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Kids, Creativity and the Cardboard Box

Kids, Creativity and the Cardboard Box

It’s often said about young kids to skip the presents and simply give them a cardboard box. Let their sense of adventure and imagination run wild in the blank slate of a simple box. Will it become a space rocket on its way to the moon or a pirate ship setting off for seafaring adventures? With imagination and creativity, a cardboard box becomes a whole new world for a young child.

A few years ago, I would have thought that the fascination with the box would end as my child entered school and math and science concepts replaced childish wonder. Boy was I wrong. From her early preschool years, Olivia loved to make stuff, to create, to use her imagination. I credit her Bright Horizons teachers for instilling this passion in her. At home, we let her go to town with cardboard boxes and the recycling bin. She’s made all kinds of things from “trash”- from miniature dollhouses to cardboard iPads (complete with Facebook, Instagram & Twitter buttons). Not only did her love of boxes continue but the creativity and pretend play got more complex and detailed.

This past weekend she was invited to a new friend’s house for the first time. I was unsure of how it would go since I don’t know the family very well. When I walked in at pick-up time, I was thrilled to find Olivia busy building a rescue boat made from old boxes found in her friend’s attic. And the creativity continued upon our return home, where she made an oxygen tank, scuba goggles, and a life preserver to aid in her rescue missions.

Of all the really amazing things about children, the ability to use imagination & creativity to turn a cardboard box into an adventure is probably the coolest. I hope this skill continues to develop and surprise me as she grows up. I’ve found some fun resources to share with her, including the Imagination Foundation inspired by the success of the “Caine’s Arcade” short film and this cool 101 Things to Do with Cardboard Pinterest board.

I would love to get more ideas. What are your favorite cardboard box crafts, projects and activities for kids?


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