Want to do something more than just add all those cardboard shipping boxes onto the recycling pile? Why not use them to inspire your grandchild’s imagination and creative play? It’s so easy and so much fun!
Low tech cardboard boxes have provided generations of children with great play experiences… and earned the unpretentious cardboard box a place in the National Toy Hall of Fame for the learning and creativity it fosters in children.
Preschool grandsons love all things cars and trucks. Even construction vehicles. Mine have plastic containers filled with every size, style, use and color one can imagine. So, when one of my four year old grandsons came to visit, of course he brought along as many as his mother would allow.
What to do with them? I grabbed all sorts and sizes of shipping boxes I had to set aside, until the next recycling day came the next week. I dragged out small ones from Sephora; a medium one from Penzey’s Spices; and ones from Amazon tall enough to make great tunnels and storage garages for his biggest dump trucks and tractors. Then, we set out to create a ‘village’ of buildings for him to use over the next few days.
First, we lined up all of the cars, trucks and construction vehicles.
Next, I asked him to imagine what buildings he would like to have for his vehicles.
Then, we got to work. I used a sharp knife safely away from his small hands to cut off the flaps on the boxes. He wanted a ‘garage large enough to hold the green tractor’. He specified he wanted doors that would open and close in the front. Done. I asked if he would like a large tunnel for his huge dump truck to drive through. “Yes!”, was his delighted response. So, I cut off both ends and secured the inside flaps on the ‘roof’ as well as all the corners with strong packaging tape. He added he wanted a smaller garage for other trucks and vehicles and it was easily accomplished. Cut off box flaps became the road, when laid end-to-end.
When he produced two ‘people’, drivers of the two new vehicles he received as gifts, he helped design a small house for them. Door in front, overhanging ‘porch’ and a rear door. No windows, though, as he warned me that when there is a bad storm, you have to stay away from windows. No windows, no storms to worry about.
And, so he had his own village to play with every day he was here. And, when he goes home, the boxes will go to the recycling bin.
So what did he take with him? The knowledge that he could imagine and create something without guidelines and directions. Something unique, just what he wanted and needed to enjoy days of creative play of his own making. No technology. No cost. No wrong answers. Just pure imagine and fun!