The answer? In this particular case? Six. Although to be fair, we had no more box-ready kids – as we didn’t think it fair to shove Desmond in against his will – so the answer is quite possibly higher! I do the majority of our household shopping online, and if I wait long enough and place a large enough order, all of our toilet paper, paper towels, diapers, wipes, and laundry soap arrives in giant boxes this size. We had two waiting with household goods on our front porch on Friday that made perfect places to play today!
This morning, the boxes were carefully placed in our space, just waiting for small bodies to climb in them, jump off of them, sleep in them, make them a pirate ship or a bear den, stack them on each other, or turn them into a house.
Shortly after breakfast, Cadence and Tekoa discovered that by turning the boxes to face each other and opening up the flaps, they could create a door! We quickly grabbed for the duck tape to secure the roof and back panel, and the morning’s agenda was set. As usual, I had a few things ready for the crew this morning, and despite the appeal of the other materials, the boxes won out as the most popular place to spend the morning! This also meant that the boxes provided the most fertile ground for social-emotional calisthenics as the crew navigated how to collaborate in the use of the box. Cadence and Tekoa envisioned a house and bedtime. Addie and Christian envisioned a house at bedtime with beds running perpendicular to the beds Tekoa and Cadence imagined. Henry who is developing his love for this style of group play was persuaded by the two groups as to which style of bed he should be sleeping on. Mostly, he was interested in kicking the side of the box to hear the sound. Simone had a different plan altogether, and after a short stint in the house, went off to have breakfast with the dolls. Soon the script changed to a den full of bears, and almost as suddenly as the bears filled the box, the script changed once again, and the inhabitants were children — “Children who walk, not babies who crawl.” These were the parameters, dictated by Mommy Tekoa, Daddy Simone, and Mommy Addie, and later accepted by the acting children themselves.
The morning was full of imagination, joy, and adventure. I have the privilege of watching the drama unfold – noticing the quickly changing scripts, the complex story lines, the skills of persuasion, negotiation, and perspective taking that develop through an hour of sustained play like this one. Even as I retell the story, I know I am missing fabulous moments that occurred with the aid of these two sturdy boxes.
Inside the box:
Just to give you an idea of just how popular these boxes were, here is one of the other “offerings” I had out for the crew this morning. I attached a single connector piece of our new pipe construction set to the ceiling (thanks to Do It Yourself Early Learning for the idea), and set out the remaining pieces of the set in a bucket on the ground. Would you believe that the boxes were more popular than this?? Christian and I worked to build this before she finally gave up and headed to the boxes.
When was the last time you spent your morning sitting inside a box fort? Hope it will be soon!!