This 3 1/2 year old may be thinking while inside the box, but he creates while there…and sometimes steps out too. Great grand walked in my front door today and immediately spied “the box”. The first words he spoke were, “What’s the box for?” I said, “What ever you want it for.”
He walked directly to it and started inspecting it. The ends were not closed, so it stood taller than him. He jumped and jumped trying to see over the top. He finally found that the top had foldable flaps so he closed one end. “I need tape”, he said. I retrieved a roll of blue painters tape from the garage and handed it to him. Great Grand taped the bottom flaps down so they would stop flipping open and turned the box over. “Lift me in” he requested.
He sat inside for a few seconds and decided it needed windows. I gave him a box of chalk, markers, and crayons. He sat and looked at the blank spaces, then drew, contemplated and drew again. He drew inside the box for about 30 minutes.
When his drawing was done he decided the window needed to open. I couldn’t let him have a sharp tool, so I offered to cut open the window for him and he agreed. Now that he had a window he wanted the top flaps closed. The window proved large enough to crawl out, so he did. Then crawled back in and out several times.
Pretty soon he retrieved some little dinosaurs from the toy basket (which he tumped over in the middle of the floor so he could find them). The dinosaurs went in and out of the window too.
“We need a drink” he said. So “we” took a break to make his favorite chocolate milk. After the break he decided to make a lake for his dinosaurs to get a drink. He patch worked a blue painters tape lake and they drank. Then he drew grass and trees for them to eat.
A couple of plastic frogs joined the dinosaurs and jumped off the edge. “I think they need a river”. A long piece of tape went from the lake over the side and down to a flap left open because the box is now on it’s side and has a gate.
He stopped for a picnic lunch on the patio and played outside for a while. After his rest time he asked if he could paint on the box. And of course, it’s his box, so I got out the paints. A box makes a pretty cool easel! When it was time to clean up, he flipped the box up and we tossed the toys inside.
A boy and a box had a pretty full day. I wonder what we’ll do tomorrow…The lesson I am taking from this creative play is that when I get stuck in a rut or can’t seem to think outside of the box, challenge myself and get creative. Let myself go wherever my mind can take me.