It may be too late for many, but I encourage you to save any boxes you have during the Christmas holidays – especially Amazon boxes. Boxes sometimes make the best toys – as I’m sure any parent of a 1 year old soon figured out. I remember my grandson climbing up on one of the boxes from a gift (we had closed the tabs so it was secure again) and then climbing down. He has a January birthday so he must have been 11 months. (Wow, look at those high math skills – ha!) Anyway, he did this over and over, and then over again.
Climbing on boxes is only one way kids play with boxes. Older kids love to build spaceships, houses, cars or trains and so much more. I used to do Home Daycare. I remember using multiple boxes in a row as a train. The children worked so well assigning roles, and deciding where the train was going. The school age kids got involved making signs for the destination and for the boarding area. We made pretend tickets. This all developed naturally as they played. This train play lasted almost the whole Christmas break – imagine keeping up to 10 children busy during those long winter days while all of them were out of school!
One of my favorite books is Christina Katerina & THE BOX by Patricia Lee Gauch. Kids enjoy this but I have used it most with parent groups. In the story Christina’s is so excited with her new delivery, a refrigerator. She beams, “Oh, how grand and new.” Christina replies excitedly, “It is! Oh, it really is!” She was, however, looking at the box. The box became a castle, a clubhouse, a racing car, a floor of a mansion (after the box collapsed) – she was going to have a ball. Eventually the kids scrubbed the floor with water and it disintegrated. But, don’t worry, Christina and her friend soon had two new boxes from his mom’s washer and dryer.
Throughout the story the mother is ready to get rid of the box. Isn’t that often the way? We want to clean up the “mess” when kids often see it as an opportunity.
A newer book (published in this century – and boy that makes me feel old!) is Not a Box by Antoinette Portis. Our copy happens to have been donated by the Inglehart family – thanks so much! In this book the author asks a rabbit “Why are you sitting in that box.” The following page shows the rabbit sitting in a racecar along with the words “It’s not a box.” We follow this format throughout the book with the box becoming a volcano, a robot, a boat, a pirate ship, a hot air baloon . . . .
This book spurs a child’s imagination for all the different things a box could become. I love it!
To see the source of the photo just click on the image.
Just imagine what your children could create with all those boxes that accumulate over the holidays. Just add tape, paper, plastic lids (for wheels, well, actually for whatever the kids imagine), markers or paint (just put a tarp underneath). You could even add shapes cut from the wrapping paper that covered the boxes.