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  • Writer's picturefmay24

What do you mean, "It's not a box?"

stack of cardboard boxes

Have you had an experience with a child (or perhaps, like me, you have a curious cat) who insists on enjoying the box something came in even more than the item itself? Boxes have a somewhat magical flexibility built into them. Yes, they can be brown containers taped closed and filled with Styrofoam peanuts. But with some imagination, maybe a few decorations, and some time they can become so much more.

What to do with lots of little boxes? We all have them. Boxes that things came in: pudding mix, tissues, cereal, noodles, straws, even shoes. They aren’t all that big. So they should just go into the recycle bin, right? Before you go that route, consider a couple of options. While Recycle is big on that list of ‘3 R’s,’ so is Reuse! What if those empty boxes were used again? They could be blocks! These don’t even need to be covered, just secured shut. Or maybe you could create a “Rhyme Cube:” cover a square box with colorful paper and make a list of short words that would be easy to rhyme. Choose six and find pictures of each, then glue or tape the pictures on each side of the box. Voila! Have you tried making a shoebox guitar? Stretch several sturdy rubber bands across the open side of the box and make some noise. Small boxes can even stock the shelves of a pretend kitchen or grocery store.

Operation: Inspiration! Boxes can be the perfect starting place for an art project. There’s no need to purchase expensive materials when you have the makings of a masterpiece at your fingertips. What if your box became an ocean scene? Dioramas are excellent teaching tools. Maybe it would be fun to roll paint-covered marbles around inside to create a crazy decoration scheme. Does anyone enjoy splatter painting? The inside of a box contains the mess just enough. Perhaps with a little decoration, your box could even become a treasure chest for young folks to explore.

You have to love a BIG box. Big boxes can become so many fantastic things. Whether it’s a car or a kitchen, a robot costume, or a cozy hideaway, kids love to play with big boxes. Climb inside and it might be a plane or a boat. Put your dolls or stuffed animals inside and maybe it’s their home. A box could be a workbench, an ice cream shop, or a pirate ship. It’s all up to you!

Why purchase a game when you can make one? Boxes can be the perfect starting place for making many kinds of games. A very simple one is like basketball: can you toss the (nerf ball, crumpled paper, beanbag) into the open box? Or, make it a little more difficult. If you cut several holes into the side of the box, see whether your athletes can throw, roll, putt, or kick a soft object inside. Can you imagine how to create a foosball game? How about a ring toss?

Boxes are a fabulous beginning to a day of exploration, imagination, and family fun. Give it a try!

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