Fredericksburg Families

Amy Umble writes about family issues and kid-friendly events.

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Cardboard toy boxes

Fifteen years ago, my husband and I were beyond excited to celebrate our first Christmas with a child. The holidays seem even more magical when there is a kid involved. And we had purchased what seemed like, to us, the best. gift. ever. It was a car that the baby sits in, while a grownup pushes him around. Who wouldn’t like a toy like that?

He squealed with delight when he unwrapped the gift, and we felt a thrill of triumph. Xander patiently played with the box while my husband assembled the car. I was so proud of our little guy, just 9 months old and already patient.

Finally, the car was together and we picked him up and sat the baby behind the wheel. Xander immediately started crying. We pushed the car, to show him he could “drive” around the living room. He kept crying. So we took him out of the car. He immediately crawled over to the box and resumed playing.

He did eventually come to love the car. But we learned an important holiday lesson.

And it turns out that Xander wasn’t alone in his love of boxes. Most parents will tell you that for the first–and sometimes second–Christmas, babies prefer the wrapping paper, bows and boxes to the stuff inside.

And it turns out that preschoolers are pretty big fans of boxes, too. At least, that’s what one early childhood teacher found out when he  ditched toys and replaced them with boxes and egg cartons. Pete Kaser, who teaches preschool in Ohio, told the Huffington Post, ”The children were actually not asking for their toys back or where the toys were at all, which is kind of shocking.”

You can read the whole story here.

What are some raw materials you give your kids to play with? And what do they do with them? I still remember making Barbie furniture out of cereal boxes and pools from butter tubs.