Family Fun Night: Not a box

This Family Fun Night was held at a local elementary school for the Head Start class. This year they have a high number of Hispanic kids and I love doing bilingual storytime with this group.

The Head Start Family Fun Nights always start with a free dinner, and families that need transportation are bussed to the school. Rather than just a storytime, the teacher wanted something for this event that would really encourage parent/child playing and interactions as well as literacy. Some of her kids never play (or read) with their parents, and she wanted to provide an opportunity for play and learning for both parents and kids. So I came up with a super easy and fun Not a Box program!


After dinner, I gathered all the kids and parents together and read Not a Box by Antoinette Portis. I invited (ie. forced) both kids and parents to use their imaginations and guess what the box was on each page, and even the bored older siblings got into it. I got most of the parents interacting, asking questions in English and Spanish, to make sure they all felt included.


The last creation in Not a box is a rocket ship, so obviously we then sang Zoom, Zoom, Zoom in English and Spanish. Then, I explained that each family would get a copy of the book to read together before using their imagination and working together to create something out of a box!

Spoiler alert: there were a LOT of race cars, but also robots, a ninja, a hot air balloon, a birthday cake, a TV, and two rainbows.

The teacher had saved a huge pile of boxes ahead of time, and we just put out tape, scissors, and markers and let them get to work:

This was AMAZING. Every single parent got into and created with their kids, kneeling on the floor, cutting cardboard, and designing some truly awesome creations. I was overwhelmed by the amount of joint play that was going on, the way they were reading and making together, and the pride they took in their work.


The kids got to take their boxes home if they wanted, and each family got a handout with suggestions for extension activities, more imagination books, and the lyrics to Zoom, Zoom, Zoom.

This was one of the easiest and most impactful programs I’ve done, and I can’t wait to do more!

4 thoughts on “Family Fun Night: Not a box

  1. LOVE everything about this post! I’m trying to plan things for more parent involvement in my school and classroom and this is just perfect!! Do you have a copy or remember what you put on the handout for the parents at the end of your event? Again LOVE LOVE LOVE everything about this event!!! 🙂


    1. I had some info about the library, and an early lit tip, the Zoom zoom zoom song in English and Spanish, a list of other books that prompt imagination and I think a prompt for more extension activities.

      Liked by 1 person

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