In our high-tech world, it's easy to stick our kids in front of a television screen and call that "good enough". And yes, there are loads of programs that really provide educational support! I've even found a few that help my toddler practice his colors, numbers, and even letters! Sometimes I even wonder what our parents must have done to entertain us before this advent of children's television programming. (Wow, I sound like the millennial I am, don't I?)
Looking back on my childhood - one free of computers, with limited television, in a rural area. That means there was no neighborhood park, no nearby museums, not even a McDonald's playplace! We made our own fun and entertained one another the "good old-fashioned way". Well...to be honest, we probably spent more time fighting over who got to pick the after-school television show. But still! That self-reliance to create our own entertainment spurred on our creativity. Of course, without constant television, we needed a few solid "toys" to play with. Enter: The Cardboard Box. It's a classic.
Anyone who has ever watched a baby or young toddler open gifts can attest - the box that the gift comes in is often the more captivating part of the whole experience. And for good reason! Cardboard boxes are ubiquitous, accessible, and a blank canvas for your child's imagination. Throw in some paint, construction paper, glue, and even scissors (with help from an adult), and you've got endless possibilities!
Build A House
Ride A Rocket
I'm 30 years old and I still love building forts with my kiddos. Recently, we used a few cardboard boxes to build a secret hideaway for our toddler. Now he asks us to crawl back into it and read books together.
Play Dress Up
DIY Spinner Game
Make you own game of Twister - or create your own game with special rules! It's easy to make a cardboard spinner out of a flat piece of cardboard, an arrow, a brad, and some markers or paint.
Tic Tac Toe
Connect multiple boxes together in a line to create a tunnel for kids to crawl through! You can add windows or transform a whole play room into a maze of tunnels!
DIY Shape Sorter
A craft version of the Fisher Price classic, it's easy to cut a few shapes into a cardboard box and tape together strips of cardboard to form circles, squares, and hearts, and more!
Train Engine And Cars
This one requires a bit of wax paper, but it's so gorgeous! A kid's art craft that's worthy of being put on display in your home.
Older kids can learn about the effects of gravity and other laws of physics by building a ball-drop box! Add a few ramps going in different directions, stand your box on its end, and drop a ball to see where it lands at the bottom! I've also seen people make a crafted version of Plinko this way with toothpicks and ping pong balls!
Sail Your Boat
Cut long strips of cardboard and paint them. They become a set of train tracks that's easy to disassemble and carry with you. Bonus: if you lose one of the pieces, just cut some more!
Race Car Ramp
This one's easy! Make a classic round target shape and hand your kiddo some soft balls. Or, older kids might enjoy a nerf gun! I've seen people make boxes with multiple holes, or even decorated like the mouth of an animal gaping at them.
Don't try to bake a cake in this oven-made-from-a box!
Baby Doll Bed
This one is classic and easy. I remember putting my Barbies in shoebox beds as a little kid!
Ok, maybe calling it a guitar is a stretch! Perhaps a DIY string instrument is more accurate? Cut a hole in the side of a box and string yarn, twine, or even rubberbands over the opening. I like to wrap small boxes in rubber bands - it's a great way to encourage a love of music!