The basic idea
Give your child the gift of imagination! Cover a box in festive paper but leave the top loose so you can open it and leave the paper on. Say: “I wonder what’s in the box?” then mime whatever you fancy – picking up a kitten, wrapping a scarf around your neck, drinking a hot cup of cocoa.
Over to you, wee one
Ask “What else do YOU think is in the box?” Your wee one might show you with their body, or make the noise of the “gift” or tell you with words – copy their reactions to join in their idea. You can then either take turns to find new “gifts”, or let imaginative play develop.
- Develops imagination and agency
- Facial expressions help emotional literacy
- Helps give you an idea what they’re interested in
- Hide an open ended object like a stick or a cup in the box and pretend it’s lots of different things (e.g. a sword, a hat!)
- If they keep revisiting an idea (e.g. a kitten) and you’re getting them a cuddly cat for Christmas, hide it in the box for an extra surprise.
Your reactions will make this game really engaging – run away from crocodiles, whisper if there’s a tiny fairy you don’t want to scare, practice being gentle and slow if you’re picking up a butterfly – your wee one will LOVE it.