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To Sail The World In A Cardboard Box

May 21, 2008
Here is a suggestion for you to consider: an old cardboard box is the best value for money when it comes to toys. You could be picky and point out that a cardboard box doesn't cost anything, and therefore can't provide any value for money since you haven't spent any on it, but I'm going to ignore that and continue with the hypothesis that you are better off buying your child a cardboard box than you are the thing which was inside it.

Throw yourself backwards to your child hood days, and try to remember the enthusiasm with which you greeted a new cardboard box. Can you recall the excitement? Can you remember why? It was that tingle which started at the back of your neck as you anticipated the worlds which would be created within that space. You didn't quite know what it was going to become -perhaps a plane, or a spaceship or a train that would whisk you off to exotic locations. Or perhaps it would be a castle from which you could defend your crown as you ruled the land before you.

Cardboard boxes often become ships, allowing the child to sail off, pushing away the land and humdrum of everyday life and setting sail on a voyage of discovery, alone, with no map, and nothing to do but discover the rest of the world.

Perhaps you can remember the pure escapism which came with any such game, and often it was compounded with props. A ship would need a mast, and an old walking stick or umbrella would so just fine. Oars? No problem -mum will probably let you borrow a couple of wooden spoons from the kitchen, and your sail blossoms out in the unseen, unfelt breeze, causing your bed sheet to drive you onwards on your adventure. Of course, you wouldn't take an oar yourself; after all, you're the captain. No, those scaly wag teddy bears will be doing all the work, lined up on each side to do your bidding. But you will be a fair captain, and ensure that they will be treated well.

Until it's time to walk the plank of course! Because now, you're a pirate ship -and a quick bit of work with an elastic band and a bit of coloured paper will do for an eye patch, with one hand pulled up into your sleeve and a wooden spoon, no longer an oar, but now serving as your hook, encourages poor teddy to embark on a short journey towards the end of the plank. The plank looks suspiciously like your tall fairy tale book, but this is no fairy tale -ha! See him fall into the blue ocean below.

The imagination used in creating these adventures, and the way in which an understanding of the world around them, the roles people play and the way in which we can all improvise with whatever we have to hand, are lessons more valuable than merely remembering which button to press in which order.

Perhaps next time you're thinking of buying your child a present, consider picking up a couple of large empty boxes from your supermarket. It'll be money well spent.

Unless, of course, you're child's fourteen.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant about kids toys, dolls, and video games. You will find the best marketplace for kids toys, dolls, and used video games at these sites for kids toys, ships, pirate outfits, dolls, and used video games.
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