I recently received a shipment of much needed household organizational tools. They came in big boxes. I emptied one box, and put the other up in my room. My children acted like it was Christmas. My oldest two opted to stay home and clean, instead of going to a football game, just so they could start playing with the box.
The madness wasn’t confined to the older two children. My other three children were actually upset that I let the big kids play with the box before they could. I mean, we had actual tears over this injustice. But after the tears and indignity simmered down, all five of my children began to thoroughly enjoy their box.
I was pleasantly surprised at how creative my children were being, as they played with the taller-than-my-oldest box. The oldest two called it their cave and hid from the bear (me) in it. After Mommy got tired of the game, they turned the box into a robot, and then finally a Jack-in-the-box. All of these activities without any major changes to the box. Although I had to stop my second grader from attacking the box with a kitchen knife – but that’s a story for another time.
The next day – the football game was at night – it was time to play with the box again. My baby and preschooler turned the box into a train tunnel, a mermaid tunnel, and a present. I opened and closed this cardboard box a couple hundred times that morning, I’m sure. But their favorite game was “hide in the box”. The baby would crawl inside the box, sit down, and wait for the preschooler to close the flaps. Then, she would push the flaps open and say “peek-boo”. I would cheer and her sister was ready for her turn. The preschooler would then crawl into the box, and the baby would “close” the flaps. (I helped sometimes, but the baby often succeeded in closing the flaps faster than I could get there.) Then the preschooler would count to 10 and pop out, yelling “Surprise!”
After my Kindergartener got home from school, all he wanted to do was play with the box. Forget lunch, Mom, the box is way more important than eating. Well, he didn’t actually say that, but that’s how he acted. He also liked making the box into a “Jack-in-the-box”, as well as playing “hide in the box” with his sisters. One dimension he added to this event was using the box as a costume. He stood the box up – it had spent most of its time in our family on its side – a stuck it over his head. This box was close to 5 feet tall, so he had to stick his hands up in the air to be seen. He pretended the box was a submarine and his hands were the periscope. I laughed a lot as he tried to get around the house, wearing this huge box, with only his hands sticking out of the top.
The box didn’t last much longer than two days, unfortunately. While it was a great toy, it wasn’t built for such active imaginations. The second box is being saved for a snowy day (don’t tell my kids that it exists). However, part of me thinks our family could save a lot of money during Christmas if all my kids got were boxes. Do you think they’d notice a difference?