Sunday, July 29, 2007

Cardboard Wishes and Fairy Tale Dreams

I keep reading about cardboard activities for kids these days. Thingamababy's contest to find a party name/theme using 21 large boxes for a thundering crowd of toddlers (so very brave). Lifehacker also has a list of ways to entertain young children, including the use of free boxes (e.g., from appliance stores) to be used as houses and castles.

I always loved boxes as a kid. There was a sense of quiet and privacy...a sanctuary away from adults that allowed my imagination to flourish. Though I never did anything spectacular (tunnels and "house" were my things), here are a few other box ideas I've heard about recently and noted for future use:

  • I'm amused by the use of boxes as castles and forts because I recently saw an episode of the Simpsons in which Bart and Lisa ordered a huge amount of free boxes from a shipping company, built a fort, and then defended the boxes from the shipping company when they tried to get them back. It was a lot like the attack on the castle in Lord of the Rings, which I found quite entertaining. When the kids finally got bored, they just used the hose to dissolve it all. Silly adults.

  • You can go out and buy a really cute toy stove or refrigerator, or you can just use a large box. Half of the entertainment comes in decorating the "appliance." Make a whole kitchen by cutting out doors, attaching handles, drawing on embellishments and knobs, etc. Kids are creative and imaginative, so they don't need a fancy new toy to get full use out of it; those toys are primarily for parents. Taking the time to share this activity with your child is a great way to play with him, save a few dollars, and suck in some of that wonderful imaginative energy that he gives off. Besides, when he gets bored of it and moves on, you can either fold it up and store it...or get the hose out :-)

Now, go forth and conquer.