Making Something Out Of Nothing

If you have a preschooler, chances are you've shared a similar experience. You purchased the perfect gift, only to have your child be more excited about the box it came in. Why?


I think it's because sometimes the more a toy can do, the less a child can do with it.

Case in point (and I'd love to hear if you test my theory). Give your child an electronic game like LeapFrog Touch. He'll get bored with it in 15 minutes. Give him an empty box and he will play with it for hours.

I think this is because an empty box is simple. It's not overwhelming. It provides an opportunity for a child to create, explore and use his imagination. The box can do what he wants it to do, how he wants it to do. It allows the child to be the master of his own ship, the driver of his imaginative destiny.

Empty boxes also give children the opportunity to make something out of nothing. They give children and their parents the opportunity to create  a personal masterpiece.

Next time before you discard a box, consider allowing your child to play with it and then creating something out of it together.

Here's some fun things you and your child can make out of a simple empty cardboard box.

A castle fit for a princess or prince.

Cut the top flaps off of a large cardboard box. Appliance boxes like refrigerator and dryers boxes work well for this project. Cut wide rectangles out of tops of each side of the box to form the four corner towers. Make the battlement of the castle by cutting rectangles out of the top of the box on all four sides. Draw a drawbridge on the front of the box. Poke four holes, one on each side of the door and one on each side of the wall where the drawbridge was cut from.  Cut the door out and fasten string to the drawbridge, tying it off after threading it through the holes. Paint and decorate the castle as you wish.

A  finger puppet theatre.

Cut the top off of an empty cereal box. Paint the box and let it dry. Cut out a large rectangle, leaving at least a 2 inch border of box around the cutout. Glue rectangular pieces of fabric scraps to the box for curtains. Use twist ties for curtain tie backs. You can make your own finger puppets by attaching small character cutouts to popsicle sticks, qtips or toothpicks.

A  pirate's treasure chest.

Paint a shoe box and lid the same color and let them dry. Using a different color paint straps and other embellishments. Use sturdy tape and tape the box to the lid. Place the tape on the inside of the box so it works as a hinge.

Does your child love boxes? Have you ever made something creative out of a box? Share your insight and experiences below!