Title of Lesson and Brief Description: “Not-a-Boxes”
This lesson plan will be entirely child-centered, based around the strategic
placement of boxes around the classroom, integrating them into dramatic play, arts and
crafts, practical uses including allowing for some alone time in the soft-surfaces area, as
well as any other uses the children can find for the boxes.
The lesson will begin the minute the children step into the classroom, as the room
will have already been set up the night before. The only teacher-directed portion of this
lesson will be when I will call the children over to the soft-surfaces area and read them a
story called “Not a Box”, which will hopefully inspired the children to use the boxes in
the classroom in some creative way.
Curriculum Areas and Targeted Competencies:
Competency #1: to perform sensorimotor actions effectively in different contexts
Competency #2: to affirm his/her personality
Competency #3: to interact harmoniously with others
Competency #5: to construct his/her understanding of the world
By participating in this activity, the children will learn to adapt to a new
environment by finding new uses for familiar toys and expressing creativity with an
The children will develop an awareness of their personal needs, as well as gain a
greater understanding of the multiple uses of an ordinary box.
-Not A Box by Antoinette Portis
-6 large boxes
-8 small boxes
-blankets and/or pillows
-dress-up clothes and accessories
-water bottles (half full) with different colored food coloring
-print outs of abstract paintings
-print outs of foot prints
Organization of Space: (to be altered as necessary depending on the space)
The carpet area will be transformed into a soft surfaces area. The cars and blocks
will be removed from the shelves and replaced with dolls, puppets and stuffed animals.
There will be three large boxes set up with blankets inside. The bookshelf of puzzles,
which normally faces away from the carpet and separates the area from the rest of the
class, will be turned around to face the carpet, and the books will be lined up on the
shelves, alongside the puzzles.
Some of the train set will be pre-set on the blue bench with small boxes around it
to inspire their many uses (tunnels, building, etc…)
The kitchen corner will be transformed into a dramatic play area. Some of the
unnecessary or redundant toys (i.e. the 10 extra plates and cups) will be removed, to
make room for dress-up clothes, shoes and accessories, and any oversized furniture that is
not normally available to the children. There will be a large box set up as the entryway to
this dramatic play area, and another box set up just outside, resembling the form of a car.
The table, which is normally a large table of six, will be split apart into two half-
circle tables of three. They will be pushed against the blackboard. These tables will now
be closer to the art supplies, which will create a more defined art space. There will be
small boxes set up on the tables for the children to decorate as they please, and printouts
of abstract paintings by famous artists will adorn the blackboard in front of them, for a
little creative inspiration.
There will be “foot print mats” placed in a line on the floor “walking” up to the
sink, where the children spend much of their time waiting in line to wash their hands.
This is meant to just liven up the act and promote turn taking and following the line.
There will be addition “foot print mats” lines up at the entryway of the dramatic play area
to inspire the children to use the box in their play.
As the children enter the classroom I will give them some time to explore the new
environment. I will soon approach them and ask what they think, and suggest they check
out this and that.
Once all the children have arrived I will call them over to the soft surfaces area to
read them Not A Box by Antoinette Portis, asking them to participate in identifying the
many uses for the box in the story.
Once the story is over I will ask them if they’ve seen any boxes around. I will ask
them what they think certain boxes could be used for. I may ask them if they’ve ever
played in or with a box before.
As this lesson is meant to be entirely child-centered, I will not give them much
direction in terms of what to do with the boxes, however I will ask that they treat the
boxes nicely, like their favorite toy that they would not want to hurt.
After the discussion I will send the children off to explore a part of the room they
have not visited yet. I will allow them to stay where they feel most inspired or
comfortable and make suggestions as necessary to certain children if they seem
uninspired or lost.
As they day goes on I will observe which areas and changes are inspiring the
children and affecting them positively, and which areas and changes that are not.
At the end of the day I will ask random children what they had the most fun with
and what they didn’t like. I will invite them to show their parents some of the games they
played or their favorite area.
Alternate or Contingency Plan:
If I see the children are not playing nicely with the boxes, I will remove them as
necessary. As well, if certain areas are becoming over-crowded I will extend the activity
from that area to another part of the classroom.
At the end of the day, I might ask children chosen at random to show me their
favorite area of the class, and talk to me about the games they played rather than their
How to Assess
I will be able to assess the effectiveness of the lesson by the way the children
interact with their changed environment. If they are able to feel comfortable reading in
the soft- surfaces area, and if they are able to play with the trains in a new part of the
class, they will have shown me that they can be flexible and successfully adapt to change.
If the children are able to find creative uses for the boxes by decorating them,
playing with them in various games and using them for solitary moments, I will be able
to asses that the children have successfully used this unusual prop.
If the common attitude in the classroom is positive and the children get along
well, and the children seem generally calm, I will be able to evaluate that the change in
the environment was a success.