We are pretty big fans of making things out of cardboard in our house. I love how a simple box can be turned into, well, anything your heart desires really! It drives my husband insane but I keep every single box after a delivery for the boys and I to turn into a magical masterpiece. Cardboard sneaks into your home every time you do the shopping, and you can get boxes for free at most stores just by asking for them.
Apart from simply using flat pieces of cardboard as a canvas, you can build things with it using only tape or glue. It’s recyclable as well, so the possibilities are endless.
I thought I’d put together a list of some of the things we have made to inspire you to get creative. March is national craft month after all.
1. A Market Stall
I kid you not, we are going onto year 3 of pulling out our market stall. You’ll need a slightly bigger box for this one (think washing machines, fridges etc). Cut out a window and have fun getting creative.
2. A Rocket Ship
Would it be an article about cardboard crafts without one? We slightly cheated with this one and bought a “flat pack” cardboard rocket ship. I wanted to use it as a craft for Aadam’s party so the kids could all paint it. I can’t remember where we got it from but Makedo sell awesome “assemble your own” cardboard construction kits which you can buy from Takealot.
3. A Marble Run
One of the most iconic ways to use cardboard tubes and it provides hours of endless fun. If you are worried about marbles with your little ones you can also do the same thing with Pom-Poms. Turn it into a colour sorting activity for your pompoms.
4. A Mini Town
Let your imagination guide you here, the possibilities are endless. Just find a nice sturdy box that’s the right height and create away!
5. A Car Ramp
One of our favourite ways to “race” our Hot Wheels or Monster Trucks. Find a bigger box and open it up. A glue gun comes in handy with this one to stick the different lanes on. The boys played for hours comparing which car went faster!
6. A Mini Aquarium
The perfect craft for a cereal box, and a little boy for was dying for a fish 🙂 The boys did all the painting and bits of cutting here and mummy did need to get involved with the hot glue gun to stick some of the sea weed and suspend the fish. This still sits in our dining room today!
7. A Post Box
After all our family left last year to return oversea’s we were feeling very sorry for ourselves. Combine that with a few movie runs of “Postman Pat”, it wasnt long before the boys wanted to “post” letters to their grandparents and aunts and uncles. A simple small box does the trick here with cut up toilet roll for the legs. Make sure you cut a “door” in the back to retrieve your letters once posted!
8. A Letter Or Number Sorter
This is the perfect educational craft to make out of a shoe box for the kids. We chose to do ours with corresponding uppercase and lowercase letters, to help with recognition. But you can do whatever you want! For smaller kids you don’t need to even use letters or numbers, it’s a fantastic fine motor skill activity in its own!
9. Art, Art, Art
Cardboard really does make the best canvas. Its thick, sturdy and a ton of fun to experiment with. Paint landscapes or portraits, abstract or 3D, just give your kids a piece of a box and let them paint away!
10. A Car
Would a childhood be complete without making your own box car? Have a “drive in” movie night at home and get the kids to make their own box cars. You can see we didn’t even get to decorating ours before Aadam jumped in and was “vrooming” away. He just got frustrated because it didn’t actually go anywhere 🙂
11. A House
Yes, of course I would finish my list without getting to a house. Whether it’s a big house for the kids to play in (you’ll need much larger boxes for that again), or a smaller house for their dolls (or action heroes); making a house out of cardboard is a must! Mummy got involved again cutting out the smaller detail like the windows and glueing the slightly uneven floors, but the boys designed and painted to their heart’s content!
A few other ideas to give you inspiration, but I didn’t necessarily have “photographic” evidence”:
- A space helmet – perfect for little heads and oh so easy to make, even easier if you have any “build-a-bear” boxes lying around the house, they were almost made for this!
- A guitar – Super easy to make, and all you need to do is add a few elastic bands. We have made a number of impromptu guitars out of shoe boxes before!
- An oven/stove – Fairly simple to make because of the square shape and I have seen some fantastic ones on pintrest. Bottle tops make the perfect temperature dials.
- A Petrol/ Fuel Pump – Another fab one to all get involved with. The rectangular shape is nice and easy so you can have fun and get really involved in the painting and design detail of it.
There you have it, 15 quick and fun ways to get creative with cardboard. It really is one of the things the boys and I turn to often and I love hoe it expands their imagination. With almost all of these things my eldest has come to me with the idea, and whenever we get a box as a gift or with a delivery he’s the first one to say “mummy, lets turn this into a……”
Happy crafting month and I hope some of these ideas gave you inspiration!