Recycling Packaging into Play by Jade Aiesha

Recycling Packaging into Play by Jade Aiesha

By Jade Aiesha:

I was asked by Dee - owner and mum behind The Little Sensory Box, if I would write a piece about reusing her packaging and I jumped at the chance.

The Little Sensory Box came to life after Dee had been attending sensory classes with her son Alfie, she quickly realised how beneficial it was for him and wanted to continue the activities at home, and so her journey began. Throughout, Dee has been very conscious of her carbon footprint and that of her business.

We ordered several items that arrived packaged in a cardboard box and so I set to work.You may recognise the characters from her high contrast woodland visual cards which feature in 'The Ultimate sensory box'. These were the inspiration for our puppets.

In the first year of life, research suggests that there are limitations in babies. Bold black-and-white images stimulate the development of the optic nerves. Such visual stimuli trains newborns' vision, teaching the eye muscles and brain to coordinate and function properly. Strong patterns also help babies to develop their ability to focus their attention and levels of concentration.

Though my own children are past this stage they are still captivated by high contrast images and objects. It felt like the perfect way to pair both sensory play and packaging together.

I often use cardboard in our invitations to play because it's much friendlier to the environment than toys made of plastic, it can be easily broken down which alleviates the need for so many land fills and you can find it in abundance reducing pressure on you financially. It's so easy to work with and you can make most anything you wanted, allowing yourself the time to do so.

I decided to make finger puppets from this particular box. I drew them out first, painted them and then cut them out using scissors. I cut holes for their fingers to go in, but if your little one is younger you could use a stick of card (rolled) so that they could grasp them themselves or if too young, and in danger of mouthing you could attach them to string to form a mobile beyond their reach.

We used our puppets in play to encourage fine motor skills, exploration, understanding of expression, animal recognition and imagination.

So what will you use your box for?

Visit Paper Stories Play for more recycled play ideas