Boxes

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By Hilary Whiteeducational and craft writer

There are lots of different ways of exploring boxes. From looking at how they are used to creating box art, try the following activities with your children – and show them just how much fun they can have with a simple box!

Girl and box

Boxes for storing things

Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Self-confidence and Self-awareness

Talk about how useful boxes are for storing things. With the children, choose some favourite picture books and make a big storage box to go in the book corner. You will need a sturdy cardboard box for this activity. Show the box to the children and talk about why it needs to be strong. Help the children check that the books fit comfortably into the box and are easy to take out.

The next step is to decorate the box. Ask the children to make prints and paint patterns on coloured paper and cut them into collage pieces to stick on the box. Encourage older children to come up with their own ideas for decorating the box. Write out some big labels – ‘our favourite books’ – and stick one label on each of the four sides of the box. Colour photocopy characters from the books, cut them out and stick them around the label. Brush a layer of PVA glue over the surface of the box to protect the decorations.

A storage box can be made for book collections linking to any theme, and decorated to fit in with the theme. Ask older children to keep an eye on the book boxes to make sure the books are put back – and check whether they need repairing. Can they think of any other items in the setting that could do with a storage box?


Lots of boxes!

Communication and Language
Speaking

Make a collection of different boxes to display in the setting. Send home a note, explaining that you are exploring boxes, and ask parents/carers to donate or lend boxes for your collection. Include some suggestions:
  • Large and small boxes
  • stackable boxes
  • boxes made from different materials – card, wood, plastic, metal, leather or velvet covered jewellery boxes
  • different shaped boxes – cube, cuboid, circular (cheese triangle box), cylindrical (Pringles box), triangular prism (Toblerone box), hexagonal box, egg box
  • boxes with different lids – hinged, lift off, Tupperware, sliding lids, lockable boxes
  • boxes with different purposes – pencil box, lunch box, jigsaw puzzle box.

Ask the children to help you sort the boxes and decide how to set them out in your display area. Include a space for special boxes such as delicate, old or precious boxes. Explain to the children that these are not for free play, but to look at with an adult. Write labels to add to your display.

Talk about the boxes – their shapes, sizes, what they are made from, how to open them and what they are used for. Open out a cardboard box so the children can see that it is made from a flat piece of card. Encourage the children to explore the boxes freely and keep adding to the collection. Put out treasures for them to hide away in the smaller boxes, and a variety of packing materials such as velvet pads, tissue and shredded paper. Encourage older children to explore 3D tessellation with different shaped items, such as cylindrical and cube shaped blocks.


An obstacle course

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