Monday, August 26, 2013

Boxes full of imagination (:

Many of us were raised playing with pots, pans and cardboard boxes. How often have you heard parents of little ones say their children had more fun playing with the boxes the toys came in than the toys themselves? This is true in the classroom as well. Usually in the middle of the school year, when the weather outside is cold and the toys inside are no longer holding the children's interests, I find a boxes. Sometimes a large refrigerator box, sometimes a few smaller ones. All you have to do is sit a box in the room and soon the kids will start asking why it's there and what it's for. Without much encouragement at all they will start offering suggestions and so it begins... "We could paint it" "We can get in it" "We can cut it up" or in this case "We can make a rocket ship!"  Ohhh, I like this one. Great for those open-ended questions. "What does a rocket ship look like?" "What do we need to make a rocket ship?" We found pictures on the internet and in books to help with our design.(Research/Technology) We drew pictures of what we thought it should look like.(Art/Critical thinking) The children decided it should be shiny, so in this picture they are cutting double sided tape and putting it around the box.(Fine Motor) We then wrapped the box in foil and added some windows and a door. This is a project we took our time with and it lasted for well over a month.
This project took only fifteen minutes or so to make but was played with all year long. It started with a couple of boys sitting back on the little couch in our home living center. When I hear one of them say what they needed was an X-Box Live. After they discussed the games they would play and talked about it a few more minutes I suggested they make one. At first I had some funny looks and giggles until they realized I was serious. "How big does it need to be?" I asked. "Well, I have this box..."  So here is the finished result. I just noticed the "knobs" were missing from this picture (milk jug lids taped on the bottom left hand side of the screen). The two things lying beside the game are controllers made from folded up brown paper bags. The boys drew pictures for each side of the box of different games and they drew the buttons on the controllers. Then they put their X-Box Live on the shelf, each grabbed a "wireless" controller and leaned back on the couch. This was probably the most played with "toy" in our room last year!

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