Overview: It’s really not just a box. It’s a whole new world. Here’s what we did with a box!

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You know when you spend an outrageous amount of money on the latest new gadget only to have your toddler spend more time playing with the box than the actual toy?

Little kids love real life objects. They want to play with loose parts, not the high end twinkly, loud toys.

That’s why I gave my daughter a box.

And you know what? That box sat in our learning area for over a month.

Not a Box Activities

We had ordered a few things that came in a nice size box. I asked my husband to keep it then headed to our local library to find the book Not a Box.

We read the book during our morning meeting one day and talked about all the different things a box could be.

Then we walked over to our box.

Sicily kinda stood there a minute and stared at the box. She wasn’t quite sure what to do, and this was the first time we had done an activity like this. For a toddler who was just starting to use her imagination, I think she was a bit overwhelmed at first.

But she eventually got in the box and started calling it her house.


She spent the next week just using the box as a house. She had a blast opening and closing the doors.

And even got frustrated more than once because the doors wouldn’t stay closed. We definitely worked on slowing down, taking our time, and finding different options this week.

Some day in the middle of the week, I added a light inside so she could see. Then she started bringing her books inside to read.

The next week, I added some markers next to the box. She ignored them at first, but eventually started drawing a road.

She still called the box her house, but now it had a road for her cars to drive on.


The next week, I kept the markers out and also added some paint. She loves pink right now, so I sat out some pink and white paint along with a roller brush and regular paint brush.

Sicily noticed this change immediately and asked to paint. She spent over an hour painting.

Every few minutes she would yell “Lee paint house Ma!”

She didn’t use the markers again, but still used her cars in the house.


We had so much fun exploring this box and it was super simple to add into other activities we had planned.

I challenge you to spend some time exploring a box. What  materials do you have laying around the house that you can add to the experience? Maybe some rocks? Paint? Loose parts? Blocks? People?

Happy Playing!