kid-size box! I simply went to a local moving company and purchased a box. I'm sure it was less than $5. And we were on our way. What an inexpensive toy for hours of fun, and a great way to nurture his creativity and imagination.
Provide materials for your grand to create their hideaway. I got out blankets, sheets, pillows, chairs and more boxes (for chimneys and steeples). I'll admit I didn't get out the paint and big markers, but certainly for you brave grandparents, go for it.
I've heard it said that perhaps you should not trash the box creation. I actually respected this conventional wisdom. My oldest grandson enjoyed creating structures with big boxes too (especially trains), and we would clean up and put all the components in the garage for play again and again when he came back to my house.
And don't ignore the possibilities of smaller boxes. Save shoeboxes, cereal boxes, coffee tubs (I wouldn't describe them as 'cans' anymore), jewelry boxes and little tea boxes. Save as many as you can and see what your grandchild envisions with each. My grandsons always like/d playing with cars. Nothing better than using boxes for city streets with skyscrapers and other buildings. Granddaughters seemed to like the small ones for their little animals or secret treasures. The list goes on forever. Coffee tubs make the best drums!
More secret hideaways!
I can't do a blog on creating clubhouses with boxes, without mentioning another favorite from grandma's house. A fort under her dining room table! Now that's the best, and you will have to admit it! Nothing to this one. Simply relocate all of her tchotchkes to a safe location and remove her treasured tablecloth. Then skip through the house collecting pillows, blankets, afghans, and quilts for a glorious fort under her table. My grands even divide that limited space into rooms. They've taken tea under there many a time. I even let them have some led candles to add to the ambiance of their secret space.
I hear so many of my contemporaries lamenting those lost days of the golden 1950's when life was simpler and kids used their imaginations in their play. Those days aren't gone. Simply take your grandchildren by the hand and take them there! Just turn off the tv and the video games and "Get a Grand a Box."
One of my favorite books. I'm guessing it's out of print, but maybe you can find it at the library. And I'm sure there are other great books about children and box forts.
"Christina Katerina and the Box" by Patricia Lee Gauch
Be sure to put your grand in an apron--that's half the fun. Then get out all ingredients and equipment. I did let my granddaughter measure the ingredients. I even let her chop the apples. First I peeled and cut the apple in big chunks. Then she did the rest of the cutting herself with a plastic nice. Very safe.
You can plan an activity around just about any book your grand enjoys. Simply read the book and see what extended activity the book suggests in your mind. The possibilities are endless. Favorite books for 4-5 age groups are many. Reading "Be Nice to Spiders"? Make a spider--and a 3-dimensional one is really fun. Dr. Seuss' "One Fish, Two Fish"? Make a fish on a line! Another favorite that's still available for this age group is "George and Martha." Instead of making Martha's split pea soup, make her chocolate chip cookies! A never-ending array of choices when enriching the book experience with your grand! Always fun for both generations!
I know my readers have extended various reading activities with your grands--whether it was writing your own books based on a favorite book, cooking or doing some art activity. Please write me and share. I would love to hear.
Books mentioned today that are a favorite of preschoolers:
"George and Martha" by James Marshall
"Be Nice to Spiders" by Margaret Bloy Graham
"Swimmy" by Leo Lionni
"One Fish, Two Fish" by Dr. Seuss
"The Very Busy Spider" by Eric Carle
Great blog for children's art ideas~ artbarblog.com
Retired school teacher and now full time grandmother sharing ideas and looking for new ones about grandparenting!