The Joy of An Empty Box – Tissue Box Fine Motor Play

A coworker just found out that she is expecting her first grand child. Very exciting news! So the office talk going around has been baby centered the last few days. We were discussing the advantages of toys that are made now with all the technological advances that have taken place since her kids were kids. Toys now have to rotate, make noise, or move to try to compete with the next toy on the shelf.

Yet sometimes I wonder if all that is necessary. Kids are really simple at heart, it is the adults who want to make sure their kids have all the newest and best. Which there is nothing wrong with that, I am guilty of it quite often myself. I also know that given a choice, the kid will most likely choose the box over the toy that came in it.

There is something about an empty box that creates a new world for a child. It’s not empty when the child views it, but full of possibilities. It can be anything the child wants it to be. They can drive a race car, play house, camp out in the living room, pretend they are a doll given as a present, or go anywhere their imagination can take them. It’s amazing to watch a child with an empty box and all they can think to do with it.

Empty boxes can also be filled with things for  wonderful sensory or fine motor activities.

Such as this normal empty tissue box.


I gave this box and a few random items to Lou. There was fake flowers, lego bricks, fur, and just random stuff I grabbed on my way outside. I also shoved a fuzzy glove inside the box.


She played with the box for awhile. Each time she would empty the box only to refill it again. This is an important skill building game for toddlers. The dump and fill game is one that they love. It helps teach them so much as well as building those fine motor skills.


The first thing she pulled out was the glove which she promptly put on.


Then she used her gloved hand to remove everything else from the box. Laying them out on her blanket.


After the box was empty again, she filled it back up, examining each item she put inside.


I tried to get her to close her eyes and stick her hand in the box but she had other ideas and took everything out again.

Then she put it all back in the box again.

This game is an important developmental stage, it helps them to see size proportions because they have to decide if the item in hand will fit in the box.

It also helps them see cause and effect, “If I tip this box over, everything falls out.”




  1. Kids love empty boxes. My kids can play with boxes for hours!

  2. Yes, yes, yes! Everything is new to kids, so they’re happy with simple things. I couldn’t agree more!

  3. This is a hit in our house too-we use empty wipes containers and it keeps my toddler busy for a while!

  4. My kids get very mad at me if I don’t let them make elaborate airplanes out of every box that comes into the house! If they can sit in it, they can fly it!!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.