Space Ship 2.0

I have shared my amateur craftiness with cardboard boxes here before, when I’ve repurposed them into various kid toys including a pet cat and a spaceship (1.0). As an adult with a smallish house, I can’t stand the look of big, plastic-y, brightly colored commercial toys littered everywhere (and believe me when I say that like the gremlins, these toys also tend to multiple at night and in no time the house stops looking like a home and more like a rummaged toy store … i.e. every kid’s dream).

cardboard spaceship

Not that cardboard boxes look any better, but at least I don’t feel guilty when the kids abuse them, break them, and neglect them as is the eventual fate of all toys. There is less guilt and effort involved in dumping the remnant cardboard toy in the recycling bin, than lugging it to the donation center. And most importantly I really love how it brings out their creativity and imagination! And I swear they play with it longer than any store-bought toy.

It’s a hard concept to explain to friends and family when they want to buy presents for the kids. They have the kids current likes and interests at heart when making their purchases (as is expected) rather than my strange aversions. Over these last four years though, I have slowly but surly learned to be first and foremost thankful for the gift, whatever it may be, because it really is the thought that counts. I’ve let the kids enjoy it for what has been at most a day or two before they move on back to my kitchen utensils and the like. Then I pass them on or donate them in the hopes that some other family can appreciate it for a few more days.

cardboard spaceship

It’s no wonder that my kids go crazy when they visit other, more laid back and sensible parents’ homes who don’t let their crazy tendencies get in the way of making sure the kid is entertained and happy. For now, I am content with just driving them over there! Thanks friends! = )

So back to the subject of the Space Ship 2.0 – being an avid Amazon Prime user, we have a constant supply of boxes of all sizes. When a couple of weeks ago my recycling bin got too full, I figured I’d turn the big ones into something that the kids might enjoy. The eureka moment came when I saw just how much they are getting into Star Wars. I wish I had better tape and craftsmanship, but the kids haven’t held it against me.

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Using tape, I connected a few of the boxes together. Instead of a 2-D spaceship like before, this one turned out to be a three-dimensional craft with two separate compartments for each of the co-captains. Once that was done, I let them decorate it while I drew some handy buttons that they could pretend to press to operate their vessel. There is also a phone which despite of being just a piece of cardboard with some numbers, has been a hit for calling aliens all over the place.

cardboard spaceship

It’s a large contraption (I got carried away I suppose) but it fits easily behind our couch in the family room. They seem to play with it for a few minutes each day, adding a new sticker or doodle to update the look. If Arjun wants to get into something he isn’t supposed to, he carries it to his compartment and closes the door and works in secret to play with a chapstick, or a bottle of glue for instance! Asha uses it as her cozy corner to make imaginary phone calls.

All in all, it’s going to be a hit for a few more days before it too falls apart and gets ignored. That’s when I simply take it the recycling bin and done! On to the next set of boxes. I will happily admit that I have a little too much fun making these things than is normal.

In conclusion, I leave you with my Princess Elsa who has magically time traveled to be a Star Wars Jedi! Much to her mom’s delight and hope that the Frozen craze is on its way out, even if it means they might poke each other’s eyes out at some point.

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Chika Gujarathi is a freelance writer based in Raleigh, NC. She writes about everything from travel, food, books, and family. Her current project includes a series of children's books to teach Hindi. She is a native Tar Heel who has also lived in Washington DC and Chicago.

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