Updated: Jun 10
As we are spending more time at home during social distancing, we are finding that we are accumulating more boxes than usual.
Luckily, like many toddlers, our son loves boxes! Every box is a potential adventure for him. A box is something to climb on, it's an imaginary horse, a racing car, or a cave to crawl through. We have been keeping many of these boxes and using them for fun learning experiences. In this post, I am going to share how we made a postbox and explored it musically through child-led play. Spoiler alert: It involves a lot of posting!
There is even a song for you to explore written by one of our favourite children's entertainers Peter Combe!
Here is what you will need:
A nice long box (You could easily tape a couple of smaller boxes together to get a good height)
Some white, red, and black non-toxic paint
An apron (or an old t-shirt)
Two paintbrushes and a container of water for washing
A knife or box cutter (keep away from the little one)
Some tape (we use gaffer tape)
Don't forget to put some paper, material or plastic down to protect the floor!
Small toys and letters to post
We began by painting the box white. This helps the other colours to come through as well as being a great experience in covering a whole surface in paint. Next, we did our best to make it look postboxy. I think we did a pretty good job although my only advice here is loads of red and only a bit of black. Sometimes he paints me, sometimes he paints himself...
Once it's dried, and your little one is asleep, cut a rectangle for the letters. Make sure you make it big enough to post other things through too. H likes to post anything from toy cars and sultanas to my phone if it's on silent and even his broom. One final tip is to cut a little door at the back on the bottom so they can retrieve all the items posted.
Here is an interactive song that we sing together. It is based on 'The Silly Postman Song' by Peter Combe. Look it up on youtube, it is fantastic just like all of Peter Combe's music for children. Sometimes I play along on guitar but more often it's spontaneous and I just sing along as he explores. You can create your own version of this song but have a listen to our video below to get some inspiration. We will be posting the full Kidz Live version of this song in the coming weeks.
Before the song, gather some items that your little one loves. As you sing the song, encourage them to post the items they have gathered. Follow your little one's lead, letting them guide how the song develops as you adapt the words to the items they are exploring. Create pauses as items are posted to encourage the use of language; naming objects and vocalising along to the song. You can reinforce learning by repeating words and sounds back as well as giving words to less familiar items.
Our little one explores this activity regularly and is fascinated by what he can (and cannot) post, allowing him to explore size and shape and experiment with different items.