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Imaginative Play with Cardboard Boxes

“With nothing more than a little imagination, boxes can be transformed into forts or houses, spaceships or submarines, castles or caves. Inside a big cardboard box, a child is transported to a world of his or her own, one where anything is possible.” National Toy Hall of Fame

When it comes to sparking your preschooler’s imagination, I know of little better than a cardboard box. The cardboard box is in the National Toy Hall of Fame for a reason. No flashing lights, sound effects, or gimmicks needed. Just a child and a simple box.

preschool box child 4

A few boxes, all by themselves, can become all sorts of things to a child. From boats to cars to secret fortresses. But, add a few extra materials and I’m sure you will be amazed at the outcomes…

… fabulously open-ended materials available that the children can easily access and combine with their box play.
These might include:
  • ropes
  • string
  • wool
  • pegs
  • masking tape
  • scissors
  • coloured markers
  • glue
  • play silks, scarves or lengths of material
  • Smaller boxes or containers
  • cardboard tubes
  • empty yoghurt containers
  • paper
  • garden mesh
  • paint
  • cushions
  • blankets
  • carpet squares
  • old sheets
  • sticks or leafy branches

More Cardboard Box Fun:

The Washing Machine: Picture Credit and Tutorial Here


The Grocery Shop:


Gas Pump: 

gas pumpThe best part about this cute cardboard gas pump? Every fill-up is free!

What you’ll need: 10x8x12-inch box, 12x10x10-inch box, hot-glue gun, scissors, green paper, double-stick tape, black contact paper, X-Acto knife, 5 feet of 1/2-inch clear plastic tubing (available at hardware stores), spray bottle, green masking tape, assorted office supply stickers and labels

Make it: Assemble both boxes and hot-glue flaps shut. Position the smaller box vertically on the floor and place the larger box on top horizontally; secure in place with hot-glue gun. Cut a 6-inch square of green paper and adhere to front of bottom box, as shown, with double-stick tape. Cut the letters G, A, and S and a 3×5-inch rectangle from black contact paper. Place the letters over the green square on front and stick the rectangle on the right side panel of the top box. Use an X-Acto knife to cut a 1-inch square in the right side panel of the top box and a 1-inch hole in the top of the right side panel of the bottom box. Hot-glue one end of the clear plastic tubing to the bottom of the spray bottle and insert handle into the 1-inch square on top box to hang. Insert the opposite end of tube into the 1-inch hole in the bottom box; secure with hot-glue gun. Attach a piece of green paper to the front of the top box and secure with green masking tape. Embellish paper with assorted stickers and labels as shown. ~CraiglistDad

Maze: Work those motor skills!




Freelance Blogger at
Lori Hil is a freelance blogger and content curator with an AAS in Early Childhood Education. She now gets to combine her love of writing and teaching through the written word. You can find her all around the web, but especially enjoying the freelance life at
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