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Other Activities

Cardboard Box Play

Cardboard Box Play

Resources needed

The most important resource is a large empty cardboard box or boxes.

You may also like to include:

  • Ropes/ string/wool (no longer than 22cms)
  • Clothes pegs 
  • Masking tape 
  • Coloured pens/pencils/crayons/chalks
  • Glue 
  • Silks/scarves/material 
  • Smaller boxes or containers 
  • Cardboard tubes 
  • Empty yoghurt containers 
  • Paper 
  • Paint and brushes
  • Cushions 
  • Blankets 
  • carpet squares 
  • Old sheets 
  • sticks or leafy branches
  • Dolls/teddies
  • Balls
  • Cars
  • *Scissors – but adult supervision is required at all times.

Description of activity

Cardboard boxes can hold children’s attention for hours on end.
The best kind of play with boxes is unstructured play when you give children the opportunity to explore a versatile open-ended material without an end result in mind. Simply put out the box/s and see where the play unfolds. However you could talk to your child and ask what they would like to make with the box. Suggestions include:

•    Roads for cars or tracks for trains by laying the boxes out flat and drawing markings on them. By not laying them out flat you can bend and shape them to make hills and tunnels for the cars and trains to travel over and through.
•    Houses for dolls or small figures by using the flaps inside boxes to create levels and cutting out windows and doors.
•    Robot costumes by cutting a hole in the top of the box for your child’s head and holes in the sides for their arms. Place the box over your child’s head so it will fit through the hole and slide their arms through the holes at the sides. When you know it fits you can paint it or cover it with tin foil, drawing or sticking on cut out shapes for buttons and other gadgets.
•    Beds for dolls or teddies by providing cushions and materials for the children to organise.
•    Large constructions by building boxes on top of each other to create towers or using them to make boats or cars that the children can sit in. You can cut the boxes to make doors and add steering wheels. You can then paint or decorate the construction or car/boat however you wish.


Learning opportunities for the children

Playing with a cardboard box can build skills that some toys can't, such creativity, imagination and resourcefulness.

Cardboard boxes inspire creativity and imagination as they children build upon, transform and reinvent them.

The cardboard box takes them on adventures and helps them explore imaginary places in their minds.


Extensions for the activity

Providing other open-ended materials (as listed) for the children allows them to explore and enhance their creations by thinking about how they can use the box next. The resources encourage them to add their own personal touches and bring their ideas to life.