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Activity boxes as Christmas presents, ideas?


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I am going to get my kids group presents this year, focused on activities they can do alone.  Background: we have a quiet time every day after lunch, which used to be nap time but kids have outgrown this, and it is getting harder to think of new activities to keep them busy but not needing my attention. I want to have set permanent activity boxes they can choose from to take to their spot and do on the days I don’t have something planned (besides reading and workbooks, and the still-hoped-for nap). 

Activities during this time need to be quiet, and able to be done alone (though if 2-3 people can do them, that’s fine). And, I don’t want glue or scissors involved since those left unattended won’t work for everyone yet.  Picture like a shoebox size. 
My ideas so far:
- pattern blocks (tangram) with picture ideas
- something with maps?  they love maps, just idk what to do for a durable activity.  Maps and a world atlas?
- ?
- ?
I had wanted 6 boxes, but have run out of ideas.  Has anyone else done this, or have ideas that would fit this? Or, better ideas for the box contents, like better/different blocks I should consider?
Thanks for your help!
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Magnets? I have word magnets that can be used to make sentences, but there are lots of ways you could use magnets.


Sticker books


A variety of rocks and a magnifying glass


Pinterest has some interesting engineering challenge type things- I made a box one time that had blocks, shot glass size plastic glasses, and popsicle sticks. There were several challenges to do with those.


Dry erase activities


With your map idea- we have a map that goes with a leap pen. It has been fun.


If they are younger- something to lace onto string?


Pattern bears (set of colored bears that are small, med, and large)


Math manipulatives

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Rice box?




We made our box 3-4 years ago, and my kids STILL play with it. And it has remained tidy and bug-free all this time (our bin snaps closed and we keep it so when not in use).


We dyed our rice (rainbow colors) and my kiddos mostly use empty tic-tac containers, spoons, funnels, and other random jars/bowls/scoops. Sometimes they play with their animal figurines in the rice. I don't do the "sensory box" thing -- just let them play.

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