Play today is rolling along. Does your child play with paper tubes and rolls? Whatever you do, don’t throw them out ‘cuz they are treasure.
This is yet another example of how kids will play with what adults consider trash. To a child, a paper roll or tube is a magic wand. Only the magic word Imagination-cadabra is needed to turn it into a lightsaber, a tunnel for cars and trucks, a sword for a knight or a pirate, a tree, log, cane, bridge, witch’s broomstick, galloping horse, or whatever else is wanted for play. Little Sister created art-on-the-move as she colored on one roll after another after another.
She’s done other art with them too. A paper tube has been used as a custom paintbrush for stamping hearts and fireworks. After painting a tube one day, she also tried rolling it on a paper to see how that would work. To her delight, she could paint the tube over and over and cover several pieces of paper. She was in paint heaven. Hy herself she extended her play with paper tubes and rolls.
One small tissue roll can be turned into a kazoo with a piece of waxed paper and an elastic band. Many rolls together can be assembled for a variety of projects. Big Sister spent an entire afternoon building an Elsa castle. Really long tubes are fun to make tunnels for cars. In order to get a car to roll down and shoot out the other end, the tube has to be held at just the right height. Too flat and the car is slow, too high and the car turns over and just crashes. In the video below, this child engineered a marble run. This undoubtedly took a lot of experimenting to find the best slope so the marbles would have enough speed but still stay in the run.
Paper rolls and tubes are more than a wardrobe accessory for dress-up play. Armed with these trusty weapons, children practice being brave and powerful. Maybe it’s a good thing that cardboard and paper tubes and rolls can’t be purchased on their own. Part of the delight is in finding them.
As kids claim and transform a paper roll, they are making it their own, and in a way, isn’t the purpose of play to create and transform ourselves?