Creative minds and quality family time.
Several years ago, around Christmas I spotted a kid the same age as my daughter one of these big battery operated 4x4 cars. The wee lad was not much older than 3 when he got it, and he was struggling even to operate it. His hands barely reached the controls.In Britain they cost around £100. They look cool nevertheless but personally I would not have the room for such a big toy.
A few months after that, I was talking with a parent about my daughters car. The mother automatically assumed I meant one of these big beasts. "Oh you have one of those cars, they are smart aren't they?"
I then said " Oh no its not a car like that." I then went on to explain that my daughter had a pretend car that was a cardboard box.
I wasn't quite ready for the response I got from the mums that were around me. "A CARDBOARD BOX?"
"Yes" I said. I then went on to explain that I had received a stationery order that had arrived in a big box....My then 3 year old loved doing crafty stuff so I said if you sit in it, you could pretend its a car. My daughter said I would like a red car...
The next day was a rainy wet Saturday...what to do. My husband, my daughter and I made a red car. The box got painted. The front of a tissue box got covered in tin foil , then black paper strips put on top to make a front grill and finally Pineapple cup cake cases were shiny head and rear lights...and hey presto we have a red car.
We spent a good portion of the of the afternoon making the car ....but it was great fun.
I recounted this story to these mums...and I felt like a had horns sprouting from my head. It was obvious that doing something like that was a completely foreign concept in this busy, busy, consumerist society in which we live.
My daughter used to sit in it with her younger brother from time to time and I hear "Come on get in the car and we will go on an adventure." The "car" got lots of use pretending to be with Noddy, Sportacus or just a picnic. Toy cuddly animals joined them and tea parties we part of the game. My daughter is now 8 and sadly the car is no more. it fell apart with al the play and the fact that as the kids got bigger it was a tighter squeeze to fit in. When it was time to part company with it last year my daughter was reluctant at first...
Spending one rainy afternoon, playing and interacting with my child with a simple box, has given hours and hours of fun to both of my children.....not to mention developed relationship, encouraged creativeness and provided happy memories that will last a lifetime.
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