03 November 2008

Parenthackers get 10% off Kid's Busy Box, a readymade craft kit to go

Kid's Busy Box

I'm one of those moms who's just not into crafting with my kids. It's a shame, because they love it, but it's just not my thing, and try as I might to make it my thing, I just can't muster the enthusiasm (or the willingness to set foot inside a craft store). When we do engage in a little artistic expression, I never seem to have the right stuff on hand. Which is why, when the mom-inventors of The Kid's Busy Box got in touch, I thought it would be an ideal product to review for Parent Hacks. I know I'm not the only one in the non-crafty boat.

The Kid's Busy Box is simply this: a cardboard box filled with 20 easy craft projects, plus all of the supplies necessary for carrying the projects out (scissors, paint, construction paper, etc.). It amazes me how such a simple product can be so versatile and useful. Let me count the ways I love the Kid's Busy Box:

  • The crafts are perfectly suited for preschool and young school-age kids and don't require a lot of adult intervention.
  • The box is compact, making it reasonably portable and shipable. Think: an ideal distraction during those hours spent waiting for Thanksgiving dinner. Or an hours-long activity during an overnight at Grandma's. Or the perfect gift for a crafty kid.
  • It was invented by moms who wanted something like this for their own kids, but couldn't find it.
  • You don't have to buy an entire package of googly eyes at the craft store when you only need two for a project.
  • It lets the non-crafty among us enjoy easy projects with our kids without wracking our brains for ideas or scrounging for materials.

Love it.

Until November 8, Parenthackers get a 10% discount on any Kid's Busy Box by entering the code HACKS10 during checkout.

Win it! One lucky Parenthacker can have a Kid's Busy Box of his or her very own! Answer the following question in the comments to be entered in my random drawing. I'll pick the winner tomorrow, 11/4, at 4PM PST!

What's your favorite source for easy crafts, online or off-?

Your comments

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I LOVE Family Fun magazine, both in print and online, for great ideas!

My go-to source is my elementary school teacher mom!

Ooo, neat, thanks!!

We use Family Fun magazine as well, it's a great first resource when I'm looking for something crafty.

I just love going to Michaels and gettin inspiration for crafts there!

I, too, am a Michaels girl - and my son loves going there, too!

I love getting the "samples" from Dover Publishing. You can print out several craft ideas and coloring pages..free!

I like a site called preschoolexpress.com. It has easy ideas for the non-crafty moms like me that are perfect for preschoolers. There is also a toddler station that has even easier crafts for the littlest ones.

In my old elementary-school supply boxes!

I use kaboose.com the most.

I dump some old (kid-safe) office supplies into a box and let my daughter create things out of the odds and ends. Post-its, reusable tape, and colored pencils have been the big winners.

I get a lot of inspiration from the Crafty Crow: http://belladia.typepad.com/crafty_crow/

i love familyfun.com -- lots of great ideas for all ages!

Oh what a nice idea. We have a lot of supplies, but crafty inspiration is often lacking. How cool! Good for gifts too.

Well my daughter's imagination is a great source, but when we really need inspiration we turn to an old childcraft encyclopedia. It's got great pictures and good instructions.

I tend to recycle whatever has worked well with my students, but I also love stealing ideas from other teachers!!

my favorite source for crafts--outside! this fall, we've searched for colorful leaves, acorns, and pine cones to use in our crafting. it is a nice way to bring the outdoors into our art.

We always find cute ideas in our town newspaper- and alot of them use the newspaper itself!

We save styrofoam and cardboard boxes for creating just about anything. The ideas come from our imagination and the books we read (no TV in our home)!

I love Oriental Trading Co! I know everything come packaged in a dozen or more of whatever but for my moms group it is a cheap, easy, quick craft solution. The kids love it and we can make a different craft every couple of weeks without breaking the bank.

My son's a bit young for crafts, but I've already gotten some good tips from other moms, so I think that will probably be my main source of info :)

Oooh!! My mom made "busy boxes" for my sister and I when we were little, and I do the same for my kiddos. I like the ideas in Highlights and Family Fun. We also have an old copy of "The Everything Book" that has great ideas for crafts made from everyday items.

i use my mind and some files I saved from teaching for 10 years. I can always find something in there!

Ooh, good contest!

I am a crafty mom; we've done a variety of projects, and I'm always looking for more.

My favorite places to find projects are old craft books. They usually inspire me to use what I have around and to be imaginative, without having to download and print a bunch of stuff or buy a whole set of supplies that we'll only use once. But, yeah, it's part of our regular fun, so it's usually my own imagination that completes the idea.

I have tried to find ideas online, but haven't been able to find many for my son who loves crafts but is only 20 months (so is too young for most). I tend to just survey the craft items I have and make up a project.

I never know where to go so I just put in a search for the kind of craft I want to do on google. It always turns up what I want and then I can look like I am a crafty mom when really I'm a craft hating mom. I hate the mess but I love the end product and the quiet that crafting creates.

