Play is one of the five early literacy practices that help children develop the skills they need in order to be ready to learn to read once they get to school. Play helps children in all sorts of ways: they get to learn and try out new words; they act out the things they see in the world, leading to greater understanding; and they have lots of imaginative fun.
Engaging in play with your child doesn’t have to mean buying lots of expensive toys. In fact, some of the best, most beneficial play takes place with everyday objects, like a cardboard box. Think back to when you were a child; do you remember all the things that a single cardboard box could be?
- A small box could be a console on a spaceship, a table at a restaurant, or a musical instrument.
- A medium-sized box could be a treasure chest, a dollhouse, or a car to sit in and drive.
- A big box could be a bear’s cave, a play house, or even a castle.
- A flattened box with some crayons could be a racetrack for cars, a map of a magical land, or an artist’s canvas.
When children use their imaginations to play, the possibilities for enjoyment and growth are endless. The next time you have a cardboard box of any size, share it with your child and play. You’ll be amazed at all the ways you can have fun with your homemade cardboard playground.
*image from beafunmum.com