Thursday, March 16, 2017

sol17-16 What about a box?

I am participating in the
Slice of Life Story Challenge (SOLSC).
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day, every day of March 2017. 
A big thank you to Two Writing Teachers for providing this unique opportunity
for teacher-writers to share and reflect.

What would preschool be like without a box?

Yes, we have a gift of a box...a huge box...someone replaced their water heater and we got the most important part, the box. I didn't have an immediate need or plan, but I had no doubt that the preschoolers would put it to good use. So, we painted it all sorts of colors (mostly blue)...and then I dared to cut holes in the sides and on top, to make it look a little bit like a vehicle...still observing the children and wondering which way to take it. I wasn't entirely sure they wanted a vehicle...but, I wanted some way to allow them inside, to let their imaginations go wild.

Well, we are going, going, going somewhere! Here are a few pictures from the box's recent travels.

In its original position, the preschoolers saw it as a bus and a train and a police car and a firetruck. They tried to see how many children could squeeze in, which ended not so happily because it led to lots of squishing, shoving, and pushing. They quickly resolved this by putting in chairs and declaring that you must sit on a chair to be in the box (they can fit, at most, three). I like this second way best, oh yes! I like that they figured out their own solution to the mosh pit and I like that they were now taking turns, alternating who got to be in the vehicle and who has other duties outside the vehicle. There are so many things to do! Someone is always baking pretend cookies (dominoes) in the kitchen and then you have to pack these and take them somewhere - a favorite destination is the fire station.

It didn't take the children too long to discover that the box was also a whole lot of fun when in a vertical position. Now, it can be a rocket ship! Not as many children can play when the box is in this position, but every now and again, why not blast off?

Another group of adventurers discovered that one part of the cardboard can lift up. This looked much more like a dashboard. A couple children can fit under this part (and they are there in the picture, though you might never know this if I hadn't told you). When the cardboard piece is up, there is a lot more action in dramatic play - often the vehicle is a police car and we have "bad guys to get." Sometimes it is a race car. Sometimes it is Batman's car. One time it was "a boat with wild waves, going out to space" and bringing meals of dominoes to the astronauts. Regardless, it is moving fast!

Then a more genteel crowd happened upon the cardboard box and the play became much quieter. Every spare cloth was used to decorate the exterior and interior - and now the box was a house, with mothers, daddies, sisters, brothers, and babies. A few cloths were spread out on the floor nearby, as beds for the babies. The preschoolers brought tea cups and plates and the dominoes. (I'm not sure what it is about dominoes, but I have a huge container of these and they are a welcome addition to the children's play. They are no longer dominoes, of course, but cookies, food, tickets, money, treasures....)

Once, the play transformed into simply dominoes. Let's get them all in the box! This was wild, reckless abandon, with children running around collecting all the dominoes that had strayed throughout centers (some in the toy oven, others in the toy sink, still more in purses, plastic containers, bags, don't forget those on the table, those over there for the picnic, those with the toy animals...) and dropping them into the box. Children got on all sides of the box and just shook the box and all the dominoes, laughing with delight at the clatter. I have to admit, I pretty much stopped the play because it was too loud and too wild even for me. I suggested that it was near time for clean up - and they were fascinated when I showed them how we could use the box as a funnel, tipping the box and sliding all the dominoes into one larger container. "Cool!" 

So much fun, this box.


  1. I just love this! the journey of the box!!!

  2. You use words to describe the activity so well that I feel like I'm right there, having a lot of fun with those little ones. Yes, the grand-girls have lots of fun here with boxes, and you know that my middle-schoolers did too. They were differently creative, but create they did when presented with a big box! Thanks as always for sharing!

  3. Oh this was such a cute slice. I love the vivacity of pre-k kids! Yes, they're highly energetic but I love that they bring the inner kid in me back out.

  4. Such creative minds with one box! I loved the transformation as students explored ideas, and the common theme of dominoes (I particularly like the cookie form myself) is excellent. In a world where teachers are constantly feeling pressure to integrate technology into their students' learning experiences, it is stories like the box that reminds us about the joy in the simplest of things.