Today, I actually put the upper part of my body inside the washing machine to see why child 4 was so obsessed with unloading the clothes clean or dirty from the machine so that he could attempt to climb in. It's shiny, the drum is full of little holes and it moves other than that I really don't get it.
Interestingly though all the children like to clamber into big or small spaces, cupboards, cardboard boxes and dog crates in fact, once we put child 4's Little Tykes cozy coupe together both of our eldest two children had to squeeze themselves inside it, just to check that they could fit inside.
When child 2 was little he used to put himself in my parents coat cupboard and today child 1, 2 and 4 were seeing if they could fit in the dog crate. They were having a fantastic time, lots of delighted shrieking and laughing.
Why is this behaviour so important to growing children
Spatial awareness - what a way to learn about how your body moves, how it can stretch or scrunch up.
Comfort - we all love to be wrapped up in our duvet, children love to be in small places to feel secure, just like when they are wrapped up in their mothers arms.
Empowerment - it must be fantastic to feel big in a small box rather than the littlest person in a big room
Sensory play and imagination - a cardboard box can be made into so many things, a car, a rocket, a castle. They can be painted and decorated. A table cloth over a table can create a den to hide and play in, although child 3 won't allow child 4 in her beautiful pink, pillowed and toy laden den because he always destroys it.
All these little spaces in our house are great for the children to learn through play and they are free.
PS, the washing machine has been made safe, child 4 cannot shut himself in.