You know how people always half-joke that kids have more fun with boxes than the toys in them? Well, one Ohio preschool teacher recently proved that to be true when he got rid of every toy in his classroom and replaced them with cardboard boxes.
Pete Kaser said he was inspired by his students, and felt like there was too much "preassigned value" placed on his teaching materials. He told the Huffington Post, "I wasn’t getting the imagination out of the children that I wanted."
So one day he removed all of the toys and learning materials and put cardboard boxes, egg cartons, and other raw material in their place. The kids' reaction was incredible.
He said instead of freaking out or crying over their beloved toys, they instead embraced the boxes. Surprisingly, he said they didn't even ask where the toys were!
The new materials have boosted their imaginations into high gear, and they've created everything from pirate ships to hotels and igloos. They even embraced a lesson on Australia by making a didgeridoo (a wind instrument).
He said the change has led to much greater creativity in play, and has even helped some shyer children take on leadership roles when it comes to projects, and helped some with parent separation anxieties deal with them better. In short, it's been nothing but positive, and he says he'll continue this way until it doesn't work any longer.
I couldn't love this more. Besides Legos, electronic games, and a handful of other items I can think of, my children have never been into toys ... for long. There's the huge, wide-eyed want for them when we see them sitting on the shelves all shiny and new, but once they've been gifted to them or somehow acquire them, they just don't hold their attention for long. But give them a box, or a paper towel roll, or pretty much anything I'm ready to throw in the trash, and they're at least as entertained -- if not more so -- than with the pile of toys they've quickly discarded.
This is such a good reminder -- especially this holiday season -- that our kids don't need a lot to have fun and thrive. I'm terribly guilty of always wanting to give them more and provide them with the things I didn't have. And it's all sorts of exciting to see their excitement and make their dreams come true. But it's also not necessary, and not necessarily in their best interest.
Do your kids play with toys for long, or are things like boxes more attractive to them?
Image via nbc4i