Birthday Week: Throw A BYOB Party

box party, cardboard playland,
CC 2.0 edenpictures Flickr photostream

Looking for a cheap party that’s sure to be a hit? Throw one of my favorite events for kids. A BYOB party,as in Bring. Your. Own. Box.

Guests are invited to show up with cardboard boxes of all sizes, the more the merrier, the bigger the better. We supply masking tape, duct tape, markers, paint, and plenty of room on our property. Usually we make sure we’ve gotten hold of a few large appliance boxes in advance too. Adults at the party are charged with the task of wielding mat knifes to cut where the kids direct. Typically the cutting phase doesn’t last too long, which means the adults are soon free to sit around in lawn chairs noshing and conversing while the kids go wild with tape and paint. That’s actually the prescription for a great party: happy, engaged kids and relaxed grown-ups.

Over the years we’ve seen all sorts of different BYOB party creations. Sometimes more than a dozen huge boxes are transformed into cardboard rooms featuring turrets and rope-opening drawbridges. Sometimes they create a connected series of tunnels leading to a fort under a tree. Once the kids made a child-sized passageway they invited to adults to enter, giggling as we stooped and crawled and squeezed our way through.

The biggest thrill for kids seems to be in the planning, arguing for one vision or another, before working together to make the project a reality. Of course, playing in it afterwards is fun too. The benefit of hosting it here? Plenty of days to play in the cardboard playland after our BYOB event is over.

 

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Laura is the author of a poetry collection titled Tending and Free Range Learning, a handbook of natural learning. She lives on a small farm notable only for its lovestruck goose.