The humble cardboard box

It may well be the biggest irony that when you buy a gift for a child, more often than not they will have more fun with the wrapping and packaging than the carefully selected gift within.
Kids love a box, any size or shape will do but bigger in this case is most definitely better!

Yesterday my husband and I had the arduous task of fitting a new shower screen at home. (I was of course the muscles of the operation. 😉 ) A tedious, but necessary job that we had been putting off for a while. The screen was enormous, the box a whopper. Happy days!

With a call to watch out I launched the beast of a box downstairs in the manner of an over enthusiastic lumberjack, the box was greeted with squeals of delight and all gadgets hastily forgotten in the scramble to climb in.

That was it. For the whole day all three children were engaged with this piece of junk. Playing for hours on end with an item that doesn’t require batteries – shocking!
Not only playing but playing harmoniously, being the ages of five, six and eight sibling scuffles and disagreements are usually passionate and plenty. I kid you not, there was not one cross word all day.

Imaginations ran wild for the day, the box became a car, a house, a short turn as a coffin as they buried each other – not pleasant to watch but for their young years they have had several experiences with death in the family over the last year. Here was a medium they could happily explore their feelings and play out any concerns in the security of their own home. I was stunned to hear them humming Chopin’s Funeral March (How do they know that?!) and surprised when the child who deals least well with the concept of dying began asking questions and comfortably, openly discussing death. What power this box wields!

From coffins we had a natural progression to Zombies – I blame Scooby Doo!
We then finally settled on a space craft. The pens came out and the transformation was serious. Their craft was lovingly designed and decorated. An accurate compass was constructed (That’ll be the Geocaching!) and complex entry systems created. Experimenting with written word, number and their knowledge of the natural world and space.
Roles were created and the rest of the day was spent in character, always amusing when your child will only respond to Agent.
Problems were solved with creative thinking – how do you stop your neighbours stealing your space ship? Easy of course, you use complex, invisible number codes!

The next challenge was how to get light into their craft, asked whilst eyeing up the drill I had in my hands. Hmm well let me think?! 😉
I get a kick out of seeing a five year old, princess fanatic wielding a power tool with care and capability- we embrace risk and challenge in this house!

Today the box has evolved once more, for now it has become a play scape. A small world for monsters who are busy at school.

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All of this enrichment and holistic development from one simple cardboard box. What’s more it’s free, green and fun, limited only by your imagination.

What will your box be today?

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