Feb 1, 2014

Enticing Literacy. DIY Writing Box for kids.

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For Maddie's 5th birthday I made her a special "Writing Box." Being a teacher of the Early Years I knew that she was at the perfect age for really developing her writing skills and love of writing. She is already interested in writing, thanks to activities we've done over the years such as writing in salt, writing with water on the chalkboard and sensory name writing. You don't have to wait until your child is 5 years old though to make something like this. It should interest and engage them in writing/mark-making/drawing/creativity regardless of the age.

As my daughter is just starting her first year at Primary School, I know that this means that over the year she will be expected to write and to practice things like hand-writing, letter formation, sight words, story telling, etc. My vision is that having a special way to inspire her to want to write and get excited about writing, should hopefully help in this area.
I have always tried to encourage a love of literacy in her and this was just another way that I thought would help entice her to really want to write and be creative with her own special box and materials.

I based the gift around a good sized, plain, sturdy box. (I bought this one). I could have gone all out decorating the box, or buying a fancy one but I deliberately wanted to inspire her with a blank canvas. The box's surface is part of the writing and creating experience. When I told her this, she was thrilled!

I filled the box with a range of different and special stationery supplies and then tied it with a ribbon and some lovely silk flowers from a broken necklace I kept.

I didn't want to influence the way that she used the materials so I didn't do much inside the box other than present the materials. I couldn't help making a special page inside one of her notebooks though with a special message from mum and dad. She loved it :)

Even as she was looking through the box, she couldn't help but stop and start writing straight away when she came across this paper. Yes, success! Writing inspired already.

DIY Writing Box for Kids

To make a Writing Box like ours, you will need a good sturdy cardboard box that will fit all your materials. You can use a plastic tub etc. instead, but the great thing about a blank cardboard box is that it also makes a great writing and decorating surface.


Writing and drawing

  • Lined notepad with hardcover (A5 size)
  • Thick black paper spiral bound notepad (A5)
  • Set of Metallic markers (My set are only brought out occasionally so she was so delighted to get her own set to use whenever she liked!)
  • Fluro gel crayons
  • Fluro pencil set
  • Special pens (I would have definitely included some of these but I didn't need to in the end as she'd just received a number of special multi-coloured and accessorised fancy pens from her friends)
The fluro and metallic markers look especially great on black paper. There's something quite special about black paper as it's so different to what we're used to using all the time. I purchased all the above supplies from Micador. 

  • Scratch art paper. (She just couldn't resist it! Neither could I. I found this packet on ebay for a couple of dollars)

Letter Writing

  • A designer letter pad (nice sheets of printed thick paper that you write on one side of and then fold into an envelope to send)
  • A book with all sorts of things about writing letters including lots of letter writing materials, stickers and things to make and do. (I often buy Chicken Socks books. Lots of good ones if you can find them)
  • A packet of postage stamps (here it costs 60c to post a letter within Australia. This is us showing her we trust her with the responsibility of using these appropriately as well as allowing her to actually send the letters she writes, herself.)
I bought both of the sets on the internet via google and ebay searches. I actually found it quite difficult to find really nice letter writing sets for children which I was a little surprised about. Both of these were perfect though and I was delighted when I found them and had to get them both. We have enjoyed receiving mail and making birthday cards for years and I hope this will entice her to want to write more letters to people. 

Design and decoration

  • Packets of letter stickers
  • Packets of cute decorator stickers
  • Designer paper tape
I wanted to include some extra materials to entice design and creativity. Paper tape is great for young children as they can tear it off easily. These materials can be used to decorate letters, the box, drawings, tape down secret notes, make your own envelopes, create words with, tell stories with and so much more. These are extra special ones compared to others that she uses on a more regular basis.


As children often have different interests, likes, dislikes etc. the great thing about making something like this yourself. (rather than a pre-bought kit) is that you can choose items that you know your kid is going to love and things that are appropriate for their age. Reluctant writers will often be happy to make marks with super-cool textas or in books that have stickers of their favourite super-heroes or princesses on them. Try to find some materials that they have never used before and others that they may have seen you using. Being trusted with "adult" things such as postage stamps, real envelopes, real ink pens etc. can make them feel important and make the items more special and therefore, more enticing. Basically, just make writing fun! :)

What's inside our "Quiet Box"?

Have a look at some of the other ways I try to encourage a love of writing and drawing

What else would you include in a "Writing Box" for your child?

Happy playing,
Debs :)

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