Why DO kids prefer playing with boxes to the Christmas presents?

There’s even a name for the notion that kids prefer playing with boxes to the toys within.  It’s called the packaging phenomenon.


Research in 2015  confirmed what parents learn the hard way.  25 percent of parents of young kids said their offspring are likelier to spend more time playing with the box than the toy within.

As most parents know, a box can become a spaceship, a sailing ship, a fast car or a den to hide in – or all of those things in under ten minutes.

Our child’s preoccupation with screwed up wrapping paper and packaging may seem bonkers to us adults.  Julie Brierley lets us in on the fact that kids prefer playing with boxes because it’s just another way to play – and can help children to learn about themselves and the world around them.

The box helps cognitive and language development, according to experts, more than the latest Leap Pad gadget does.  When you give children freedom and opportunity to explore, create, fail and reassess, you help them to form connections in the brain.

“What is this and what can I do with it? Can I fit my hand inside? what else fits in?” – questioning minds are essential to learning.  Taking part in self-directed play helps to aid learning and supports the development of language as well as mathematical, scientific, creative, personal and social concepts.

When children explore and experiment with objects such as boxes, paper and ribbons, they’re using both sensory and physical senses to extend their thinking.

So remember a young child who repeatedly fills and empties a box, climbs in and out, puts things in then tips them out, is not JUST making a mess.  They’re also exploring the “insideness” of the object – which helps them to understand concepts such as capacity, volume and space.

Which is quite a gift.

Source : The Conversation

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