Tuesday, 15 November 2011

A world in a shoe box

here is a guest post from my fabulous blogging friend ! I love this idea as it promotes ideas for literacy and does not cost the earth. Thanks to Penny for a truely brilliant guest post.

Free toys in return for a little imagination
Toys don’t need to cost the earth.  I remember reading as a teacher about a fantastic project to teach low income parents how to make toys out of free things.  I think all children would benefit from having fewer toys and making  more of their own.  Boxes are a particular favourite of mine.   Either to play in, or to turn into something new.
One of my favourite box projects is to create a mini world in a shoe box.  When my daughter was 2/3 we made several along themes and characters she liked.  At this age children are really getting to grips with the world and creating their own worlds gives them a sense of power and control.  As they get older box worlds help them to make up their own narratives.
It all started with a Charlie and Lola hairdressers in a box craft set with Cbeebies magazine.  Apart from spending ages making it, she played with the cut out characters and tiny props for hours.
Then we made an In the Nightgarden world for her mini figures to play in, using the packaging the figures came in, followed by a Charlie and Lola Halloween box.  We also made a Tinkerbell House.  It’s easy to waste a fortune on character based toy worlds that children quickly grow out of.
Now my son is old enough to appreciate these ideas we made Dino world, complete with plastic ‘dinosaur’ eggs his Grandma gave us back in April for Easter.  The tree is a toilet roll covered in paper and stuffed with wool.
I don’t tend to do ‘organised’ craft because I never have the right materials, everything we make at home develops organically, improvised with whatever we have to hand.  But also for me, creativity is about driving in the dark, to see where it takes you and of course about giving  the steering wheel to your children as much as possible.  We’ve been to some wonderful lands thanks to empty boxes.

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