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Classroom Toys Replaced with Cardboard Boxes

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Ohio preschool teacher Pete Kaser recently decided to try something new.  He replaced all the toys in his classroom with raw materials, like cardboard boxes and tubes, styrofoam and paper. What happened next surprised him. “Not one of them complained about not having the toys,” he said, “and it was actually really cool because some of the quieter kids actually got to show leadership roles in projects.”

PLUS: Kids Prefer Cardboard Boxes to Fancy Toys (It’s Funny Because It’s True)

He added that "kids who had trouble separating from their parents in the morning or just were quieter in the classroom, we’ve actually seen them become leaders, and we have seen them grow.”

Most parents probably know by now, from watching their kids or from their own childhood experiences, the possibilities that a cardboard box present. When I was growing up, my dad worked in a factory and I spent more time building hotels, spaceships and castles out of the giant cardboard boxes he brought home than I did with any of my other toys. The kind of creative, open-ended play you get with boxes as opposed to real toys and structured activities isn’t just fun; pediatricians say that unstructured free play is essential for a child’s development.

PLUS: The Wonderful World of Toddler Play

Check out the video below to see some adorable kids building some really impressive pirate ships and igloos. Do your kids have periods of free play? Let us know in the comments.

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