My five-year-old son loves to play games , but there’s another reason he looks forward to attending the same game convention every year: the individual pizzas in the convention center food court! I think they’re not that great, but I’m willing to let him eat one each year. Like many fast-food pizzas, it’s served in a corrugated cardboard box about 8″ square, with a clear plastic window in the top.
Last Saturday, as he was eating his little pizza, Nicholas thought up some kind of elaborate craft project that he wanted to do with the plastic from the window of the pizza box. I don’t recall what it was, but it involved a lot of materials we didn’t have with us, yet he wanted to make it right away!!! To soften the blow of telling him that wasn’t possible, I said vaguely, “Maybe you could make something else with it . . . like a stained-glass window for your dollhouse, if you colored the plastic with permanent markers.”
Ooh! He was all over that idea! And he knew where we could borrow some permanent markers: We had brought a cooler full of salads to the convention to share with Looney Labs staff and volunteers, and he’d seen me borrow a marker to make a sign for the cooler. When we returned to the Lab (the Looney game room), we borrowed markers in the three colors we could find: sky blue, yellow, and orange.
Nicholas neatly colored the plastic window with the markers, in stripes. The effect was much more interesting than I’d expected! Sure, you can stand up the lid of the box as if it were a window, but also you can tilt the lid at various angles to observe the pattern of colored light on the interior of the box. You can close the box, lift the little tab that makes a handle for opening the box, and peer in through that hole at (if you use your imagination) a ballroom with a vast stained-glass skylight. Very nice!
This project cost nothing, took five minutes to complete, kept Nicholas amused intermittently for many hours, and made him very happy. It works for me! It does make me wonder why we bother buying him toys . . . but it’s pleasing to see this proof that he’s learning by example about reusing things.