Ways to Play With a Cardboard Box


We are getting ready to move soon, so we have been collecting cardboard boxes from friends, family, and stores.  While I should be busy packing these boxes, I can’t help but look at them and think about all of the fun things we could make!  Anytime we have a large cardboard box, I really struggle with just tossing it, so instead I scour Pinterest to turn it into a fun toy.  You will often hear people joke about how kids would rather play with the box than the toy inside, but it is so true! A box by itself can be just plain fun, and with a few simple additions, you can make so many exciting, cheap creations for play.  Here are a few ideas:


Gas Station


This has probably been one of our biggest box successes.  For my son’s 3rd birthday we were doing a car theme, and I stumbled across this idea for a gas station out of a cardboard box.  It was such a hit at the party, that we decided not to toss it, so it has now spent the last year in our living room, regularly filling up our Cozy Coupes.  You can find instructions for how to make it here (along with some other fun ideas!):


Ball Run

I believe this was my very first Pinterest creation ever.  It was one of the first things I ever pinned, and we just happened to get a tall, thin box shortly after.  Unfortunately I did not get a picture of ours, but you can find the original post I used here. The hardest part of this is to find a box that will work well, but otherwise it is super simple to make.  For some fun problem solving, involve your kids in the construction. Use wrapping paper tubes, paper towel or toilet paper rolls, or anything else you can find.  I think my kids’ favorite part was getting to climb up the stepstool to drop the ball down!




Play kitchens are one of the most well loved and used toys in many homes, but if you don’t want to spend the money to buy one, make one! During one of our visits out of state at my parents, we decided to make one out of a cardboard box.  My parents still have a big wooden play house from when my sister and I were kids, so we thought it would be fun to put together a kitchen for my kids.  It was totally impromptu so we just improvised with materials we had around the house.  We used some blank CDs for the stove burners and a cheap tupperware and pipe cleaner for the sink.  It wasn’t anything fancy, but it was the perfect, FREE addition to the playhouse.




This year for Halloween my son wanted to be a race car driver.  I remember seeing (on Pinterest, of course) an idea to make a race car from a cardboard box, so we set about making it.  It was so fun to make together, and he was able to do much of it on his own. He was also very proud to wear a costume that he helped make!  Along the same lines, here is a fun idea to make cardboard box cars for a drive-in movie.  What a fun party or family night idea!


Puppet Theater


One day my son and daughter wanted to put on a puppet show.  What would a puppet show be without a proper puppet theater? So, we decided to make it a project for the morning.  It was super simple to make.  I just cut a square out of a box, then let the kids go to town painting and decorating it with stickers.  Then I found a few pieces of scrap fabric and glued on some curtains and we had a stage to perform our puppet shows.  It may not be fancy or “Pinterest-worthy”, but I love that it is child made!


Keep it a box!

One of the great things about cardboard boxes, is that they are fun just the way they are!

Go for a ride:


Draw pictures in it: IMG_2277

Cut out a hole and use as a tunnel:

Or make a fort and sleep in it!: IMG_2286


There are so many other fun ideas out there.  Here are a few on my list to try soon:

Chalkboard box

Washing Machine


What are your favorite things to do with a cardboard box?



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