- Empty boxes – I like to use those square tissue boxes that have perforated openings. They are perfect for little hands to explore.
- Coloured tissue or crepe paper – or even old newspaper or recycled wrapping paper.
- Small toys or interesting objects (raid the treasure basket!)
- Possibly a little masking tape.
Fill each box with interesting toys and items, this could be a single item like a thick, knobbly stem of root ginger or lots of items like a handful of conkers. Think of all the senses when you do this. Does the item have an interesting or unusual texture? Does it have a strong aroma? Can you find a suprise that makes a noise? It can even be edible!
Loosely wrap the boxes. For older toddlers with more highly developed dexterity you can use small pieces of masking tape to hold the wrapping in place. Invite your baby to explore the wrapped ‘presents’. Give babies plenty of time, don’t rush them into opening the parcels or do it for them straight away. Some babies will happily feel inside the boxes, others will like to peek inside first and some will go for shaking out the treasure.
Toddlers often develop schemas (patterns of play) centred on filling and emptying containers. They will enjoy refilling the boxes. They might also want to wrap them up again. Encourage this. They might want to ‘give’ the boxes to other family members or quite happily unwrap them again themselves!