One of the best things about being a parent is being able to just sit back and watch your children play. Yes, sometimes it’s important to get down on the floor and play with them, especially when they’re younger. But it’s so satisfying to see them playing of their own accord, developing their own creative play, and watching them change from one idea to the next.
N’s play is usually quite functional. He’ll play with his farming toys or occasionally set up a train set. But it’s quite realistic play and what satisfies him is getting it all as accurate and complex as possible, rather than making up some story behind it.
But, even at age 7, give him a decent cardboard box and he’ll play for hours.
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When is a box not just a box?
When it’s a viewing booth for the tv
A library booth for looking at books
A cinema or snug for watching films
A hospital for teddies
A car, boat or train.
Decoration is key to cardboard box creative play, and N gets out whatever art supplies he fancies. Sharpies are a favourite, pencils, pens, stickers, bamboo canes, yoghurt pots. Anything that works for his play idea.
The box we have at the moment is a large square one which a much smaller cool box arrived in. N claimed the box for his own, and commandeered it for his own creations. Of course it takes up most of the room it’s in, but at least it means it’s really too big to move from room to room.
This box has been made into a Mini
His very own ice cream van which also serves hot meals, sandwiches and beer. N’s been keeping his sales options open.
The box decoration is really a great sign of his progress at school and his knowledge of the world around him. The spelling needs a bit of work, but that’ll come.
Inside, there’s a map drawn of his ice cream route.
Detailed van dashboard complete with steering wheel, gearstick, speedometer, and other information, not forgetting up and down window buttons on the sides.
And a pricing guideline.
Outside, there’s a great sign for Mini Coster, with a tag line underneath. Plus obviously the menu for food and drink which includes not only 99s and magnums, hamburgers,
I love it. It’s such a sweet thing (although he’d probably kill me for saying that).
There’s everything possible that he would need for his van, and of course I’ve had to buy from it. I think he needs to rework on his giving change. I seem to get back the same coins I pay with rather than change.
I can see this box hanging around for a while (until the OH throws it out while we’re off camping). It just goes to prove that even when they’re growing up a bit, a cardboard box still makes a great toy.
Are your children cardboard box fans? What have they been turning them into?