Monday, March 5, 2012

The Wonder Box

SOLC Day 5 of 31
According to, a card catalog is:
a file of cards of uniform size arranged in some definite order and listing the items in the collection of a library or group of libraries, each card typically identifying a single item.

Most students have never heard of this vehicle to locate books in the library, the experience of thumbing through the array of cards to locate a desired volume. Now we press a button and all the information about the books in a library appear. Convenient, but there’s something nostalgic about the card catalogue.

A number of years ago, I was fortunate to have acquired a no longer needed card catalog (actually two!). I have used one to house assorted needed household items: batteries, scissors, bottles of craft paint, string, tape, glue, playing cards, etc. At one time each drawer was neatly labeled.

Little by little I have been repurposing these drawers. I am gradually turning it into a “wonder box” (label borrowed from Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick). As an ongoing process and mission, I have been replacing the household items in the drawers with things  for my 2 1/2 year old grandson to play with when he comes to visit. It is great fun and a challenge to have an eye open when shopping to come across items small enough to fit in the drawers. Packages of stickers, small cars (not too small to swallow!), finger puppets, small books, blocks, balls and colored pencils have started to fill the drawers. Even a traditional deck of cards has become a toy as he starts to recognize their numbers and is  beginning to count them! 

My next goal is to label the drawers.  Not only would it help to organize the items at pick up time, but the reading teacher in me can’t help but think it could help him on his reading journey.

I love that after the initial greeting, hug and kiss, he runs to the card catalogue to discover what new treasures await him. I think I have as much fun with it as he does!


  1. We have two boxes in our basement...I love the ideas that you have for their new use, especially for the grandkids. I think it would be fun to put some cards in that would start them on a treasure hunt search in your house. This is should put it on pinterest.

  2. I love this idea! The Chicago Children's Museum has a little room filled with collections in drawers like these. I also love Wonderstruck (there is something very special in the definition of a museum used in the book).

  3. Sue, So creative. I love the idea of these little treasures that plant the seeds of wonder. What fun and memories for your grandson! And heaps of learning of course! I need to read this book. ~ Theresa

  4. A great way to repurpose a card catalog. I couldn't help but think through a teacher's eyes. A "wonder box" would be a wonderful addition to any classroom. Thanks for sharing!

    Thinking Out Loud