Isn’t it funny how when young children receive gifts, they would often rather play with the wrapping than the actual gift inside?
We’ve all been there…you’ve spent an unthinkable amount of money on a child for his or her presents for whatever occasion, expecting them to be filled with awe and amazement at the flashing lights, beeping sounds or sheer size of the gift you so thoughtfully gifted them only to have the ‘thing’ cast aside once opened in favour of the child rolling around the screwed up wrapping paper and jumping in and out of the empty box.
This happens each week at The Cottage at Coomera. When our consumable items are delivered weekly to the centre, the kids aren’t excited about what’s being delivered, it’s that they can’t wait to get their little hands on the boxes. We can’t unpack the boxes fast enough!
Did you know that a child’s preoccupation with wrapping paper and boxes is just another way to play? Casting aside that special gift shouldn’t be taken with any kind of offense. They will play with it later. You’ve actually given them two gifts really because you’re also helping them to learn about themselves and the world around them… just by the packaging.
When children explore and experiment with objects such as boxes, paper and ribbons, they are using both their sensory and physical senses to extend their thinking.
Cardboard boxes encourage physical play. Often the first thing children want to do with a cardboard box is to climb into it – and perhaps jump out to surprise you! A child who repeatedly fills and empties a box, climbs in and out, puts things in then tips them out, is not just making a mess. Instead they are exploring the “insideness” of the object – which helps them to understand concepts such as capacity, volume and space.
A big empty box is a great starting point for creative and imaginative play. Children can decide how to change the box into something they can use for pretend play, like a castle, shop, cave and so on. Then they can use their imagination and problem-solving skills to turn ideas into reality.
Recently the preschool children turned their empty boxes into space helmets, race cars and constructed a house. It changes from week to week depending on their interests at the time but how amazing is it that one empty, inexpensive cardboard box can bring so much joy and inspiration to a child where the possibilities are endless.
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