You cannot beat the imagination of a child. We probably don’t give them enough freedom, I know I don’t always both as a teacher and as a parent then when I do, I’m always pleased with the results. The simplest things can create the largest amount of pleasure. The simplest things can open up a world of imagination and creativity and transport them anywhere.

Yesterday, I left toddler P in the care of good old Granny T as I trotted off to work. She was extra Super Granny yesterday as she also helped my friend out with some emergency childcare too. I’d had my usual amazon subscribe and save delivery, which of course meant there was a big cardboard box to dispose off. I’d not yet collapsed it to go in the recycle bin or provide kindling for the fire, so it had become a hiding place for little miss P and her teddies.

When I arrived home from work, the box was decorated, inside and out, it even had made in it a replica of my chalkboard in the kitchen with the meal plan for the week written out. The girls and both made it into a house. They sat in it and drawn on it. They’d ridden in it as a bus. It had been a car, a boat, a jack in the box. A theatre and puppet show, a tv, a parcel, a den and a tent. You name it, they turned that box into it.

It’s that simple. A box. It had kept them entertained for hours. A box. Plus some crayons and sprinkle of creativity. Just a spark of whatever you can dream of. It’s all they needed. A starting point, a stimulus and the opportunity for everything to unfold.

I actually am a bit better at this than I give myself credit for. I imaginary play with toddler P all the time, I’m a creative person myself and actually, I know at work that give students something small to devise or choreograph from, give them a nudge and a nod in the right direction and when confident and comfortable and whole array of ideas can unfold. It’s just got to be simple, there and fun.

It’s too instinctive sometimes to think that you’ve to spend lots or travel far to entertain children and don’t get me wrong I also know one box and some crayons will not last forever. What will though is balance, providing them with exciting, big opportunities as well as simple use your own imagination things. Sometimes you’ve to let them be bored, let them find their own way and their own entertainment. You’ve to let them lead the way and do it themselves. You’ve to let them think outside of the box, pun intended.

And all this has come from a cardboard box. Just one cardboard box…to a train, a treehouse, a spaceship and a swimming pool. Yet, it’s just an empty box.

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