Holly Shannon, M.A.T., Elementary School Teacher

Rainy Day Summer Fun: Imagination & a Cardboard Box

Parents, face it, we’re in the digital age. Computers, portable video games, cell phones TV…..these can be excellent sources of entertainment and learning for your child, but can also rob your child of creativity and the simple pleasure of imagination. The solution? A Cardboard box and a few markers.


That’s right…..2 things you probably have lying around the house right now. Find the biggest cardboard box possible….if a neighbor has recently moved, ask for an extra big box.


First, let your children crawl around on the floor exploring the possibilities of this new box.  If your children need help cutting a “window” or “door” carefully cut with scissors. (Your children might even use markers to show where they want you to cut.)


A spaceship? Castle? House? Car? Your child’s cardboard box might morph into several different things over the course of a few days. 


Markers will let your child add details to their imaginative new creation, such as a “control panel” “kitchen cupboards” or castle treasures.


This was a favorite activity in my “Fantastic Fairy Tale” summer class I taught to 1st-3rdgraders.  As a group, they decided their refrigerator box would become castle, complete with a drawbridge. After constructing and decorating their castle, they wrote a play, made costumes and performed the entire thing for parents.


Your child’s cardboard box doesn’t necessarily need to turn into a large production. It can simply be a new play activity.  When my sister and I were about 3 and 5 years old, we opened many Christmas gift. Yet, in my mom’s words, “you two had the most fun with the empty boxes.”


Give your children the gift of summer creativity…..haul out an empty box and a set of markers and watch their imaginations bloom.  

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