Monday, October 25, 2010

DIY: Theme Boxes

This is a super fun project that you can make and customize for your child. They are called theme boxes and I have provided several of the ones I have made in this post.

What are theme boxes? Theme boxes are great ways that you can teach about how items come together and make a concept. I saw another deafblind teacher make something similar to this a few years ago. The one she made was like picture number one (the winter clothes theme box). I expanded the idea to using simple box tops and adding items in it.

You can use these theme boxes as a way of pre-teaching or reinforcing lessons that teach about these items. For example, the car box has items related to getting into the car. They teach about the seatbelt, car keys, music CD---all things that happen while riding in the car.

Make one (or two or three...) for your child today.
Instuctions & specifics below:
Winter Theme Box-
You can also do this for the other seasons as well. Put all the items into one box. Discuss with your child about winter, cold weather, etc. You can read a book as well that discusses these objects. Allow your child to dress up in the items. You will notice that I included a variety of each of the items. You can also incorporate math, community and other skills into this lesson.

As with all projects, customize the theme boxes to fit your child's visual needs. I included some contrasting bright red & yellow so my students with CVI can participate as well. *Plus red & yellow are good contrast colors--many of my students can see them.

The car box:
You can use this as a pre-teach opportunity to read with a "places I go book". I found the car seat straps at a local REI. I could buy them by the foot. Notice that I used red & yellow to include the visual needs of my CVI students. The large buckle on the red strap was also purchased from CVI for about $5, the small one on the yellow strap for about the same. The other yellow carseat buckle is a replacement buckle I bought from Burlington Coat Factory in the Baby Depot dept. for about $7. I included car keys, old CDs as well. The car keys I got for free at Home Depot. I asked for their damaged keys. They are not pictured but the keys I used for this is a car key (with the black casing on top), small key (for a lock) and regular keys (for a home).

Bathroom/dressing box
Note that I used real objects. You can open the wipe container and explore the wipes. There is lotion in the bottle. That is an actual diaper.

This one is also an example of how I use shiny red wrapping paper to highlight the box. I did this primarily for my CVI students. Notice that I did not do the entire bottom. I only did the edges to highlight what I wanted my student to see.

*The holidays are around the corner, I hit up the Dollar Tree and buy in bulk shiny red wrapping paper!

Eating tray
This is a great pre-teach tool for setting the table as well. Again, I used red and yellow as my contrasting colors.

-All of these items are attached using string, velcro (or hook & loop), or draw string type of cording. I found a way to attach them so if they get tossed, I could still find them.
-Each project cost about $8 to make (except the car one) or less. I looked for items that were common use items and put them in the box.
-I recommend using the wrapping paper for students with vision as it highlights where they should look.

These are just a few of the ideas. I presented this at the last parent education event so I do have a handout that I made. I will do my best to post it but these are the pictures from the handout.

Do it at home: Make your own theme box! You can make it for older children and use a paper box (like the winter clothes theme) or you can make it on a box top. I like to enhance the activity by reading a story and using the items to pre- & post-teach or by taking it to the actual activity. Collect your items & get started today!


  1. What an awesome idea.. I should make one for my kindergarten student! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Love the organisation we have a key cupboard which has been a lifesaver
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