Don’t believe me? Go ahead and give your kids a couple of cardboard boxes and see what they can do with them.
Just leave them alone and let them have at it. They might wind up with a playhouse, a train, a bed for their stuffed animals or a car or a cave for themselves, but they will come up with something.
And if you want to supersize their creativity and imagination, supersize the cardboard box. Go to an appliance store and see if you can score a big box that a refrigerator or stove came in. Wow, can the kids have fun with that!
A box that held a large appliance is big enough for a real playhouse and with a little help (from you!) it can become a glorious thing.
Cut some holes for the windows and cut a door on three sides, creasing the fourth side so it can open and close. A large button and a rubber band can be fashioned to make a latch for it.
Let the kids ransack your storage for pots and pans, pillows or blankets suitable for chairs, beds and other items, and, of course, give them more cardboard boxes. What for?
Stoves, TVs, dinner tables, desks, dressers, beds…
If you just can’t keep from getting in on the fun yourself, you can help the kids make more realistic (to you) tables by cutting the sides out a little a few inches from each corner to fashion legs. Contact paper can cover the top, or if you’re really into it, you and the kids can paint it.
Small cardboard boxes can become plates, laptops, doll beds, places to store plastic cutlery and a lot more, once your child’s imagination goes to work on them.
Where to get the boxes? The sturdiest boxes come from liquor stores, but grocery stores and almost any place will save you a few if you ask. The larger ones are harder to come by, but if an appliance store knows you’re looking for them, they will usually save one or two for you.
If all else fails, ask for them on your local Freecycle or just ask your friends, family and neighbors. Who doesn’t have a few empty cardboard boxes tucked away somewhere?
No matter what size or kind you come up with, your kids will find a way to make them into something they can play with.