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What Cardboard Boxes Teach Kids

Spatial Awareness

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The first thing little kids do with a cardboard box is try to get in it. Cute as this is, there are actually important reasons why they do this...


Six Learning Dimensions of a Cardboard Box


1. Spatial Awareness. Little ones spend a good deal of time getting to know their own bodies. With that comes the necessary question "how big am I?". But they're growing, so the answer keeps changing. That's why kids are constantly testing their own size by crawling in, through, around, over and under things. Cardboard boxes are often the perfect size for this kind of spatial exploration.

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2. Comfort & Security. Right from the start, children are soothed by a sense of being bundled up or embraced in mommy's arms. This need for "denning" continues throughout childhood, a subconscious return to the comfort of the womb.


3. Empowerment. Imagine what it's like to always be the smallest person in a room. In small spaces kids feel BIG. 

4. Control. Kids love to hide and cardboard boxes are sized just right for that purpose. In this game of reverse peek-a-boo, they know something you don't know. What fun!

5. Asensory Play.  ”Asensory" experiences play an important role in sensory development. The humble cardboard box is a great example of an asensory environment. The brown color suggests nothing in particular. The smooth sides infer little. The cube structure defines empty space. The subtle smell lacks distraction. This very relief from the sensory world may explain, in part, why kids find the confines of a cardboard box so appealing.


6. Imagination. Cardboard’s very neutrality is a blank-slate for "out of the box” thinking. (Sorry, we couldn't resist.) A dollhouse today. A rocket ship tomorrow. And who knows what on Wednesday!


Come On In!

10 quick ideas for turning an ordinary cardboard box into an irresistible playscape.


And there's more...

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