“I won’t take the tv, but can I buy the box that it comes in? My kids will have more fun with that.”
In a world where plastic toys are not so cool (and recycling is), parents are finally getting back to the basics and creating their own toys which encourage deep play and help foster a child’s imagination.
Just think about the number of boxes that come in and out of your house weekly. We know that all of those tissue and pasta boxes can be recycled into crafty building blocks because we’ve seen what our friend Katie (aged 5) has done with her basement. She has literally filled it with a collection of boxes that she uses for building and imaginative play, and we noticed that when kids come over to play—of any age—they have no interest in the other toys. They just want to play with the boxes.
Katie’s mom collects the boxes as they come in (shoe boxes and tissue boxes are the most popular). With a big roll of recycled craft paper from Ikea on hand, she wraps the boxes and leaves them for Katie to decorate with stickers or crayons/coloured pencils, etc. Wrapping the boxes with plain paper gives them uniformity (makes them all the same but different) and provides a clean slate for young artists to work on. There were literally hundreds of box-blocks in the playroom we saw – enough to build a decent sized fort. But remember that you don’t need that many to keep your kids entertained, start with just a few and the interest will evolve as the number of boxes do.
Big and Fast
For the big boxes, cardboard cars are a favourite for the toddler set. Sit the box down, cut out the top and bottom so that all you have is the four sides. Punch holes on either side of the front and rear and attach some thick string front to back. This will form your shoulder straps. You will need to adjust the straps depending on the height of your child.