While thinking of a toy to design for this project I looked around the apartment and decided to design a toy with household items. The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of children and house hold items is the use of cardboard boxes! From my observation, children love playing with boxes starting as early as infants. When I was growing up I could easily be occupied as long as I had some cardboard boxes, duct tape, and a good pair of scissors (use with an adult) to cut through the cardboard. You can build full size forts, robot costumes, toy trains, puppet theaters, dollhouses, etc. For an infant they can use finger paints and glue to make a collage on their boxes. You can use moving boxes, grocery boxes, and shoe boxes.
Building with boxes is very low tech, I feel like children and parents today can over-rely on technology to entertain. This forces the children to get creative with design and use imagination. Once the structure is built, the children can paint with paint brushes, finger paint, crayons, makers, and glue small objects on the boxes to decorate their project. Finger painting on the boxes helps children to refine their fine motor skills, and learn about the feel of different textures and see the cause and effect. Toddler??™s motor development shows improved control of crayons or markers; uses vertical, horizontal and circular strokes by the age of three. Children can paint together to help promote personal-social development. Toddlers enjoy ??? helping??? adults build the toy.
Three year olds use objects symbolically in play; a box may be a truck, a ramp, a house. They engage in make-believe play alone and with other children. The children that I decided to build this toy with were over on a play-date on a rainy day, this kept us very busy (the children were both 2 years old). We transformed the boxes into flashy cars, they also added paper towel tubes onto the box so the cars had wheels, they can roll them-this teaches the concepts of using wheels for transportation and construction. They got very excited when I pulled out the boxes, paint, glue, confetti, markers and tissue paper. The children grasped the markers with their fists and scribbled enthusiastically all over the boxes-this is average for their motor development. At this age they are trying to be independent, so it was a bit of a challenge trying to talk them through how to glue some tissue and glitter on. The children sat through the project but got a little restless towards the end so we changed setting into ??? stacking boxes??? they enjoyed stacking the boxes on top of one another, and then knocking them down, they found this hilarious-this was a great way to show them cause and effect.
This was also a great way to help the children begin to understand the concepts of on top, under, inside of, and next to. There was a lot of communication with the children while we built our toy boxes. This toy was successful and fun to make with the children. They loved the end result and got to partake in making something fun.
They enjoyed making a mess and not having rules on this project (besides no scissors). It??™s great to see the children get involved on the ideas and building of something. I could tell they were having a good time by just watching them, they were constantly smiling and excited over their creation. It was great watching them sit in the car and make believe they were driving the car, they would talk about where they were driving their car too; one child said they were going to ??? New Jersey to see grandma.??? They felt like they accomplished something and the toy was a hit for several days. Using cardboard boxes is also a great way to recycle and be green.
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