One of the best things to build and create with is the plain old cardboard box. I think it's a universal experience that all children enjoy turning a box into something else. Track down Antoinette Portis' charming book, It's Not A Box, which explores all the possibilities a child sees in an empty box. It could be a mountain, a rocket ship, a cave or a boat. I highly recommend checking out the video and resulting Imagination Foundation from Caine's Arcade. You can find it at http://cainesarcade.com/cardboardchallenge/ . Adults and children of all ages have been inspired by this little boy's ingenuity and vision of making an arcade out of cardboard boxes. The website shares other children and families attempts at creating imaginative things using cardboard.
Here are a few easy things to try out at home:
• Smaller boxes like shoe boxes or the heavy cardboard boxes that contain 2 milks from Cost Co make great outdoor building blocks. Children can crumble used newspapers and stuff the boxes. This makes them a bit sturdier. Tape the opening shut and children can decorate and build.
• Collect a variety of different sized boxes. From small boxes to computer paper boxes to large boxes that appliances come in. You can often call local appliance dealers and arrange to pick up a refrigerator box. Make a box of things that help connect and add to the boxes. At school, we use masking tape, zip locks and wire to connect things. Children like using real things and can do so safely with an introduction of how they work best and adult supervision. If you recycle, you probably already have lots of "good stuff" to accessorize the boxes and allow your child to create whatever the box will become. Things like cardboard egg cartons, toilet paper and paper towel rolls, wrapping paper rolls, yogurt containers, crepe paper streamers, buttons, loose metal parts like washers and what ever else you can scrounge around your home and garage. One of my grown children's all time favorite childhood memory was the summer day all the neighbors got together in one yard, each bringing a box from an appliance and the children created their own town with houses, banks, stores and a school. They worked for days and new things emerged as they continued to play in their cardboard town for weeks. Now, go make some cardboard memories.