making the most of cardboard cartons


we had 3 cardboard cartons (all intact) at our place last month (it just so happened that we had 3..which was indeed lucky)…i asked the boys if they would like to make something with the boxes. I sat with Sid and Nish, my four yr old twins, and we checked out options on pinterest…naturally they gravitated towards cars (though nish quite interestedly said we could work on a doll house next time).

Before getting started I asked the boys to think about what they wanted their car/vehicle to be like. We had very different approaches to the whole process. Nish sat and planned out exactly what he wanted ..the color, the kind of car (it needs to be like McQueen), what he would paint…what he would stick, what he may need help with. he thought long and hard about whether he wanted a car he could sit in on the floor or whether he wanted one that he cold carry and run about in (he opted for the latter). Sid on the other hand just decided he would do a ‘blue car’ (“it’s a friend of mcqueen” he explained). He was pretty clear he would work through the thinking part as we went along and was categorical that he wanted no help whatsoever. Amu generally joined in the action, more interested in what was happening than actually trying to plan anything or do much.

Nish chose his red paint and went about making neat strokes to cover the carton completely while Sid used a combination of a shaving brush and a sponge to cover his carton. Amu also chose a sponge and really enjoyed squeezing the paint out and spreading it with large smooth strokes (all over the carton and himself). he intermittently dabbed some blue on Nish’s pristine red mcqueen and we almost had a couple of meltdowns. Fortunately once i showed Nish how to paint over the intruding blue paint he was back in control. Nish asked me to cut out specific stuff that he stuck and decorated his car with while Sid was focused on doing things himself. it was evident he did not have a plan but he enjoyed gluing lots of stuff onto his ‘funky dashboard” of his “super cool car”. AMu basically painted his in patches, stuck a couple of things and then moved onto other stuff.

The boys were so proud of their cars when they got done and i finished up for them by putting ribbons for shoulder straps so they could pretty much ‘wear the cars’. Then we had McQueen and his blue friend zipping all over the family room with little Amu in tow.

Really a lot of fun…the process and the product…i feel like pushing the boys to think was nice – it allowed Nish to conceptualize,imagine.. create a plan of action to get to the finished product. With Sid, it was lovely watching him come up with ideas on the fly, he was also on task for nearly 40 minutes…painting…waiting for the paint to dry, sticking things and decorating, etc.

It’s a great activity to push for creative thinking, conceptualizing, fine motor skills, just getting kids to focus and work on something that interests them!

It’s been a month now and the cars are still going strong. Definitely a fun project and i am now looking forward to doing the dollhouse as an ongoing project too.





About myfourboysandme

Mom - a word that defines me... I smell of oats, johnson's and home baked cookies I am pink, purple, green and orange and so is the floor my kids color on. Flour on my clothes and a brush in my pocket, my glasses bent out of shape and smudged with tiny fingerprints. I can't remember the date but i know almost 40 pictures books by heart. I wake up humming 'wheels on the bus'and i talk with my fingers and eyes and mouth. My bag carries band aids, napkins, wipes, crayons, papers, candy and sometimes my wallet. I know all the parks and very few of the restaurants in my neighborhood. Most of my shopping is diapers, books and paints My phd certificate lies in a roll, the frame now contains an abstract work of art by two year olds and i am prouder of that piece of paper. mom - a word that defines me!

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