Cardboard boxes are the ultimate affordable, eco-friendly, imaginative toy. They come in all sizes and shapes and you can get them for free when someone gives you a present or when you pick them up at your local furniture or appliance store. They provide countless hours of open-ended creative and imaginative play and then, if you forget them outside, they'll eventually disappear as they biodegrade into compost. (Checking on the progress of that now and then is an interesting science lesson, too.)
Most young children can only wait a few minutes before they start to jump on their box and smash it to bits. The younger they are, the shorter the time they can resist this urge, and this is very normal and fun. If you are tempted to be the boring grown-up who says, "stop that!", remember that jumping is a great way to exercise and get strong. If you are telling them to stop, they won't learn "self" control....rather, an adult is controlling them. They will eventually learn to control this urge on their own when they are ready to use the cardboard box for other activities.
CREATIVITY & IMAGINATIVE PLAY
Cardboard boxes can be transformed into a robot, space ship, race car, castle, club house, fort, boat, or tunnel with little more than a few words ("It's a castle!") and maybe a splash of paint or a few minutes with some markers. Markers are especially nice, so you don't have to wait for the paint to dry.
LARGE MOTOR SKILLS
Crawling through a box or getting in and out help your child learn about their body and where it is and how to control it while they practice prepositions of location. Jumping on boxes, tearing them apart and smashing them to bits are all wonderful ways to figure out just how strong you really are - and if you're a little kid, that's exciting information to know. These activities develop coordination and physical strength and get the heart pumping.......why should the PE coaches have all the fun? Smashing up some boxes is a safe way to let off extra energy, whether you have that from ADHD or just too many hours in the classroom or cubicle. Parents will appreciate it when tired children sleep better at night, too.
FINE MOTOR SKILLS
Be sure to let your child decorate the extra tall boxes from refrigerators with paintbrushes or markers. Writing or drawing while standing up helps train their muscles in the motions they'll need for writing. Kids need plenty of room to explore and improve their control of writing tools.
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Suggested books about Cardboard Boxes.
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