Okay. I admit it. I hate crafts, too, but my daughter is a crafting FIEND. If I really want good ideas, I go to storytime at the library. They have snacks, fun crafts, books to go with them, AND they clean up. ;)

oooh! tough call, can't decide between the craft crow and family fun! Then what about one pretty thing at:http://www.oneprettything.com/

I am no good at crafting! We make a lot of "recycled" art, meaning that we use the stuff from the recycling bin to make stuff. The problem is that I have one child who can think creatively with a few random items, and one who can't.

Sometimes I just remember what my oldest has made in school, and make it again with my second child. Kinda cheating.

The Crafty Crow is a site I found at one of the blogs I read.

My little one is a bit young for crafting, but I'm saving up ideas from e-mails I get from http://www.kidscraftweekly.com/ It has a lot of great stuff!

I would have to say my dining room....no kidding! I have aton of scrapbook supplies there and the girls just go to town with all the leftovers, The other day they were cutting Christmas ornaments for their tree next month.

I'm a non-crafty mom. My best sources are the teachers at my daughter's school. They give us some great ideas and we mimic and alter them at home. When we're "repeating" the project my daughter often opens up about school and tells me stories about herself and classmates I might not otherwise hear. It's a great way for us to spend time together!

I love the kits at Michael's. These craft kits look great!

I read the Crafty Crow, and I also modify ideas I get from my daughter's preschool art class at Gymboree Play and Music.

The crayola website has some good ideas. We don't do tons of crafts at home--good ole crayons, and paper are doing the trick right now, also the paint with water books,but I think as the kids get older they're going to want something more involved.

http://en.coloriage.com/ a new page to color each day!

I'm not very crafty... I use familyfun.com and the print mag for ideas. But I'm definitely going to check out the other sites mentioned by people here! The busy box looks very cool.

I have two:

First, I have to shamelessly plug my kids' craft blog. I've been told it's a great source of easy crafts :)


And I also love the crafty crow:


Great idea, that busy box!

I like Family Fun, and I loved Kiddley (though the projects are a bit old for my wee ones). Google's always great if you're looking for a specific project!

I love Family Fun magazine as well. It has a lot of easy crafts that not so crafty moms like me can make.

Our oldest is just getting into the "crafts" stage - Michael's would be a craft place of choice though, or Hobby Lobby.

The best source I've found for ideas and recipes for everything from the worlds greatest playdough to homemade paste is the book "First Art" by Marianne Kohl. It's now my go-to first birthday gift.

Each of my daughters also get a craft package every month from the Kids Craft of the Month club http://www.mommiesmart.com/KidsCrafts.html
They really look forward to getting the mail and I don't mind having one crafty day a month.

I work full-time and so have no brain left to think about crafts with. I buy books-- I like Mary Ann Kohl's First Art, The Toddler's Busy Book, and so on.

There are so many great sites for people like me who need 101 and inpiration. Here is one of my favorites:


Wahh, TypePad ate my comments. I work full time and have no brain left to think up crafts with. So I buy books -- I love MaryAnn Kohl's First Art, The Toddler Busy Book, and I have a great little book of first "science" experiments that aren't quite crafts, but are certainly art!

I too am a mom who'd love to be more crafty - I have lots of ideas but with a 3 month old in the house, I'm usually too tired to actually do the crafts with my 4 year old!

I love Kids Craft Weekly (http://www.kidscraftweekly.com) - lots of great ideas for very easy crafts, often using stuff I have around the house anyway. I also love my local dollar store - it's fabulous for craft stuff. They have a huge aisle of things that are mostly just $1 - bags of googly eyes, pipe cleaners, pre-cut squares of fabric, magnetic sheets...tons of stuff that's great to have on hand.

We love those foam "stickers" that come in different shapes. We stick them onto paper to make cards, posters,etc... so easy and fun!

Our craft ideas come from life. My daughter (3) has a vivid imagination. The crafts we do are usually outgrowths of play. If she is pretending a stick is a baby, I'll help her fashion a face for it. If a doll needs a bed, we'll make a shoebox into a bed. If we are playing "camping" and need a campfire, we glue sticks and tissue paper onto a piece of cardstock. The crafts we do are seldom planned and often functional.

Mine's www.dltk-teach.com online. Educational and apropos for any occasion.

I live in a place where crafting is not-so-known, but we do have an art store that's decently stocked (I know, compare the two, but still).

Most of our ideas come from our head, our kewl teacher from last year who loves to share, and whatever the boys come up with. It's been great, cause they use their imaginations so much!

I use mainly school craft ideas as inspiration, but have become inspired by all the great ideas and resources listed here!

I love Kids Craft Weekly!

I like Family Fun magazine and Kaboose.com for ideas. This Busy Box however is a great idea!

I enjoy crafts myself, but have a hard time adapting them for my 3yo. Also, I'm cheap and broke.

My fave source is a library or bookstore that does storytime and craft: my little girl gets her craft on, and I don't have to buy a mountain of supplies or even think of an idea on my own. Yesterday, she made an election poster... I never would have thought of that!

Parenthackers.com has just become my favorite source for the link to easy crafts. I'm one of those "non-crafty" Moms (and feel extremely deficient sometimes) and reading the suggestions others have posted in this hack will add invaluable "tools" to my craft-portfolio. Thank you so much.

