The excitement of a new toy often leads to hurried package opening with the paper or bag or box tossed aside. Do you know how many communication opportunities may have just been missed?
Zipper bags (like those that are used for Mega Bloks) are a communication tool! (Which is why I keep all of my puzzles pieces in ziploc bags – Playing with… PUZZLES!)
For little ones who can’t quite pull the zipper on their own, you can show them how the zipper moves when you make the “zzzzzzz” sound but it stops when your sound stops too! Then offer them a turn. Here’s an opportunity for you to see if they need help. Ask with a single word “help?” and even use the sign to go with it for bonus points. Once the zipper moves again, here comes that “zzzz” sound! Once the bag is finally open… “HOORAY!” or “TADA!” or “You did it!” Then zip it back up and do it again – ha!
Keep the bag open but when your little one reaches to take a block out, you can playfully pretend the newly opened bag is now a mouth and will nibble on their hand “yum yum yum”. If that gets the giggles going then keep it up! Tell the mouth “no, no, no” or “oooopen” or “stop”. Heck, zip the “mouth” back up when he’s full and can’t eat anymore then start the game all over. You may never even get the blocks out of the bag or you might get the blocks out just so that you can “feed” the bag. Who cares? You might’ve just had more communication and interaction by playing with the bag then you will once the child dumps all the blocks out and then leaves the room.
The packaging that a toy (or food or object) comes in can be part of the game so look for opportunities to make it purposeful beyond just storage. My mother reused plastic food containers for just about everything and I’m fairly certain she has never actually purchased a true food storage container in her life. We constantly washed out and re-purposed yogurt, cottage cheese, cool whip containers, etc. My sister’s favorite pull toy was an empty thread spool on a long piece of string!
Some of my other favorite packaging comes with blankets and bedding – almost always a transparent zippered bag.
Anyone buy bulk pretzels or animal crackers that come in huge plastic tubs? Perfect for communication (and toy storage and as a drum and as a water play tub)! Playing with…containers
How about the plastic container that stores baby wipes? I love to see what a little one can do with that slot at the top and what they can fit inside.
Even the banana peel is a communication opportunity. Hand the peeled banana to your little one and see what happens. Do they just try to eat it anyway or look at you for help? Any foods that have wrappers work just as well.
Anyone have Magic Tracks at their house? The box it comes in makes a perfect tunnel!
NOTE: Of course, please do not give plastic bags to small children as they are not toys. Also please do not hand young children unopened food items if they are just as likely to eat the box or wrapper.
Below are pictures to Amazon (affiliate links) to items that come with PURPOSEFUL PACKAGING! Also, it’ll be shipped to your home which means you’ll get a cardboard box at no extra cost – BONUS!
Be sure to follow me on Facebook for all my latest play ideas!