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Unpacking boxes

What you need

  • A range of cardboard boxes (these can be of all different sizes, including large boxes or smaller containers such as a cereal box or egg carton)
  • Some sticky tape – masking tape is ideal.

Benefits

This will promote your child’s fine motor skills, their critical thinking skills and ability to problem-solve.

The experience

Gather a selection of boxes; you may like to place an item of interest to your child (such as a favourite soft toy) inside the box. Tape up the box. Initially, you may leave one open side so that your child will have to move the box around to find the opening, and gradually build up to sealing all sides. 

For young babies, leaving the open side facing away from them will encourage them to attempt to move the box or to move themselves around the box, whether this is by crawling or pulling the box towards them during tummy time. 

Children closer to two-years-old will enjoy the added challenge of having to work out how to unpick the tape and get into the box to retrieve the item inside. Make it exciting and ask them what they think might be inside the box. Give the box a shake to see if your toddler can take a guess – you could put something noisy or heavy in a box to experiment with different ideas of what is in there. 

For children who are more physically active, add to the challenge by hiding the boxes around the house or garden, so they have to move around to find them, before attempting to open them.

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