Den Play

Posted on 30th March 2020

Young children tend to find small child-sized spaces very appealing. You often see them climbing and clambering into cardboard boxes, making dens under the kitchen table, crawling under the sheets or hiding behind the curtains. They are getting to know their own bodies, and how big they are! They constantly test their own size by crawling into boxes, climbing over furniture, standing against upright poles and walls. Cardboard boxes present the ideal invitation for children to do all of this. Small children can feel empowered when they get into a box. It makes them feel BIG!

Perhaps they are seeking a little bit of privacy or a quiet space or they may want to engage in some form of pretend play. Some children love to hide in boxes or behind curtains and play games. They will often seek to engage an adult in a game of hide and seek or peek-a-boo. They are controlling the interaction which again makes them feel powerful.

All you need to do is to tune into these games that children do naturally and when necessary provide them with some additional props that will support and extend their play. It is not always possible or necessary for you to become too involved in this play. This is often a private space for your child – where they know you are too big to enter! So just enjoy watching.

Dens can be made indoors or outdoors from a range of simple materials such as cardboard boxes, chairs, under the table, sheets, blankets, duvets, under bushes and trees. Dens can become whatever the children want them to be – the beauty salon, hair dressers, the garage, shops, house …

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