Roller Boxes

A roller box is a simple and fun way to teach just about anything. It’s just a box with 2 dowels that hold a scroll of paper. Pictures, words, clues, or ANYTHING can be added to the scroll. Then when it’s rolled along the kids get to see what’s “playing on the box” that day.  Roller boxes are like a low-tech tv with the kid as the producer!
roller box 2
I generally use my roller box as a tool to let my kids show all they’ve learned. They write simple words or phrases and draw pictures of what we’ve been studying about it, and then we can play back the show they create and enjoy their work. This works especially well for things that happen in a sequence of events (like a picture timeline). Even if it’s just a series of unrelated items we’ve been learning about though, kids LOVE to see what they’ve done in a special display and it helps keep them motivated and focused.

It’s also a great tool to introduce a new topic.  For example, I may show a roller show of Renaissance art and we can discuss commonalities, art techniques, and art principles we recognize.  We can try to spot two pieces that were created by the same artist.

If I’m on the ball and prepare enough ahead of time it’s fun to create a series of clues for them about a unit we have coming up. One at a time you roll the scroll along and see how quickly they can guess it.


This roller box is just made from a paper box (like the kind bulk paper is purchased in–usually copy centers will give them to you for free if you ask). Holes were cut for the dowels and then the whole box was covered with contact paper. It’s really simple and can be used over and over again.

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