Friday, April 13, 2012

The Busy Box

When I was a kid, I spent several weeks each summer, 400 miles from home, with my grandparents.  My little nuclear family was the only one to break away and move out of our home state.  All the rest-aunts, uncles, and cousins-remained close to Grandma and Grandpa.  My summers were filled with cousin-playmates and doting adults.  For me, an only child, it was bliss.

Most days, we busied ourselves with outdoor play~ bikes, swings, & hopscotch (this was before the days of sidewalk chalk and we had to find that one kind of white rock that would mark up the driveway).  If we were lucky, we were given permission to go to the local pool across town.  But some days the weather was uncooperative and we were confined to the house.

Occasionally, on these days, my grandmother would pull down The Box, set it on the dining room table and give us free reign to create to our hearts' content.  The Box was nothing fancy, just a simple cardboard cube; but oh, the treasures it contained!

Post image for Project: Simplify 2012!
Source

Ribbons, rick-rack, buttons, glitter, glitter, and more glitter!  The Box was my crafty grandmother's scrap collection.  She grew up experiencing leanness, and learned that you never throw anything away.  She knew that little bit of ribbon or small amount of glitter may come handy for future projects.  So she tucked it away in her box.  Though it did not happen often, she shared her treasure trove with us enough times to indelibly fix in my memory the delight I discovered in manipulating the contents of The Box into my own special treasures.

Inspired by my memories of her Box, I have endeavored to stock Boxes for my own children over the years. These have changed with our addresses, and with the children.  In the preschool years, the Box contained sewing cards, stickers, scraps of paper, pipe cleaners, and felt.  As they grew, and so did our storage, the Box became a whole closet complete with organized bins of fabric, fun foam, colored paper, glitter, wood shapes, paints, crayons, and drawing & craft books.  Here are some of my favorite supplies for the Box:

Pipe Cleaners
Buttons
Ric-Rac
Stencils
Stamps


Mess-Free, Travel Box~

This concept can also be applied in convenient travel form.  Dubbed "Busy Box", I created this version for our cross-country move last summer.  Needing mess-free ways to occupy  hands and minds for hours upon hours of car travel, I came up with a simple plastic tote stocked with books on dollar bill origami, knot tying, drawing, card tricks, and string sticks.  Each book is in an extra large slide-top bag along with its necessary supplies.  Since then, we've added some coloring books, maze books, and simple word search books.  It now has a place of honor on our family bookshelf where the boys have easy access to pull it over to the dining table and work, or to grab an item on the way out the door when we are expecting a long wait or car ride.

Whatever form it takes, I encourage you to have a Box for your kids or grandkids.  Take it down on those shut in days and see what you can create together.



Why have a Box?
  • Occupy hands and minds at home, on the go, or in the waiting
  • Combat, "Mom, I'm bored" syndrome
  • Spark creativity
  • Promote family togetherness (pull out the Box for a fun family night...maybe give a theme for them to work around)
  • Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle


    Have Fun!
    ~Allison

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