When I was a kid, I remember my parents getting a dishwasher and giving my brothers and me the huge cardboard box it came in. It was the best! We cut holes in the sides to make windows and doors. We decorated it with markers and stickers and made it our very own clubhouse. We played with it for weeks and tried to get our parents to let us eat and sleep in it. That didn't happen.
It's amazing that I still remember that box and how much fun I had with it. You could ask me about presents I received for my birthdays or Christmases and I could only name a few special toys that I remember receiving, but that box...WOW! That was gold!
As parents, you want your children to have everything, but can you go overboard? Sometimes the news will show parents waiting in line to be "the first" to get their children the latest new toy and worse, show fights break out among parents for the last one on the shelf. Then the next day, you will see that same toy on eBay going for ten times the price.
It's funny...do the children really want that toy or do the parents? I can admit I fell into this trap recently with the Crazy Bands. All of the kids in the neighborhood have them, collect them and trade them, but Cooper has shown no interest in them. A few of the kids gave him some, but he could care less. I wore them for a few days thinking maybe he would like them if I wore them, but no. One day, I even bought him a few packs of cars and trains (his favorites) thinking maybe that would catch his interest, but alas no. Granted I only spent $2, but what was my problem? Why did I feel the need to try to push the current "social trend" on him?
Then I started thinking about all of the toys Cooper and Cole have and how many of them do they really play with. The boys can have fun with every day things around the house, and sometimes would rather play with these "make shift toys" vs. their real ones.
Then I started thinking about my childhood cardboard box and got nostalgic. I found a large box in the basement, emptied it and gave it to Cooper and Cole to see what they would do. The box was a huge hit. They have been playing with it every day and the best thing is they are playing with it together, just like I did with my brothers.
So do we really need all these toys? I guess so as I am not going to be the mom that shows up to the next birthday party with a red bow around a huge cardboard box... although I know it would be a huge hit.
It's just really cool to see a child's imagination at work with a box, pillows or even a plastic container. Fun can be found in almost anything in a child's eyes and as a parent, I need to remember that.