Bring back the cardboard box

by on May 28, 2008

in Crafty,Free/Cheap,Green,Indoors,Preschooler

Did you know the Cardboard Box was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 1998?

My mom sent me a link to fridgeboxworld.com and I got so excited about it that I had to email the director, April Capil, and ask her to write an activity for us. She has founded a company that produces cardboard boxes especially for the purpose of imaginary play, and she explains, “I brought the cardboard box back via the cardboard-box-with-training-wheels, Fridge Box, as a way of being “green” and encouraging creativity and resourcefulness in the generation behind us. The cardboard box, of course, is one of the few toys made from recycled materials, that can also be recycled when you’re done with it!”

More from April:

“So, you’re sold on bringing back the cardboard box. Now what do you do? Well, start with a box, preferable a big one. It doesn’t have to be a Fridge Box; you don’t need to buy some McGroovy’s rivets (but you can!). Just start with a large empty box and ask your children what it looks like to them. Some may say, “Duh, a box,” but chances are, their imagination isn’t totally atrophied; it’s just been waiting for a workout. Ask them if they think that, together, you could turn this box into something else (if necessary, hit up Mr. McGroovy’s site for some fresh ideas). It’s good to start with a structure (a house or building) or a vehicle (like a train, truck, car, plane, spaceship, submarine, etc.), and let things evolve from there.If you have two or three boxes, even better – see if you can connect them somehow, like a series of boxcars on a track, or a mansion with “West” and “East” wings. Start adding to the box(es) using cutouts from magazines, glue sticks, markers, crayons – whatever you have handy. Feel free to cut out windows, doors, escape hatches… in a couple of hours, you can go to the moon and back in a cardboard rocket with your children – the only limit is their imaginations.

In closing, don’t be afraid your child will scoff at this lowly plaything made of brown kraft. The cardboard box is a favorite of children all over the world, and can provide hours of creative play with minimal costs and a minimal impact on the planet. Best of all, it builds skills that toys with more bells and whistles can’t – creativity and resourcefulness. And who doesn’t need more of that?

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RookieMoms.com co-founder Whitney lives with her husband, son, and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area where she writes about parenting, crafts, and activities that moms can do with babies in tow. She and Heather also publish 510Families.com, a site for East Bay parents and are the authors of The Rookie Mom's Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know.

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