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Real Parenting: A Box of Nonsense

Real Parenting at Mustard Seed Sentinel
Credit: Jess Bailey

A Box of Nonsense

by SM Ford

My youngest daughter started a practice of sending a box of goodies, which she calls “a box of nonsense,” to her sister and family. Hers usually include fun snacks she knows the kids will like, something to appeal to the adults, regional food items, spices, chocolate, other sweets, etc. Sometimes there were small games or drawings, too. During this time of coronavirus, she even included some practical cleaning products.

Everyone in the family has had fun opening one these boxes.

I thought how this might be a fun project for kids at home. First, to receive a box. And second, to create one.


Think craft projects.

Do you have adult only or special time supplies?

  • Plain old Scotch tape comes to mind. Children have a tendency to overuse it and so we often limit it to supervised use. Put a whole roll in a child’s box for their own use.

  • Have old greeting cards? Cut off the fronts which can be cut up to make new art.

  • How about wrapping paper? If you’re like me, I usually have some pieces I’ve kept just in case I might need them. Now’s a good time to share.

  • Or unused magazines and catalogues. Tear out pages that might appeal to your child.

  • Remember those stick-on circles to keep notebook paper from tearing out of a binder? I haven’t had a use for them for years, but am sure I have some in a drawer.

  • I think about my scrapbooking papers, scissors, stickers, etc. They aren’t out for “public” use. But I could sure go through them and select some items that would be “new” for the kids.

  • Do you crochet, knit, sew? Put fabric, yarn, ribbon scraps in a plastic bag to go in your nonsense box.

  • I remember our kids liking old graph paper.

  • Does someone in the house do woodworking? I know at our house we have miscellaneous small pieces of wood, such as random dowels, thin strips of trim, small blocks. What would your child make out of these?

Remember activity pages.

  • Go online and find some free coloring pages, mazes, cut and glue building projects, etc. Here’s a great resource during school closures: Paper Glue Crafts. This one even has holiday focused items: Free Printable Activities for Kids. I like the variety of educational and fun on this one: Activity Village Printables.

  • Create your own. Draw some simple pictures for coloring pages. Create some simple math problems or words to unscramble.

You can make your own word search. How fun for a kid to find family and pet names and other familiar things in one. Or a crossword puzzle.

Find Treasures to Share.

I think most of us have items we’ve saved that seemed important at some time. I remember saving a variety in shoeboxes. Maybe now is time to pass on a souvenir, coins from another country, that button, seashell, rock, etc. You can label them or not.

Don’t Forget Food.

It’s pretty normal for young children to have to ask permission to get a snack. If you put some nonperishable snacks in their nonsense boxes, they’ll have freedom to choose themselves. If you don’t have prepackages snacks, use plastic zip bags to put portions in.


Once your children have enjoyed their box of nonsense, perhaps they’d be interested in creating one for friends, neighbor children, relatives.

  • Besides the ideas above, your children may decide to share some toys or treasures. (Washing these items with soap and water or a sanitizing wipe is a good idea.)

  • They might want to draw a picture or write a letter to include.

  • Can you take and print a photo of your child at home? That would be a nice item to include.

When the box is loaded and labeled, set it on a doorstep and let someone know it’s there by call or text. Or mail your box of nonsense.

Whichever way you go, I think you’ll lighten someone’s day with this surprise.


About the Author

SM Ford at Mustard Seed Sentinel

SM Ford is a Pacific Northwest gal, who has also lived in the Midwest (Colorado and Kansas) and on the east coast (New Jersey).

She and her husband have two daughters and two sons-in-law and three grandsons. She can't figure out how she got to be old enough for all that, however.

Sue likes traveling and animals, especially those in the cat family.

She loves kids and writing. You can find out more about her at her website or on Twitter.

You can read Sue’s “Real Parenting” column on the 4th Thursday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.

#RealParenting #Parenting #SMFord #KidsActivities #Coronavirus #COVID19

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