Have you ever seen a child open a present and be more interested in the box it came in rather than the gift itself? Recycling and being eco-friendly can actually lead to amazing play opportunities.
Children have the amazing ability to see possibility in objects that adults see as rubbish. A box isn’t merely a box when you add some imagination and creativity; a bottle could be submarine or a rocket ship, a can could be an African drum.
Some of the best fun I have ever had in the classroom with my children included some leftover big packing boxes. My class was entertained for days and actually asked me to put away the real toys so that they could continue with the big boxes, crawling in them, making houses and doors, stacking them and knocking them over, painting them, sticking other recycling on them. They were so proud of the play that they were engaged in that soon parents were being dragged in at pick up time to ‘play’ as well! All from a simple cardboard box.
Instead of putting the recycling out in the bin, start a collection that your child can access during their play. My favourite recycled objects to collect for play include; all sorts of bottles and jars (plastic or glass), metal cans, boxes, tissue boxes, egg cartons, fabric scraps, foil, newspaper and scrap paper, cardboard rolls (from wrapping paper, paper towel or toilet paper) and lids (from bottles, jars, containers).
Spend time with your child using these objects to build and create. Perhaps you could use masking tape (perfect for little hands to rip and stick) to build an amazing sculpture or building; maybe you could use the bottles to make a garden or cut up egg cartons to make a bug. Encourage them to think outside the ‘box’, to see what they can create.
Keep a collection of recycling handy for your child just as you do with store bought toys and be amazed at their imagination!
Just like the world’s most respected Early Childhood Theorist (Loriz Malguzzi) says, “The wider the range of possibilities we offer children, the more intense will be their motivations and the richer their experiences. We must widen the types of situations we offer and their degree of structure, the kinds and combinations of resources and materials, and the possible interactions with things, peers, and adults”.
Enjoy making an impact on the world around you while helping your child to grow and develop!