Cardboard box, anyone?

Today’s post is all about the power of a cardboard box!  I have had many fellow mamas ask about how I went about moving with a toddler, unpacking with a toddler, or even how to I get ready in the morning with a toddler.  Most days, it is all about a cardboard box!  The cardboard box has bought me time in the morning to enjoy some coffee and even take a quick solo trip to the bathroom all while providing my little boy with brain building and language building moments.

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What you need:

  • cardboard box big enough for your little one to fit inside, but small enough to still fit nicely in your house somewhere 🙂
  • crayons
  • stickers
  • enthusiasm and imagination

When I first introduced the cardboard box to my little one, I was over the top enthusiastic calling it his car.  We pretended he was driving it, we read car books while he was in it, etc. He was honestly so excited about his “car” that he pointed it out to anyone who came over to the house.  What is your child into: cars, trains, bikes, horses…you can make your cardboard box anything your little one is interested in.

We then decided (with my lead 🙂 ) that we needed to decorate his car.  I gave him crayons and stickers and supervised this activity because to my little one, crayons and stickers are still delicious.  I started off writing/drawing in the car and then we could talk about where to stick  a sticker or what color to draw a smiley face.  After a few times doing this with him, my little one got the hang of it and can do this time…with me close by to supervise those delicious crayons and stickers.

It is a fun activity we can do together, but also a structured and wonderful activity for him to explore on his own (while I get coffee, put a load of laundry in the wash, do the dishes, or just sit and watch him learn).

Not sure how to get the conversation started with your little one?  Here are some suggestions:

After talking about what the cardboard box is…car, bird, train, boat…sit your little one in the box and draw something.  For this example, I will draw a steering wheel.

  • Hold out two crayons (different colors) and say, What color should we color the steering wheel?  Label the color your little one picks.
  • Should we put the stick above or below the steering wheel?  Model the locations as you say them.
  • While just coloring for fun (scribbles are totally acceptable), talk about this make believe magic cardboard box.  If it is a car:
    • Where are you driving the car?
    • Are we going to the grocery store?
    • Is it sunny or rainy out?

Modeling the language is the important part to this!  You will find that once you do this a few times, your little one can be more independent and you can facilitate the brain building and language building conversation more easily from either right next to your child (while you are enjoying your coffee) or from across the room (working out).

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Have you used the magical cardboard box?  How has is worked for you?  Anything else to add?

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