Friday, May 21, 2010

Thinking Thursdays: All boxed up...

Ever given your kid a toy, only to find out that he/she was more interested in the packaging?  We find that is the case with Junior J... so to get more mileage out of the new toy, we give him the packaging (even the plastic wrap is interesting to him, but of course he plays with it under close supervision!)... and he gets the toy a day or two later, when he's done playing with the stuff the toy came in.

We don't restrict ourselves to just toy packaging, and I find that a great resource would be all the packaging you have in the kitchen: Cereal boxes, yoghurt and ice-cream tubs, vitamin bottles etc.  We sometimes give him buttons, and he will spend part of a meal happily occupied in picking them up and putting them into a vitamin bottle, and thereafter using it as a rattle (however, like plastic bags, this must be under close supervision... so we find its a good distraction tool during meals, where we can check that he eats his food, and not the buttons!).

One of my favourites would be the smaller boxes that our muesli bars come in.  A simple box like that can be put to many uses:
:: As a container to carry his toys (like all kids his age, he's fascinated with taking things in and out of containers, and can be kept occupied in the kitchen for 20 minutes just transferring the muesli bars in and out!)
:: As a house for a small stuffed toy
:: As a tool for pouring activities

Also, for older toddlers, boxes are great for craftwork, and I like the idea that we get to reuse materials that normally get thrown in the trash.  Here are some projects that I'm planning to do with the boy when he's older:

:: Cereal box organizers from Martha Stewart

:: Drawer dividers from Lovely Design: I thought the idea of having a drawer for children's plates and cups was great, and they can learn how to put away their tableware into their very own drawer!  (You can download the tutorial here.)

:: Cereal box village from Bella Dia

What other ways do you think we can use packaging during playtime?  Please share!

Come play at the Childhood 101 We Play link up!

We Play


  1. great idea about cereal boxes as toys! :) the cereal box organizers look great too, trust Martha Stewart to make everything look so pretty haha. i'm currently using tons of tissue paper boxes as storage, but they warp after prolong use or are quite weak in holding heavier items (or maybe im too lazy to sort things out so dump too many things inside lol). im also lazy to decorate them, just picked the pretty floral boxes lol!

  2. Thanks for dropping by Mummy's Reviews! I love reading your blog -- same age boy, breastfeeding, photography, reliable sources of info, etc! You mentioned your boy applying to be a Malaysian citizen. We are staying in KL (I'm a Singaporean married to Malaysian). Look forward to your new posts. Happy blogging! :)

  3. Packaging can be used to create texture, feeling boxes; fill it up with things n let child feel what it is and tell you what they think it is. Or recycle for craft and for pretend play, I recycle alot of cereal, shoe household appliance boxes to make pretend mail box, a washing sink, a farmhouse, groceries for a pretend supermarket. Start keeping boxes now and u will find it really useful for all the uses I mentioned above in about 6 months to a year's time.

  4. Bingling: Hey, I'm using tissue boxes too. You know those with all the Pooh bears on them? But I think they're pretty great for storage, same for shoe boxes! :)

    MieVee: Thanks for visiting! :) Then it makes the two of us, since I'm also a Singaporean married to a M'sian!

  5. When I was a teacher and we were learning all the city vocabulary, including transport and institutions, we cut and coloured a lot of boxes and put them on a big board, we invented the name of the streets and the name of our city, too. I told the kids to bring there little cars and other toys and we invited parents to play with us. We played in our city for hours!!! We even made a big mountain from newspaper and built a ski center on it with lifts! I call it the City Project.

  6. You gals are super creative! Unfortunately my kids' idea of playing with the packaging is simply ripping it apart. The satisfaction is visceral I suppose.

    By the way I was born and raised in KL and moved over to Singapore when i was seven, I used to go up to visit my relatives every other year until the kids arrived. What a coincidence!

  7. Rachel: Those are really great ideas! Thanks for sharing them, will start keeping boxes to use next time...

    Kira: I didn't know you were a teacher too! The City Project really sounds exciting, and its great that even the parents got involved!

    Daphne: Hey, even ripping the box is an experience I guess, he used to rip up all the junk mail we had and enjoyed it... And I guess it's a small world, especially when its cross-causeway relations... :) Do you still go up to KL once in a while?

  8. What great ideas here! I've not thought of keeping those boxes but I'm definitely going to start doing it now. Glad that I have more time now to do such activities with my kids.
    Thanks for sharing!

  9. Thanks for popping by my blog! I love to recycle materials and use them for our weekly crafts too. Boxes of all sizes are definitely one of our most versatile resources.

  10. Ing: Happy crafting with your boys!

    Domesticgoddess: Thanks for popping by!

  11. Cereal boxes work great as large stacking blocks. Stuff the boxes with news paper then tape the end shut with wide packing tape. Then let your toddle begin building. When the boxes become worn recyle them and start collecting again.

  12. Joyce: Thanks for popping by! And that's a great idea... Will try it out soon... Thanks!

  13. Boxes are great for play. Wait until you can add tape and scissors. And it's always nice to reuse them somehow rather than just throw them away.

  14. Great ideas here. And your little boy is so cute... his hair is so dark!

  15. Great ideas! Boxes are quite a bit of fun for them now that I think about it.

  16. Oooh, I really like that drawer divider idea and I could easily adapt it for clothing like spaces for socks, singlets and underpants. Thanks for sharing and thank you for linking up :)

  17. Catway: Thanks for the reminder to reuse them again... I'm still trying to figure that part out though!

    Kelly and Kelly... so funny you left comments one after another! Thanks for dropping by!

    Christie: Thanks for the visit... yup, the drawer dividers are pretty versatile I think! And sure thing, I thought the whole "We Play" thing was a great idea!



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