Remember when the boxes the presents came in were almost as fun as the presents themselves?
When I was six, I can remember scoring a refrigerator box from a house being built down the street as a kid. My brother and I dragged it all the way to our house like we were on a covert, secret mission… We dragged out treasure into my father’s garage and set at work on creating our own world. We cut out a front door, windows, a sunroof and even found another box to attach to our “main house” to make a little room for our tabby cat, Frisko. We brought in lamps, blankets and even found some carpet from the same house being built down the street. Then my brother and I found another giant refrigerator box from a house around the corner being built– I felt like I had just won the lottery because it was from Vince Ferragamo’s house, who was my crush, being a handsome quarter back on the Rams, my favorite team– and my brother built his own custom house that connected to my house through a “secret passage.” We decorated our “secret clubhouses” with magic markers and drew paintings on the wall and plants and even made shelves to put things on, as long as they weren’t very heavy… Only best friends were allowed to enter!
As an parent, it’s fun to see your children experience for the first time things you remember experiencing with the fresh eyes of a child. I enjoyed watching my daughter, Ruby, and her friend, Aruna, sit for hours decorating their Giant “ship” (a large refrigerator box) going on a great adventures, with their imaginations, in the middle of the living room. For days they would not allow me to remove their cardboard world, until finally it was played with so much that it was falling apart…
I had my assistant, Tim, at the time, go and search for a giant wooden crate, so that the fun could last for longer and wouldn’t fall apart. He found one and we all set to work together sawing, painting and hammering to make a cool playhouse.
My son, Romeo, brought me back to all of those memories this morning when he set himself and his two puppies, Sugar and Cha Cha, inside the box that my son, Bowie’s, Star Wars Death Star Legos came in. He had so much fun creating his own world. A cardboard box is like a blank slate that can be turned into anything– a pirate ship, a time machine, a submarine, an airplane. They are free to be decorated any which way and adult s see them as “valuable” so the child can experience the total freedom of creation without any adult irritation. Although my father did get upset I brought his nice china form Italy and his antique lamp into my clubhouse– otherwise I had free reign over my domain!
I think one of the best entertainments a kid can have is to create their own world inside a cardboard box. With the current economy, I’ve sometimes I’ve had a fear that my family and I would end up on the street living in a box… If it ever happens, I’ll be sure and bring my magic markers!