The Morphing of Box City

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In an unfinished basement in suburbia, rattled with toys, books and art projects, there came to be known a space called Box City. A collection of mostly Amazon boxes…treasure carriers that collectively served three growing brains’ imagination and became a platform for unexpected life lessons.

Box City lasted for months and months. Just when we thought it was time to move it out, interest would strike again. One day, after the kids had been in the basement for 2 hours without coming up for air, they invited John and I to come to their snow cone shop. I’ll be honest,  it was hard to stop my work that day to see theirs, but it was magical.

One of my all-time favorite moments as a parent. 3 kids serving up plastic ball pit balls. They had thought of everything. Menu, sizes, prices, machines, storage, and customer service with a smile. I myself couldn’t pass up the prices and ordered up a large (3 balls) for $1. Best plastic I’ve ever pretended to eat.

My middle child asked the next day if we could use real syrup next time. I brushed her off with a comment about it being too sticky while my mama mind was spinning. Her birthday IS coming up…

A few weeks later, after a glorious Ava-Planned 7th Birthday it was time for cake and ice cream, well, so they thought. We had plans to think INside the Box…Box City Snow Cones, anyone? We had the kids hide in their rooms while we set up the “surprise cake”, then we called them down. I love the sound of six excited thunder feet.

The screaming and jumping lasted awhile. Then they were ready to order! The birthday girl went first, of course, as we sang Happy Birthday.

My favorite part was personalizing the flavor names to match Ava. The next batch of syrups we will personalize in a new way. By the way, this Kool-Aid syrup recipe was delicious. Since we don’t spend money hosting a large birthday party, I splurged on 4 glass containers from Target ($6 each). I wanted it to feel “real” and I love the pretty storage.

Box City Snow Cones has provided many learning experiences from math to literacy to economics to the science of syrup making with creativity every step of the way. Not to mention, it’s paying for itself by not stopping at our local snow cone shop anymore.

And…it was all their idea. Priceless.


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  1. cheeriosandlattes1 says:

    So fun! I love boxes… for play though, not moving! 🙂 haha Easy and simple; love it! Thanks for sharing on Saturday Show & Tell at Cheerios and Lattes this weekend!
    If you’re interested, we would love to invite you to also link this up to the Summer Activities for Toddlers Collection! Here’s a quick link: This would be a perfect activity to do with young ones!
    Have a great week and hope to see you again next weekend! 🙂

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