One of the toys that gets regular air-time in our house is a box. We really enjoy reading Not a Box, and playing with the boxes of all shapes and sizes that find their way into our house, albeit with a strong leaning towards girly-play. They are useful for so many things, from housing ‘collections’ to breaking up and using in some other way in our crafts.
About a year ago, LBG was asking questions about family. I made a family tree, which worked very well showing the connections and how we are all related to each other, which seemed to satisfy her. It’s something that both girls still enjoy looking at. Around the same time, LBG was learning her name, so it made sense to teach her to recognise the words relating to other members of her family. It seemed to me that the best way of doing this was to make a post box.
So I found the right sized box, cut a slot into it and painted it red. I also made an opening, so that the mail could be ‘collected’ that fastened with velcro.
And I dug around in DH’s office for a bunch of envelopes, onto which I wrote the names of the relevant family members. I used office stickers to fashion stamps, each of which had an object relevant to the person whose name was on the envelope. I thought that this would act as a visual prompt for the name, so that Daddy had a car (they insist that he drives when he is with us), Mamma had a cake, Nugget had a bone, Granny had knitting and so on.
At a later date, I made some coins from air-drying clay. I used pastry cutters to make two sizes of coin (five of each), and decorated them with a pencil tip. I wrote the numbers 1 to 5 on each set of coins then left them to dry before painting them gold. They have added an extra way to play with the box, which can now be a money box too. Having two sets of numbers opens up the possibilities of play- one set for each child, or number matching, simple sums and find-the-number.
The box has certainly earned it’s keep.