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10 Cardboard Box Crafts and Recycling Activities For Kids

Being a forces family, we move around a lot.

By default, that means a LOT of boxes. Big boxes, small boxes, broken boxes, over taped boxes, you name it. A lot of boxes go into the truck and a lot come out of the truck. And all these boxes must go somewhere! I think you can separate how military families handle their boxes into these three categories:

  • The SUPER-Organised Family: nothing but efficient. They ring the removal company in the first week as they have unpacked all the boxes and are ready for them to come to pick up said boxes back up at a later date (and if you are lucky they do).
  • The Organised Families: they know that they can ring the removal company however many times they like, but they’re never coming back to pick those boxes up. Over the course of the next month, this family will put the boxes out in increments with the recycling bins until they are all gone.
  • The Chilled Families: still unpacking boxes halfway through their time at the new location. They will give away boxes, put some in the recycling, maybe burn some. But most of the boxes will probably end up in the back of the garage for the entirety of the time there. Which inevitably, (if you are in the UK military) will have a leaky garage which will then result in moldy wet boxes that will have to be thrown out eventually.

OR, you could be like those who have learnt from our mistakes. Accept that you will be all three of these families. 

We have been in our current posting for almost one year and still have boxes in the garage. This time, it is for a completely different reason. As we moved into our house this time we had a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old who needed entertainment. As I looked at those boxes, all I saw were untapped craft resources.

Who doesn’t love recycling activities for kids?! We certainly do! It is an awesome and frugal way to spark creativity, and the options are truly endless. Let’s be honest – give a child a box, and you know they’ll end up playing with it more than the expensive toy you bought them last week. Children just love to be creative. They also love recycling activities, as it allows their imagination to take over. 

So if you can already see where those squirreled away boxes are in your mind as you read this, here are 10 CardBoard Box Activities For Kids that they will love: 

cardboard castles

Cardboard Forts

This is a great way to spend an afternoon. Cut out a castle, get the paints/pens/crayons etc out to decorate them, and let them play to their hearts content. 


This is a great ongoing project to do with your little feet. Create the dollhouse yourself then get them to paint, accessorize, and add toys.

cardboard dollhouse
cardboard shields and swords

Shield & Swords

Pair these with your castle boxes! Your littles are surely in for a fantastic day of imaginative play!

Nature Wings

The most beautiful cardboard craft and one that you can keep for the years to come. We’ve had ours going on two years now and they still have so much life left in them. DIY fancy dress is one fab way to utilise cardboard boxes. 

cardboard wings
cardboard art easels

Cardboard Art Easels 

One of my most proud inventions! One of my children had an art party for her 5th birthday party. We had recently moved and had SO many cardboard boxes in the garage. So I decided to make a load of easels for the children to lean their canvases on. They worked so well!


Cardboard Shadow Theatre

Cardboard Shadow Theatres are a fun way to reuse a cardboard box that you may have stored for a rainy day. It gives your child ample opportunities to create “shows” all day long. Though it does take some time to create, it is something that can be stored away and brought out again and again. Replenish it after a few weeks with different props and give it a whole new lease on life. Why not join it with a book you are reading with your children and make puppets from that book? The options are endless!

cardboard shadow theater
paint and egg shells

Egg Splatter Target Practice  

This is a seriously fun outdoor activity for spring and summer! Simply eat ALL the eggs (as many eggs as you can manage) and keep the shells. When you have enough, fill them up with paint and cut your cardboard box into target spaces. Then hurl those eggs! Divide into teams or make it a free-for-all. So messy and fun!

Super Simple Racing Car 

What kind of list would this be without a cardboard car in it!? Here is one I made for Super Simple. Naturally it doesn’t have to be as elaborate as this one. However, I will say that it lasted a few weeks and was used not just for a car. It was also a bed for our youngest and her teddies while she played during the day! 

cardboard race car
cardboard nature weaving

Cardboard Nature Weaving 

Such a simple concept and one that can be done again and again. You can find nature in every season and in every country you live in. It doesn’t even need to be done with nature – why not try string, paper or even better cloth from an old top? 

And Last but Not Least – Cardboard Canvas

If in doubt, simply use the cardboard as a really big canvas. It’s likely your chidlren will have never had such a big space to create on so it can be exciting for them to get stuck in. If you don’t want to use paint, put out some pens or oil pastels and let them experiment. If they are struggling, try picking a theme for them to start it off. I will occasionally do this by suggesting an underwater or jungle theme. Again, endless options!

cardboard canvas

What crafts have you done with cardboard? What would you add to this list? Share with us below!

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One Response to 10 Cardboard Box Crafts and Recycling Activities For Kids

  1. Avatar
    Lisa May 17, 2020 at 8:29 pm #

    Fun ideas! We also did a (double layered) cardboard slide inside. Double sided tape &/or duct tape helps. Easiest for littles: markers inside a top-open box for contained coloring!

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