DIY Object Permanence Box

About a month or so ago – on a day when Paige was in childcare, so I had ALL the time in the world to just sit and watch Samuel play (no, it doesn’t happen often!) – I watched Samuel super engrossed in putting a wooden strawberry into one of Paige’s shoes. And he was SOOO proud of himself too!

He tipped the strawberry out, then put it back in maybe six or seven times – that’s a lot of concentration for a baby!! And for someone who spent most of his time taking things OUT of baskets and containers, this new skill was a welcome change! So I figured an object permanence box would be perfect for Samuel – learning to place the ball into the hole without having to sorry about which way he put it in, like he would with a shape sorter toy. Plus, at almost nine months old, Samuel was already learning about object permanence.

I had a quick look on Pinterest and found a few tutorials on how to make your own, so I set off to Spotlight to see if I could find something that would work. I grabbed this cardboard box from Spotlight, the tape from Bunnings and the wooden balls from our Hape Pound and Tap xylophone. All up, the materials cost me around $9. Bargain!


I took photos of each step, which will hopefully show you how to make your own much better than just my instructions would!

1. Using a knife or scissors, cut down the corners on the shorter side of the box to create a flap


2. Cut the longer lengths of the box. The three remaining sides will sit on top of the tray to create the OP box


3. Remove the right flap – keep this as you will need it later. Score across the base between the two cuts from Step 2


4. Create a box by folding up the sides and securing with tape on the inside


5. Draw a circle that will be big enough to fit the ball you are using – I traced around a bottle lid


6. Tape around the inside of the circle to smooth the edge


7. Cut away the bottom half of the front of the box. Make sure it is tall enough for the ball to fit through


8. Place the extra cardboard from Step 3 into the base of the box. Angle it so it forms a ramp for the ball to roll down. Secure with tape. The ramp means that the ball will always roll into the tray and won’t stay hidden inside when it is dropped in the hole


9. Use the tape to secure all corners and the front of the box


10. Place the box into the tray. This is a good time to do a test run to make sure the ramp isn’t too steep or not steep enough, and that the ball will roll into the tray. I had to change the steepness of the ramp so the ball rolled out a little slower


11. Secure the box to the tray using tape. I then added more tape purely to make it look prettier


12. And finished!!


Paige experimenting with how many balls would fit in at once

Paige couldn’t help herself and get in on the crafting while I finished making it – a pair of scissors, some of the tape and one of our tree blocks kept her entertained for a LONG time!

After a day or two of watching Samuel use the OP box, I noticed that he was much more engaged when only one ball was in the tray. Any more and Samuel just seemed interested in holding a ball in each hand and crawling away, or he would tip the box upside down and watch the balls roll away on the floor. So for now, we just use one ball for the OP box and leave the other two with their original xylophone (which in the last week Samuel has learnt to push them through so they make music as they roll down #lovinglife!)

It took Samuel about a week to master the OP box, and he slowly used it less and less. Now he only really uses it if I sit with him to play with together. I think I’ll probably put it away for a week or so, then bring it out again to see if it recaptures his interest. I’m also making some other posting-type activities for Samuel which I’ll post about soon, so keep your eyes peeled!

What DIY toys and activities have you made for your little ones?

Lycie xx

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