And she played with the box…

You searched hard. You went shopping at the crack of dawn to find the perfect electronic toy. You know the one, guaranteed to make your child the smartest in the class. She pressed a few buttons, danced to the music a few times, and then played with the box.

Why?  Because the toy did everything for your child. She pushed a button and got music, or maybe the sound of the letter “B”, but then she was left with nothing. Nothing to create, little to discover.

Real learning comes from the young child’s ability to create and pretend. She must manipulate objects and ideas to make sense of them. She must test and re-test her theories about how things work. The empty box offered just that. If you could tap into your child’s thinking as she plays with the box, this is what you might hear. “Is my pink bunny too big to fit in this box? Can I park my cars in here? If I put my blocks in and close the box, can I make a shaker? Wow! Look at what I can do!”

Your child’s birthday is coming soon. Save yourself the big bucks needed for electronic toys. Choose something that can stimulate her thinking and her interactions with others. The National Association for the Education of Young Children offers some guidance on toys for children, ages birth-6 years that will help them learn.

Here’s another learning opportunity; see what you and your child can create together with that same box. Enjoy your play!

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