There are thousands of toys marketed towards children, whether they are associated with well-loved movies and tv characters, come in eye-catching colours, make interesting sounds, or promise to facilitate learning and development. With so many different options, it can be difficult to find the perfect toy which will be both educational and entertaining for a child. Luckily, you don’t need to spend hours searching online, make a trip to the store, or spend any money in order to find what you’re looking for! Simply look to your recycling box! Cardboard boxes can be the ultimate playtime experience for children, as they encourage creativity, imagination, and socialization when playing with other children.
When presented with a large cardboard box, it is only natural for a child to want to crawl in, explore, and transform it with their imagination. A plain cardboard box is the perfect way for children to express their creativity and imagination, as it is a blank slate. The plain brown colour, untextured surface, and lack of interesting sounds or smells that a cardboard box provides leaves a child with unlimited opportunities for playtime. Many children’s toys that are available for purchase come with a predetermined use or purpose, such as a playhouse or kitchen set. A cardboard box can be transformed into a multitude of objects or spaces, creating a toy that is able to adapt to the needs and wishes of the child at any given time. Therefore, you may find that a cardboard box holds a child’s attention longer than a store-bought toy.
Another benefit of using cardboard boxes during playtime is that it is a great way to reduce your waste! Before you recycle that cardboard box your fridge came in, or you used while moving, offer it up to a child in your life! Getting the most use out of the things in your life, whether they are the objects themselves or the packaging they come in, is an important part of lessening your environmental impact. This concept can also be explained to children in an effort to teach them about environmentally friendly practices. Just be sure to completely empty the box and remove any sharp objects such as staples before giving it to a child to play with.
Try to refrain from interjecting or directing your child’s playtime, as being able to explore on their own and decide how to interact with the box is one of the biggest benefits of using a cardboard box during playtime. You can, however, provide children with materials and tools which they can use at their discretion. Markers, paints, pipe cleaners, pillows, blankets, and other toys such as stuffed animals can help inspire your children to create different playtime scenarios with their cardboard box. Having a variety of decorations and art supplies will help keep your children entertained with their (not so) new toy!
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