Things to do with a large box, 2

What: Making a cave with a large box and spare LED light strings.

Is it a transmogrifier? Is it an electrocution device?? Is it a four-legged robot??? No… it’s a small, contained cave-like playspace with its two builders.

How: I had two Kid 6s come visit me, and I got them to help me make this. I found a string of Christmas lights that weren’t in use – really, any string of LED lights will do but I know many people have Christmas ones around. (The LED bit is important because it’s very low heat, so you don’t have to worry about fire risk when the lights get left on and forgotten.) We cut one end off the box to make an entry way (the end was coming off anyway after enthusiastic use earlier in the week, see previous post). I flipped it over and used scissors to make holes in the base at about the right distance apart to match the Christmas lights. With a little bit of preparation, the Kid 6s probably could have done this, or at least marked the spots for me to make the holes if I didn’t trust them to stab boxes with scissors. However, they arrived as I was beginning, so… they got the job of pushing the lights into the holes. It worked best if I made slightly keyhole-shaped holes, so that the lights would push through but not fall in once through. I did have to specify that they needed to take the next light in the string and not just any light. Once all the lights were in, we plugged it in and switched it on. Instant cool cave! Popular with all the Kid 6s, Kid 4 and the cats.

View from inside. I had a string of red lights to hand. I have a string of multi-coloured somewhere but I don’t know where.

Extras: Planning the placement of lights for patterns or colours or designs, letting the (older) kids take more of a lead on it and do more of the work. I’d actually like to make a large pegboard-type thing that you could wind a string of lights around to make a picture and then put it up on a big wall, but that’s a ways off coming into existence. My dream house has stuff like this in some of the ceilings. Maybe when the kids are teenagers I can convince them that installing Gyprock sheets is an important life skill.

Things to do with a large box, 1

What: Putting textas and kids inside a box and leaving them there for a bit.

Box decoration in progress.

How: I helped a friend clean their spare room, and claimed a few of the large boxes that were otherwise going to recycling. One of them was big enough to fit both kids in. So I put it on the floor, asked them to both climb in, and handed them each their tub of textas. Then I found something else to do for a bit, because they were busy. Only for a bit, because that was a day where Kid 6 kept picking fights with Kid 4 because Kid 4 wanted to copy what Kid 6 was doing. But hey. You get that some days. Mostly they were fine in the box together. I’d seen this idea online for toddlers (seeing as then you know they aren’t drawing on walls) and thought these kids might be too big for it, but no, it worked great. They drew themselves steering wheels, and played “driving each other in the bus” for longer and more nicely than I thought they would.

A well-labelled console is important.

Extras: Nothing in particular and yet everything, because it’s A Box. This box ended up becoming a bunch of other things along the way – see my next post. You could give a focus to the drawing if you wanted by suggesting what the box was going to become – a pirate ship? a sunken cave? a forest treehouse? a space rocket? – but I was happy just seeing what they came up with.