Kg teacher pre-kids :laugh: ), but when Hsing, the thing is once they do it 2-3 times, it gets old... not like when you have 25 kids...

I am really trying to make them mom independent with these and also quiet time (relatively speaking, ie no running around the house) so I can cook, pick up etc.

I ordered this for the butterfly box: http://www.amazon.co...ils_o00_s00_i00

And some of those little dover stained glass coloring books... I already have tons of books about butterflies.

I found this cute game for the frog box: http://www.amazon.co...ils_o01_s01_i01


DS wants dragons and DD wants Italy...

I may do ancient rome... DS likes that topic...

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