In the recent Parents Magazine, the article, “Out of the Box,” gives some creative suggestions for re-cycling your packaging from those holiday gifts that are arriving. It’s a double activity for your kids–one to build something and one to play with it.

Recently I was playing with 4 year-old Will. We were hanging out in the garage with markers and scissors and spotted a cardboard box near the garbage can. I asked him if he would like to make an airplane. “Yes!” was his reply. We cut out and decorated the wings, carved a circle out of the top for his head to peek out and then he proceeded to write all over the box. He kept asking how to spell a family member’s name as he decorated his plane with his brothers and uncle’s names. By the time we were finished we had  had a lesson in cutting, creating and letters and a little language thrown in.

In the Parents Magazine article, they give creative suggestions for making a castle with a drawstring entrance, a play kitchen with Play-doh lids for oven knobs, and CD’s for stove burners. A car is adorned with peanut butter jar lids for hubcaps and the gas cap is the flip top from a ketchup jar.

The best way to enhance language and creativity is to gather items for use around the house with your child and start the brainstorming–paper plates, lids, cotton balls, cans, etc. and see what your child will use them for.