Friday, April 27, 2012

The Evolution of a Box

Toby has a box.

My dad bought a two drawer filing cabinet for his office and promptly tossed the box down to the living room for Toby. Toby promptly crawled inside.
I wasn't crazy about the box because it took up a lot of space so there was no where for it to 'live' when we wanted to clean up.
Because of my impartialness to it, I didn't take very many photos of Toby playing with it. Now I wish I had. We took a few videos, so I screen capped from there for this blog.

The box started out as just a box. A cave. Toby threw all his toys inside and then dragged them all back out again. He loaded it with Duplo or blocks and crawled inside with them saying they were all snuggling in bed.
Then we figured out that the Duplo blocks fit perfectly through the handle holes in the side.

The box was now a mail truck and the Duplo were packages that he had to deliver. He said he lived in his mail truck and once in a while he got out to 'drive'. mostly he just filled up the green tub with 'mail'.

One day my dad walked though the kitchen, found a knife, and walked back out. How could I not follow?? He cut a small hinged window in the top back of the box so Toby could peek out. I rolled my eyes, not wanting to give Toby more of a reason to keep the box, and also not wanting Toby to think it was ok to cut the box up, because it was a good box, and heaven forbid it got a crease in it....

The window opened up a whole new world of games. Stuffed animals could now fit through. Blocks that didn't fit through the handle holes could now be chucked out the window as 'compost'.  Sadly I don't have a picture of the window, because I resented it at the time, but Toby had so much fun with it.

The box also became a climber. He'd climb from the couch onto the top and then slide off the side. I kept warning him that the box would collapse, but it didn't for a long time. Eventually the corners of the box got soft and it wouldn't support his weight anymore. Lack of structural integrity gave me hope that we could soon get rid of it.
He used it as a house to hide form the Tickling Dragon (me), and we put a big blanket over top so he'd have a door. This game went on for so long I was considering hiding the blanket, since it was easier to hide than the box. All the blanket covering and chasing and trying to fit mommy inside the box made the sides of the box even more creased and softer.

But the softened edges just meant that the whole box was more flexible, and so it became a rolling barrel.

Days and days and days of doing this all over the living room. You'll notice the white tape all over it too...My mom helped him fix something on the box one day, which lead to him needing to put tape everywhere. 

The box turned into a craft board. He took blocks and scissors and dragged them along the corrugation to make small tears and lines in the cardboard. I opened my mouth to tell him not to do that several times, when I thought, the sooner he wreaks it the better.
Then it occurred to me that the reason I wanted him to stop destroying it, was because he was having so much fun with it and if it was wreaked there would be no more box entertainment...
So cutting and taping continued. One day I was cleaning out out art basket and he found some markers and dragged them and some paper into his box. I suggested that he could just draw in the box if he wanted to. He looked at me blankly for a minute and then proceeded to make cave-art with gusto. Once in a while he'd tentatively ask if it was ok that he used green marker in his box. I said Go for it, it's your box. He'd grin and dash away again.

The box had been rolled in and coloured on so much it was beginning to get really soft. Toby would stand the box up and ask to be put in it so he could curl up on the bottom. I'd bury him with pillows and he'd pop out. We'd put a blanket on top so he was 'trapped' in a big hole.

Eventually he tried to use his box as a climber again. But of course it wasn't strong enough, so it folded in half. Toby would leap off and 'pop' it back up. this was fun until it became so creased that it wouldn't pop back anymore. So then he crawled over the back, and used it as a slide.

And a lounge chair.

He tries to crawl inside once in a while, but the box is so flat now that it just looks like it's eating him.

 Today we used the box as a 'Toby trap', but it doesn't stand up very well. I'm thinking the next step will be more crafts... drawing and cutting and painting on the box.

As much as it's a big thing to have in our living room, it provides SO much entertainment. Almost every game we've played for the last month involved the box somehow. He curls up on it with pillows. He drives his cars in and out. I've almost forgotten what we played with before the box showed up.

I'm not sure whether to be relieved or afraid that we have another filing cabinet box now, as well as the box his tractor came in...

The sentiment is used so much that it's become cliche but really: All a kid needs is a good box.

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