3 Kid-friendly Things you Can Make With a Cardboard Box

Though some may scoff at the idea of letting kids play with a large cardboard box, I remember being a child and having a wonderful time with one a washing machine had been delivered in. I made it a fort, with drawn-on windows and décor. I dragged my beanbag chair inside and small black and white TV for entertainment. Hours would go by and it was wondrous because it held nothing more than the value I imagined it to have.

In a world of modern electronics, plastics and factory-made fun, sometimes it's refreshing to just fall back to basics and offer kids the choice to play with simplicity. This article will offer ideas of what DIY-loving kids can do with little more than a cardboard box and some good ol' imagination.

1. Mini Racetrack

If you have a child into toy cars, you know how fast those little things can go. In fact, they roll so well they tend to scatter after every play session, leaving an often dangerous mess to tend to. This simple idea will change that!

This project works best if you have long, rectangular cardboard boxes, particularly with lids. In my area, this means those huge copy paper boxes with detachable tops. This DIY involves simply taking the lid, or even a flat-bottomed box with the sides cut down, and painting a racetrack in a circular motion around the inside perimeter of the box.

Your kids will have a wonderful time racing their cars round the track and the best part is that because there is an edge or a bit of a lip on the box lid, the cars are better contained and can even be stored in there when not in use!

2. House

A cardboard house with kids playing in it.

My childhood version of a cardboard house consisted of a large box and a hole cut into it to crawl in and out of. The beauty of a box is that it's perfect in its original square or rectangular form, ready to be customized.

To make a basic house, leave your cardboard box intact and sketch where you'd like stereotypical house features to be. It will need a door, possibly windows, maybe even a dog door for pets or stuffed animals to use. Supervise your kids when cutting these shapes out of the cardboard.

Finally, as no house is complete without a roof to shelter you from the (imaginary) elements, one can either create a flat roof by folding and taping the top folds of the box itself, or get a bit fancier and form a pitched roof. This can be made by taping the two longest folds in a peaked fashion and cutting separate panels to precise measurements filling the gaps created.

The best part of a DIY cardboard house is the fun had decorating it. Encourage your young ones to go crazy using paint and markers to draw designs, animals, flowers, mailboxes, and even self -portraits. Who knows, maybe you’ll have so much fun you will want to create a whole cardboard neighborhood!

3. DIY Cardboard Puppets

Have extra cardboard pieces from pervious projects you just don't have any use for? Before recycling them, why not make your kids a fantastic homemade puppet to play with? The process is very simple and only requires some cardboard, string, and a little creativity.

On a plain, flat piece of cardboard, sketch the figure of your ultimate homemade puppet. Ensure there are at least two arms, two legs, and a body wide enough to suspend from string. Using a knife or some hardy scissors, cut out your puppet, slicing off the appendages in the process so you're left with five separate pieces.

This is where it gets fun. Using paper fasteners, secure the arms and legs on your puppet. Paper fasteners are wonderful because they have a bulbous end that make an ideal place to tie string onto. Hang them from the door or walk them around the house after you're done personalizing them with paint, markers, or even construction paper.

Finally, should you have a large box or cardboard scrap pile, why not make a whole cast of puppets and have your kids create a show out of their crafts? Your little ones will love to show off their work and make memories that will last a lifetime!