Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Fabulous Box

Anyone who has ever had small children--or been around small children--is very aware of the box phenomenon. This is the way it works. You spend a zillion dollars on your kids for Christmas/birthday/holiday of your choice. Then you spend another fortune on paper, ribbons, gift bags and cards.

The event finally arrives and the kids rip the paper from the gifts with wild abandon and accompanying shrieks of joy. Now days most toys are wrapped in so much plastic, twist ties, and other crap that the kid will have to wait three more days while Mom and Dad work their way through the packaging.

In the meantime, the kid is sitting in the corner playing with the boxes. Why?

Because boxes can be anything. They can be a fort. Or a dollhouse. Or a pretend stove/refrigerator/sink. They make a fine play car or truck or plane. Do you need a table? Yep, turn that sucker upside down and you have a great table. One of my kids tucked all the flaps inside and spent many happy hours "watching TV".

If you have a cat or dog, the box is a wonderful bed or cage. For that matter, if the box is big enough it can be a fine bed for the kid. When the child is all done playing the box becomes great storage to hold all those toys. Eventually, Mom and Dad liberate the "real" toys from the packaging and the boxes are stacked in the corner until trash day.

That's when the final irony is revealed.

The boxes will last longer than the toys. By trash day, the toys make the trip to the curb while the boxes endure. Seems like it would be easier to just buy some boxes.



  1. So true, Anny. My kids aren't really toy kids, they would much rather be outside doing something. From time to time I feel a little guilty about not buying them the hot new toy but then I see how happy they are playing with empty boxes, rocks, and sticks and my conscience is soothed :)

  2. Our kids' favorite was the box the new washer arrived in. First it was a fort. Then a playhouse. When the thing ripped and could only be laid flat, it became a magic carpet; roof for the 'new' fort; and a slide for the back steps. Ultimately it was reduced to just flaps, and the kids drew on it; propped the individual panels against the bookshelves, and put on puppet shows. Yes, a box is a wonderful gift for any age:) And if you're really lucky, it will keep the imagination humming for several months!

  3. My kids are too old to get excited about boxes anymore but the cats sure love 'em:)

  4. There is a great kids picture book called "Not a Box." The kid gets increasingly irritated at people asking him why he's sitting in, standing on, wearing a box. He tells them it's not a box it's a pirate ship, a rocket, a robot, a mountain, etc.

  5. LOL I was just having this conversation with my daughter. I told her seeing as the baby will get so many toys for Christmas from everyone else that I would just buy boxes. AND I'd be the hit for the holiday! :)
    Great post.

  6. Yeah, wish mine were still at that stage. Was just discussing with the dh that the late teens are probably the hardest years to please them with anything for birthdays or Christmas.