All Activities Issue - Boxes & Blocks: Tunnel Vision
Children will love painting, creating, and crawling through their own tunnel.
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
- Medium- to large-size cardboard boxes.
- Tempera paint
- Plastic containers for paint (margarine tubs, large yogurt containers)
- Large paintbrushes
- Newspaper or drop cloth
Objective: Children will develop gross motor skills and engage in activities that promote physical exercise as they create and explore tunnels made of boxes.
In Advance: Collect five medium- to large-size cardboard boxes. Cut open the bottom section of each box to create a second opening for children to crawl through.
- Take children, along with the boxes, outdoors. Display all the boxes you have collect and invite children to count them with you. Explain that they will paint the boxes and make them into a tunnel.
- Invite children to work in pairs as you prepare the activity. Lay the newspaper or a plastic drop cloth underneath each box and place the boxes so the opened sections face sideways.
- Ask children to choose two colors to paint their boxes. Place each color in a medium-sized container. Provide smocks and large paintbrushes.
- After the paint has dried, invite children to help line up the boxes to create a long tunnel. Now they can form a line and take turns crawling through the tunnel.
- The tunnel is a wonderful plaything, especially indoors on a rainy day. Children can roll balls and cars through it. The tunnel can be dismantled, and children can use the open boxes to make a dollhouse, clubhouse, firehouse, or reading box in the block area or the quiet area.
For younger children: One very long box may be a long enough tunnel experience for young "tunnel crawlers." A tunnel that is too long can be a bit scary and overwhelming.
For older children: Help children create signs that can be posted inside the tunnel to help direct them to the light of day!
SPIN OFF: Read a book about shapes to children, such as There's a Square* by Mary Serfozo (Scholastic Inc.; $5.21). Explain how they can make shapes with their bodies. Assist three children who are lying on the floor to make a triangle, or help four children from a square. Can they make a circle with their arms?
REMEMBER: Cardboard boxes don't wear well. When used outdoors they tend to absorb dirt, and rough handling causes sides to collapse. So, remain alert to hygiene and safety issues, and replace boxes when necessary.