What’s in the box?

I love homemade toys, but, and I’m being brutally honest here, nap times are often too short or filled with chores to thoroughly enjoy making and, goodness me, but when 7pm arrives, well, I’m just a little bit too zonked and in need of wine and a tv series to even think about being creative. Don’t get me wrong, I do make things and I love making things but would simply like more time to do so! I seem to go through phases and get these huge bursts of energy, spending those precious toddler-free moments sticking, cutting, researching and ordering additional bits and bobs in anticipation of my next energetic surge. Not particularly being renown for my artistic talents everything I make tends to look as though it was actually made by a child, but, the sense of pride I feel is overwhelming as I look at what I have created, out of love and double-sided sticky tape for my son. And then he wakes up, goes straight to his cars and doesn’t play with the finished, sweated over, product of my love. Sigh. You’ll be glad to hear though my disappointment is short lived as he usually plays with everything in the end. I’m not sure if this is just a Sam thing or typical toddler behaviour, but when new things appear, be them toys, food or people, he’ll look at them, from the corner of his eye, suspicion written all over his little face as he cautiously checks them out and then decides whether it’s something / someone that might just be good fun and worth experimenting with.

You can therefore imagine my utter delight when I recently observed Sam opening a box, taking out his vitamins, putting the vitamin bottle back in the box and closing the lid. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. This simple task, which was incredibly good for his fine motor skills also caused him so much joy; there was a genuine shriek of delight every time he discovered the bottle in the box and then of course the obligatory toddler claps when he’d managed to close the lid, “well done me”! So, thought I as those creative cogs commenced ticking, I can make this in to a game and I think it might be easy to do!

I began by literally raiding my recycling to find a few boxes of differing sizes which were clean (!) and good to use. I then scoured my house for varying objects to hide, coming up with a cork, a stone and some sort of vessel which looks a little bit like a specimen bottle – let’s hope it’s not! I then placed all objects in the boxes and ceremoniously closed the lids! And what a hit it was! The “specimen bottle” being the clear winner as, lo and behold, it has ANOTHER LID to open!

This game took minutes to make with no real skills or specialist equipment required, you just need junk! Since “inventing” what we now call “What’s in the box?” I’ve thought about differing ways I could use this, specifically around different topics – the beach, colours, animals and nature to name just a few. I also think it will make a lovely advent calendar themed game, but should start planning that one a little in advance or I might end up raiding the neighbours’ recycling in a desperate last ditch attempt to find 24 boxes, and, a specimen bottle!!!

We love http://www.theimaginationtree.com for lots of super creative play ideas!

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