This post is in partnership with Paramount Pictures
Ever wonder where just a little imagination and an empty box will take you?
One of my favorite things about working with young children is diving into imaginary worlds whether it’s on a playground pirate ship or classroom coffee shop. Pretend play is vital for children because it encourages them to create, to problem solve in new ways, and to take control of their own story. That is what is so magical about the new movie Wonder Park coming to theaters March 15, it’s all about what a child’s imagination can create. The film tells the story of a young girl named June who imagines and builds an out-of-this-world amusement park that magically comes to life. Inspiring kids to create anything they imagine!
In addition, to pretend play when we give our kids the tools to bring their imaginative ideas to life, we empower them to become creators, encourage important STEM skills and we boost confidence in the process. Wow, that’s so much good with such a simple activity. To celebrate this I wanted to show you just how easy it is to provide the right materials, step back, and see just how powerful imagination really is!
Before we get to the awesome time machine my daughter created let me tell you about the movie that inspired this!
Wonder Park tells the story of a super cool amusement park where the imagination of June, a totally rad creative girl, comes to life. As June is running through the woods to find her way home she discovers an old rollercoaster car and climbs inside, that’s when the magic begins. She suddenly finds herself in Wonder Park, an amusement park she had created in her mind and put aside. All of her rides and characters are brought to life but are falling into disarray without her. Now, with the help of her fun and lovable park characters, June will have to put the wonder back in Wonder Park before it is lost forever.
Box Time Machine
Gather your materials. You will need a box ( this is essential, think of this as the foundation), depending on your child’s age use tools and materials they can use without too much intervention. While parent and tot projects are fine, it’s so easy for adults to take over, I really want to encourage you to step back as much as possible. My daughter is 8 so I have all kinds of markers, double stick tape, recyclables, sticky back foam, paint pens, gems, and sharp scissors. If I was doing this in my classroom I’d have stickers, crayons, and be ready to do any cutting myself. Adjust to the kids you are with.
I started by creating an inviting invitation to create! This meant putting the materials all out on a tray in a well-lit area with enough space to create. If you are using paint you will want a drop cloth too!
I can’t stress enough about stepping back and letting your child or students create. as adults, we underestimate how powerful our words are and simple unsolicited ” What if you do this?” can change the trajectory of the child’s creation.
She knew she was going to make a ship of some sort but it wasn’t until she was partway done with the control panel made from an egg carton we found in our recycle bin that she decided it was going to be a time machine! What is more exciting than time travel?
Using foam and markers she made a keypad for time travelers to type in the date they want to travel to.
Next, she explained that the control panel was a mix of lights and star-shaped buttons to navigate and learn about your new time period.
Add those on with double stick tape ( a must for kids like mine who want to play without waiting for glue to dry).
Next, the keypad gets a spot on the inside!
Next, she ran to our toy box for an old joystick, used sticky back felt to make footpads for breaks, and a touch screen to gather intelligence about the new place and communicate with the home base, and of course a rainbow!
Time to play!
Oh and of course like all good ships, the time machine had to be named; Rainbow Otter 24. If that’s not proof of an 8-year-old’s imagination, I’m not sure what is.
I loved this activity but more importantly, she loved it even more.
Ever wonder what you can do with an empty box? Use the hashtags #WonderBox and #WonderPark on Instagram to share your creations! Plus, you can upload your #WonderBox creations for a chance to be 1 of 5 lucky winners of a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card. Visit the film’s website for more information on how to enter AND watch the trailer for Wonder Park below!
I am really excited to see Wonder Park coming to theatres March 15th with my daughter because its goal is to encourage creativity, imagination, and building just like this activity.