As we played with our boxes and other packaging just before the holiday break, 2-year-old Henry watched Calder disappear into a large box. He waited for a time, wearing a worried expression, before muttering, "Calder, come out." When Calder didn't come out, he walked to the box and touched it. "Calder, come out."
He still didn't come out.
Henry walked around the box, speaking softly, almost to himself, "Calder, come out. Calder, come out," circling until he got to the open end. He squatted to peer in. There was Calder. Henry sprang back to his feet and hit the box with both hands. There was a hole in the top of the box and he shouted joyfully into it, "Calder, come out!"
Calder scrambled out of the box. The boys stood beaming at one another, face-to-face for a moment. Then Calder dropped to his knees to crawl back into the box. This time Henry knew what to do. He shouted into the hole, "Calder, come out!"
Again, Calder came out.
They did it again and again, each time more delighted with themselves, one another, and the game they had made together.
Among the miscellany of materials we played with on our "boxing day" were these spongy, plastic "bricks" that had protected our new lockers in shipment. At some point freshly minted 4-year-old Sylvia found herself alone among the packaging materials. She quietly got to work coloring them with markers, telling the adults in the area that she was making a TV show.
These bricks aren't exactly made from the most marker friendly material, resisting instead of absorbing the color, but it didn't seem to bother her as she dove into her world of creation, working for a long time before finally arranging them on (behind) the screen.
Sylvia was not the one who promoted her new program (although she did declare it was ready to watch), that would be me, the self-appointed head of the network marketing department. "Sylvia made a TV show for us." I just said it once, and that not very loudly, but it was enough to draw an eager audience.
I don't know if Sylvia made her TV show with an audience in mind, I tend to think not, but when they came she stood back with the rest of us to see what would happen.
After we sat staring for a what seemed like several minutes, Sylvia said, "I didn't make a remote."
The kids incorporated our every day cars into their box-play, the older boys using the cardboard and tubes to explore gravity and the physics of wheeled vehicles.
Sadie, however, had other ideas about how to play with cars. Hers made friends, made plans, then drove off into "the garage" where they would live together "until Sunday." When the basket of every day dolls is all the way across the room, one apparently makes do.