September 21, 2015

An upcycled Pringles container makes for an entertaining toddler activity

A while back, I made five busy boxes for my toddler. One for each weekday:

Busy Boxes for each day of the week

The boxes are basically clear plastic shoe boxes that have a special set of activities and toys to keep her occupied while she quietly sits on a blanket (aka Blanket Time. If you’ve never tried it, you must. It’s awesome). This allows me to go and DO THINGS. Like lie on the couch and try really hard not to close my eyes. Or cook dinner. Or write something up to share with you here on my blog, like how to keep a toddler busy so I can go write about how I kept her busy. As a bonus, many of the activities help her get some fine motor skill practice, or are otherwise helpful for some aspect of her development. Yay!

So far, she only really seems to love the Monday and Tuesday boxes, so I find myself going back to those even on W, Th, and F. Lately, I’ve only been using them 1-2x a week, so that works out for now, but once baby boy comes, I think I’ll have to up my busy box game to buy some more downtime! For now, I’m glad I have at least two winners. I already shared the Tuesday box with you. It’s a simple upcycled oatmeal container that I punched holes into. She can sit there for nearly thirty minutes pushing pipe cleaners in and out!

Busy box pushing pipe cleaners through holes (4)

The Monday busy box I’m sharing today is actually a very similar concept, but with craft pom poms instead of pipe cleaners. I basically took an old mini Pringles container, punched holes into the clear plastic lid, widened the holes with a pencil, and filled them with little craft pom poms!

Use a pencil to widen the hole for pom poms

It’s a hit with my daughter. I especially like how small and portable this one is, and have brought it along for blanket time on-the-go. Just a few weeks ago, we were at a dinner meeting and she was able to quietly play with this toy for a long time before moving onto something else! Other kids enjoyed pushing the pom poms in, too, so it’s easy and inexpensive entertainment for little kids (not just toddlers), too!


DIY Pushing Pom Poms 

Suitable for 1-3 year olds



  1. Optional: Cover the top and outsides of the container with paper, first, so you can decorate and color things.
  2. Punch 6-10 holes into the lid of the container. Use a wooden pencil to widen the opening of the holes until it’s just big enough to fit a pom pom into. You can determine the difficulty level you’d like (the smaller the hole, the harder to push), but keep in mind once the holes are widened, you can’t make them smaller later. However, you don’t want them too small, either. If it’s too hard, your toddler may give up too quickly and never gain interest in the toy.
  3. Store pom poms inside container when not in use. Hooray! You’re done!

That’s it! Show your toddler how to push it through. Shake the container to show them how rewarding it is to get pom poms inside, and then let them have at it!

2 responses to “Busy Box #2: Pushing Pom Poms”

  1. Heather says:

    Brilliant!! I will be making these for our toddler, especially with baby #2 on the way. Thank you!

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