| Nov 15, 2012
I came home to find one of the largest boxes I’ve ever received on my front porch. My middle son, full of excitement, immediately asked to have the box. He waited as patiently as a four year old possibly can as I unpacked all the items from within this ridiculously huge box.
Just to get an idea of the massiveness of this box, all three kids and the dog could fit comfortably inside it. They had to put the box against the couch and jump in from there, because it was too tall to step inside easily. The box started as a simple jack-in-the-box with kids popping out and saying ‘boo’, then it became a cave. The kids even took in flashlights to find the buried treasure. They read books in their box, created a little house for their stuffed animals and even let our little Rat Terrier dog join them for cuddle time. When dad came home, he rolled the box with the kids safely inside, all around the living room. They loved it, but soon their box was really taken a beating.
As the box started to break, I panicked. This new toy has created an entire day of fun, imaginative play and it was breaking! What would I do now? I mean, the kids have tons of fun, educational toys that cost lots of money, but nothing has entertained them like this simple box. My sanity NEEDS this box!
Luckily, my innovative six-year old daughter re-worked the broken side of the box and made it the new door. She drew on a window and furniture inside. It was now a functional little house that they colored inside and out for several hours. It pains me to think how much I paid last year for a cardboard house that was designed to color. I could have saved a ton of money and just stuck with a plain box.
The poor box is now on day three and it has lost two sides and is now a little nook with a pillow. My kids sit inside this colorful, broken, piece of cardboard box and read their books or play with other toys. I know it will have to eventually fall apart completely, but I am grateful for the hours of play it created.
The beauty of this simple box is that something that I consider plain and boring has created hours of entertainment for my children. I realize that they don’t need fancy and expensive toys; they just need something that allows them to use their creativity. Because this box was so versatile, the kids were able to use their imagination and make it what they wanted it to be at that time. It provided so many more options than many other toys my children have and it didn’t need batteries. I loved watching the evolution of the box and will never again see a box as just a box. It is hours of entertainment and fun for my children. Oh, and the few hours of quiet time for mom to get dinner on the table is just a bonus.
Author: Nicole McDonald, a stay-at-home mom to three kids, age 6, 4 and 2. She teaches coupon, meal planning and freebies classes and blogs at www.momsavesmoney.net.