My son has been really into TAPE this year. He likes to make things and tape things and our house sometimes looks like a giant recycling bin. But I’ve learned to not only embrace it, but encourage it. He has become quite the engineer. His imagination is beautiful and I am in awe of the things he makes that started in his mind and unfolded right before my eyes. I am often near to assist, but for the most part, it’s all him.

Letting go of control and order was a must for me, and giving him permission to have one of our tape dispensers and buying him tape and allowing him to use all that he wants/needs was required. It felt wasteful at first, but once we did this, he was quite satisfied and we watched his imagination sore.

We have named this play time; “creation station.”  I heard the name from a neighbor who’s son does this in school once  a week. The parents send in their clean recyclables and the kids get to build whatever they want out of them. Awesome!

I am learning all of the time that kids do not need store bought toys. They do not need toys that come with the answer. As my stepmom said to me last year, kids need toys that encourage their imagination and stimulate their brains. I would add to that, that they need a supportive adult to assist when things get frustrating and fall apart and tears well up. We’ve certainly had many upsetting creation station sessions.

The recycling bin at home (we are legally required to recycle where I live) has been less full lately on some weeks and I’ve been saving stuff in the house and pulling it out when I have a stash. Then there are weeks when the bin is bursting full because I’ve finally convinced my son to let go of one of his masterpieces. (Or, I’ll be honest, I sneak them out when he’s not looking sometimes).

So I just wanted to share my discovery of the beauty of non toys entertaining children.

Here are some photos of my mini engineers’ designs.

The SnowPlow

The SnowPlow

My recyclables collected and spread out for assessment.

My recyclables collected and spread out for assessment.

After. A ball tossing game on the right and he said you get points for getting balls to land into the boxes. On the top left; a rocket ship.

After. A ball tossing game on the right and he said you get points for getting balls to land into the boxes. On the top left; a rocket ship.

His house fort in our living room. Complete with wall decorations.

His house fort in our living room. Complete with wall decorations.

This he called a Machine and collected tickets (see green trash can) to view it.

This he called a Machine and collected tickets (see green trash can) to view it.

We attended a cardboard creative challenge event last week. He made a ship.

We attended a cardboard creative challenge event last week. He made a ship.

My son picked up junk from around the yard to use in his sandbox.

My son picked up junk from around the yard to use in his sandbox.

He called his collection of junk "artifacts".

He called his collection of junk “artifacts”.

Here is the mid progress photo.

Here is the mid progress photo.

After. This little sand-scape lasted for several days with mini adjustments and additions. He was quite proud of it.

After. This little sand-scape lasted for several days with mini adjustments and additions. He was quite proud of it.