All you need is a box

We spent quite a bit of time exploring different ways you can use a box in our classroom.  Of course, if you haven’t read the book “Not a Box” by Antoinette Portis then you might not understand that any box you may have around is really not a box…

“Not a Box” by Antoinette Portis is a simply illustrated book about using one’s imagination to consider what else a box could be…

I started collecting boxes all throughout the summer so I had put together a nice assortment of empty boxes before school started this year to share with the children…

After reading our story, I had each child go and select 2 boxes (I had saved way more than I really needed) and then we did a little imagining of our own to decide what could be done or made if we put all of our boxes together…

We worked together to build a tall tower. This was no easy task because we had to figure out which boxes were largest to smallest as the tower got higher and higher and we had to make sure our boxes were balanced well so they wouldn’t fall over…

Our tower got so high that we had to bring over the step ladder to try and reach the very top of our tower…

In fact, our tower got so high that no one could reach the very top except Mrs. Courtney.  She even had to use the step ladder too!…

We also discovered a box just might be a bridge to walk across…

Or a box might just be a chair you can sit on…

Or a box might just be a footstool you can stand on…

Or a box might just be a brick you can build castles with…

The children explored all the empty boxes during our center time and then we took them all outside to play a simple relay game…

Which I will share in my next post!  Now, what else could we build with all of these boxes?

Available on Amazon

Link to “Sitting in My Box” is a Kindle edition

Links to Grow on

A Story in a Box

The Little Box Carpenter 

Pizza Box Games

By |2017-07-11T16:04:51+00:00September 30th, 2012|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Brenna September 30, 2012 at 7:56 am - Reply

    I’m gonna have to get that book. Sounds like a good one for my library to add to my lesson we did here

  2. tstarmom September 30, 2012 at 9:07 am - Reply

    Love this idea! I’m going to have to do this with my son this week. He has a speech disorder called apraxia and I’m always trying to stimulate his brain with creative play. This is a great way to get him to think “outside the box” and to stimulate speech. Thanks and love your site!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 30, 2012 at 11:04 am - Reply

      We used lots of language during this process. We used words like bigger, smaller, medium, stacking, balancing, empty, full and the list goes on. It is amazing how much language can be pulled out from an empty box – guess the empty box isn’t so empty after all! It is full of language!

  3. Heather S September 30, 2012 at 10:47 am - Reply

    My favorite book when I was little and now to read to my students is “Christina Katerina & the Box” – such a great book and I love to do what you did with the kids!!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 30, 2012 at 10:57 am - Reply

      I don’t think I have read this book Heather but it sounds like it would have fit in quite well with our study of boxes this past week!

  4. Library Quine September 30, 2012 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    I have another book for you thant would fit tis theme well – Meeow and the Big Box, by Sebastien Braun –

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 30, 2012 at 2:12 pm - Reply

      Awesome – I will check it out! Thank you so much!

  5. Anu Ganesh September 30, 2012 at 10:12 pm - Reply

    Wow!! Nice fun with empty boxes!

  6. Adrienn October 1, 2012 at 9:26 am - Reply

    My son would love this! If you listen carefully you can hear me going down the stairs to our basement to get some!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 1, 2012 at 7:41 pm - Reply

      Yes, I heard it!

  7. Angela @ OMazing Kids March 13, 2013 at 10:30 pm - Reply

    This is one of my all-time favorite books to spark creativity in kids! Added a link to your post in my blog post on OMazing Kids: <3

  8. Nancy Smith July 17, 2017 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    I did It’s Not a Stick with my 3/4 year olds, very interesting. The next year the Pre-K teacher did it and it was quite interesting to see the difference in a year. Looking forward to trying the box fun

  9. Christie August 11, 2017 at 7:47 am - Reply

    Kristina Caterina and her Box is another box book and one of my kiddos all-time favorites.

Leave A Comment

This site uses 'cookies' to give you the best, most relevant experience. Using the website means you're OK with this. Ok