Inspired by April Fools and how kids can transform anything into a toy, this post explores child’s play with boxes. Kids are masters at having fun in different, and often for adults, quite unexpected ways.
Kids can turn adults into April Fools nearly every time they get a present in a box. Why? Because they play more with the box more than the toy. A box, like kids, isn’t empty. It’s full of potential. With imaginations, boxes can be a bus, boat, Elsa’s castle, a rocket, mountain, house, car, Rebel space station, pirate ship, a stove, hospital, airplane, store, restaurant, zoo, post office, and whatever else kids can imagine.
A box can be any size, but big ones are super fun. Kids can color on the box, using markers, crayons or paint, or leave it as is. Whatever a box is one day, it can be something entirely different another day. As kids play with a box, it is their space and they determine the rules and limits. They are in charge, which is quite a change from the usual.
Boxes are small, safe and secure spaces or gateways to the universe and beyond. Although a box has physical limitations, it doesn’t have any on imaginations. It is whatever a child needs at that particular moment in time. This kind of play–being able to adapt an ordinary object for a specific purpose–is a life skill. We all use this kind of creativity and flexibility.
Child’s play with boxes encourages the use of imagination and creativity. It also supports the development of other thinking skills, like organizing, collecting information, explaining, and more. Being able to use one object for another is a form of symbolic play. In her blog on kids and play, Laura Weldon wrote about “1,000 Ways To Play With a Cardboard Box.” Although it’s a small space, boxes also invite kids to move. They will crawl, squirm, curl up, and bend in a variety of ways in a box. How does your child play with a box?