Cardboard boxes can engage toddlers and children for hours! Whats great is that boxes are easily available and free! It offers development of skills like creativity, resourcefulness and flexibility! With a little imagination, children can turn these plain boxes into spaceships, cars, castles! Children constantly reinvent, improvise and transform things and ideas in this creative process!
Our little Box Play!
In our previous post, we shared our all-time favourite books titled “Not A Box”.
Reading the book really got us excited about playing with our own boxes! I searched high and low everywhere in our kitchen and our storage room for boxes, and other recyclable materials like toilet rolls. I presented my girl with the collection of boxes, in all sizes and colours on the rug, and she was raring to go play with the boxes!
Amongst the printed boxes, she instinctively picked out the cereal box, examined the box, and pointed to me the word “Cheerios”. This is a great way to teach print awareness!
She further explored the other boxes and created this table with four legs. She had a few incidents of the table falling over paper rolls of different lengths, which made her realise conceptually to make the legs of the table, she must have legs of the same length. She furthered discovered that the legs must be evenly and positioned below the four corners of the box in order for the box to be stable!
All this while, my little girl’s mind was quick with ideas on how to transform the materials into pretend objects. She laid the same box on the rug, and this time, she places the rolls of different length onto it. Upon being asked what she was creating, she said,” Mummy, I am making buildings. She described the buildings as she pointed to them one by one, “An office, school, supermarket, shopping centre, Grandma’s house….”
Trains and Tunnels
To extend and deepen her play episode, I provided more props like trains. Associating trains with tunnels, she created her enactment of the trains traveling through the tunnels, but moving them through or down the paper rolls. To make the trains roll down through the tunnel, she cleverly elevated it by making it rest on the cereal box. And to level the paper roll, she placed it on top of the cereal box. Talk about learning a simple physics lesson!
My little girl then wanted to make a train station! So she created one, with each train fitted into a paper roll to mark its parking space. She also started naming them- Goofy, Mickey, Pluto, Minnie… well, you guessed it! Mickey Mouse Clubhouse characters! I kindda like this train station!
Rae has always played with ice-cream sticks and twigs to create letters. So almost intuitively, she took the paper rolls and embarked on creating letters of her own. She made Letter L, T, E…. and even a triangle shape. She experimented using only short paper rolls to make letter E, but replaced one roll with a longer one upon realising it needed to be longer. It’s great to see how paper rolls of differing lengths come into play here for the creation of letters!
So just give your child boxes, step back and watch the magic of their imagination at work!