Sometimes the best birthday gift isn't what's in the box, but it's the box itself. Provide a large, sturdy cardboard box like a refrigerator box and some washable markers or paint. Help the birthday child and friends cut out doors and windows. Then let the kids decorate it for a fun afternoon. Their imagination will turn the box into a playhouse, clubhouse, spaceship, castle, tree fort, cave or submarine. If a new fridge isnít in the near future, ask for free boxes at appliance stores, furniture stores or large department stores. When playtime is over, you can fold the box flat for easy storage.
Another way your birthday child and friends can have fun is making the box into a puppet show theater. Cut a "window" on one side towards the top, and then paint decorations onto the cardboard. Make appropriate cuts to allow the child to enter and exit the back stage and to assure stability. If you have fabric scraps available, you can make curtains and hand puppets as well. You can use fabrics, paint and craft supplies that you already have. You could even find fun props around the house to add to the fun.
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