More for Less: How Cardboard Box Play Will Make Your Child's Holiday Better
December 3, 2020
Have you ever spent money on a new toy for your child, only to discover they just want to play with the box? You’re not the only one! Young children love to play with everyday objects, sometimes even more than their toys—and cardboard boxes are a prime example of that. Boxes make great open-ended toys (meaning they can become anything you imagine) and they are filled with countless opportunities for creating and learning.
On this page…
- A Cardboard Box is Not Just a Box…
- Not a Box by Antoinette Portis
- 6 Cardboard Box Play Ideas that Benefit Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers
- Cardboard Boxes are Timeless Toys
A Box is Not Just a Box…
Not a Box by Antoinette Portis
Check out Not a Box by Antoinette Portis: a children’s book about some of the ways children use their imagination when they play with a box!
Read along to Not a Box with the video below.
6 Cardboard Box Play Ideas that Benefit Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers
Say goodbye to “I’m bored” and hello to cardboard! These ideas will get you started on your cardboard box play adventure.
1. Toy Drop
Cut holes or slots in a box for a toy drop!
The greatest thing about this activity is it can be changed to match your child’s interests. If your child likes colours, create a game that incorporates colours—such as this colour sort:
Maybe your child is interested in BIG and small—this game can be altered to have different sized slots to see which toys/objects fit and which don’t!
Or try this “no hands” toy drop! Maneuver a ball (or a marble when using a small box) by moving the box to drop the ball into the hole.
2. Bean Bag Toss
Set up some different sized boxes for a bean bag toss! If you don’t have bean bags on hand, you can also use stuffed animals, balls, or socks rolled up into a ball. Try standing at different distances to toss the bean bag into the box! Add different challenges such as tossing the bean bag while standing on one leg or tossing it backwards.
3. Clip It!
Grab a box and some clips for a fine motor activity! Simply attach and detach different clips to the sides of a box. Larger clips (such as hair clips or chip clips) are great for toddlers, while preschoolers might like the challenge of attaching smaller clips (such as clothes pins and paper clips).
Create this fine motor lacing activity using a box, a hole punch, and a shoelace or piece of string. Punch holes into a box (tissue boxes work well as they are thin and easier to hole punch)! Tie a shoelace or piece of string to one of the punched holes; if you’re using string, tape the other end to make it a little sturdier for lacing. You can also try this activity on a larger scale with a bigger box and more string!
5. Marble Painting
A box, paint and marbles make for a fun art activity! Add some dabs of paint to the box along with a few marbles and tilt the box in different directions to move the marbles through the paint. Change this activity up by using sticks to move the marbles around or create a larger version of this activity using golf balls or plastic balls!
6. Mystery Box
Cut a hand-sized hole on a box and place an object inside. Allow your child to reach inside and guess what the object is based on how it feels!
Did you enjoy these out-of-the box play ideas? Find more ways to play with Activities for Every Week!
Boxes are Timeless Toys
Infants and young children love to explore objects that they see adults using. Check out this video of a baby choosing everyday objects over their toys!
The picture below was taken 50 years ago—some toys never go out of style!