Cardboard box creativity

The grandchildren barely noticed that most of their toys were packed away in moving boxes. They shrugged at the loss. They had cardboard boxes, crayons, paints, scissors, aluminum foil, sticks and their imaginations. They did not need toys.
While their parents sorted through the details of packing up and moving, the grandchildren corralled the empty moving boxes, built forts, played spin the box and built an imaginary world of fun.
The morning their parents asked me to stay with the children while they took care of some paper work, I asked the littlest one if she would please stay with me and keep me happy while her mom and dad went away “‘cause I really didn’t want to be left all alone.”
She smiled and agreed to stay and keep me happy – then promptly walked away to fight with her brother over who owned which box.
Her brother had corralled all of the boxes he could find in front of the door to a cubby hole of a room. He intended to build a fort and no one else was allowed in. He stacked boxes as high as he could reach, looked longingly at her box and decided he needed that one, too.
“That’s my box,” he grabbed it.
“Is not. It’s mine.” she snatched it back.
“No. Mine!”
There was no reasoning with the lad who already had more boxes than he could use. He did not even want another box that looked exactly like his sister’s box – that wasn’t the box she was using.
Their dad stepped in before he left and began stacking boxes up around his son. Blocked inside his successfully finished fort, the fort builder grinned through the peep holes formed by the mis-matched alignment of the boxes.
“I can see you, but you can’t see me.”
His sister walked over to the peep hole and covered up it up with her once coveted box.
The warrior inside the tower burst out, exploding boxes left and right. His sister giggled with glee – none of the descending boxes had even come close to hitting her.
They rushed to tumble the few remaining boxes down to the floor.
He picked up a stick and asked if I knew how to make him a suit of armor so he could be a knight. I thought about it and began asking for aluminum foil, paper sack and something to cut with. Big sister climbed up in the cupboards and found a large paper sack to cover with aluminum foil. We wrapped aluminum foil around paint stirring sticks and made a shield from a single piece of cardboard by slitting two holes and inserting a strip of cardboard to use as a holder. Big sister worked for several minutes cutting an eye hole into a small box creating a knight’s helmet.
We did it! A few quick flourishes of his sword and the interest transferred to a few cups of dried up paint. The children turned on the water hose, grabbed their swim suits and began painting paper, cardboard and the knight’s shield. The shield shriveled up and peeled away from the corrugated cardboard.
All too soon, my grandson dragged in inside, “Grandma, will you make me another shield?”
I looked at him over my bifocals. Another one? Cardboard is great toy for the imagination, but it certainly lacks the durability of plastic. I let him figure out another way to play with the cardboard – my durability in the cardboard smith shop lasts about as long as cardboard does when it meets water.
(Joan Hershberger is a reporter at the News-Times.)