My middle daughter Rebecca is turning 5 on May 1, and this year she decided to have a pirate birthday party. Amazingly enough, I was able to get a whole bunch of pink and black "girl pirate" items from Oriental Trading. We got pirate bandanas, eye patches, bracelets, stickers, candy...the list goes on and on! Some of the activities I've planned for the party including making telescopes (out of paper towel tubes), making our own treasure maps, and going on a treasure hunt. We'll also have a little lesson on how to talk like a proper pirate. ("Aaargh, matey! Swab the decks else ye walk the plank!") That should be entertaining. Anyway, the biggest and most exciting part of the party will be, of course, playing in the PIRATE SHIP!!!! It is currently a work in progress. A few weeks ago I saw a Sears delivery truck parked in front of someone's house, and two men were unloading a new stove. I asked if they had any empty boxes they could give me, and voila! I had myself a HUGE cardboard box. So huge, in fact, that it barely fit into the back of my van. Yesterday Rebecca and I dragged it into the living room (we had to take it around back and bring it in through the sliding glass door, because it wouldn't fit through the front door) and started transforming it into a pirate ship. After cutting out portholes and constructing the front of the ship with a bunch of brown packing tape, our box actually started resembling a boat! (See photo below.) The next step is to paint the whole thing brown, which is today's afternoon activity.
Sooo...to make a long story short, I just wanted to shine the spotlight on the often-overlooked wonder of a simple cardboard box. They are inexpensive (even free!!) and can be transformed into virtually anything your child can imagine. Is he having a space-themed party? Build a rocket ship! Does your little girl love to play house? Well, make a house for her! Or a barn, if your kid has a soft spot in her heart for farm animals. Smaller boxes can be turned into treasure chests, cars, boats, trains, pet carriers (stuffed pets only, please!), or toy boxes. Paint it, color it, cover it with paper or aluminum foil...whatever you do, it will be awesome! And make sure you let your child help out. That way you get the extra bonus of spending quality time with your special birthday boy or girl. :)