Many of you that use the workbox system, or are thinking about using it know it is a wonderful organizational tool for homeschooling. However, I have come across several people who start using it but don't know what to put in the boxes! In addition to using workboxes for your "regular" academic activities, I think it is so convenient and beneficial to use them for fun, educational extras as well! My children never know what they're going to find in their boxes each morning. Sure, they realize those same textbooks are there somewhere, but I like to alternate the order of things each day, as well as throw in several surprises!
Here is a list of some ideas for those of you who would like to add some fun extras into your school day, but just don't know where to start:
origami craft kits Madlibs puzzles
board games file folder games nature journal playdoh/clay
tangrams instruments sewing projects k'nex
legos & building card letter tiles paper dolls Wii time
magnetic wands story prompt card computer time flash cards
physical challenge card treasure hunt dominoes science experiment
CD/tapes iPod/educational apps dice math letter magnets
DVD History Pockets money activities lapbooking
scrapbooking map activities stamps/ink pads plan week's meals
cooking activities cookie sheet math cookie sheet spelling Brainquest cards
coupon cutting camera/list of items make grocery list coloring book
puzzle pages electronic learning game card games art activities
You probably have many of these items already in your home. Its just a matter of finding them all and making a list so they get used. One of the best things I did was take an inventory of everything in my home that could be used for workboxes. I have the master list on a bulletin board in our school room and now, loading the workboxes is MUCH easier because I don't have to "think" of something to put into them. My children have 8 large boxes and so what I usually do is have anywhere from 1-3 items in each box. For example, in my 7th grader's American History box, she will have a set of vocabulary cards to practice, her chapter book to read, and an activity from History Pockets to complete. Oh, and some of the items listed may seem a bit "young" for your older children but you would be surprised at what they will still want to do! My 13 year old LOVES clay and playdoh, and will even do coloring pages in various coloring books for older kids I have found from www.doverpublications.com
There are several websites out there if you are looking for ways to have little daily celebrations and incorporate them into your workboxes. On http://www.theteacherscorner.net/ you can print out a calendar for each month which contains holidays, special birthdays, etc... For example, a few months ago we celebrated Banana Split Day. I placed an activity card along with a banana and icecream dish in each of our children's boxes. They really look forward to those fun surprises and it gives me a chance to teach them things that perhaps aren't in their regular textbooks but are still educational. This month, is National Soup Month and I have a whole list of things we are going to do.
I hope this has helped you a bit. If you have any other ideas you use for your workboxes, I would love to hear them. I am always looking for new things!