I love Mailbox magazine and Michael's. But right now all my 5yo son wants to do is draw in a notebook with a ballpoint pen! Who am I to argue with such a cheap hobby?

I don't have a favorite crafty place, since I am not at all crafty, so I need this box!!! One thing my kids really like is I save envelopes and address stickers from all the people who want me to give them money. I put them in their paper box and they can do "letters."

I just wander around Michael's or Joann Fabrics ... I love to go to craft stores! Now only if I could finish some projects.

i love the doller store, i have found so many little craft projects in there

My favorite place to go for inspiration is klutz.com. I just click the "crafts" tab and browse their book titles. We've bought plenty of Klutz books, but just looking at the book titles and sample pages shown inspires great activities...hand art, clothespin cuties, paper purses, pom pon animals etc.

I have a large craft box that I throw all of our odds and ends in. Plastic lids, scraps of ribbon and wrapping paper, assorted strings and buttons, paint chips, magazines.... Pretty much anything and everything ends up in the craft box. When my daughter is feeling crafty we pull out the box and rummage through it for things that appeal to her at the moment.

I really like Kids Craft Weekly... although I have yet to actually implement any of her very cool ideas.

I love the dollar store for cheap things. I can give my 3 year old a few dollar bills and let her pick out a few things on her own. We always buy a lot of summer sidewalk since you can get a little case of them for one dollar. I also do a lot of sewing and crafts so I let her rummage through my things and we make anything she wants to out of what she finds. We also hunt the dollar bins at Target and Joann's fabrics. Lot of treasures to find!

My parenting magazines help out a lot. I see great tips and ideas.

What a neat busy box!

I get most of our crafy ideas online. I am NOT crafty by nature, but mothering has inspired me. :)

These comments are a wealth of ideas!

my favorite inspiration is the outdoors. we find pine cones, seashells, acorns, or just good old sticks. some twine, scissors, and elmer's glue are the store-bought "staples" at our house. :)

Definitely Parenthacks for online. This post alone will keep my happy for a long time. And I still want to make the tie-dyed tissue paper. When I am not glued to the computer I have found crafty ideas at Pike's place Market or other crafty places. The $10 fairy tiara cost me $4 at Jo-Annes and I could make a few extra for friends.

Family Fun Magazine has the best ideas and Michaels is where I go for craft supplies.

google. Usually, if we're getting crafty, I have something specific in mind, so I google it. I'm so uncrafty, I'm not aware of crafty sources! :)

Family Fun online and Magazine...also check Michaels or Hobby Lobby-addiction!

I get crafty materials/inpraration when shopping at thrift stores and yard sales. I grab inexpensive beads, yarn, felt, you name it. What used to be cheap, is now GREEN. I also have to give a shout out to Family Fun magazine and website. They are the tops!

As for craft supplies, the dollar store is a good source, and here in SE Michigan we make periodic trips to the Scrapbox (http://www.scrapbox.org/) where they collect and recycle odds and ends from businesses and manufacturers. It's amazing the crafts our daughter can construct with scraps of foam, cardboard tubes, etc.

What a cool box of supplies! I use my mom's ideas (she teaches art to kids out of her home) a lot, at least as inspiration.

I hit Michael's, but now I'm going to check out everyone else's suggestions. Thanks for the ideas!

My recycling box (for newspapers, catalogues, egg cartons, etc.) and the outdoors (leaves, pinecones, flowers, etc. are my favourite sources for cheap crafting materials. (And OK, sometimes I go to the local office supply store for construction paper and glue...)

We get lots of ideas from Family Fun magazine...

I love Kids Craft Weekly, they always have great ideas.

searches on google, craftybits, and Family Fun

I read lets-explore.typepad.com, but this list has given me LOTS of great new ideas. I can use them! I love playing with glue and pompoms and markers and felt and construction paper and googly eyes, but I'm not very good at coming up with projects that can satisfy my two-year-old.

Michael's, Target, Oriental Trading. Also crafts from scrap paper from work, which in the age of color printing can be interesting....

I love familyfun.com and Kids Craft Weekly.

I read a lot of blogs and am always inspired by others' ideas. I also love Amanda Soule's book The Creative Family.

Family fun & Crafty crow:

I feel terrible, I'm not a crafty mom and I read thru some of the other comments. Wow, sounds like I need to go back to craft class or something. In my defense, when I was looking for crafts, my daughter was too young. Now shes older (2.5) and I always carry paper and crayons in my purse but I haven't given her the round nosed scissors yet. I need to go to the store and buy some Elmers glue..... I need to win this box apparently!! :)

i am in the same boat. i am no fan of crafts but my nephew (who i keep) LOVES it. my favorite source has become http://www.activityvillage.co.uk
great printouts for craft ideas and easy to follow directions.

We save coloured tissue paper from gift bags to make 'stained glass' sandwiched between clear sticky paper. Also, there's a great craft section in J. Levine's 'The Everything Toddler Activities Book'.

Another Crafty Crow fan here! It's such a great clearinghouse of fun seasonal projects.

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