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Aug 15, 2012
06:00 AM
MomSpeak

Ode To Cardboard

Ode To Cardboard

We have been spending a lot of time at home. It's been sticky hot and while I've proved I can leave the house with two kids in tow, it still feels like quite an ordeal. Luckily I'm blessed with a toddler who loves to sit and color/paint/draw — but apparently a 2-year-old can only sit quietly so many hours a week.

So on the days when it feels like every toy has been played with and boredom is rearing it's ugly head we try to get back to basics. We cook a meal together, dump a bucket of water in to the baby pool on the balcony and splash around or build a fort and read books in it.

A Great Resource

All those commonplace, yet somehow still novel things that don't cost anything can turn a day around. One of the most versatile and entertaining resources for these creativity-based activities would otherwise be headed to recycling bin: cardboard. You don't really even have to get very creative. I didn't realize how inferior painting was to painting on cardboard! I am so grateful to this brown seemingly-boring stuff for hours upon hours of fun.

Who needs expensive train tracks?The cardboard house in the picture above is one of the more elaborate projects we've done with cardboard — and that took under two hours to make. It was the box the ottoman from our couch came in and I cut out a window and a door, re-enforced the seams with packing tape, poked two holes and strung them with twine for a "doorknob" and painted on some detail. That house was played in daily until it was coming apart at the seams (which I usually just again slapped more tape on).

Making Tracks

Leo's request for "tracks" for his cars and trains was met with drawing a road on a piece of cardboard. We added details like a playground, library, daddy's work, pond, forest, and friends' homes and Leo happily scoots his car from destination to destination. It was supposed to be a tide-me-over until we could find a good deal on some wooden tracks, but he enjoys it so much there may not be a need for an upgrade.

 Cheering the cars racing down the "zoom track"The flat tracks were such a success that I thought I'd go all super-mom and make a ramp that he could roll his cars down. You'd think I got the kid a live pony. He calls it his "zoom track." If I set it up on the couch I can sit and nurse Zoe while still launching the cars for a race while he waits cheering for them at the bottom.

Endless Possibilities

Anything that allows me to nurse while Leo feels like I'm playing with him is a winner these days. This particular piece of cardboard had been many things prior to this incarnation (including a canvas, a garage for the cars and a bridge)

The possibilities with this stuff are endless and usually you can still recycle it when all is said and done. Hopefully things will cool off soon and we can get back outdoors more often, but until then I will be collecting the empty boxes passing through our house.

Sandra Telep is a West Philadelphia mom of one and one-on-the-way. This post is adapted from her blog, West Philly Mama.

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About This Blog

Outstanding Delaware Valley mom and dad bloggers share insights about their kids or themselves, family experiences or ways they handled parenting situations. Their items — often reposted from their blogs — reflect everyday experiences that anyone can relate to rather than political viewpoints or belief systems.

MomSpeak Contributors

Trish Adkins, Yoke
Jennifer Auer, Jersey Family Fun
Chris Bernholdt, DadNCharge
Stacy Heenan Biscardi, Wifty & Shifty
Hillary Chybinski, My Scraps
EJ Curran, Four Little Monsters
Darla DeMorrow, The Pregnant Entrepreneur
Rachée Fagg, Say It Rah-Shay
Raya Fagg, And Starring As Herself…MRSRFKJ
Stephanie Glover, A Grande Life
Erin Flynn Jay, Mastering the Mommy Track
Jean Ladden, Jean's Book Reviews
Brie Latini, ( . . . a breezy life)
Toni Langdon, Tickles and Time Outs
Lisa Lightner, A Day in Our Shoes
Jeanine Ludwikowski, Mommy Entourage
Kathryn M. Martin, Mamacado
Jeanne McCullough, Mom Hearts Pinot
Trina O'Boyle, O’Boy! Organic
Kelly Raudenbush, My Overthinking
Lindsey Schuster, Sisters to Sons
Sandra Telep, West Philly Mama
Marissa Kiepert Truong, Land of Once Upon a Time
Lisa Weinstein, The Mixed Up Brains of Lisa Weinstein
Shivaun Williams, Dar Liomsa (In My Opinion)
Paige Wolf, Spit That Out!

If you are a Philadelphia-area parenting blogger and would like to contribute to MomSpeak, please e-mail editor@metrokids.com.

 

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