Last week we were talking about encouraging your kids’ creativity and Mandy mentioned in the comments how the book, Not a Box has sparked her kids’ creativity so that they beg for empty boxes to color, cut, glue, and use for their dramatic play.
It reminded me of the time our friends were remodeling their kitchen and brought over a giant refrigerator box for my kids–and how they played in it for months (before it became thrashed and took a trip to the recycle center).
Sam’s Club-size diaper boxes continue to be a hot commodity around here, and after receiving new toys my kids always want to save the packaging. (After the newness wears off I literally have to sneak into their rooms on garbage day to retrieve the well-loved boxes).
What is it about cardboard boxes?
I wondered, and so I asked my kids, and here’s how the conversation went:
Me: So guys, what’s so fun about a cardboard box?
Emmy (5): There’s a game we like to play with them.
Me: Tell me more. What kinds of games do you like to play?
Ryan (7): We like to make them into movie theaters and rocket ships and . . .
Emmy (interrupts excitedly): MOMMY! Do we have any boxes in the basement?
Cardboard Boxes Promote Creative Play
Because a box is so basic and has no small pieces, batteries required, etc., a child’s imagination can go crazy. The same simple box can easily transform from a fort, to a pirate ship, to a race car, and then to a cozy spot for reading a book. Throw in a couple of fun props (such as a blanket, costume, or art supplies), and you’ve got hours of entertainment.
It’s easy (at least for me) to fall into that trap of thinking my kids need to be entertained, but the truth is, their little brains are so imaginative and amazing things happen when we turn the TV and video games off, and just let them create.