Tuesday, July 20, 2021

DIY activity cube / Busy cube for toddlers using things at home

 Keep the little hands busy by making your own DIY activity cube instead of busy boards or busy books which takes a lot of time and money. This is easy to do with things at home and also a great DIY toy to travel with. Let's see how to make it. Also, check out the video below.

Materials Used: 

  • Cardboard box
  • Craft knife
  • Ruler & pencil
  • Hot glue gun & glue sticks
  • Pipe cleaners & beads -Side 1
  • Ribbons (Different colors & textures) for side 2
  • Wet wipes pack's lid - side 3
  • Goggly eyes & a piece of bubble wrap, Yellow & pink cardstock - side 4
  • Colorful felt, velcro dots, and a handful of pillow stuffing for side 5
  • A zipper, a button, an elastic, Magnet, metal buttons, a small piece of wire/twist tie for side 6 
Don't get overwhelmed by the supplies list. Check the below listing and get this one or something similar which has almost all the supplies you need to get started with kids crafts. 

Step 1: Cut 6 pieces of 6” X6” cardboard squares. I used cardboard from shipping boxes. 

Step 2: Count the beads- Side 1 

Mark 2 dots in a row on either side using a pencil. Repeat the same four times. Poke a hole using a craft knife or an awl at the marked spots. 
Insert a pipe cleaner on each hole on one side. Turn the cardboard and glue each pipe cleaner securely using hot glue. 

Now insert beads onto the pipe cleaners. I followed one bead for the first pipe cleaner and two beads for the second and so on till five. 

Once the beads are strung, bring them to the edge and insert the other end of each pipe cleaner into the hole on the right side. Cut the remaining pipe cleaner and secure it with hot glue. Side 1 of count the beads is done. 

Step 3: Pull the ribbon strings - Side 2 

Poke two holes randomly on the cardboard square, thread the ribbon through the holes, if you find it difficult, use an awl or any sharp object like a thick needle to push the ribbon through the hole. You need not make a large hole here as you will need to make a big knot to make the ribbon stay in place while pulling on the other side. 

Once you thread the ribbon through both the holes, make a knot at the edges and make sure the knots are bigger than the holes, especially for the smaller size ribbons.  To give a sensory touch, I used various textures, colors, and sizes of ribbon.

Also, Make sure the ribbons don't knot with one another while pulling it. 

Step 4: Open the lid for the surprise picture - Side 3 

It is going to be a fun surprise of a family picture using a wet wipes lid. To do this, print a family picture a little bigger than the size of the lid. The glue on the lid got stuck to the paper while I tried to trim the picture so I left it as such and trimmed the excess outside using a craft knife.  You can use hot glue if you don't have glue on the lid and a glue stick on the middle(I used glue stick because hot glue cause bumps in the picture once dried as it is thicker, so you may want to avoid using it while gluing any pictures) and to stick it to the cardboard. 

Use a black marker to trace the outline of the lid to make it pop. To invite the child to open the lid, I added his favorite tractor on the top of the lid. 

Alternatives: You can make a family picture cube by including all members of the family like grandparents, Aunt & uncle, baby's siblings, etc. Or try adding different fabric textures to the inside of each lid like satin, felt, fur, burlap, etc. Other non-fabric options you can use are bubble wrap, aluminum foil, shelf liner's with texture, cardboard after removing the top part to reveal the corrugation, etc

Step 5: A Sensory touch with a smiley face - Side 4

Trace a  circle on yellow cardstock and add googly eyes for some movement. For the mouth part,  cut and stick a semi-circle from pink cardstock and add a piece of bubble wrap on top for sensory touch. As simple as that and the Side 4 is done. 

Step 6: Shapes with Velcro dots - Side 5 

To make the shapes, cut the two-piece of the particular shape in felt and glue them together using hot glue leaving a small opening, Then take a piece of felt and fold it twice as shown and use glue to secure. Insert the felt piece into the small opening of the shape and secure it using hot glue. Take a small amount of pillow stuffing and stuff the shape to make it easy for the child to hold and pull. Then close the shape using hot glue. Repeat the same for all the shapes piece. 

Once the shape is done, mark the size of the part that is holding the shape for making the hole and a use craft knife. Insert the shape into the cut using the craft knife. Cut the excess felt and Secure it using hot glue at the back. Add Velcro dots to the shape and to the cardboard to finish side 5 of the activity cube. 

Step 7: Busy with zipper, Magnet, and Elastic 

For this side, I am using a zipper, elastic, and a magnet. You can totally customize this based on what is available to you. Using hot glue, glue the sides of a zipper diagonally to the cardboard center. Use a button top or a metal brad(It is difficult to poke the metal brad so, I folded the poke metal part and glued the top part alone) as a stopper for the zipper. 

For the magnet, I am using three similar metal badges from which I removed the pins at the back. I then hot glued a magnet on one of them and glued it to the cardboard. for the other side, I added a piece of folded duct tape onto the backside of the metal badge and covered the other side with another metal badge. Then, I made a slit onto the cardboard and inserted the duct tape, and secured it at the back using hot glue and duct tape. 

For the button and elastic, I poked two holes and used a wire on the back of a button, and threaded it inside the holes. I twisted it and secured it with glue at the back. For the elastic, poke a hole and insert both the ends into the hole from a loop on the top. Adjust the elastic and knot it to secure. Side 6 is now done. 

Alternatives: You can use small bells, door locks, hinges, mirrors, Bottle caps twisting by gluing the base. 


Step 8: Now the only thing that is left is to put all the cardboard pieces together to form an activity cube. Add a line of glue at one side of the cardboard piece and attach another side to it, add a line of glue to the inside. Once it is dried, attach the next side, keep repeating the process until all the sides are attached and the cube is formed. 

If you find any part of the cube misaligned, use a craft knife to trim the excess part. Add an inch of shiny duct tape on all the sides to cover the cardboard corrugation or any misalignment. DIY activity cube is now done to keep your little ones engaged. 

Hope this DIY activity cube inspired you to make your own. You need not use the same supplies like me, be creative and try different materials to give your own twist. If you make one, be sure to tag me to share your creations or email your creations to vikalpah@gmail.com 

Other DIY toys ideas you might like:


  1. This is so clever and fun. I know my 17 month & 3yr old would love this - I'd love for you to share this idea at the Craftastic Link Party:)

  2. I would love to show it to my little brother. I'm sure he like this and I will try my best to make it at home. I like your content and I was reading best assignment writer service blogs because I need assignment help they give an help in essay writing.

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  17. This DIY activity cube project is a fun and engaging way to engage toddlers and stimulate their senses. The steps include cutting 6 pieces of cardboard squares, counting beads, pulling ribbon strings, creating a family picture, creating a sensory smiley face, and creating shapes with Velcro dots. The cube is assembled by gluing the pieces together, ensuring all sides are aligned. The project encourages creativity and sensory exploration in young children, and can be customized based on the child's interests and developmental needs. semi truck accident lawyers

  18. This project is a great way to recycle stuff, and it's also a cool way to learn for both kids and grown-ups. It helps with understanding shapes and stuff. Plus, it's a nice break from tough things like studying. Speaking of studying, I've been super busy lately. I had to find someone to help with my online Master's class. Balancing work and fun projects can be hard, but it's good to do both. Has anyone else made their own Tangram puzzle? I'd like to know how it went and if you have any tips!

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