The Best TOY of the Summer! Guaranteed to Beat Summer Boredom!

Bored child needs a Summer Toy
Bored Child

School was out approximately 30 seconds this year when my youngest daughter announced to me, “I’m bored!” I had a moment of pure panic, “Are you kidding?! We’re not gonna make it to September!” But then, I breathed a sigh of relief because I remembered I had just picked up an amazing toy for my daughters at Costco. For once, they hadn’t been with me for the warehouse sample taste-o-rama, or as I sometimes call it, lunch. This meant they were, as of yet, unaware of the special toy surprise I had waiting for them this summer.  

“You’re bored?” I asked Libby. “That’s great because I brought something home for you from the store! Hold onto your hats, girls, because you are going to love it.

This is THE toy every kid wants this summer. Are you ready for the best toy of summer? Ta-dah!”

“Each of you gets your very own BOX!”

They did not react happily to my big reveal. There may actually have been some eye rolls.  

The boxes languished beside the door as I stored our groceries and started to pay some bills. At first glance, my kids were just not that into the best toy of the summer. Shocker! Libby even dragged herself into the kitchen to complain, “You always tell me that it’s good I’m bored. That that’s what happens just before I get creative, but I’m just bored!” (It’s true. This is my line, but I can’t really take credit for the idea. It’s based on science, people. Science!)

I simply pointed to the boxes, “Best TOY of the summer!”

Moaning, Libby left the kitchen, and I resumed trying to balance our budget, perhaps suppressing a moan of my own. Five minutes went by. Then ten. Then Libby ran by me to get to her art supplies before returning to the living room. I dashed off a work email when I finally heard it: The shout that told me I had indeed scored the best toy of the summer. “Look, Mama! I made a puppet theater!”  

Box turned into a puppet theater as the best toy of the summer
Puppet Theatre

I peeked around the corner and saw that Libby had indeed created a puppet theater out of her box. Her sister, Nell, looked up from her book, considered the box, and suggested cutting a hole in the back. They began collecting puppets and puppet supplies from all around the house. They considered storylines, whether the characters should all be people or animals or some mix thereof. They requested fabric and tape and popsicle sticks. I can honestly report that the boxes offered my kids HOURS of entertainment that first week of summer.

Even now, as we head into the dog days of summer, the boxes haven’t been completely retired yet. I think they’re still good for a show or two in the coming weeks. Sure, the girls will move on to other summer entertainments eventually. But having survived the first bout of summer boredom, I can’t wait to see what they create next.

I’ve been saving a couple of long sticks for them…

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Mary Beth McNulty
Mary Beth is a Southern transplant to Vermont by way of California, where she taught middle school. These days, you can find Mary Beth still working in education with a local college and as a playwright with the Burlington-based, Complications Company. She likes to write about things that make her laugh, like how her eldest sometimes channels a 50-year-old British man when she speaks; everyday tragedies, like being the only person in the house who seems to know how to change a toilet paper roll; and things that keep her up late at night, like climate change, school shootings, pandemics, and if she remembered to pay her car registration or not. She is a co-founder of Complications Company.



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