Almost everybody knows the story of the parents who bought their children expensive toys or games etc… only to have them more interested in the box they came in. I have certainly experienced this first hand and as frustrating as it can be (especially if said toy is a flat pack that you spend the good part of a million hours assembling) it is actually a really good thing. Without you even realising it, your children are learning about body space awareness.
Through crafts like heads, shoulders, knees and toes and hand painting our children learn body awareness, that is, according to Occupational Therapist Jade Antunes ‘the understanding of your body, and body parts, and how they are in relation to each other and the space around you’. Once your children have mastered their body parts (at least the major ones for your smaller children) you can start to help them develop their body special awareness, teaching them how much space their bodies take up.
Putting your little ones into different size spaces (boxes for example) is a great way to do this.
Fortunately you don’t first need to purchase the large and expensive item to get the cardboard box. Most supermarkets are more than happy to donate a few boxes if you ask nicely (in fact when I went there were a few of us collecting boxes for various reasons).
When you get home assemble the boxes without closing up the top and the bottom and then arrange the boxes in a long tunnel (with any luck you will have a line of boxes of different sizes).
Get your little ones to move through the tunnel, encouraging them to stand up in the larger boxes and slither on their tummies through the smaller ones. This then not only teaches them how much space their bodies take up but re-enforces their body awareness as they have to use arms, legs, hands and tummies to get through the tunnels.
Our cardboard train with a furry passenger.
My daughter wanted to be a tortoise.
Once the little ones are bored with their tunnel get them to build their own combination of boxes. This should keep them going for ages and you may even be lucky enough to get through an entire cup of coffee while it is still hot.
Taking a quick break.
About a week after making these cardboard box tunnels I caught my 2 year old folding herself up and squeezing herself into her Barbie toy box. It was too funny not to share!
Can you spot the little person?