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  • Boxed Fun
  • Kelley Shields
  • child developmenthomemade funparentingplay
Boxed Fun

Kids always want the boxes big things come in.  This is a universal truth. Where ever things get delivered in cardboard cartons, there is a child—or children, who will make convincing arguments for the keeping of said box that was destined for the alley on the side of the house where the recycling waits to be picked-up.

So begins the story of this lovely spaceship.  I have forgotten what arrived within it.  Wait–now I remember!  It was a faux rattan recliner for the back yard, from Target.

Yes, a patio chaise arrived in it about 3 years ago and Brian, Transformer of Detritus Extraordinaire, rallied along with our youngest for its reprieve from the pile.  ‘Let her play with it a while–a couple of days at most.  It won’t be in the way that long.  It will go out with next week’s recycling–I promise.’

It was played with—for days and weeks and months that have now turned into years.  Happily The Starlight Spaceship never made it to the recycling pile. The functionality she built into the vehicle over time was/is a literal record of a blip of her emotional growth, much like pencil marks on the molding of the playroom door recording both our daughters’ heights over the years. 

For her maiden voyage the Starlight was outfitted with the basics: a Start button, a GPS of some kind, Auto-Drive and Landing buttons, an Ejector button and a Meteor Blocker button.  Eventually a Hand Scanner and a ‘Pic-Cam’ were entered onto the dashboard when passenger ID became critical.  Then came the convenience accessories:  Sunglass Holder, Cup Holder and Shredder?  Stealth worked its way into her play somewhere around year two and Invisible as well as Force Field buttons were added.  As friends returned for additional voyages on the Starlight their personal ID’s were entered into a Fingerprint Database on the dashboard near the Pic-Cam.

The two most endearing (to me) functionalities came about at different times but caption nicely the developmental period this work of ‘he-art’ is defined by:  light-hearted play and courage. 

Her best friend has a particular reliance on scatalogical humor, which is almost always at least a little funny and given a look to cool-it when it teeters on offensive, she always does. Generally speaking it is just the right blend of goofy and harmless. On one of their flights, this friend the need to add a Fart button to the dashboard, which still cracks me up every time I see it.

The other perfectly lovely addition, which appeared during a particularly challenging phase of our lives, was a Beatles button. The song-bubble floating above the dial reads: ‘All you need is love.

The Starlight is played with less often now by our daughter, but has become a near-daily ritual for our new cat to visit. Stationed high above a bookcase on brackets, our feline Major Tom, whose name is Edith, dives with conviction across the expanse from an adjacent bookshelf into the slim opening of the carton’s flaps held somewhat securely closed with duct tape.

Homemade is forever heartfelt. This childhood relic gives me great satisfaction as I recall the expansive, imaginary play it provided our younger daughter and her friends.

  • Kelley Shields
  • child developmenthomemade funparentingplay

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