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What's in a box?!

Yes, it is that time! With bells ringing, cold winds blowing and a certain sparkle in the air, being together is almost upon us. Shared experiences are captured in delicious seasonal dishes, crackers to pull, twinkling lights - even a visit from 'you know who!'

If you have a baby, toddler or young child, this could be a first, second or now routine celebration, punctuated by the must-do activities including presents, presents and more presents! I hear you quake in your shoes as you prepare for the avalanche of exuberance and over-excitement (not to mention sweets and treats on offer throughout!)


Despite the multi-sensory overload with all the activities and visuals going on, I often find the most over-whelming part of Christmas is the sheer quantity of presents given to our children. When I was a child, we were all given just one present. Nowadays parents seem to be under constant pressure to buy masses! Do we need to be so generous? It really is true to say that in most cases young children just want to explore - they want to pull at ribbons, move the gift around, and explore all that lovely paper. So, why not just give them a beautifully wrapped box? 

Ideas with boxes

  • Wrap up lots of little boxes inside a big box

  • Unless they are toddlers, leave them be to tap, tear and open

  • Let your child explore!

Occasionally, you can help with a little tiny tear and a "wow!" look on your face, before withdrawing and watching how engaged and focus your child is, on a present that is essentially free! 

Musical ideas with boxes

  1. Is your toddler slow to speak? Perhaps your two year old struggles to communicate verbally? Perhaps they simply do not verbally respond, but gesture their needs. Try this little song, with one box, or more!


Bear in a box, bear in a box, jump up tall, weeeeeeee!

Bear in a box, bear in a box, curl down small, oooooooh!

Yes! Pop your child's favourite bear into the box, pat the box in time to the song, then lift Bear up with lots of playful sounds. Sound play is fabulous for encouraging spontaneous sounds to pop out. These strengthen the vocal chords and building on language.

Bear In A Box is available to listen to here.

You could also...

·      Substitute "What's for "Bear" in the box etc" and have masses of fun inventing new characters (horse, dog, donkey...) and making their special sounds as they 'leap' out of the box. 

·      Knock on the box with a repeated "What's in the box? What's in the box? What's in the box?"  and see what your child comes up with!

·      If the box is big enough, hop in, and be in the box so your child takes charge. The same with older siblings. 


2. How about a delightful knocking song to encourage your little one to respond. We have a delightful song here. Something is knocking on the door. Door can easily be adapted to "box".  Your child can enjoy hours of fun exploring his/her own personal adventure on who is in the box, and interact with various members of family - particularly grandparents who may be less mobile, but would love to support imaginative play. 


Finally, think about all the rhyming words to go with BOX: 

Fox, socks, alot, pot, hot...


Have a very merry (and cheaper) Christmas one and all!


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