There are many uses of the feed box and different skills can be enhanced throughout different ages. For my 16-month-old just putting the shapes in the slot is a challenge.
Here are two that we have around our house. The snowman has round snowballs that my daughter feeds it. She loves to feed it and open the box and find the snowballs.
The squirrel has acorns that he eats and his slot is slightly smaller than the snowman creating a little more difficulty. It's great for problem solving.
Used box -- cereal boxes work great
Large pattern to fit one side of the box (Squirrel)
Smaller pattern of a shape copied many times (Acorns)
1. Tape a pattern to an empty cereal box.
2. Cut a slit through the pattern and box so the smaller shape fits.
3. Cut out several shapes for feeding (laminate if you wish)
I first learned this idea at a Early Childhood Conference many years ago. Joni Warzala presented and I purchased a few of her pattern books. You could easily use a pattern from a coloring book or clip art and find smaller shapes to feed. Or you can draw (or have the kids) draw the patterns.
Feed Box suggestions:
- Elmo and apples
- Bear and fish
- Snowman and snowballs
- Squirrel and acorns
- Dog and bones
- Caterpillar and all that food from "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," by Eric Carle
- Boy or Girl and fruits, veggies, cookies, etc
- Ask kids what they think would be a good feed box -- they come up with great ideas.
**The list is really endless.**
- Use it as a scrap box for cutting scraps
- Have children cut out their own smaller shapes and feed
- Label smaller shapes with numbers, letters, words, shapes, etc. Ask child to put in certain shape in slot -- great for a quick assessment of knowledge.
What I really like about this activity is that it is cheap with re-usable items. The box won't last forever, but at least you can let them play with it without worry about the cost before the destruction. This would be a good to take traveling, too. You could even toss it before coming back. You don't have to use cereal boxes, be creative. The ideas are really endless with this one.
Have fun with it!