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Ever wonder what to do with those lovely wooden boxes or trays that come with some toys, like those from Melissa & Doug? They provide good storage, but can be a little bulky, especially for some of us who live in tiny apartments in New York City. Plus, they are too good looking to be hidden away in closets. So, what can we do with them…are you ready for three beautiful game-changing ways to repurpose these wooden boxes?

One…they make amazing wall art and open storage for the kids. Just by adding four of these wooden boxes, a little play area nook by the kitchen just got a whole lot of style. Our little preschooler spends many hours here manipulating Play Doh, building Lego pizzerias, and practicing fruit and vegetable cutting. The much-used Play Doh molds and Lego accessories are placed in these wooden boxes for easy access. The rest of the pieces are kept in bins nearby.

Another box used for pretend cash, when done with playing cashier, was converted into wall art using colorful wooden blocks. How not to love beauty and function!

Two…the natural look of these wooden boxes make them clear winners for organizing toys or materials for display on shelves. They look classic and are so easy on the eyes. I find with my preschooler, one of the ways to facilitate meaningful exploration is to arrange each material on a tray in a sensible manner so he easily grasp the intent of the material. The great thing about these wooden boxes, some of them come with compartments, which are terrific dividers for a myriad of different play materials.

A wooden box that originally came with vehicles and road signs, can be subsequently use for displaying animal figurines and math cubes. The animals are set up by continents to add interest and perspective. The math cubes are color sorted to help with counting, perhaps addition and subtraction at a later stage.

Some wooden boxes or trays are simpler, with one or no divider. These can be coupled with a smaller clear container or two to give order and organization to the play materials.

And three…a book display! Our favorite reading corner just got a little smarter with this wooden book display. It’s such a fun way to showcase our kiddo’s favorite book or use it to introduce new books to them, changing out the books every few weeks. In our home, our eager little reader was interested in the solar system and becoming an astronaut. We found a great soft cover book, which we already have, fits perfectly in an unused wooden box and before we knew it, our little astronaut-to-be can gaze at his “Astronaut Handbook” every day, reach for it, read it over and over again…until he gets a new inspiration.

Since Halloween is just around the corner, here’s a bonus idea that may get some of us excited….how about using these toy boxes to hold candies, chocolates, tattoo stickers and some clementine oranges (keeping it somewhat healthy!). Last halloween, we received plenty of compliments from kids and parents for being the prettiest candy display in our apartment building!

It’s amazing how these wooden boxes are like the gifts that keep on giving. Have you been converted? They can be used in so many different ways, countless times…we’re only limited by our own creativity and imagination! Don’t wait, go get those wooden boxes out of your closets and cabinets, and bring your kid’s room and play spaces up a notch! You will be their hero!

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