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Toy Tuesday: Give a Kid a Cardboard Box...

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"Give a kid a cardboard box, and you've got yourself a happy camper."

I used to think this was a silly thing people just said.

Then I had kids of my own, and I realized that this is one of the single unifying common truths of parenting.

It never ceases to amaze me how children find amusement and entertainment in everyday household items—garbage, quite literally!

Don't get me wrong. We love toys around here. We've devoted every Tuesday to toys for the past few months at TSM—and will continue to do so—because, we know that playing is a little kid's full-time job. We want to help you find new gadgets, games, and gear that encourage and inspire learning, creativity, activity, and good old-fashioned fun.

Still, I love it when my babies spring for the cardboard box before they even test out a new toy. It means that they've got wild, active, expansive imaginations. They don't need to be instructed. They want to make their own rules—to play pretend and "make believe;" and really, isn't that what childhood is all about?

So in lieu of our usual Toy Tuesday coverage, we present this silly list of common household items little kids love... Before you run to the toy store, see if you have any of these items lying around.

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Cardboard Boxes
The bigger, the better! A giant cardboard box usually acts as a space shuttle or “tree house” or “reading nook” or dolly crib. But sometimes, it can even be a baby trap. Look at that stinker just waiting for his sister to crawl by. (On second thought, maybe I’ll start trashing those big boxes right away!)

Tissue or Wrapping Paper
Any time I open a gift carefully wrapped in tissue paper, my littlest love goes batty. It’s a sensory thing—she wants to crinkle it, scrunch it up, lay it out, and send it floating through the air. And my three year old, loves to wrap “presents” for me. It’s always a mystery what might be inside—a bar of soap, a book, sometimes even a half-eaten sandwich. Surprise!

Paper Towel Rolls
My son is ecstatic when I go to Costco, because he knows I’ll return home with an obscenely large pack of paper-towel rolls. And I like it too—because I know stacking them into a giant pyramid or tower will keep him occupied for half the afternoon. (He also enjoys “rolling out the white carpet”—though I try to discourage this wasteful activity... Except when he's doing it for me.)

Tissue Boxes
Speaking of wasteful…. I decided to devote a special box of tissues for playtime. My one year old gets a kick out of emptying out a box of tissues in record speed—and I’ve made the mistake of discarding them in the past (shame on me). Now, I just refill the same box over and over again with the same discarded tissues—and she can start the game all over again. Apparently, it never gets old!

Pots and Pans and Spoons
A little steel drum session (AKA Teflon spoon music) can break up the afternoon and get everyone in a partying mood. Sometimes you just have to take out all the pots and pans and all the wooden, metal, and plastic spoon for an auditory treat!

Happy un-Toy Tuesday! (And, don't worry, we'll see you next week with a traditional toy review!)

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are our own.

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