slice of life · travel

Give a kid a cardboard box & they’re happy. #sol16

We drove to State College to attend the Big 5 Gymnastics Qualifier


Isabelle loved watching the floor routines because the gymnasts were dancing.
While all three of us enjoyed it (probably me the most), Isabelle grew impatient after an hour. We moved our seats twice.


Isabelle and Marc watched the balance beam routines from the third row.
We even plied Isabelle with candy in an effort to liven her up. It didn’t work. “I wanna go to the hotel,” she repeatedly said. 

After the awards ceremony, we headed to the hotel. Suddenly, there was pep in her step. Why? Isabelle loves hotels! 


There are two desks in our hotel room. Isabelle is using one for writing and one for her artwork.
Isabelle claimed a bed for her and her bears. She unpacked some of her things. Then, she found oodles of notepads in one of the desks. That seemed to be the highlight of her day! She got to work writing P-E-N-N S-T-A-T-E repeatedly on the notepads.

Is it just me or does this whole thing remind you of when you buy a kid a toy and all they want to play with is the box?


19 thoughts on “Give a kid a cardboard box & they’re happy. #sol16

  1. Yes, Ingrid & Imogene love those notepads, & they also sing in front of the mirrors, big stage! I’m glad you made it through the awards. And Isabelle looks very serious sitting there!

  2. I am glad that you were able to enjoy the gymnastics all the way to the end. Competitions can be tiring and noisy. The quiet of the hotel was good for Isabelle, she was able to be in her own thoughts and do what she wished.

  3. Her glee in the hotel reminds me of some field trips where we see all sorts of cultural things and the students remember we passed multiple McDonalds! I love the notepads too, so I get it!

  4. I remember going to hotels as a little girl and hunting down the drawer with the notepads and sometimes even stationery and envelopes! I think that is the sign of a real writer!

  5. So true! My kids love the hotel part of the trip for sure–especially when they eat breakfast in bed and watch cartoons, all squished together. They gymnastics part of your trip sounds pretty cool, too!

  6. Ahh. Isabelle is a writer who organizes her space! so cute that she likes the hotel part of trips the most. I once wrote a piece about remembering taking my son to the library when he was small and how he loved getting the Blaze and Billy books. When I showed it to him he was confused because what he remembered from the trips to the library were the books in bags with toys that he could borrow. Shared, yet different, memories.

  7. Oh, your last sentence is so perfect for this piece! It left me with a smile. It is so true! I remember taking my goddaughters into Philadelphia to see the Liberty Bell, the U.S. Mint, and the Betsy Ross House. The part they liked best? The train ride into the city and back home again. Go figure!

  8. This is so funny – that she loved the hotel and complimentary stationery even more than the gymnastics event; but it’s so true of kids. My boys always enjoyed the hotel…especially if there was a pool!!!

  9. Great reminder that the simple pleasures are the best. And yes, the box is the best! I think it’s true in teaching, too, my students seem to really appreciate the simple pleasure of a good discussion compared to complicated lessons we spend lots of time creating.

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