We all know that you give a child and gift and they’ll likely play with the box. So often we can get caught up in giving elaborate and expensive gifts when the open-ended(ness) of a cardboard box is what really taps into their creativity and imagination. So here is an idea, get your child to create a play map using a cardboard box.
Whenever we receive goods delivered in a cardboard box, I’m secretly thinking of all the ways I can use it in play with my kids, Possum (aged 5 years) and Boo (2 years). Are you the same? I’m sure it’s how my kids think too.
Recommended age: 2 years +
(Active supervision required at all times)
Create a play map using a cardboard box
We recently received a wonderful new television and it came in a large cardboard box. Breaking it open and flattening it, the cardboard became a huge drawable space for us to create a town map. Ah, the possibilities.
Learning about local town features
We talked about creating a town and discussed what we would find in a town. Of course familiar local features were easily recalled by Possum (aged 5 years). She was very keen on adding a playground, roads, trees, park and a zoo to the map.
Drawing this was a challenge and so I took over the drawing and the girls talked lots about what they wanted where. I had them delve a little deeper by asking them ‘why’ they would like something where. The playground they wanted near the homes so it was easier for the children to access, for example.
Point of View
For it to make sense to them, I drew it (somewhat) from an aerial view. It wasn’t exactly accurate in the sense that the houses were clearly drawn to include the house windows, doors etc. Obviously from a birds eye view these features would be less likely to see, however, I felt it important to include for both girls to be able to identify what they were. I was catering it to their level of understanding.
We lightly talked about scale too. We had small wooden figurines that we wanted to add to the town and so I demonstrated my informal measuring of figurines against things like, the playground slide etc.
There were many parts of the map that both girls, who vary so much in age, were able to participate. We included a town clock and Possum had lots of fun adding the numbers to the face. She used our home clock to support her learning.
Once everything was in place, the girls were excited to colour and decorate the map with pencils, crayons and all the small figurines they own. It was so lovely to see them engage in imaginary play and come up with different scenarios that would mean their characters would have to jump into a LEGO car and drive on the road to solve some kind of problem that was happening in the town.
What do you think you’d include in a cardboard box town?
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