Getting creative with cardboard

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If your family is like most, next week you will find your house overrun with cardboard boxes, big and small. This year, why not celebrate Boxing Day in true style? Save all that cardboard from the recycling bin and build something magical with your kids. There are  hundreds of ideas across the internet for using leftover boxes. Here are just a few of my favourites. All can be built using small or large boxes and most require a minimum amount of work or materials:

1. Build a puppet theatre

There are a ton of ideas and instructions for building a simple (or not so simple) cardboard puppet stage on the Internet. This one is a basic design that your kids can dress up as they please. The author used a refrigerator box, but smaller boxes can be used and placed on a table.

2. Make a ball maze

A great way to repurpose both boxes and all those empty wrapping paper tubes! You can use balls, toy cars, trains or anything that will roll.

3. Make a DIY shape-sorter

This post on has a bunch of great ideas for using carboard boxes, but the shape sorter is my favourite. Trace some simple shapes with a ruler and compass, cut them out with a sharp knife, decorate the box with some paint or masking tape and give your toddler some balls and toys to put through the holes. Or with older toddlers and preschoolers, encourage them to find things around the house that match the shapes you’ve cut out!

4. Build a race car

This is another quick and simple way to use a leftover box to encourage imaginative and creative play. Cut out the basic shape, glue on some wheels and a steering wheel, and let your kids do the rest!

5. Make your own ice-cream shop

This one requires a bit more work, but it’s too fantastic not to share. While the blogger here did all the painting and decorating herself, you can encourage creativity and save yourself some work by getting your kids in on the fun! This could also be used a lemonade stand.

6. Build a castle

Here is another quick and easy idea that can be made out of different sized boxes. Big, appliance sized boxes can be used for life-sized castles or you can make a smaller one for dolls and figurines.