One of the many perks of writing for Smarty Pants is getting to try new products moms around Charlotte have come up with. For me, one of the great discoveries recently has been “A Box Full.”
Two local moms and educators, Shanna and Nithya, came up with a mail-subscription service that jams more than two dozen crafts and activities for children ages 3-6 into a cardboard box about the size of a notebook. In it, you’ll find everything you need for hours of fun except a few basics like glue, scissors and tape. After I saw the organization that went into filling these boxes, it made me want to borrow these ladies for some help around my house! But for now, I’ll settle for taking advantage of what a great idea they’ve had.
If you’re a mom like me, and your idea of prepping for craft time is throwing out some paper and crayons, maybe some dot markers or water color paint if you’re feeling adventurous, this is a major step in the right direction.
And given all the promise neatly organized in such a lightweight box, I decided to pack mine for our family trip to upstate New York earlier this month. I figured not only was it easy to pack, it gave me immediate access to a host of activities. It’d be like unwrapping a new toy, or trying a new game, over and over again. What a great insurance policy for a rainy day!
I ended up pulling it out one morning while we visited some cousins, who were kind enough to let me borrow their washer-and-dryer. We were going to be there a while, and I wanted to take some of the pressure off of them feeling like they had to find ways to entertain our three boys, ages 5 and 3-year-old twins. So it was nice to have something we could just open up and spread out on the kitchen table.
What I discovered was that it was a really fun and easy way to help our boys interact with relatives they don’t see all that often – though with these two particular cousins, it wasn’t going to be that hard anyway! But it was so heart-warming to watch our cousins, both moms of grown children, jump at the chance to help three sets of little hands cut and glue and decorate little craft projects again.
Our “Box Full” still had plenty to offer after we got home. It’s nice to have on a day when I’m feeling guilty for letting the screen time drag on, and I need something to snap into some positive parenting in a hurry. The other day, I laid out several activities on our dining room table, and our boys powered through several tasks before coming up with the idea of creating their own masks out of paper plates. That kept them entertained until dinner. Free play? Creativity? I’m figuring Shanna and Nithya wouldn’t argue with that result either.
If you’re looking for something to pack on that last summer trip, or you’re like me and trying to power through the last couple of weeks before school and preschool start, “A Box Full” is a great way to go.