Give a boy a box…

The unschooling diaries: week four

I ordered a new pillow for Arthur this week, and predictably it came in a box that was far bigger than it needed to be. Predictably also the box caused considerably more excitement than its contents.

The delivery arrived on recycling day, but just as we were about to dismantle it accordingly Arthur leapt in protesting “No! My train!”

Cue distraction as Leigh grabbed a crayon and began drawing on a control panel whilst Arthur watched with glee, before picking up a rectangle of cardboard that had fallen onto the floor and trying unsuccessfully to attach it to the side: “The wheels! The wheels!”. We delved into his craft corner and found a roll of masking tape I’d bought him specially – he went through a phase of wanting to tape up everything a little while ago, and now it was just what he needed to complete this job.

Once it was stuck we had to draw on the wheels themselves, and on the other side too of course. He’d also noticed, whilst delving in said craft corner, some leftover halloween decorations that he had interpreted as characters from Hotel Transylvania, his then-favourite film. He insisted they had to come on the train too, and we used the masking tape to attach them to the sides. A blue flashing light toy made the perfect lever for operating his train, and he was done.

He sat happily in his box by the front door for a while, shouting “choo choo” and “all aboard”. Then before bed he asked for a ride down the hallway, me pushing his train along the wooden floor.

The next day he was playing in the lounge, his box-train looking on whilst he built a wooden track, when he suddenly leapt up proclaiming “The carriages! I need to get the carriages!” I presumed he meant the little carriages for his brio train which have a tendency to get scattered to the four corners of the house, but when he came came back downstairs he was dragging another box behind him.

This one had started life as a robot, then turned into a spaceship, and now was being refashioned as a carriage for his train. A “sleeping carriage” to be precise.

Dolly was his first passenger, and he looked very comfortable.


I love love love watching this imaginative play unfold, hovering nearby to facilitate its development. The whole joy to be had from a cardboard box thing is such a cliche, but so gloriously true!

The train (and its carriage) are starting to look a little battered around the edges now after some very serious playing, so they may make it into the recycling this week. But I’m sure it won’t be long until we have another creation. I can’t wait to see what it might be!

2 thoughts on “Give a boy a box…

  1. Pingback: 8/52 | Sophie is…

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