We’ve all been there… spent a good amount of money on a large, expensive toy, only to have our child spend the whole evening… playing in the box. What gives? What about the fancy car with the bells and whistles? What’s going on?


Well, the answer is simple. When you’re small, the world that’s built for grown-ups can seem immense… and a little scary. Finding small spots, like behind the couch, or in the proverbial box, can help children feel safe.


Don’t worry, the child will also love and appreciate the expensive, fancy gift. But the box gives her something that the all-decked out gift cannot… a chance to let her imagination run wild. A box can be a spaceship, a submarine, her own house… it can be anything. Give her full rein to paint and scribble in it all she wants and it’s all the better.

Playing out big roles in small spaces

Role-play is how kids figure out the world. If you’ve ever seen your child pick up your phone and do an imitation of you (an uncanny imitation of you), it’s because he’s figuring out how he wants to be in the world. A small space gives him the chance to play at being big.

You’ll notice that just about everything is child-sized at Alphabet Soup, from chairs to tables to out tiny couches. Our bright tent is one of the kids’ favorite spots. But you don’t have to go all-out to create small spaces in your child’s world. It can be as simple as two chairs pulled together back to back with a blanket draped over it, or the proverbial box. Let your child make her own small spaces and you’ll help her imagination soar!

Small space play
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