Each year in late November, a few people in our workplace get together to plan an annual Christmas Eve Day party for the kids. About 40 or 50 children partake in a high spirited romp transforming an office environment into a fair ground. The small fry are dressed up in party clothes looking their best for the big guy himself whose arrival blows everything else out of the water.
While waiting for Santa to home in on downtown Halifax, the party committee lays on a tried and true entertainment line-up including the balloon lady, face painting, cookie making, photo booth dress-up, Christmas carol sing-a-long with live musicians and play-doh.
For the 2014 edition of the Kids’ Christmas Party we introduced Boxes in the Boardroom. We whipped up this self contained component at virtually no cost and without expending too much effort. Of the 30 or so kids that checked it out, I think it’s safe to say that a room full of boxes combined with an invitation to play was a big hit.
This is something that you can try at home. If you’re inside, just reduce the number and size of the boxes. If you’re outside, additional space provides you with more flexibility.
Some quick tips:
- Large department and hardware stores are good sources for boxes. Call them in advance to inquire because many have compactors that they use to break down their boxes. My experience is that most have a soft spot for kid related activities;
- Most kids have never seen a large quantity of boxes assembled for the purpose of play. They may need a little encouragement or reassurance that they have ‘permission’ to play with the materials;
- The tearing down aka destruction component can get quite rambunctious. It’s worthwhile monitoring and if required ensuring that no one gets hurt under an avalanche of cardboard;
- Have a plan in place to recycle the waste boxes so they’re not left overly long cluttering up your space.
Kids floated in and out of the space for nearly two hours. Some were glued to the spot for pretty much the entire opening time. We’ve determined the fun quotient was significant enough to merit a return engagement next year. We’re already thinking of how we might introduce a tweak here and there. If any PlayGroundology readers would like to share their ideas based on similar events, we’d love to hear them.
I’m looking forward to our next installment of Boxes in the Boardroom. This time we’ll see if we can shoot some video and get commentary from the kids. In the meantime, I’m dreaming up a spontaneous box event for downtown Halifax or along the waterfront. If you’re a Nova Scotia reader and want to play with this idea, give me a shout. Until then keep playin’ outside of the box….