Holiday in a box

I find that at the end of any holiday we celebrate at home or in my classroom, I often have a variety of different objects left over. A fun and simple way to use up those holiday left-overs is to invite your students to make their very own “Holiday in a Box!”…

Holiday in a Box by Teach Preschool

To make a holiday in a box, you will need a box to start with.  In the past, we have used shoe-box lids and cardboard jewelry boxes.  This year, we used some left-over square gift boxes. We used both the bottom and the top of each box as a holiday box…

Holiday In A Box by teach Preschool

Oh, and to go along with our holiday boxes, we read the book “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed A Bell!” by Lucille Colandro.  This book ties in nicely since it seems the old lady likes to swallow many of the things we used in our holiday boxes…

Holiday In A Box by teach Preschool

To fill our holiday boxes, we used items that we had on hand like bows, bells, candy canes, ribbon, ornaments, and glue. You can modify the objects you collect and set out to represent the holiday(s) your are celebrating in your own classroom…

Holiday In A Box by teach Preschool

To make the holiday boxes, the children set their boxes up at one table and made a large puddle of glue into the box…

Holiday In A Box by teach Preschool

Next, the children tilted their boxes different directions until the glue covered the entire bottom of the box…

Holiday In A Box by teach Preschool

I would say that the amount of glue varied in each box but we added enough so that the holiday objects would sit down into the glue just a little bit…

Holiday In A Box by teach Preschool

Once the children added the glue to their boxes, then the children went to the other table to select what they wanted to put inside their boxes.  To slow the children down just a bit and to get them to think about what they wanted in their boxes, I told the children they could only select one item at a time from the table to put in their box then they could go back again and select another and so on…

gifts, gems, dice 143

As the children added things to the glue in their holiday boxes, they took their time to decide where they wanted the items to lay. In other words, they made their own designs…

gifts, gems, dice 136

We have done these types of glue boxes before so my students have a good grasp on what it means to take time to think about where they want things to go in their boxes rather than just rushing around and tossing things any old place in the box…

Holiday In A Box by teach Preschool

Once the children added their items to their holiday boxes, we set them aside to dry for a few days.  The length of time for drying will depend on how much glue the children used to begin with.  I find that if I set the boxes up where they are not laying completely flat on the floor, they will dry faster…

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Here are a couple of our completed boxes…

Holiday In A Box by teach Preschool

Holiday In A Box by teach Preschool

And this is a set of our holiday in a box after they were almost completely dry (a few still had a little bit of wet glue dripping when we set them up on the shelf). Once the holiday boxes are all up where we can see them, we can play the “I Spy” game!…

Holiday In A Box by teach Preschool

Links to Grow on

Here are a few other glue boxes we made…

Math Glue Boxes by Teach Preschool

Nature Glue Boxes by Teach Preschool

And this is the holiday boxes made by The Seeds Network last year…

Seasonal Shadow Boxes by The Seeds Network

Available on Amazon

By |2017-03-28T22:26:55+00:00December 23rd, 2012|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Laura (The SEEDS Network) December 23, 2012 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    LOVE the shadow boxes! Glad your kids had fun with that this year!

  2. Cathie December 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    I love these books and it’s so much fun for children to get to use alot of glue.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Cathie at

  3. Mary December 25, 2012 at 8:13 am - Reply

    Children, you all did such lovely work of Art. Great presentation, and it looks like a gift from the store. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Julie Locke December 28, 2012 at 3:51 pm - Reply

    What a great idea. Were you as happy with the square gift boxes as you were with the shoebox lids? I would think that the lids would give you more of a “shadow box” look, although using the gift boxes gave you twice as many work areas.

    I love the idea of allowing them to only choose one item at a time – to promote thinking about what they’re doing and eliminate the “grab and dump” effect.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. December 28, 2012 at 5:25 pm - Reply

      I actually think I like the shoe box lids best but I did like that the gift boxes all were white inside which did a better job showing off the objects the children chose to add to their box. The children, on the other hand, didn’t care which box we used! LOL!

  5. Amy Wilson January 4, 2013 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    What an awesome idea! I love it! I think I am going to use this idea for Valentine’s day!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. January 4, 2013 at 8:26 pm - Reply

      This would make a wonderful Valentine activity!

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