Blocks, Rocks, Cardboard, Dirt, and the Human Mind.

Art is the academia of early childhood. I don’t mean just finger painting or doing a step by step craft- I mean c r e a t i n g. This is why in her book ‘The Design of Childhood,’ Alexandra Lange mentions some of the most beloved childhood tools- the tools that transcend time, geography, and the nature of caste and class throughout the world.

Blocks, Rocks, Cardboard, and Dirt.

Antoinette Portis wrote a book entitled, ‘Not a Box,’ where we are reminded that in both design and context- our longest serving toys have no baked in narrative. However, even though we have been immersed with the knowledge that children need to c r e a t e to learn, much of our modern day toys are basked in narratives and specifics for use. In other words they shut down creativity and in turn they dim focus, motivation, self-confidence and learning.

Luckily for us after purchasing all those “two second interest toys” this holiday season we have been left with an abundance of tools for our little people to create with.

Here is a little look book of inspiration for getting our little people the tools they need to c r e a t e.

Box used to hold fresh Pears. At first Nancy used it like a puzzle trying to fit animals in the right spot. It’s new so I’m curious to see what else she can turn it into.
The tree is made from Amazon packaging paper.
This became a bus, dump truck, airplane, car, motor home, and reading nook.
I obviously have fun too 😉
This was just fun to paint in every way.
It also became Daniel Tigers Neighborhood for a while.
This package slip, filled with letters, lines, numbers and design ended up in Nancy’s science box.
Cut these into sponges for pouring work and then we ended up cutting them into small squares that Nancy stacked with.
I put cut up cardboard in Nancy’s art desk for whatever she wants.

When looking at your trash it’s not imperative you know “what it could become.” However, over time, your mind will begin jumping at ideas. This is also true for children. Tinkering with things that don’t have a presented narrative builds and strengthens our creativity and that’s the special place where learning and growing happens at every age.

With sincerity and love,


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